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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hot Wheels Pikes Peak Celica and Tacoma

 


Wrapping up the look at some miniature Toyota Trucks and 4-Runners is a look at some cool Pikes Peak racers from 1997-1998.

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Behind the Pikes Peak racers

Pikes Peak is the race located on the mountain of the same name in Colorado where racers come up every summer to try and see how fast they can reach to the peak, or clouds in other terms.  It is the second oldest motorsport in the U.S., even though times have changed as the track is now all-paved.  In 1996 New Zealander Rod Millen, a long-time racer, decided to take the Pikes Peak race for a challenge in the new Pikes Peak Celica.  At 10:00:04 in 1994, he took record for the fastest ascent into the peak, a record broke in 2007.  Millen won the race in 1996, 1997 in the Celica, and in 1998 and 1999 in the Tacoma.

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The Celica was based on the 1994 Celica, but was all unique with a tube chassis and lightweight body panels in yellow with Toyota logos.  Vents on the hood and sides, aero ground effects, and a large rear wing compliment the race car look.  The interior is one driver, in the middle, for a better feel of the car in corners.  The engine is a turbocharged I-4 with close to 1,000 hp through a 5-speed manual (est.) and AWD system.  The Tacoma looks more like a regular-cab, 2WD Tacoma with the same front end, but just like the Celica vastly different with a tube chassis, smooth tonneau cover, more vents on hood and sides, and a rear wing smoothly-integrated in the rear.  Also at the rear is an open section where the tailgate normally resides.  Inside is the same setup with the driver in the center with a roll cage and comprehensive gauges.  The engine is the same turbocharged I-4, now in the rear, producing the same hp. through the same AWD system, in the same colors, but with some white thrown it.

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Hot Wheels look best in first guise

As the title says, both look best in their first release.  The Celica was introduced in 1998 with red front and rear spoilers, Pennzoil graphics, scoops, and detailed headlights to show that this is a Celica.  The gold BBS rims look cool as well.  Sadly after that the Celica was only known by name as the body looked like any generic race car.  The Tacoma, introduced in 1999, was cooler with the detailed front-end that will gladly identify itself as a Tacoma, metal rear spoiler, white and yellow two-tone, and BBS rims.  The cool part is the graphics which feature more detail, including Rod Millen's signature on the doors.  The Tacoma fared much better than the Celica, but still languished in the anonymous category in future variations.  As I said before, the best of a casting is usually in the first release.

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