I spent a few days earlier this month at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. A highlight as always was the chance to pre-order the M2 Machines SEMA exclusive models, which are scheduled to arrive in mid-December.
This year, three special 1:64 vehicles were again issued for the event. Demand for them is always strong so perhaps it’s no surprise that the production numbers are up by 50% this year, to 1,200 pieces for the Regular models and 600 for the Chases (four Regulars and two Chases per case). I’m sure some collectors will welcome the increase while others bemoan the loss of exclusivity – as we’ve seen with RLC models in recent years, there are no easy answers to these questions.
This year I was able to photograph prototypes at the show (they are not available for collection there, just pre-order) and speak to Castline/M2’s ever-enthusiastic VP of design, Sean Taylor (IG: @sean7265, pictured above!) about the story behind each one. Let’s run through them here in the chronological order of the vehicles modeled.
1969 Ford F-350 & 1969 Ford Mustang Funny Car
This year there’s a truck model each from the Detroit Three. One of the largest-ever SEMA special models from M2 is this two-vehicle Ford Drag Race Team set.
“This one was a fun piece,” says Taylor. “We tried to mimic the old Ford drag team back in the late-60s or early-70s. We’ve done three funny cars and this [Mustang] is my favorite. To me it looks more sinister, meaner than the Camaro and Challenger.
“The wedge truck is brand new for us. We got the ‘69 Ford to go along with the ‘69 Mustang, so it makes a nice, cohesive piece. This could have been something you would have seen at the ‘69 NHRA World Finals. There’s a nice metalflake in the paint. With metalflake, we try to make sure that it’s not too much, so it doesn’t look like a bass boat, unless we’re going for that look! Just a nice, classic piece, like something you’d see parked in an old picture of a race meet.”
In typical M2 style, the Chase models have more gold – chassis, wheels and yellow-gold chrome accents – although as is often the case, I think I prefer the Regular release.
1974 Dodge W200 Power Wagon
The 1972-80 Dodge D series trucks are a relatively new line for M2. So far, we’ve had the W200 Power Wagon in orange, a red Christmas Coke release and two Christmas ornaments, as well as the Auto Club model from September – a slammed 1978 Dodge Adventurer 150 as the famous Li’l Red Express.
“We needed a Dodge truck. something fierce,” says Taylor of the decision to go with the 1970s truck. “I was initially going to go with the previous generation. I always liked those, a couple of my buddies had them. But the more I looked at this one, the more I realized you never really saw them that much when I was growing up in Southern California. Everybody drove cars for a long time because there was no rust. And you never really saw Dodge trucks that often, always Ford and Chevy. I started getting into them more and I figured, if they’re half as good as our Squarebodies, they’re gonna be good. Everybody loves those Squarebodies!
“I discovered there’s so many special editions and different types of graphics or gimmicks,” he continues. “We’re doing the ’72 through ’80, which includes two different hoods. Beyond 1980, the cab and front end are more squared-off. But those years allow us to capture some of the older stuff as well as some newer things. Obviously, everybody knows the L’il Red Express, so you’ve got to do that, but there’s so many of the Power Wagons and all those other specialty versions.
“For SEMA, we try to build something that you would see in real life as a 1:1 at the show. That’s why it has the new paint scheme, the TRX hood on it and the Hellcat blown engine. The green goes back to the Sublime Green color. It’s a blend of old and new, we were trying to find that balance, a homage type of piece. I think it works well.”
Having seen the Power Wagons first-hand, I can confirm that the green is certainly bright!
Hours before I put this article together, M2 revealed an upcoming Walmart exclusive set of the Dodge trucks, so there’s lots more to come from this casting.
1975 Chevrolet Silverado 30 4×4
No M2 SEMA release these days is complete without a Chevy truck as the market for them shows no sign of slowing down. It’s the brand’s second Chevy show exclusive in quick succession following the recent release of the 1973 Cheyenne Super 30 Toy Fair model.
Says Taylor of the SEMA Silverado, “Again, we wanted to do something that if walked down to down an aisle here at SEMA, turned the corner and saw, you’d think, wow, this thing’s in your face! We did a Dually and we did a 4×4, lifted and with nice rims. The truck has an LS in it, again just to mimic something that you would see here at SEMA, not a factory piece.
“My buddy bought a Dually years ago and he had that roof rack, so I used the pictures of his [to model it],” he reveals. “We made the roof rack because I always dug it and because it was always huge! We also did the American flag paint scheme. I wanted to play with colors that you would see here at SEMA. This metallic grey and baby bluish color just worked.”
I was underwhelmed when I first saw the pictures of this model but having now seen it at the show, I can say that the photos really don’t do it justice. The metalflake in the paint is spectacular and that roof rack is a great addition. For me, the Chase model’s blue chrome works better than the yellow/gold on the other models, too.
So there you have it, three new all-American trucks as this year’s SEMA specials. Your regular hobby dealer may have secured some but failing that, eBay is where most of the SEMA model action tends to be. At the time of writing there were only a few pre-sale listings there, but this will change once people have them in hand later in December. Hope you find what you want! Until next time…
(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)