Lightning Strikes with the Top Down
by Doug Breithaupt

With Spring weather on the way, convertible owners are ready to bring the rag-tops out of Winter storage. For diecast collectors, every season is top-down weather in the toy room. Big American convertibles of the late 1960's and early 1970's are as some of the hottest among collector cars. Johnny Lightning has taken the lead in offering these cars in 1:64 scale. None of the convertibles shown below had been done until Johnny Lightning offered them to hungry collectors. The following selection includes two representatives from Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

The 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Convertible is a very rare car with only two being produced. One recently sold for $425,000. The toy car represents the automotive star of the Nash Bridges TV show and is a beautiful diecast model. The 1970 Dodge Challenger was the 1970 Indy Pace Car and has the dubious distinction of being the only pace car to be involved in an accident during the race.

The 1969 Mercury Cougar XR-7 Convertible originally appeared as a James Bond car for Johnny Lightning. This dark green version is very well done. The 1968 Ford Torino Convertible represents the Indy Pace Car of that year. The hard-top Torino was a success at NASCAR. Rubber tires would improve the look of this car and the Dodge Challenger (right).

The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible is an earlier Johnny Lightning casting and not as accurate as newer offerings. The lowered top seems much too large. The 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 Convertible is also an early casting but with better lines. The real car featured a 455, high-compression V8. The 442 was for four-speed clutch, four-barrel carb, dual exhaust.