I was a little surprised to find a display of Auto World cars at WalMart last weekend. I had seen some photos of the brand online, but hadn’t come across any in the stores. I was also glad to see they’re making a 1966 Chevy Impala. Of all the many dozens of Impalas in my collection made by many different brands, I think I only have one other 1966.
Auto World has an interesting history that I wasn’t familiar with. Started in 1958 by Oscar Koveleski as a mail order hobby business, the company grew to include plastic model kits, paint, hobby tools, scratch-building supplies and small-scale slot racing cars. Though the company’s only retail store in Scranton, Pa., closed it’s doors in the mid-1980s, the rights to the Auto World name were purchased in 2005 by Tom Lowe, the founder of Playing Mantis and the man responsible for the 1994 resurrection of Johnny Lightning. Auto World has been marketing slot cars and model kits, as well as 1:18 scale diecast replicas.
This new line of “true” 1:64 scale cars is nicely detailed, with opening hoods and real rubber tires. There are three levels of Auto World cars: Deluxe, with a blister card only; Premium, which includes a “collectible mini-box”; and Licensed Premium, which comes in a plastic display case on a blister card. Also, each casting is made in three colors, including an “exclusive UltraRed chase vehicle.” As a nice added feature, the Auto World Garage website allows you to keep track your collection online and the site shows photos of all castings and variations of each release.
I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout for the other two variations of this nice 1966 Impala.