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Friday, December 19, 2014

Welly 1:24 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Convertible and Hot Wheels 1:64 1948 Ford



It's not often that I look at the Pre-WWII-era automobiles in diecast.  Yea, i'll look at some of them, but for the most part not all of them, and this is especially true of the first automobiles that were nothing more that horseless carriages and the only differences between makes was the name on the grille and a few subtle changes.  When automobiles started to take shape by blending separate components, like the headlights and fenders, into one uniform sheetmetal shape, the distinction between cars just got more easier to identify more than just the nameplate alone.  Still, there's times when the shape of one vehicle closely resembles another vehicle from another automaker.  Case in point: these two cabriolet sedans, same color, same shape, only split by a war and nameplates.



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The final stab at personal sales before war

Chevrolet was created to be an alternative to Ford when introduced in 1911 by providing sporty automobiles at an affordable price, with the help of founder and racer Louis Chevrolet.  Unfortunately, future models never lived up to that name: While Ford introduced the flathead V8 in the 1930's, Chevrolet would not get their own V8 until the mid-1950's.  As for the cars themselves, most started to adopt some creature comforts normally found on Buick's or Cadillac's.  The Special Deluxe series replaced the Master series in 1941 with bodylines that blended in more smoothly than the previous Master models.  The front had the sale large chrome grille, but the headlights are now inside the fenders.  More chrome was added from the beltline strip from the hood to the rear trunk to the side chrome fins at the front fenders.  The rear got a smoother trunk lid with integrated taillights and central license plate with trunk latch.  The interior was more luxurious with wood trimmed dash, doors, chrome radio speaker, and bench seats for six seating with the front bench offering a tilt feature for easier access to the rear bench.



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The Special Deluxe was the top-line model that featured many high-end features normally found in Buick's or Cadillac's, and looks very stylish as a convertible.  Many other cabs and models were offered as well, though the truck line was separate from the car Deluxe line for the first time.  Engine was powered by the legendary I-6, a 216 CID making 90 hp. through a column-shifted 3-speed manual.  The chassis still has a ladder frame with x-cross brace for more rigidity, and the control arm front and live axle rear on leaf springs.  As the new generation started civilian sales, the looming war in Europe started to change things, and when the bombing of Pearl Harbor launched the US into the war, Chevrolet started to reduce the Deluxe line to basic models that featured non-chrome trim for the safety of being identified by enemy planes.  In 1942, Chevrolet stopped civilian production to focus on building vehicles and aircrafts for the war, and the same basic, non-chrome Deluxe models were used for staff cars in the war.  When civilian production resumed in 1945, the cars had a vast styling changed that made the deluxe different than the 1942 model.  The Deluxe would carry-on until 1952 when the 210/Bel-Air arrived as it's post-war replacements.




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The gorgeous Welly version

Standing in Cameo White with red interior and chrome trim abound, this is one stylish convertible that got my attention right away when I found this one.  The front has the chrome grille with Chevrolet and badge in the center, round headlights with outer chrome trim, signal lights below, and chrome bumper with additional upper bar.  The hood has more chrome trim with center hood line, ornament at the front, and side trim that doubles as hood vents and also features the Special Deluxe logo.  The round fenders have more with chrome trim on top and side grilles behind the front wheels.  The chrome strip continues at the top from the hood with the door handles also blended in, while the rear fenders have a black cover just ahead of the rear tires.  The rear has oval horizontal taillights, license plate with 1941, and the same dual-tier bumper as the front.  The taillights and plate holder was a bit crooked when I got it so I managed to wiggle it back to position.  Also note the gas cap on the right-rear fender.




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The trunk opens up to barely nothing, which is a disappointment when compared to the Danbury Mint version, which has the spare tire and a few other accessories.  Also a disappointment is the lack of an opening hood (again, the Danbury Mint version has this as well) even though it looks like it opens up.  Then again, if you know what the Chevy I-6's look like then this isn't such a bad thing.  The chassis features the detailed suspension and drivetrain components and the only way you can view the I-6 motor.  Also it's nice that Welly extended the exhaust to well past the rear bumper just like the actual car.  The wheels have the color-matching steel wheels with chrome CHEVROLET center cap, while the whitewalls are a separate piece of plastic between the wheel and the rubber tire.




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The best part about this car is the interior.  The front and rear bench seats are decked out in red, while the front has only the seat pattern and the split-forward look (but does not function).  The rear bench seat looks like, well, nothing.  The convertible top has the black cover with silver buttons.  The dashboard has wood trim on the top that also carries over to the upper part of the interior door trims.  The doors have detailed panels and chrome handles, while the dashboard has a chrome center piece that houses the speedometer on the left and the analog clock on the right.  In the middle is the radio speaker with the controls right below, alongside switches for the lights and wipers.  The lower end of the dash and the steering wheel outer handle is in Cameo White, with the center of the wheel in chrome.  The 3-speed manual shifter is on the right and the black pedals are down below.  What you can't see, and worth pointing out in the real car, is the additional pedal next to the accelerator pedal to the right: this is to turn the starter motor over.  Problem is, you have a manual that requires engaging the clutch and, in the old carburator days, you also had to give it a bit of gas to kick the motor over.  So how can you do that if you're right foot is on the starter pedal and not the accelerator pedal?  Behind the steering wheel is two T-switches, one for the choke and the other as a hand-held alternative to control the throttle.  It's a little more work, but much better than trying to hand-crank the motor!  Also, the windshield is split with chrome trim and wipers, the side mirrors with the chrome window trim, and the visors with detailed chrome trim bits.


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The identical movie star from Ford

Another car that was introduced just as the war was beginning is the Ford sedan.  This version has more to offer than the Chevy with many body styles, including pickup versions (until 1948), I-6 and V8 power, and Special and De Luxe were separate trim packages.  These Fords also had a confusing array of different distributor, coil, alternator placements, along with a hole in the grille to hand-start the motor if the starter or battery fails.  There was also the choice of two interior heaters: gas or water cooled (from the engine, the norm these days in vehicles) and three convertible top mechanisms to raise or lower the top.  The biggest motor was the 221 CID Flathead V8 through a three-speed manual, while the chassis has the same body-on-frame with control arm front and live axle rear suspension as other vehicles of the era.  Just like Chevy the 1942 Ford production was cut short as Ford focus on manufacturing planes and vehicles for the war.  In 1945 the war ended and civilian production resumed, along with a few cosmetic changes.  1948 was the last year for this body style before the all-new 1949 Ford's appeared.  The front grille lost the electric-razor grille for a more simpler three-bar arrangement, with the signal lights moving to just below the headlights.  The rear had taillights that were now horizontal, while the interior has a deep-dish steering wheel and center chrome trim with integrated radio speaker.  This model was used in quite a few movies from "Grease", to "Back To The Future", to "The Karate Kid".


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See the similarities???

Yea, both the Chevy and Ford have the same exterior color, slightly-different interior colors (for has a tan interior), and almost identical trim setup.  This vehicle was made by Hot Wheels for the movie "The Karate Kid".  It looks amazing and much better than last year's Greased Lightning from "Grease".  The color is called Maize Yellow, and really stands out with the front chrome grille and round headlights that is much simpler than the Chevy's.  The chrome trim is identical from the hood to the fenders, but with less trim and the fender trim is located on the sides instead of the top.  Just like the Chevy the chrome trim from the hood goes alongside the beltline with the integrated door handles and black trim just ahead of the rear wheels, but adds the chrome trim to the rear fenders.  Out back is a similar setup to the Chevy with horizontal taillights and license plate holder, but the chrome trim above the plate is unique, as is the shape of the bumpers.


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Since this is a Hot Wheels, it has a raked appearance with wider rear tires, rubber that is, with whitewalls and chrome wheels.  The metal base shows off most details of the chassis with an X-brace for additional support.  The interior is not as glitzy as the Chevy, most in part to the small scale, but has the details from the large steering wheel to the dash with the ribbed center chrome trim.  The bench seats are detailed front and back, while the convertible top is beige and without the silver snap buttons.  Finally is the issue of quality-control at Mattel:  This is the best one that I could find, and as you can see it's not the best either!


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So as you can see when I saw the Welly 1941 Chevy I had to take a double take because I though this was the 1948 Ford from "The Karate Kid", but in fact it wasn't even though it has the same almost dead-on details as the 1948 Ford!

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