Muscle Machines have been around since 1999, but they are new to the Maisto lineup after its parent company bought it from Bodylines/Bruce Schultz, the original designer.
So there's good news for the custom car nuts who loved these extreme muscle cars, with engines and blowers sticking out from the hood and giant rear slicks. I'm not a big devotee of customized cars, but appreciate the enthusiasm and humor Muscle Machines bring to the market.
The review cars are 1/24 scale — the most popular scale among plastic car modelers — but as I said, these are pretty extreme.
Although the original 1/64 Muscle Machines were sort of Hot Wheels custom cars on steroids, the 1/24 and 1/18 versions offer more engine and body detail, yet are still primarily aimed at kids ages 8 and older. And what better way to get kids interested both in cars and vintage cars than with toylike machines?
These are true to the original designs, launched by Funline Merchandising Co., which later was sold to Action Performance, which merged with Motorsports Authentics. Gets almost as confusing as a minor-league baseball player jumping from team to team, doesn't it?
These are solid models — not fragile — so again, good for kids to hand and even play with. Imagine that! The bodies are well shaped, and the paint jobs are smooth and attractive.
The Nova features chrome wheels and oversized tires. The rear slicks feature the Muscle Machine name. The biggest, baddest feature is the chrome-plated engine with blower mounted on top. There's a realistic-looking black fan belt too. But what I like is the car's body is close to realistic, with standard-looking nose and tail. Sure, the roof is chopped, but still, kids will learn to recognize the 1960s Nova body style.
The Willys seems to be the more cartoonish of these two. It also has the wacky engine slamming through the hood, steel braided hoses and all. But it also is mocked up to resemble a race car with giant
” on the roof, Sheriff Willys on the doors and the nickname
” on each side, plus a Muscle Machines Racing logo. Sponsor decals grace the black front fenders and starts circle the rear fenders. Its giant tires, on blackened wheels, are labeled Firestones.
Hey, these are fun diecast models for the kids to start their collections. Check them out. Maisto plans at least two originals in 1/18 scale, plus some radio control models. New 1/64 and 1/24 models are coming too.
Product: 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS, 1941 Willys Muscle Machines
Stock Nos.: 33239 (Nova), 32237 (Willys)
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Visit www.savageonwheels.com to read 1:1 car and truck reviews by Mark Savage.