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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mitsubishi Montero (Pajero) - is the Fast Lane Montero a good Montero - and can it compete with a Tomica?

I recently vacationed in Costa Rica.

Vacations always cause me to evaluate and regard and see ordinary cars differently.  For instance, Beijing China was filled with beautiful Volkswagons, with black early '00s Passats functioning as limousines, and mid '80s generation Passats functioning as funky-cool police cars.  It made me want to have one of my own - which was odd - since I ACTUALLY have a blacked-out early '00s Passat...  But somehow, the Chinese Passats in Beijing just looked cooler than my suburban commuter Passat... 

In Costa Rica, the car that really caught my eye was the Mitsubishi Montero.  These cool looking rugged 4X4s were the high class limousines of Costa Rica.  Never mind that in Chicago these are 150,000 mile $4K used car specials, in Costa Rica they were GOLD.  Never mind that I have a nice '09 Mercedes Benz GL500, I NEEDED to have a Montero.  So guess what I started searching Craigslist for...?

 ...and of course, this got me thinking about Matchbox cars, and whether I had a nice Montero...  ...which I in fact
do - a "Fast Lane" (drugstore brand) Montero in teal...

I normally have no respect or patience for Fast Lane cars, but this one looked nice, and was a casting of a seldomly modeled car.    

There is a lot to pick at about the casting...  The cheap wheels, the overly shiny plastic for the grill, the plasticky roof rack, the plastic baseplate without even a word on it, the teal color, the odd graphics, etc.  A lot of collectors wouldn't even give it a 2nd glance...

But on the other hand, there is a lot to LIKE about the casting...  Its nicely sized - REALLY nicely sized, big in the same way that a real Montero is big.  It's nicely detailed - a pretty reasonable model in its own right.  It looks cool dressed up with the pusher bar and the roof rack.  And of course, its a Montero when I have very few other Monteros...  This is a cool model - even though its from a cheapo-manufacturer!  Overall, a nice and valued part of collection! 

But how does it compare with other Monteros?  My other Monteros are Tomicas, which given the high quality quotient inherent in most Tomicas, is bound to make the comparison a little difficult for this Fast Lane... 

I have 4 Tomicas badged as Pajeros (Monteros), though 1 is a Pajero junior and 2 more are short 2 door vs. full 4 doors.  Only 1 is a real full size 4 door Montero/Pajero, in silver with a green stripe along the side.  It has opening doors, and large wheels (that I'm actually not very crazy about).  But overall, it is a very nice casting, correctly sized, with great detail.  If you don't have it, you should get it.  There is no doubt that its nicer than the Fast Lane, in almost every regard.  (But that doesn't mean that I don't like the Fast Lane casting...).   So no, the Fast Lane Montero CAN'T compete with the Tomica Montero - though both are highly regarded castings in my eyes!

 The other shorter Monteros are also nice pieces.  I have 2 that are non-Pajero-Juniors, one in silver and one in green with a light on the roof.  I don't like the wheels, but I love the classic Montero big front ends...  But I can't help wishing they were full 4 doors vs. 2 doors. 

The Pajero junior is a police truck, though I think I have another (older) Pajero junior casting in green that I wasn't able to find for the photo shoot. 

I like all of the Montero castings.  The 4 door Tomica is easily my favorite, but the Fast Lane is still a nice casting... 

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