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Monday, June 9, 2014

Hot Wheels Mini Cooper and 1974 Brazilian Charger



Here's a look at a few more castings from other countries, the famous Mini Cooper and the new 1974 Dodge Charger from Brazil.

Amazon Charger

In America, we like big V8 muscle and big cars, plus at the time we can afford the gas as well (...well at least before the 1970's), so that's why the Charger became one of our favorite muscle cars of the 1960's.  However, in other countries where gas prices are not so cheap and size really does matter (at a minimum), alternatives were taken in order to get the muscle car feel to other countries.  Brazil is one of them:  General Motors decided to bring an Opel to Brazil (the Opala) and fabricated it with the SS trim and features despite only offering a I-6, instead of bringing the Nova from the US over to Brazil.  Same with the Charger: instead of sending the U.S. Charger over, they made their own Charger from the platform of the Dodge Dart.  As you can see in the casting shown in red, if you look at the Greenlight 2013 Dodge Dart GT review, which features the Hot Wheels 1968 Dart in pink, you can see the familiar body lines of the Dart in the Brazilian Charger.

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Granted, both are a generation old in the U.S. when they finally arrived on Brazilian streets in 1974, it packs the muscle that the Opala SS lacked: A 318 V8 mated to a four-speed manual.  The styling of the Charger looked just like the 1968-1970 US versions with the twin split grille featuring a slimmer opening on the sides of the grille and headlights that are behind, not hidden, in the grille.  The hood has the vents similar to the U.S. 1968-1969 Plymouth Roadrunner along with silver hood pins.  The sides have yellow stripes with the cursive Charger name inserted in them.  The rear is definitely a Dart, and like the Dart comes up short on details.  Also the raked rear end doesn't approve to traditionalist collectors either.  Inside the seats are nicely done, but the dash is nothing but a flat pod with a steering wheel.  I waited until the red recolor came out because it looks better in red where as the yellow was too thick on the car.  I still think the Opala looks best, but then again no one will mistaken this one for the U.S. Charger or Dart!

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Mini Cooper: Still racing along!

The favorite Mini Cooper race car returns for 2014, sporting a red paint with Union Jack flag on roof, racing decals on the sides, and El Segundo Rallye on the hood.  The metal base still continues, as does the pop-off body (the first Hot Wheels with this feature) even though the rear latch is fussy about releasing the base from the body.  Sadly cost-cutting has removed the previous roll cage for a simpler look:  parts that were part of the rollcage (intake, air tank, and seat) are now part of the interior piece.  Still the incredible details immerge from the racing cockpit with battery and tank, the rear fuel cell, and the 997 C.C. I-4 producing 55hp. through a 4-speed manual (it may be higher-rated in this model) through a central exhaust exiting in twin metal exhaust at the rear.  I could do without that mysterious metal pole inside behind the driver!

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Introduced in early 2001 as the last 2000 First Edition, the Mini was worth the wait in the yellow paint with checkered flag roof.  Metal on Metal with a body that comes off showing a detailed interior, it's a win for all collector's.  Yet despite the race car look, it still retains the classic Morris Mini look from the front with headlight covers, intake poking out of the hood, and the large grill behind the stock opening.  The length is small and a bit wider with flared fenders, and the rear features the taillights, gascap, and trunk opening of the original with a clever place for the base latch to hide: in the license plate retainer!

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I have many versions of this Mini Cooper, from the 2004 Treasure Hunt to the 2003 Hot Wheels Legends duo featuring a green with Union Jack Roof Mini Cooper alongside the 2002 new Mini in similar deco to the infamous plastic body version that does not pop off from the base, the Mini will still continue to charm collectors for years to come, and hopefully so will the 1974 Brazilian Charger.

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