Volume IX, Number 5

Found in the Letterbox
The following are responses to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail

"Greetings from Bolivia!

As usual, every time that "Tales of Toy Cars" appears with more news and stories I feel stimulated to enjoy even more about little and big cars, There is no week without a visit to the site, to read previous articles or check some notes to learn more about the universe of cars.

This message goes to share with you one activity related with cars that puts more fire in my soul. The Ferrari Panamerican 20000 is the trip of two Ferraris 599 GTB Fiorano that started on August in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and is already on the road to cross many capital cities in South America to finish the adventure in New York after cover 20000 miles (almost 32000 kilometers), after covering part of the Pan-American highway. One of the stages, specifically the stage 3, includes one stop in my country, Bolivia. The past 8 of September the two Ferraris where presented to the press and some guests in a informal, but special act.

Thanks to a previous contact with some people on the Italian Embassy, I assist to this presentation with my camera to take as many shots as possible and even know and meet some people from Ferrari. The Residence of the Italian Embassy in my city is a modest but nice house and the front yard where used to display the two Ferraris and admit the guests. The ambiance where relaxed and after a brief, but enthusiastic speech from the Ambassador of Italy, one of the V12 engines (which is the same block that came on the Enzo) where turned on, and the official Ferrari driver deliver some high revolutions for the delight of guys like me.

After two and a half hours of this event, the reunion came to an end, and the two Fioranos take the exit line, and in company of four Fiats (the official support cars in the trip) take some main streets to a garage in a local hotel, and at the 7:00 hours of the Saturday morning, the entire group takes the road to the Titikaka lake (the highest point over sea level on the trip), and then cross the border to Peru and starts the stage 4.

As you already imagine, it was special for me, be cause there is no more than 4 (1:1) Ferraris in my country, and the fact that two 2006 GTB Fioranos appears in my city was something for the records.

With this e-mail, I send some images of these event and even one with me and one of the Ferrari drivers. You can check more details about this trip in this site: www.ferraripanamerican20000.com

Now, my questions is if some toy car manufacturer has a replica of the Pininfarina designed Ferrari GTB Fiorano, because I really like the idea of this spectacular car in my "garage", even more because I see it near of me. I hope that Mattel consider this car for the 2007 year, for the Hot Wheels or Matchbox lines.

Well, that is all for now, so I hope you find more fascinating cars for your collection, and who knows, may be you already find a 1:64 599 GTB!

Keep making such great work!"

Daniel Vasques Burke, Bolivia

Editor's response: Daniel, thanks for the story and images. I have yet to see the Ferrari 599 in small-scale. It is a good guess that Hot Wheels may offer this model. It is also possible that Matchbox may be allowed to do this new Ferrasri. Thanks for your support of TofTC.

Ferrari F1

Gulf-Porsche 917

STP-Lotus Turbine - Indy car

"Hello Doug,

I would like to say how much I enjoyed your article on the small scale Champion racing cars, I have been collecting these for a few years now. I would like to add a few comments to your article, if I may :

1) The HONDA model is missing the rear wing ( I have a few mint boxed models which don't have the wing attached but all the models have the attachment holes at the front end of the motor block, I assume it is easy to lose them )

2) The LOTUS model is available with two different wing, the one you have shown and a low down force wing / engine cover ( I have never been able to verify that this wing actually existed / raced )

3) As you say most of the F1 are accurate, however, there are some exceptions, e.g. the green J. Stewart Tyrrell.

4) The design of the wheels changed with time, initially they were two piece hub and wheel and this was changed to a one piece black plastic wheel, for the F1 models. There are several version of wheel hub for the sportscars.

5) You say there is up to nine colour/tampo variations, but I think there are many more. Then there are the different wheels / colour of interiors / boxes / labels etc. ( I must fully document my collection )

6) Lastly and for me the most interesting is the fact that some of the models ( I haven't been able to establish which ) were linked to a promotion by the ELF Petroleum company, whether they were given away with so many gallons of petrol or whether you had to collect coupons I don't know. The models can be identified by the labels in the plastic cases, or by the rear wings which were embossed with "Coll. elf". I wrote to Craig Mueller last year following his article on the SPEEDY models as some of these models also seem to have been part of an ELF promotion, but he didn't know anything more about them.

Thanks again for the article and all the other articles over the years, I always look forward to reading ToTC. I have several "spares" in my collection I cannot resist buying them when I see that at Toy Fairs, therefore, if you would like an example of the LOTUS INDY car, the FERRARI V12 and a short tail PORSCHE 917 I would be more than happy to send you them. I will attempt to send you some photos to illustrated the points I have made above. I am on holiday next week.

Thanks again,"

Malcolm Petrie, Zurich.

Editor's response: Thank you for the excellent information on the Champion racers. These wonderful models should have a much stronger following than they do. I will be happy to work out a trade for the three models shown above.