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Monday, May 25, 2015

Auto World 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am

There’s TV and Movie-related castings from the likes of RC2, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, and then there’s the castings that don’t even get a movie or TV reference.  This 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am is one of them.  In the 1986 film “Short Circuit”, a film about a military robot coming alive from a lightning strike short circuiting the robot to life.  As Johnny No. 5 bonds to a human it literally lands across, the ex-boyfriend of Stephanie comes tearing across in a 1976 Trans-Am to bring back the robot for the capture award presented by NOVA, the builder of the robot.  During the tussle between the two, Johnny goes out and drags the car across the street to disassemble (with Chilton book in hand), looking like a yard sale.  It’s hard to believe that not many diecast makers have presented a 1974-1976 Trans-Am, but Auto World now has.

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Straight from the high-end Premium line, it comes with more details and an acrylic display case over the Deluxe line, but how much difference?  Let’s find out.  The Carousal Red Trans-Am looks great with the proper height, length, and width, and for change proper tires on 5-spoke honeycomb wheels.  The federal-mandated 5-mph bumpers are slanted at the front with round headlights and twin-grille snout and lower grille with integrated signal lights, and Auto World has done a nice job with the surrounding trim details.  The hood has the famed screaming chicken with hood scoop poking out.  The sides have the flared fins before the wheels, fender vents, and trim decals.  The rear has the separate rear spoiler with TRANS-AM letters, louvered taillights, and Car and Driver plate since this is a magazine cover car and not an entertainment car.

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The hood opens up to reveal the blue block engulfed by the hood scoop of the 6.6L 400 CID V8 that produces 200 hp (about 20 more hp than the non-T/A motor) through a 4-speed manual.  The engine details look the same as the deluxe line, so not really much of an improvement here.  Nor does the metal base that is bare without any painting details, though it does have the correct upper/lower A-arm front and live axle with leaf springs rear and other drivetrain components.  Worse, the interior has absolutely no details to enhance itself over the deluxe line, which begs the question why pay more than the deluxe for the same exact details???  Otherwise it has the same extravagant details from the dash layout that is driver-oriented with plenty of auxiliary gauges, 3-spoke steering wheel, radio and A/C controls, shifter handle, door panel lines and handles, and seat patterns.

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So while nice and looking great in that Carousel Red color, I still try to find a reason why I would pay more for a Premium model over a Deluxe model aside from a few unique castings and an acrylic case, even though I paid a dollar more over the Deluxe line where I got mines at (others may charge more).

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