Highway 61 Model Products

10 May 2004 | 1,642 views | No Comment
If you’ve been following the prices garnered by Mopar pony cars and muscle models, especially those powered by Hemi engines, you know that they’ve hit the stratosphere. Prices are now well into hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hemi equipped models, and even cars equipped with lesser engines are now selling routinely for $20,000 and up. That’s a lot of bread for most of us. If you’ve been priced out of the market—and who hasn’t? –you may want to think small. I have reviews on a line of remarkable one-eighteenth scale models that are so realistic, you might want to save yourself thousands and just buy these models instead. You won’t even miss the fact that you can’t drive them. Besides, do you know any collectors paying a couple hundred thousand dollars for a Hemi Cuda and then driving it every day? No? I didn’t think so. clhemiglass The products I’m referring to are produced by Highway 61, one of the most exciting companies in the model industry today. The detail that you get on these products is far beyond what is typically available on most model cars unless you are willing to pay several hundred dollars per model. The examples listed below sell in the $60 to $70 price range! Highway 61’s work is so good that it is getting rave reviews everywhere. The readers of the well-regarded Toy Cars & Models magazine named it the Best Manufacturer of one eighteenth scale models, and their 1964 Dodge 330 Sedan was named the best one eighteenth scale model. Let’s take a look: cl64330Green 1964 Dodge 330 This is, by almost any measurement, an unusual product. First, the selection of a base model sedan for any car line is rare, but then again, this isn’t just any base model. This car is equipped with a fabulous rendition of the famous 426 cubic inch Ramcharger V-8, and the hood is topped by an example of a famous—and rare—scoop seldom seen in production. The engine itself is a work of art, complete with the correct decals, engine and parts colors, and full wiring and plumbing. A nice feature of Highway 61 models is that you get an interesting background description of each car on its shipment box. We learn that the 64 Dodge is a reworked version of the car that was introduced in 1963. Highlights of the 1964 model year included a “dog’s bone grille” with headlights at each end, the availability of the 426 cubic inch Max Wedge engine, and in February, 1964, the arrival of the Hemi engine. On the outside, you’ll notice nice “dog dish” hubcaps and slotted wheels painted body color. You’ll also see separate door handles installed—no paint-ons for this company. The only quibble that I have is the shape of the rear wheel cutouts. I may be wrong, but the pictures I’ve seen of the 1963 and 1964 Dodge mid sized lineups from which the model is derived show a more tear drop shape, not one that is squared off at the top. Not having seen the real car in a long time, I can’t say with certainty that I’m correct on this point. Otherwise, the car is modeling excellence. You’ll see, for example, “carpeting” on the floor of the car and on the bottom surface of the door panels that has a realistic texture and feel to it. The sun visors are operable as is the glove box door. The bench seats, done up in a dead-on accurate color and pattern, can be folded backward and forward. Even the dash looks extremely realistic and detail down to the numbering and the appearance that the gauges have, as though they are covered by glass. You’ll also notice there is no antenna on this car—a completely accurate situation because a glance at the model’s dashboard shows that no radio is installed on this model car. Around back, there’s an accurate plaid pattern for the floor of the trunk, and there’s the usual paint “overspray” on the car’s underside—a common trait for Chrysler Corporation products. It’s without a doubt, a fabulous model that deserves space on every collector’s shelf. cl68DartSilver 1968 Dodge Dart GT Sport Hardtop (also known as GTS) Wow. That’s just about all I can say after taking a gander of what is for all practical purposes, a full size production car that has been magically miniaturized to one eighteenth scale. It’s all that and more. Highway 61’s Dodge Dart GT Sport Hardtop carries the model making art to a new level—and at such a reasonable price too. This was undoubtedly the most detailed of the Highway 61 models that I reviewed. Get this: The model has an operable fuel cap, production and serial number plates on door jambs, tire changing stickers under the trunk lid, a discernible latch for the trunk, working sun visors and glove compartment, and a host of other features too numerous to mention. And wait until you see the vinyl roof! The texture and fabric quite accurately reproduce what was once a quite popular option for cars in days gone by. Haven’t heard enough? Check out the folding seats, lids for the console, antenna for the radio, speaker screens in the rear, and the separate exhaust system and other undercarriage work. This car was virtually flawless. The deep green paint is precisely the same shade I saw in catalogs and contemporary pictures of the real car, the proportions are dead on, and the character lines and body design are exactly what they should be for this particular car. The 383 cubic inch engine is, of course, fully wired and plumbed and again, the detail on the air cleaner and the rest of the engine compartment is absolutely accurate. No variations from the real car here. Certainly, the real car is worthy of this rendition. Darts were among the most popular cars of the day, and given the muscle car mentality at the time, it should come as no surprise that they were made in a number of high performance iterations. The 1968 version had a few styling refinements like dual power bulges on the hood, and engine this year had new cylinder heads and chrome valve covers, and new intake manifolds. Again, a highly praiseworthy product. clgtxbronze 1967 Plymouth GTX Hardtop I would say that I’ve saved the best for last, but it’s so hard picking a favorite among so many terrific products. The 67 GTX has long been one of my favorites. When it was first shown, I loved the sleek, slab sided look that it had, and the unusual roof line as well. I also liked the power under the hood, too, up to and including a 426Hemi engine. The GTX was a combination sports and luxury model for Plymouth. While the Road Runner, which was to come later, catered to the basics hot rodding market, the GTX was more glamorous and well-turned out. It definitely was the luxury leader of the line that year. First, you have to see the terrific blue in which this car is painted. As was the case with the other Highway 61 products I examined, the color was dead on accurate. No issues there. When you see the color, I predict you’ll recognize it instantly. It’s a similar to other Highway 61 products in that regard. Two areas where this model particularly shines involve the undercarriage and the engine. The undercarriage is among the most detailed I’ve ever seen, and you can quite clearly pick out the exhaust system, suspension system and other components. The 440 cubic inch engine, for its part is identical to the one found in the real car, with no variations in color, detail, wiring, etc. that weren’t completely accurate. Inside you will see how Highway 61 really sweated the details. In the GTX, the tachometer is angled toward the driver, and it would be expected that a model company might overlook that. Not Highway 61! The sill plates inside the doors are separate pieces that are highly chromed, just as they are on the real car. You’ll also see accurate patterns for the trunk floor, and you’ll see the painted bracing in the trunk behind the rear seat. You’ll even be able to make out door buttons near the window sills. Even the hinges for the trunk and hood are precise duplicates of the real car’s equipment. No scrimping here. The GTX was a terrific car, and it’s good to see there’s now a model worthy –more than worthy—of that.

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