Model: Racing Champions Mint Buick Regal Grand National & Hot Wheels GMC Syclone
Line: 2017 series release 2 & 2020 mainline.
My car taste is as broad as it is long, but if you’ve been one of the people keeping up with my Lamley posts since day 1, you’ll know that I haven’t given that much room to US cars. That’s not to say I dislike them in any way, I really don’t. It’s just the US cars in my collection are mostly still tucked out of sight in boxes in my attic after a house move, so grabbing them for pictures is a big task in itself. But there are a few scattered about the house. And one of my favourites of them all (and indeed, a bit of a real life favourite) is this: Racing Champions’ take on the Buick Regal GNX.
The Regal GNX is a bit of a cult car, a car right out of the “malaise era” that had actual power. Malaise that is anything but malaise. Fitting the 3.8 Buick V6 of the standard Regal with a turbo unlocked brilliant potential and an impressive power output. By 1987 (the model year replicated by the Racing Champions car) the Grand National was a 245bhp, 481nm brute of a car capable of 15 second quarter miles. Tuners found the 3.8 litre engine to be a godsend; higher power figures were easily acheivable with minor tweaks, and big power Regals are still heavy hitters on drag strips to this day.
And power aside, the Grand Nationals look pure evil. They are one of the coolest looking cars out there in my opinion, especially in McLaren fettled GNX spec, and especially in the dark of night, illuminated by neons….
The Racing Champions version is as effortlessly cool as the real thing, and has real presence. I love the perfectly formed wheels, the accurate dimensions, the sharp decals, the 1987 Indiana “Wander” plates, the opening bonnet. It blows the Hot Wheels versions out of the water. And it looks just as good in the light of day…
But speaking of Hot Wheels and malaise era hypercar it would be a crime to ignore the recently released GMC Syclone.
The ultimate version of GMCs humdrum Sonoma pickup, the Syclone was short lived (produced for only 2 years, 1991-92) but left a big impression. Like the Grand National, it was powered by a V6 turbo, this time a 4.3 litre coupled to a Mitsubishi turbo that gave a 280bhp, 475nm output. And it was a real rocket ship for the time. Car&Driver memorably tested the Syclone against a Ferrari 348 over the quarter mile and the truck won. Against what was then a $122,000 supercar.
It therefore rightly deserves its place in the Hot Wheels Mainline, and Brendon Vetuskey has done a brilliant job of it. The proportions are bang on and for all the criticism that Mattel get for their decals, the badging on this is super cool. And like the Regal the light of day brings out all the coolness.
A badass pair, and I definitely hope to see more of the GMC in future.