Lamley Daily: Rhys Millen’s 2004 GTO D1 Drift Car

Model: 2004 Pontiac GTO D1 Drift Car

Line: 2005 JoyRide/ RC Ertl Formula Drift, licensed line

Where to get it: eBay, but add the search to your saved searches because there are none listed at the time this was being written

Why it’s in my collection: I’ve been a drifting fan since as far back as I can remember, and this GTO was a personal favorite. Watching Rhys Millen drift his bright yellow Pontiac against Ken Gushi’s Mustang, Bubba Drift’s El Camino, Samuel Hubinette’s Charger – it was glorious. Early 2000’s D1 cars seem so humble when compared to the near 1,000hp monsters they are running today, but they still have plenty of swagger.

While there were some truly iconic drift cars in the early 2000’s, the States weren’t blessed with many in diecast form. Joyride released this GTO in 1/64, 1/25, and 1/18th scale, but we didn’t get any more true 1/64th scale D1 cars for several more years. Hot Wheels did release a few drift cars in the larger Hot Import Nights and D-Force 1/50 scale lines, but they are obviously larger than a standard 1/64th car. Muscle Machines had a few in their tuner lines, and Jada’s Import Racers and Option D lines had some as well, although their “1/64th” dimensions are large and some castings look very cartoonish. HotWorks had the best drift cars by far, but the States never got them (as far as I know) and they have since skyrocketed in price. So we are left with this orphaned Pontiac to drift around our coffee tables…but it is way cool.

Joyride’s take on the D1 GTO is fairly well done. The car has good overall dimensions, sits low like the real car did, and has some great true-to-life graphics on it. All four sides are covered in silver tribal graphics, as well as sponsorship logos that are sprinkled about. The front window wears a paint-matched banner with D1 Need for Speed Underground tampos on it. The window also has a little 6 in the corner, just like the real car did during the era.

Photo of the real Rhys Millen D1 GTO from a Speed Hunters feature.
The car even has the Veilside brand name marked on the underside of the rear wing. Note how the uprights are silver and the wing itself is black – it’s a small detail that makes a huge difference.

The wheels are accurate in the sense they are 5-spoke silver wheels, but the lack of detailing and smaller width on them is noticeable. This car is a wheel swap away from being truly magnificent.

Minus the wheels the rest of the car oozes detail. The trunk has pin detailing and the side windows have multi-color branding on them. Not bad for a 15 year old car.

I’m a huge fan of this car as it sits, but a new version of it with some updated wheels and a massaged front bumper would be perfect. I doubt we’ll ever get a second attempt at this model, so I’m more than happy to have this version. Keep an eye out for it on eBay as it doesn’t pop up often! 🏁

Here’s what the GTO looks like “carded” — and no, I didn’t open it. Luckily I have a loose one as well. Always buy one to open, one to keep. It’s a good rule to live by.
64wheels

4 thoughts on “Lamley Daily: Rhys Millen’s 2004 GTO D1 Drift Car

  1. Let’s also not forget Hot Wheels did replicas of Formula Drift cars in their mainline. Samuel Hubinette’s Charger and Challenger Drift Cars as well as Mad Mike’s Mazda MX-5 recently, albeit without the Red Bull livery…

    1. The Hot Wheels FE Charger Drift Car in the proper blue Mopar livery is one of my personal favorites, but unfortunately it wasn’t an official D1 licensed car, although it is a great looking replica of it. The Challenger actually had Sam’s name on the roof, and the later white version even had multiple D1 sponsors on the car, but that also wasn’t a licensed Formula Drift casting, so I omitted them.

      The Mad Mike Miata is badass – I wish we could get a fully-licensed line of Redbull/Mad Mike Mazdas, along with the Hoonigan/Gymkhana cars.

      1. Fair points, but I’m still glad they exists, as there aren’t too many actual drift car replicas on the market yet.

  2. I just found a street version of this model by RC2. i didn’t know it existed. I thought It was a Holden version at first look.

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