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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Auto World - Dramatic Decrease in Quality for "Deluxe" ($2.99) cars. Run - Don't Walk - Away from these cars... Put that blisterpack BACK ON THE PEGS!

Earlier this summer I purchased my first "Auto World" model.  Auto World seems to be another contender in the Johnny Lightning/Green Light camp, making yet even more high quality (heavy die-cast body and base, rubber tires, opening hood, etc.) models of 1960s and 1970s American iron. 

On one hand, I'm always encouraged by new castings and more competition.  On the other hand, don't we all have enough of these muscle car castings already...?  Can't we get a model of a car that hasn't already been modeled 100 times?

But out of the cars on the pegs, one particular model did appeal to me - 1 1976 Cadillac Coupe DeVille.   A model that WASN'T modeled before.  A model of a car that I didn't have in my 6000+ model collection. 

Plus, the primary advertising element of Auto World was that it was "True Scale".  If there is anything that I hate, it is a huge car modeled far too small, or a small car modeled much too large.  So I'm a big fan of the idea of "true scale".  And indeed, true to actual scale, this Caddy is BIG.  (It was actually the only car in Auto World series 1 in a separate "Land Yacht" line - a very appropriate name!).  (Interestingly, on the bottom of the car it is labeled as a '67 rather than a '76...). 

Once I got it home and opened it up, I felt OK with the purchase.  There were some pluses and minuses of it - the unique model, the true scale and the quality feel of it being offset by a hood that didn't open very well (and I would have preferred opening doors vs. the opening hood), a boring color, etc.   Overall, I was OK with the model, but it didn't knock my socks off. 

Fast forward a few months to this morning, when I found the series 2 models of Auto World on the pegs.  What I didn't realize was that I was looking at the "deluxe" vs. "premium" line.  The price was lower - $2.99 vs. $4.99 - but the models looked similar.   They were the usual line of American iron, but at least there were again slightly unique versions.  The one that stuck out most was the mid 80s' Fox body Mustang SVO (Special Vehicle Operations), a 4 cylinder turbo-charged Mustang that was supposed to be a more refined (European?) option to the V8 Mustang that offered similar performance.  I was a kid back in '84 when the SVO came out - I was hooked by the different front headlights (made even better in '86 when they went aero) and 2 level rear wing.  Back then I lusted after the SVO - I wanted it badly! 

I have 1 or 2 SVOs in my collection already - I think I've got one from Hot Wheels - but I'm not crazy about any of them.  So this beautiful candy-apple red Auto World SVO went into my cart, along with a late '60s Chevy El Camino, a Buick GS, and a left-over series 1 Dart (unknowingly - from the "premium" line).   I questioned whether I should by the last 3, given my earlier complaint about how muscle cars are endlessly modeled.  But at least all 3 are from comparatively less modeled models (i.e. not '67 Camaros....), so I bought them, brought them home, and eagerly ripped into the packaging of the SVO...


These "deluxe" $2.99 cars have a very cheap plastic base, and even cheaper feeling plastic wheels.  These aren't the higher quality plastic bases and wheels you get in a $.99 Matchbox - these are the cheapy plastic base and wheels you get in a no-name multi-pack of unidentifiable cars at a dollar store. 

What a disappointment! 

They look nice - but don't feel nice AT ALL.

Amazed, I compared the packaging of the $2.99 cars vs. the $4.99 cars.  The packaging looked almost identical - with no mention of the "deluxe" vs. "premium" branding that is on the auto world website.  For the more expensive car, they bragged about the metal base and the rubber wheels.  For the $2.99 car, they go silent on the base (only saying "die-case body") and brag about the "silky smooth" rolling wheels (which is an outright lie...  With no spring suspension - the SVO rolls worse than a regular wheels Matchbox - any one who thinks its "silky smooth" has never touched silk.  There is NOTHING silky about it).

So dear readers, please steer clear of these awful Auto World disappointments.  Even at $2.99, they aren't worth it.   I will be returning my un-opened GS and El Camino to WalMart.  Perhaps I will even return my SVO, claiming that I'm unhappy with the quality.  Maybe at least that way WalMart can let Auto World know that consumers are unhappy...

And for you executives in charge of these "deluxe" cars - well - your cars suck....  They are NOT deluxe.  And I hope that you never claim to be car buffs - because you don't deserve to wear that label...   

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