2017 M2 Machines Weiand 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS

The M2 Machines 2017 Auto-Drivers Release 43 includes a nice selection of models all decked-out in your favorite automotive performance brand liveries. It includes a Holley 1950 Studebaker 2R Truck and a 1970 Dodge Super Bee bearing the Hooker Headers logo, among others. I found my Weiand 1967 Chevy Nova SS at a Walmart.

2017 M2 Machines Auto-Drivers R43 | 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS | gloss black with yellow Weiand graphics | 1:64

The Weiand story began in the 1930s when Phil Weiand opened a performance parts warehouse, eventually producing his own product – the first aluminum intake manifold – in 1937. For eight decades, Weiand has produced a variety of manifolds, aluminum cylinder heads, water pumps and superchargers. The company was acquired in the late 1990s by Holley but still produces its own products under the Weiand name.

You can see a few more of my M2 Machines 1967 Chevy Novas here.


Shinsei Gulf-Mirage

Shinsei is somewhat of a mystery to me, as I’ll explain below (at some length). This Gulf-Mirage is the first Shinsei that I’ve added to my collection. I found it at an estate sale along with a Matchbox Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover. Though this 1:39 scale race car has a worn-out pull-pack motor, some playwear, and is missing the roll cage, I still consider it a nice find. It’s based on the Mirage GR7 race car which was built by J.W. Automotive Engineering in England in 1974.

Shinsei | Mini Power | #402 Gulf-Mirage | metallic grey with yellow wing, racing stickers, pull-back motor | made in Japan | 1:39

Globaldiecastdirect.com refers to Shinsei as a Japanese company known for accurately detailed models. It refers to the company in the past tense and says that the models are hard to find.

A page on HobbyTalk.com describes Shinsei as a Japanese company that dates back to the 1960s. Their products were distributed in the U.S. by Cox Hobbies in California.

Ebay is populated with Shinsei models. Some of these carry the Cox logo, while others show a dolphin logo and are in packages that read “Manufactured by Shinsei Kogyo Co. LTD, Tokyo, Japan”. An internet search for Shinsei Kogyo brings up a website for a Japanese company that makes various kinds of hardware.

There is also a website for a Shinsei Industries branded with the same dolphin logo stamped into the bottom of my Mirage. This company, which was founded in 1985, makes toys – including pull-back toys – but their manufacturing and distribution operations seem to be entirely in India. The most recent date I can find on the website is 2011.

So my assumption is that perhaps the original Japanese company had both an industrial division and a toy division. They decided at some point to focus on industrial steel products and perhaps sold the toy rights to the company in India. Whether or not the Indian company is still doing business is another mystery altogether.

I finally messaged my old Japanese college friend, Masa, to ask him if he could tell me more about Shinsei.

I just checked some Japanese info through internet.

SHINSEI KOGYO Corporation was Japanese company. It was established in 1949 as a toy manufacturer. I think this was a start of SHINSEI brand. SHINSEI became a business partner of BANDAI in 1987. Soon after in 1990, SHINSEI merged with a toy maker YUTAKA. In fact, SINSEI brand was swallowed by YUTAKA. Now the capitals are owned by FRECKS.

SINSEI brand was formally popular (for toy collectors) as toy cars and construction vehicle models. Supercar series were produced (I guess during 70’s-80s). Especially construction vehicle series were notable. After consolidation, the company decreased making car toys in some point because it didn’t pay off, then, shifted to kids’ games, etc. SINSEI brand toy vehicles are not under production now.

When I suggested to Masa my theory that the toy rights were bought by the Indian company, he replied:

Wow!! amazing. OK, that’s why SINSEI car toy products are still in the market even after 2000. I could not find any information that SHINSEI brand was sold to Indian company. This is something very interesting.

I then told Masa what I learned about how Shinsei’s beautifully detailed models of American trucks – distributed in the states through Cox in California – were prized by U.S. collectors.

Sugoi (“awesome” in Japanese)!! I heard that Sinsei used to make only export models (especially for US). I am happy to know SINSEI models have been surviving even after original company disappeared. Good news.

Estate Sale Matchbox Speed Kings Range Rover

I found this nice Matchbox King Size, along with another larger (than 1:64) scale model, at an estate sale back in July. They were marked $4 each, but it was half-price day, so I got both for $4.

Matchbox King Size models (in the 1:43 scale range) were introduced in 1960 and most featured moving parts or opening doors. In 1971, the King Size range was separated into Super Kings and Speed Kings. This Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover is from 1978 and features lots of nice details, off-road wheels and an opening tailgate. It was originally sold in a box that would have included two firefighters, a ladder and a section of hose that could be attached to the vehicle at the front or the back.

Matchbox | 1978 | Speed Kings K-64 | Fire Control Range Rover | red with yellow and red Fire Control trim | Off-road wheels

I also have the Speed Kings Bertone Runabout and the Javelin AMX.


2016 Johnny Lightning Muscle Cars USA 1967 Nova and 1968 Impala

Back in July, I showed a ’68 Impala from the Johnny Lightning 2017 Musclecars U.S.A. series. Just a few days later, I found these 2016 Musclecars U.S.A. models at Walmart. I find it interesting that in 2016 the series included a collector’s card and came sealed in a plastic clamshell, while the 2017 series uses a simpler blister card. Could this be a cost-cutting measure? Is our favorite on-again, off-again brand struggling once again?

I have to say, I’m just speculating. During the RC2 era, packaging seemed to vary depending on the series. And personally, I prefer the simpler blister cards to these plastic encasements – even though, as a collector, I should probably prefer them for the protection they offer.

Another interesting note is that these two packages have a red sticker over the top of the blue bug that says “Exclusively at Walmart”. Apparently, whatever exclusive deal JL had with Walmart has expired.

Regardless of the packaging, I really like the cars inside them. The paint on this ’67 Chevy Nova SS is similar to the green gold metallic of the ’73 Nova that was my first car.

JLMC002 | 2016 Musclecars USA R2, Version A | 1967 Chevy Nova SS | metallic green

I love the wheels on this 1968 Chevy Impala.

JLMC002 | 2016 Musclecars USA R2, Version A | 1968 Chevy Impala | red

1979 Zylmex M*A*S*H Playsets

I rediscovered a box of military toys from my childhood a few years ago. At the time, I was really excited to have found three super-clean, old Matchbox models. Recently, I was reminded by an online post of the series of M*A*S*H vehicles that I had in that box. The long-running TV show was – and still is – a favorite of mine. So I found the box again and this time I photographed everything in it.

I couldn’t remember how the pieces were packaged. Fortunately I found a Zylmex fan site of which the following text and photo of the 1979 toy catalog page are courtesy:

First a celebrated movie, then and still a wildly popular TV show, and now, a best-selling toy model series.  All vehicles of die-cast metal with plastic parts. Super play value features include folding blades on Supply Helicopter, removable plastic canopy on Ambulance Truck, folding windshield and detachable trailer on jeep. Detailed, durable, injection molded plastic Playsets are based on actual settings found in the M*A*S*H TV Series. Combination of Vehicles and Playsets create a toy model series in constant demand.  Blister pack assortment, plus a Floor Display of distinctive design.

As you can see by the following photos, I have most of the series except for the Ambulance Truck and the Supply Helicopter.

T439 Ambulance Van with opening door

Rescue Copter and Helicopter Landing Pad Set.

T432 Jeep Car and Trailer

T431 Armored Half Track

Latrine Set

Field Hospital Set

I also had to photograph the box that all of these items have been stored in for years. The plastic model is long gone, but the box has survived in surprisingly good shape.

1998 Racing Champions Police U.S.A. Series

I saw this Racing Champions Police U.S.A. 1960 Chevy Impala at Scale Model Supplies in June. I had always enjoyed this series and have a few of these in my collection from the late 1990s. When I realized the package had been slit open, I asked for a discount when I took it up to the counter. He reluctantly agreed and I’m glad he did. When I got it home and took it out of the blister to inspect it closer, the hood – which has badly cracked paint – fell off.

1998 Police U.S.A. #34 | 1960 Chevy Impala | light blue Pennsylvania State Police, opening (falling off) hood | package slit open

The following cars I picked up years ago when I was still taking them out of the packages. Kansas City is a great town and the ’66 Nova is one sweet ride, so this combination works well for me.

06130 | 1998 Police U.S.A #46 | 1966 Chevy Nova | light blue with K.C.MO. Police trim, opening hood | 1:56

One of my all-time favorite cars, this beautiful tan 1960 Impala bears the State Patrol livery of my home state.

1997 Police U.S.A. #48 | 1960 Chevy Impala | tan North Dakota State Patrol, opening hood

The Twin Cities are another of my favorite places. Here’s a nice ’57 Bel Air St Paul police black and white. This model also has badly cracked and flecked paint.

1996 | ’57 Chevy Bel Air | black and white St. Paul Police | opening hood

I display my North Dakota State Patrol car atop this limited edition Swifty’s Garage Greenlight International Durastar car hauler. I think it looks pretty great.