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Friday, July 3, 2015

Hot Wheels 1:18 Ferrari 60th Ferrari 250GT California Spyder

I've profiled the 1:64 250GT California from the Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment series last year, and as much as this casting is hard-to-find i've ran across a few of them, with one carded and one loose from the same online shop that I buy from and one that I saw at a T.J. Maxx that while the car was ok the package was not; the bubble hanging onto the last few threads of the package!  Now here comes another one, again from my favorite online store, but this time it's a once in a lifetime offer that at $19.99 before shipping was too good to pass up: a 1:18 scale version of the same 250 but this time for the Ferrari 60th anniversary back in 2007.

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It's a gem!  The red color with tan interior look great and really shine out alongside the chrome despite the 60th race logo's that seem to obstruct the beautiful lines, yet on the other hand give it a look that's ready for the classic car race event.  The casting is based on the 1999 version, the first year for both Hot Wheels 1:18 scale line and the exclusive Ferrari licensing right that no one else has (until this year when the license finally expired for Mattel).  While some details are missing most of the others are there.  The front has round chrome headlights behind clear covers (compared to the cross-eyed tampos of the 1:64), the Ferrari badge in the center just ahead of the hood scoop where the air filter peeks out, chrome grille with driving lights and prancing horse, and chrome bumper.  While the car is wide the beltline of the body is low giving it a sleek look.  The sides have chrome front fender vents, door handles, and 1947 logo's after the doors.

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The rear fenders start to peak up like the Coke bottle effect  that ends with dual-colored taillights flanking a smooth trunk lid with Ferrari logo, trunk handle, reverse lamps just above the chrome bumper, and what I bragged about that was missing in the 1:64 version: check out the length and look of those exhaust with chrome tip ends!  If you ever rest the car on its roof, don't because the chrome trim is part of the plastic windshield so take precious care of that section.  The mirrors are a nice touch, while the wiper blades look rather awkward.  Then check out those lace wheels with center spinner cap on tires that are wide enough for this car to do its job.

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Inside the interior is not as highly-detailed as modern cars are but it is quite nice-looking.  The interior sports a tan and black two-tone look with bucket seats flanking a large center console that houses the shifter with tall silver shifter knob and tan shifter boot.  The parking brake handle is located on the floor but thankfully is near the center console so as to not obstruct the right foot from the accelerator pedal.  The large 3-spoke steering wheel has silver spokes, wood handle rim, and prancing horse in the center.  The dashboard has two large speedometer and tach behind the steering wheel, then auxillary gauges in the center surrounded by chrome trim, yet there is no details in those gauges.  Additional details include the rearview mirror on the dashboard, the window and door handles on the door panels, and silver tabs to secure the top on, but where does the top store at and how does Cameron fit in that cubby behind the rear seats?!?!  Pop open the trunk to see the large spare tire nicely and unwittingly taking over the trunk area.

Pop open the hood to reveal the engine in all of its glory and in 3-D fashion.  The 3.0L DOHC V-12 that produces 276 hp. through a 4-speed manual.  Unlike the 365 Daytona that I reviewed last year, this engine has an air filter cover over the carbs.  The intake manifold is in silver and the valve covers have the Ferrari logo.  The battery is there, the water pump is large and in view, the radiator accepts air flow from the front grille, the steering wheel shaft makes the exhaust shield smaller than the right-side version, and all looks great, aside from missing spark plug wires, except for the lack of proper detailing on the drive belts and where is the cooling fan at too.  On the other hand the timing belt cover is well-detailed and is visible from underneath.  Speaking of underneath while the exhaust system does not stand out in chrome as in the 365 Daytona, it is nonetheless very impressive.  The front has the upper and lower A-arm suspension with front disc brakes and a steering system that can be sticky at times.  The chassis frame is all tubular and separate from the inner body panels; a contrast to the molded-in chassis of today's 1:18 scale models on the lower end of the price point.  The large oil pan completes the engine details and joins the transmission with a similar 3-D look, both pans have cooling fins on them.

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You'll note the exhaust system has only two mufflers compared to the six of the Daytona, yet still flows out to the sides before exiting the rear.  At the rear the live rear axle floats above the chassis supported by the leaf springs and allowing enough space to put the company and model information behind the rear axle just between the dual exhaust.  I must say getting this car out of the package is easy, getting it back in is a pain since the hood and trunk has tape that wraps around each lid, then goes inside the lids to attach underneath compared to the usual just strap it around the body and call it a day strap design.  The other tricky part is aligning the four bolts to the body while keeping the pedastol's straight in the process, and the rear is more trickier as the pedastols are taller, attach much higher in the body (just above the rear axle), and have no alignment recesses to hold them in place.  It was tricky but after the pictures were taken the car is back in the package in good condition, which the inside of the package walls have a nice miral of Ferrari models along the backdrop.

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Sure it may not have much details, and the 60th logo's tend to ruin the clean lines a bit, but this is one truely beautiful Ferrari casting!  It's a gem that came at a bargain price you'll never see again this often as this tooling shown here will not be used for a while, if at all again, and while the 250GT California Spyder replica may not fetch the same million dollar auction prices as the real vehicle it will still be in demand and sought after for many years.  For me I am glad to have the 250 alongside the 365 Daytona in 1:18 scale (and 1:64) to showcase in my collection the two best Ferrari models of all-time in my personal opinion, and that's not a bad thing at all!

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