POWr Multi Slider

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The 1969-1971 Dodge Charger/Plymouth Superbird family by Hot Wheels and RC2



Recently Hot Wheels released the new 1969 Dodge Charger 500, another version of the vastly-growing Charger family ten years in the making.  It was only two decades ago that one Charger was all that you can get, but now there's a plenty to choose from now.  Here's the group from Hot Wheels from 1969 to 1971, including the 1970 Superbird from Plymouth, and one 1971 from RC2.




Click Here for Photo Gallery


1969: Coke bottle styling and dog-leg taillights

The Charger, in 1966, was originally planned to be the production version of the 1963 Chrysler Turbine car for the general public, but when the turbine project failed the motor was replaced with a Hemi and the Charger fastback was born.  In 1968 a more formal 2-door coupe was introduced and became an icon and status symbol for Dodge.  In Hollywood with Bullitt, The Dukes of Hazzard, Dirty Larry, Crazy Marry, The Fast and the Furious, and more.  The styling featured  squared-look with coke-bottle shaped rear fenders.  The front has the hidden headlights behind a two-piece split grille, hood scoops, and a typical rear trunk and roof design of the late 1960's.  In 1969 the quad round taillights was replaced by the dog-leg taillights.  The interior featured a simplistic form with a flat, horizontal layout for the gauges and radio controls.  The engine of the day was the 426 HEMI V8 producing 426 hp. through a 4-speed automatic.



Click Here for Photo Gallery


This Hot Wheels casting was introduced in the vast jungle of 100 new castings in 2004, with the proper details of the body and front and rear-end details as part of the base.  The interior has detailed seats, but the dash is lacking in details.  The coolest feature is the opening hood that shows off the engine as part of the interior piece (not the usual metal body of past opening hood Hot Wheels vehicles).  Black with silver flames and red rear stripe was the norm, with a all-metal ZAMAC version more valuable.  Future variations include the white with blue stripes and green version, but as you can see in the green version the body tooling was beginning to suffer with rounded corners, sagging grilles, and some slight misfits between the body and base.  In 2009's Mopar Mania 5-pack the Charger was also green, but now features a closed-up hood.  The best version?:  The 2005 Muscle Mania in blue and K-mart-only purple.  Look at the fantastic and clean details and logo's, not to mention the several variations offered, including one with Faster than Ever wheels for the 2006 year.


 
Click Here for Photo Gallery


In 1969 another problem arised:  Dodge losing to Ford in the NASCAR oval tracks.  Apparently the sleeker Torino Talladega's were taking most of the wins, so Dodge went back to the wind tunnel to find out what's wrong with the Charger's new shape.  Turns out the rear window and front grille was the culprits in the slowdown, so Dodge smooth-out the rear window flush and added a Dodge Coronet grille with exposed headlights at the front.  The Charger 500 was born; this Hot Wheels casting is new for 2015 with an awesome blue paint, silver stripe with 500 at the rear, and a 50 years HEMI on the doors that many collectors want off.  The base is the same as the 1969 Charger, but is new to feature the new grille.  Notice that the body has more metal on the front fenders to curb the rounding off issues of the other 1969 Charger casting.  The interior is the same and likely has the same engine details as the 1969 Charger (and 1969 Charger Daytona from 2013), but the only way you'll find out is if you drill out the rivets and pop the base off of the body since there's no opening hood on the Charger 500.  As much as Dodge figured out the issue, it still wasn't enough, so extreme measures had to be taken.




Click Here for Photo Gallery


Hitting the climax of NASCAR rules

Enter the 1969 Charger Daytona, a typical Charger with front fiberglass nose with pop-up headlights, front fender vents, and a large rear wing at the rear.  This shape gave the Charger much improved aerodynamics to help the Charger finally overtake Ford for most wins, and get NASCAR's attention to change the rules after 1970.  The engine and interior carry-over from the regular Charger.  The first Hot Wheels version was the 1996 version with the correct ride stance and details, but the car was narrow and the gold wheels really don't fit well on this casting.  The red with gold wheels and DAYTONA on rear fenders was the first, with the blue one released in 1998.  This casting was final runned in 2003 just as a new Charger Daytona arrived larger, cartooned, and with no interior.  Hot Wheels finally brought the Charger Daytona back to normal form in 2013 with the car based on the one used in Fast and Furious 6 movie with dark red paint, dark chrome base, exposed headlights, and side exhaust, while still sharing the same base and interior tooling as the 1969 Charger.




Click Here for Photo Gallery


In 1970 it was Plymouth's turn to take the fiberglass nose and rear wing onto the Roadrunner body to create the Superbird.  The front nose featured turn signal lights moved from the inner grille to just below the headlights and taillights from the 1970 Roadrunner.  The interior and engines also carry-over from the Roadrunner and Charger.  Still took home the most titles, but the victory was short when NASCAR implemented new rules to make sure competition has equal fair-share when it comes to engine displacement and aerodynamics with no fancy tricks anymore.  Hot Wheels released the Superbird in 2006 to those saddened by the lost of the 1996 Daytona casting.  Aside from a slightly high ground clearance, it looks perfect and big with black eyebrows at the front, Superbird at the rear fenders, and the black vinyl top.  Comes in green with Faster Than Ever wheels (or 5-spoke), K-mart-only yellow with 10-spoke wheels, metallic orange with PR-5 wheels, or blue with 5-spoke wheels.  2006 models are the best versions in my opinion.  Then there's the most-popular variation in the 2008 Classics line in blue with the racing decals, metal base, and 5-sp. with Goodyear lettering.  There's a few reasons why this is popular:  This is as close as you can get to Richard Petty's #43 Superbird race car and also for the similar Petty car featured in the Disney 'Cars' movie.  I found this one at a Target one day trying to escape the blistercard!



Click Here for Photo Gallery


1970: Faster and Furious

1970 offered fewer changes, but there was some noticeable ones: front grille is now one-piece and the side vents are now more noticeable with the R/T badge now housed here as the stripes at the rear are less common now.  For this Hot Wheels casting version introduced in 2011 all you can think of is the movie 'The Fast and the Furious'.  Supercharger poking out of the hood, raked rear end, but even more better is the smoother front grille surround and proper rear detailing.  It looks a bit cartoonish, yet still preserves the stock lines of the 1970 Charger.  The base is also color-coded to match the body.  The interior and base feature much more detail than what the 1969 Charger offers.  2011 saw purple with black stripes on hood and back-end, or orange with white stripes (not shown).  2012 saw the introduction of SubLime Green with new black deco on the sides, and 2013 saw a cleaner-look in black with only a R/T logo for the Fast and Furious movie.  It's a great casting and I can't wait to see more in the future!



Click Here for Photo Gallery


1971: the start of plush Musclecars

By the beginning of the 1970's musclecars were starting to move away from the crude, Spartan look to a more plush look with more amenities and more with automatic transmissions.  It's no surprise to see the Charger follow suit in 1971.  The front has the split grille returned, but now with exposed headlights, the hood featured the so-called Air Grabber that pops up under full-throttle to feed in forced air to the engine, new door vents, an almost hatchback-like C-pillar flowing to the rear bumper with integrated taillights.  The interior was more driver-oriented with bucket seats, radio, A/C, power windows and locks, and comprehensive gauges.  The 426 HEMI was offered for one last year, but more common is the 440 Magnum V8 rated at 375 hp. though a 3-speed Torquefile automatic.




Click Here for Photo Gallery


The Hot Wheels casting was introduced in 2010 with a nice clean look in orange paint with black side stripe and hood stripe with R/T inset.  The front and rear bumpers are part of the chrome interior, and the base and interior feature nice details, especially the ribbed door panels.  The pink version came out in 2011 line.  Now I wasn't a big fan of this casting so there's a few other variations out there as well.



Click Here for Photo Gallery

Finally is the RC2 version from 2003, from the 1974 'Gone in 60 Seconds film'.  Check out the details from the grille details with separate headlight lenses, lower bumper, hood vent, window and wheelwell trim, rearview mirror, and detailed taillights.  The base is more exploded with colors that feature orange oil pan, silver exhaust, gas tank, and transmission on a 3D base effect.  The interior featured a comprehensive dash detailing, seat, door panel, and even a separate shifter.  The trunk opens to reveal a silver luggage, while the hood features a vastly-detailed engine with orange block, chrome valve covers, and air cleaner with label detailing.  This was part of Ertl's former shot of producing highly-detailed 1:64 cars for the collectors in the late 1990's, though the high price limited the life of the series with only a few castings.  This was one of the few from that departed series that merged with Racing Champions into the new RC2 fold in 2003 to produce second chances like this one.



Click Here for Photo Gallery


Man, that's a lot of Charger's made in a decade!  Who knows what else could be around the corner for Hot Wheels and the Dodge Charger.













Click Here for Photo Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment