A Tale of 3 Dodge Rams: Racing Champions Getting the Most For Their Buck… 20-some Years Ago

While I was collecting diecast as a teenager, Hot Wheels weren’t my only focus. At seeming height of Racing Champions, during which they had a ton of Hot Rod Magazine releases, there were a number of vehicles I bought at the time. While most were the pro-street drag cars (a couple ’70 Chevelles, few ’69 Roadrunners, and other like vehicles), there were three ’96 Dodge Rams that snuck in. all three were noticeably different, however, though utilizing the same body: two customs and one quite stock.

The white stock one was part of the Mint line. At the time this line came with a display plinth and a custom license plate or just a plaque. A super clean look, there’s a few others out there in different colors (including a blue with white stripes one that fellow Lamley contributor BeardedMugMedia featured last year, click to check his write up out ).

I’d have grabbed pics of the 3rd one with its hood open but it wouldn’t stay propped, haha

The silver and purple lowrider was from the Hot Rod Magazine line. Thankfully, this one has not suffered from “metal fatigue” the white and gold release has (I’ve yet to see one for sale that wasn’t already starting to crumble in its package). At first it seems this was actually a different body tool from the other two but then I realized the mirrors are indeed separate pieces like on the stock and raised ones, just different design to them.

The black one with the quintessential 1990s custom paint job was from the Mint line, Hot Rods edition. Overall, the main difference from this one and the stock white one was the wheels and tires. The bases appear to be the same, just the large diameter wheels and tires giving this black one a mild custom look. But I love this paint job, it doesn’t get much more 1990s than this.

This is a really nice casting from the time. Racing Champions had a lot of quality designs in their lineup, just some of the finish quality wasn’t always the greatest, especially when peripherals like the mirrors would fall off easily, and some of the paint finish was… not great (you can see how splotchy the taillights are on the white one, and a number of my pro street muscle cars have some poor paint quality in general, sometimes with the paint seeming to have the “running” effect). And, as mentioned, several are sadly suffering from metal fatigue and starting to crumble away. Thankfully, nothing I have in my collection is doing that… yet.

A close up of the stance difference between the Hot Rod Magazine lowrider and the Mint Hot Rods releases
Not so much of a difference between the stock Mint release and the Mint Hot Rods one.

All in all, not a whole heck of a lot to say about these. I just always thought they were neat and wanted to show how even in the ’90s brands were looking for ways to get the most out of their tooling. All the castings I have that are pro street cars? Most had stock releases too, with different hoods and I’d assume some interchangeable engine pieces. Honestly for $4 at the time they were a pretty decent deal considering the details, despite the quality issues.

Find Racing Champions Dodge Rams on eBay.

One Reply to “A Tale of 3 Dodge Rams: Racing Champions Getting the Most For Their Buck… 20-some Years Ago”

  1. Wish I had one in hand for scale. The hw one with half plastic body from that time scales more as a dakota. Some other brands i have of later models scale a little fat. An RC one might be just right. i don’t like the idea of investing in disintegrating metal though. i wonder if all zamac is destined to fall apart. Like, if you get them wet they eventually crumble? Older hw models mostly seem to have thinner stronger metal, while many newer ones are thick and heavy as if the chinese are trying to get rid of as much of that slag as they can. Send it to america. Dollar stores prove americans will buy anything.

Leave a Reply