2016 Racing Champions Mint 1966 Nova and 1964 Impala

With the recent announcement that Toys R Us will be closing its last Wichita store, it’s safe to say that the Round 2 products (Johnny Lightning, Auto World and Racing Champions) will be harder to find locally. WalMart – which doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon – is where I found these two models from the 2016 Racing Champions Mint series. By adding this pale yellow 1966 Chevy Nova to my collection, I’ve actually completed the set of four versions.

2016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1966 Chevy Nova (Version A) | pale yellow

This dark green 1964 Chevy Impala is the second of four versions that I’ve found – I also have the silver variation.

2016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1964 Chevy Impala (Version A) | dark green

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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.

1998 Racing Champions Mint Motor Trend 1966 Chevy Novas

After finding a lot of success in the early 90s making licensed models of stock cars, in 1996 Racing Champions launched a line of highly-detailed 1:64th-scale models of original factory vehicles called Racing Champions Mint. Then a few years ago, Round2 bought the rights to bring these models back, and I have since added three of the more recent Racing Champions Mint ’66 Novas from 2016 release 2 to my collection.

I found these two 90s Racing Champions Mint 1966 Chevy Novas when I visited Scale Model Supplies in Minneapolis back in June. The colors are not quite as adventurous as the newer releases from Round2, but it’s fun to have examples of both old and new versions.

1998 | Racing Champions Mint Motor Trend | 1966 Chevy Nova | black, opening hood

1998 | Racing Champions Mint Motor Trend | 1966 Chevy Nova | red, opening hood

I also have another loose Racing Champions ’66 Nova from the 90s. This one is without its original packaging, but this model, with its custom paint and wheels, must have come from a different series than Mint.

182 5SS 01 | 1966 Chevy Nova | metallic charcoal gray with satin orange, opening hood

 

2016 Racing Champions Mint 1966 Chevy Novas

I recently found two more of the Racing Champions Mint 1966 Novas from Release 2. The white model is Version C and the blue one is Version D. I previously found the green Version B, so the only one I am missing is the pale yellow Version A.

2016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1966 Chevy Nova (Version C) | white

2016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1966 Chevy Nova (Version D) | blue

Johnny Lightning Zingers

I added several Johnny Lightning Zingers to my collection during the RC2-era. But I never thought much about where Zingers originated until I came across this ad in a 1970s comic book.

mpc_zingers_ad

According to a 2005 article in Hot Rod, Zingers originated in 1971 when MPC created a line of plastic model kits which featured vehicles with huge blown engines and enormously oversized rear wheels. The article suggests Muscle Machines diecast cars were inspired by Zingers, and that may be true. But by 2005, I suspect RC2 bought the rights to the Zingers name from MPC, since Johnny Lightning was already releasing Zingers in their Street Freaks line. (RC2 – now Round 2 -fully revived the MPC brand in 2008 and purchased MPC’s tooling in 2012.)

When I saw that Johnny Lightning was bringing back the Zingers last year, I spent months searching for the 1963 Nova. Finally, on a Thanksgiving trip to Shreveport, I found one in a Target store. It might have been left behind by other collectors because of the creased blister card, but that didn’t stop me from claiming it. In addition to my beautiful blue “Ice Age,” there is also an orange version called “Orange Rush”.

2016 Zingers! | 1963 Chevy Nova Ice Age | metallic blue with white trim | 1:64

The 2006 1959 Chevy Impala is the only RC2-era Zingers that I have still on the blister card.

2006 Street Freaks Zingers! | 1959 Chevy Impala #68 | blue/white top with card

The next three Zingers I have – three generations of Nova body styles – were all freed from their original packaging.

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R20 | 1966 Chevy Nova | yellow with flames | 1:64

2005 Street Freaks Zingers! R16 | 1970 Chevy Nova | orange with flames | 1:64

2004 Street Freaks Zingers! R11 | 1963 Chevy Nova | green metallic with white trim | 1:64

And finally, this Johnny Lightning Collector Club Exclusive from 2006 isn’t in Zingers packaging, but it sure looks like a Zinger to me.

2006 Collector Club Exclusive | 1970 Chevy Nova | blue/white Yenko stripes | 1:64

 

2016 Racing Champions Mint R2 1966 Nova and 1964 Impala

Much like the recent Auto World releases, Racing Champions are also upping the number of variations in each release. While their Mint Release 1 only had a version A and B, Release 2 can be found in 4 different variations. I happened to find both the 1966 Chevy Nova and the 1964 Chevy Impala from Version B.

img_9477 img_94792016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1966 Chevy Nova (Version B) | willow green

img_9476img_94812016 | Racing Champions Mint R2 | 1964 Chevy Impala (Version B) | silver