Here’s another addition to my Hot Wheels first castings from 1979 that I picked up on eBay. The Upfront 924 has seen a few variations since then, including versions in orange, black and a metallic gold version from Mexico with a plastic ski rack attached.
The Hot Wheels Dixie Challenger, based on a 1973 Dodge Charger with triple opera windows, came out in 1981 – a new casting, but similar to the Rodger Dodger from 1974. Later variations, from 1982 and 1986 have blue stripes on the roof in place of the stars and bars.
I never saw the movie American Graffiti when it came out in theaters in 1973, but I did watch it on television a few years later. While I don’t remember a lot of details from the movie, I do remember being impressed by the cars and the rock n’ roll spirit of the Southern California cruising culture depicted in the movie. I also remember listening to the soundtrack quite a bit on an 8-track player in a good friend’s basement.
So, of course I needed to add the Hot Wheels 2013 American Graffiti ’59 Impala to my collection when I came across it at Toys R Us the other day. I’ve heard some complaints about the accuracy of the cars used in the Retro Entertainment series, and that criticism certainly applies here. While the paint and wheels are fairly accurate, the movie car didn’t have fender skirts or a spare tire cover on the trunk.
If accuracy is your thing, you’ll be glad to know you have other options. Revell made a version of the American Graffiti ’58 Impala back in 2002 which included a miniature figure of the character Toad from the movie. The car has an opening hood and has no extraneous body parts. Toad, however, is not the same scale as the car. I believe this model is more white than it looks in my photo – it appears that the clear plastic blister has discolored quite a bit over the years.
The other American Graffiti ’58 Impala I have in my collection was produced by Johnny Lightning in 2001. It appears to also have an opening hood (I’m not willing to violate the blister to find out for sure), but the wheels don’t quite match those on the original movie car.
The Hot Wheels Pepsi Challenger is from 1982. Based on the Plymouth Arrow funny car driven by Don “Snake” Prudhomme, the casting was originally released in 1978 as the Army Funny Car and again in 1979 as the Human Torch. I scored this Malaysian variation with the snake on the hood on eBay.
Another Malaysian variation had no snake on the hood. This one was given to me by my friend Randy.