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Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ertl, RC2, and M2 Machines 1969 Plymouth Road Runner

Here's a treat for you:  No, it's not roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote films, but the car based on the roadrunner name from Plymouth, in various flavors from the classic AMT/Ertl 1:18, RC2/Ertl in 1:64, and the recent M2 Machines in 1:64.  Each one has a unique perspective on the Roadrunner.

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The Plymouth Roadrunner was the pure musclecar in the Plymouth line where the GTX would be more of a premium musclecar.  The name started in 1968 and continued until 1980's, although the late 1960's and early 1970's was the prime for this car.  Of course, to have the same name you must cooperate with the copyright from Warner Brothers, and not only did Plymouth did just that they also were allowed to place the cartoon bird next to the door logo's and made the horn the sound of the bird's "beep-beep!"  The 1968 version was so good that it won the Motor Trend Car of the Year that year, and I can see why: it's a simple muscle car that was neither stripped out nor high-end; heck it was a pure simple muscle car based on the standard line of Plymouth cars in 1968!

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First up is the classic AMT/Ertl from the American Muscle 1:18 scale series.  I remember getting this as a birthday gift but, unfortunately, I had no other color choice than this pale yellow color.  The car is rather large for its size, even bigger than my other AMT/Ertl 1:18 muscle car, the 1969 Pontiac GTO "The Judge."  The front has a chrome grille with four slots (well before Dodge started to use it) and quad headlights on a grille that has an angular section to it.  The lower bumper is chrome and features Louisiana plates that say "B-Beep" (get it?).  The hood has dual stripes and hood vents with red stripe and Hemi logo to split up the acres of bland yellow paint.  The sides have chrome mirrors and door handles, Roadrunner logo's, and cool 5-spoke rally wheels with redline tires.  The simple back has a Hemi badge, chrome bumper with dual chrome tip exhaust, and taillights that neatly cove into the rear fenders.  The interior is also simple with bench seats front and rear and door panels with the same ridges found on the seats.  The dashboard is a simple flat layout with radio and horizontal speedometer, with the highlights being the wooden 3-spoke steering wheel and chrome shifter for the four-speed, though it does sit quite taller than it should be.

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Pop the hood open to reveal the 426 CID Hemi V8 425 hp. and 490 Ib-ft. or torque, and it was a nice big red block with black valve covers, round air cleaner that has the cute Coyote Duster logo that nicely hooks onto the Air Grabber in the hood to hook up to the side hood scoops, black battery, and despite the lack of color and full detailing the components on the firewall and fender wells.  Underneath the base the engine and transmission is red and a separate piece from the base, as well as the dual exhaust, front suspension components, drivetrain, and rear suspension components.  During my stay in the collection something happened to the rear window that required a replacement with a new, thinner clear unit that still keeps this old casting still going, and despite the lackluster color it still looks great!

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When Ertl was merged with Racing Champions to create RC2 they decided to create a smaller police car for the 1973 movie "Gone in 60 Seconds."  This one has a lower stance with dog dish wheels, black and white paint job, and a siren and flashers on the roof, yet still this is the same large Roadrunner as the 1:18 scale.  The front grille is now a mesh type, the side mirrors rather large, and the taillights painted red with less of a flare in the fenders.  The base shows off excellent drivetrain details, and in case you're wondering this is a former Racing Champions Mint casting with a revised metal base that is much more sturdier than the thin units in the Mint line.  The interior shows off the same details as the 1:18 scale in a tan color, while the hood opens up to reveal the blue engine with silver air cleaner, though the valve covers seem rather tall.  It's not often you see a Roadrunner done up as a police car, which is what makes this casting so unique.

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Finally for a more stripped out 1/4 mile racer look no further than this M2 Machines 1969 440 Six Pack.  Painted in a nice medium blue metallic with flat black hood that features a hood scoop and four pins to secure the lift-off hood, though unfortunately it does not lift off here.  The hood opens up to show off the 440 CID V8 with three two-barrel carburator's with orange filter, block, black valve covers, and even a resovoir that is painted white.  The 390 hp. engine looked really good in a hood that swings far up to get a great view of the details.  The metal base shows off a slimmer line of details compared to the RC2 and has a separate rear axle piece to allow larger drag slicks even though this car comes with the tall redline tires on blacked-out steel wheels.

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The front has a chrome grille with four individual headlight lenses and signal lights in the lower bumper.  The sides have smaller roadrunner logo's (without the bird) and detailed door handles and side marker lights.  The rear has red taillights coves and a chrome bumper.  The opening doors do ruin the otherwise clean shape, and the best view of this car is straight at the front with the aggressive stance and blacked-out hood scoop.  The interior has dual bench seats in white and the same dashboard details as the others, though the door panels are colored with the body and the shifter is a rather small knob at the base of the floor.  Nothing is more cool than a sleeper/stripper that hides a massive weapon under the hood, and this 1969 Road Runner 440 six-pack wears it quite well.

Update:  Here's pictures of the M2 Machines Auto-Detroit version of the 1969 Plymouth Road Runner, this time with the 426 Hemi under the hood that is not removable, nor are the doors openeable anymore.  The advantage to this low-end casting of the Road Runner is cleaner lines without the ugly door gaps or hoods that refuse to close flush.  I like the black with tan interior of this car more than the blue, with chrome dog dish caps to dress up the black steel rims, and Plymouth on the rear fenders.  Very sleek for a street racer!

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