I won't argue the Brewster or the Hudson, but the Essex you found is not in fact the first one done. I have an Ertl casting of a 1927 Essex Conversion Coupe, black with a box where the trunk/rumble seat should be ... it was part of a bank promotion and was given away free when you ordered checks. Surely this isn't the only one of these Ertl ever did? Also, the Viper GTS-R in your "Expanding" page is the 2003-ish concept racer debuting last summer, and as such would be incorrect in recent road-race liveries (although the look would be close enough for most of us). I had these once and passed them off as generic. If I only knew ...
Hot Wheels, I have learned, introduce fictional cars for two reasons. First, a car that is expected to get the OK to be licensed, doesn't get the OK. then some details have to change. Three prominent examples are the Turbo Heater that was supposed to be a FWD Dodge Daytona, the recent Cat-A-Pult which was the '60s Cheetah road race car, and the early 80s Turismo casting, which was a '77-style DeLorean DMC-12 prototype (different than the actual production vehicle). Second, and this is the big one, Hot Wheels only has so much money to spend on licensing with the Big Three and other automakers. Fictionalized cars (the ones we all hate, like the Sweet 16 II, Power Rocket, Tow Jam and others) don't cost tem anything. The MS-Suzuka is one of those, I'm afraid: it looks like some recent Japanese pocket-rocket cars (similar to the Sho-Stopper introduced for 2000) but in fact is fictionalized.
I am surprised your research did not turn up another Audi 100, this one by Zylmex. Most of them were in Sheriff livery though without a light bar. I have a spare ... seen better days but it is definitely one it sounds like you need. Schuco also did a 100 and an 80 of similar vintage. Siku's A6 disappointed me with its tiny wheel openings but otherwise the quality was on par with other Siku. Revell has done a stock 1/64 scale '70 Monte Carlo, both in stock and Lowrider form with operational suspension. I have one of the later Playart 928s with the sealed-shut doors. As I collect only wheel AND paint variations of a given casting I'd like to find an opening-door Playart with those flower wheels that isn't silver ...Thanks again
Jeff Koch, Los Angeles, CA
Editor's Response: For those of you who do not recognize Jeff Koch, he is a professional automotive writer (currently with Hot Rod Magazine) and diecast collector of the highest order. In addition to all the good information here, he provides the feature article for this issue. Thanks!
Porsche Boxter, Toyota Supra Turbo, Mini Cooper (old model), BMW 3 Series (new)
I was pleased to find these cars that were not found in the States. Apparently they are imported into Canada for WalMart of Canada. I have not found them in Wal Marts in the US. I also found cars by a company called "Imperial" including two Hot Rods and what appears to be a Shelby GT 500 from circa 1969."
Editor's Response: Don is right about diecast that make it to Canada but not the U.S., however the new Motor Max models are reviewed in this issue and we covered Imperial in the last issue although I have not seen the castings he mentions