P. T. Flea Diecast Character from Pixar’s Cars

It’s a given that none of us usually likes a flea. But that changes when they’re performing in a circus. Then. They. Are. Amazing! To go one better, what if the flea is the Ringmaster? Well, get ready to cheer for the one and only P. T. Flea:

P. T. Flea FrontP. T. Flea Right SideP. T. Flea BackP. T. Flea Left Side

Ya-da-dada-dada-da-da-dah-dah!

In the 1998 Pixar movie A Bug’s Life we meet our diminutive promoter as he tries to wrangle a less-than-successful group of circus performers.

We next meet him in a brief cameo, in the guise of a car no less, in the 2006 Pixar movie Cars. In both movies, he is voiced by Pixar’s lucky charm, John Ratzenberger.

P. T. Flea Package FrontP. T. Flea Package Back

Contained for your pet’s protection!

Okay, I had to let him out for this post, didn’t I? As far as I know, no one was bitten while this post was being prepared. I’m not sure about the animals.

P. T. Flea Undercarriage

Made by Mattel

P.T. Flea is a Nimbly Company No-See-Um LX that is painted brown. I don’t know what that is, nor do I know what the ‘Z S D’ on his license plate is supposed to represent.

I guess a few mysteries in life are fun!

For more diecast fun from the world of Cars, check out Rusty and Dusty Rust-eze from an earlier post.

Burago Disney Character Diecast Cars

Burago of Italy has produced many Disney-inspired diecast cars over the years. I’ve found three more to add to my collection, this time featuring Donald Duck and Sulley from Monsters Inc.

The packaging is original but in very bad shape and the cars themselves have seen better days. But let’s have a look while pretending that they are gently-used second-owner vehicles:

Burago Sulley Package

Mercedes 190 E

The Mercedes-Benz W201 was the first compact executive car from Mercedes-Benz introduced in 1982, positioned below the E-Class and marketed under variants of the Mercedes-Benz 190 nameplate.

Burago Sulley Car Side

Happy on the side…

Burago Sulley Car Front

Scary on the front!

Burago Sulley Car Underside

The W201 enjoyed strong sales in Europe but fared poorly in the United States. Series production ended in April of 1993 after the manufacture of approximately 1.8 million examples. I’m assuming less of this diecast replica were made!

Burago Donald Car Package 1

Volkswagen Golf ’98

The Golf is a small family car produced beginning in 1974 and marketed worldwide across seven generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates, such as the Rabbit in the United States and Canada and as the Caribe in Mexico.

Burago Donald Car Side 1

Angry on the side…

Burago Donald Car Front 1

Angry on the roof! Trust me.

Burago Donald Car Underside 1

Initially, most Golf production was in the 3-door hatchback style, and this appears to be the one Donald Duck prefers to endorse!

Burago Donald Car Package 2

Chevrolet Corvette

Production of the C5 Corvette began in 1997 and ended with the 2004 model year. This Burago version seems to be from this Fifth Generation run, although it could be a Fourth Generation model. Either way, Donald has ramped up his ride a tad!

Burago Donald Car Side 2

Angry on the side again…

Burago Donald Car Front 2

But absent from the top and hood this time.

For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe (as this diecast is), although the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible, which returned in 1998.

These great little diecast models are in the 1/43 scale and have stickers to embellish them rather than paint-on-paint. As mentioned at the outset, these examples need a little TLC as some of the stickers are drying out and peeling. However, I only paid about $3.00 CAN each for them so I think I did alright overall!

Burago Disney Packaging

For another example of a Burago diecast model, this time featuring Mickey Mouse (perhaps driving a Fiat), please click the link. You’ll also learn a little bit about the Burago company.

Tomorrowland Speedway Car from Walt Disney World

The Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is one of my favorite attractions! I just love choking on the gas fumes as I bump around the track listening to the motors of dozens of (basically) little go-carts. And that wasn’t sarcasm, I really do love this attraction for just those reasons!

So when I started to find these great toys on eBay and elsewhere, I started building my fleet:

Speedway Profile

 Mickey Mouse Driving No. 45

I purchased this model recently even though I already have one. And I have two red ones and a blue one. And I’ll add dozens more if I can find them!

Speedway Front

Nice bumper. NO BUMPING!

Eventually I am going to build a large Walt Disney World layout in my basement with a monorail set-up and, of course, a Tomorrowland Speedway track. That’s why I need a fleet. See, it makes perfect sense, my buying dozens of these things.

Speedway Rear

No brake lights. Maybe that’s why people bump!

Now my wife stared at me in disbelief when I told her I had just purchased something that I already had. More than one of. And wanted dozens more of. What is it with women???

Speedway Undercarriage

Oh, Mickey flipped it again!

So maybe the guide rails on the track are a good idea after all.

I paid $10.00 CAN for this particular example. They sold for $12.00 US back in the day:

Speedway Price Tag

Isn’t everything?

These toy cars use a pullback motor. Pulling the car backward (hence the name) winds up an internal coil spring. When released, the car is propelled forward by the spring. When the spring has unwound and the car is moving, the motor is disengaged by a clutch or ratchet and the car then rolls freely onward. Winding must be completed in one pass.

To see my collection of Disneyland Autopia toy cars, just click the link! It is from the days of Chevron sponsorship.

Cars Diecast: Rusty & Dusty Rust-eze

Diecast cars. The term just conjures up all sorts of great childhood memories! Hotwheels tracks with colorful cars doing impossible stunts. Hotwheels cars crashing off the track because of doing impossible stunts! But that was then, now we have diecast characters from the Pixar movie Cars:

“What’s wrong with rusty cars?”

When Lightning McQueen gets his big break and is able to race in The Piston Cup (“He did what in his cup?!?” -Mater) he has a not-so prestigious sponsor to thank for it: Rust-eze Medicated Bumper Ointment. Oh, feel the soothing relief!

And who are everyone’s favorite Rust-eze representatives?

McQueen is embarrassed to be associated with rusty cars and so tries to avoid them at all costs! But he later learns that they aren’t so bad after all.

Rusty, but faithful and grateful!

In the end, McQueen rightly decides to stay with his original sponsor instead of changing to the much cooler Dinoco. A good call if I do say so myself!

DiecastDiecast

Vanity License Plates

“Hey! Don’t drive like my brother!” Brothers. What’cha gonna do? These brothers have taken family togetherness to the next level with matching vanity plates. Rusty (the car) has ‘Rust’ on his and Dusty (the van) has ‘Eze’ on his. These guys are just too cute!

Okay, stop looking at their butts, they’re not that cute!

Diecast

FUN STORY: When I was in my early teens, my father bought an old Dodge van like the one shown in this post. Our ‘Dusty’ had an old 8-track player and a 3-on-the-tree shifter. If you’re under 30 years of age, ask your parents for a translation.

I used to drive around listening to the greatest hits of Burton Cummings (again, ask your parents) and feeling pretty cool because I could use a column shifter! True story.


For more fun with diecast Cars characters, check out some truly odd members of the series with Bessie and Ted Yale.

Vehicle Creativity at the Old Car Festival 2016

So what is creativity? Can it only be found in writing or art? Or can it be expressed in many other ways? Like with a vehicle?

I’ve always loved automotive design, specifically body styling, but also how even the smallest working part is given a little life of its own. Older vehicles yield more examples of this than modern ones, as my latest trip to Greenfield Village and the 2016 Old Car Festival proves:

greenfield-village-jj-010

Look down when you put your foot down

It will be covered in dirt and mud and for the most part be totally ignored, but Oldsmobile still thought it was important to brand this metal entry step and use a fetching crosshatch pattern.

greenfield-village-jj-011

Renault does Steampunk before Steampunk does

I don’t know just what this gizmo does but it was installed on the dashboard of a Renault. I’m thinking electricity plays a part which would make it something Dr. Frankenstein would appreciate! I also love the little liquid tube.

greenfield-village-jj-019

So what do I turn when?

Okay, I know what to do with the big round thing, but just what is the purpose of the two chrome levers? Gear changers? Signals? Whatever the purpose these chrome accents make this steering wheel stand out!

greenfield-village-jj-026

Suspect Suspension

Would this suspension assembly really give you a smooth ride? Well, no doubt it was better than what you would get with a buckboard wagon, but perhaps its looks surpass its function!

greenfield-village-jj-022          greenfield-village-jj-082

Hood Ornament Glory!

From animals to ladies, from Indians to archers, there really wasn’t anything too outlandish for a radiator cap decoration back in the day!

And so I think we can agree that everyone working on automotive design in the early years of Detroit and elsewhere felt that every part in or on a vehicle was an opportunity to express one’s creative side. And for the sake of photographers the world over, it’s a good thing they felt that way!

Cars: Frank the Combine Deluxe Diecast Model

When Cars first came out it was the first Pixar movie I considered not seeing in the theater. The first teaser trailer just had Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater driving along and talking. I didn’t get it. The second trailer just had Lightning McQueen racing on a track. I still didn’t get it.

But Pixar had never let me down before so out of loyalty I paid my money and sat in the theater seat… and loved it! And then I bought all of the characters in die-cast. But I was never able to find a good version of Frank the combine. Until now:

frank-1

frank-2          frank-3

Frank is one of the best visual characters in the movie. He is a combine but is made to look like a lobster, to me anyway.

frank-4     frank-5     frank-6

I also enjoyed ‘meeting’ him while riding the Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disneyland. He certainly looked angry and intimidating! Kind of like this:

frank-7

Not what you want to see in the rear view mirror!

It has been 10 years since Cars hit theaters and I’m still buying die-cast versions of the characters. When will it stop? I guess that depends if Cars 3 yields any good new characters to collect!

Pixar's Cars ROAD TRIP Die-cast Models

I am officially giving up. I’ve said again and again that I was not going to buy another version of the die-cast model cars from the Pixar movie Cars. But what have I done? During a recent trip to Wal-mart I just happened to be walking through the toy department (on my way to the manly tool department) when these little guys called out to me:

road-trip-cars-1

‘Called out’. ‘Revved their engines’. I don’t remember!

The next thing I knew I was carrying three packages of die-cast models to the cash register to give Disney more of my hard-earned money.

road-trip-cars-2     road-trip-cars-3

road-trip-cars-4     road-trip-cars-5

road-trip-cars-6     road-trip-cars-7

And why was I so weak? How did Disney/Pixar suck me in to buying my umpteenth Lightning McQueen? Because he has a surf board on his roof. Sally has a roof carrier. And Sarge is decked out with survival gear. Oh, and they all have trailer hitches.

Yes folks, it’s the Road Trip County Edition! Or RD TRIP in promotional script. I’m assuming Disney will soon release the RD TRIP Trailer Editions to go with the hitches!

road-trip-cars-8

Cruisin’ Lightning McQueen

road-trip-cars-9

Sally

road-trip-cars-10

Sarge

I’ve already set some money aside for the next version. As I said, I give up! In fact, Disney, if you’re reading this, just send them directly to me C.O.D. and let’s cut out the middle man, eh?

P. S.- By the way, just to save some face here, Wal-mart also had Ramone, Filmore, and Flo versions, but I resisted them. Take that Disney!

Disney Lesney/Matchbox Cars from 1979

I love die-cast cars and especially if they contain a Disney character in the driver’s seat. I found two examples from the same line recently and was able to catch up with them while they were on the ‘open road’:

matchbox-79-7

I think Donald is tailgating!

This line was produced by the Lesney Products & Company Limited for Matchbox. The cars themselves are the usual size for a Matchbox vehicle but the figures are obviously oversized! Let’s have a closer look:

matchbox-79-1

Goofy seems to be driving a Volkswagen Beetle while Donald may be driving a Volkswagen Dune Buggy.

matchbox-79-4

matchbox-79-2     matchbox-79-3

Coming and going

matchbox-79-6

I don’t know how many cars were released in each series but I did find out that Series 1 had Mickey Mouse in a red fire truck.

These are indeed die-cast cars as plastic hadn’t taken over yet back in 1979, and thank goodness! There is one last detail to point out:

matchbox-79-5

Can you read this license plate?

Could it be VB-5 standing for Volkswagen Beetle 5, the ‘5’ relating to its order in the car release schedule? That’s the best I can figure. Do you have another idea?

Could This Be Cruella De Ville's Real Car?

I know I claimed to have found her real car before (see the post entitled Disney Cars for Real) but this time I think I’ve really discovered it! Here is a screen shot of her animated car from 101 Dalmatians:

cruella-de-villes-car

In the live-action adaptions her car is white and black and is based on a Panther De Ville. In the television series her car is also white and black and is based on a Zimmer Golden Spirit.

Not much is available on the Internet about the make or model of the animated red and black version. But while visiting The Greenfield Village during the Old Car Festival I managed to snap these shots:

greenfield-village-jj-068

greenfield-village-jj-069

1929 Auburn 8-120

Cruella wasn’t on hand but is this a match for her animated car or what? And although it would have looked more sinister if she was standing beside it herself, I think I managed to get a picture of one of her henchmen sitting in the Model T Ford in the background. But is he Jasper or Horace?

Anyway, I was glad to be able to see such an iconic Disney vehicle for real!

FUN FACT: In the original 101 Dalmatians books Cruella’s car is white and black like a zebra. But it’s easy to imagine why that coloring would have been hard to animate against largely white backgrounds with the bulk of Disney’s animated movie being ‘shot’ in winter. But red and black would stand out!

Of course, this doesn’t explain why Disney set a animated feature about predominantly white dogs in the season of winter…

Precision Series McQueen & Mater

I have got to stop visiting toy stores! I already have many variations of the die-cast models from the Cars animated movies by Pixar. I don’t have many of them on display because I just don’t have the room to do so. So naturally…

precision-series-cars-007

I buy more!

But these versions of the die-cast offerings are special (yeah, and my wife says I’m special too). They are a part of a larger play set produced by Mattel. You can learn all about this set by clicking this link where you will see a slideshow of other models available and a short video showing what Precision Series Radiator Springs looks like! And you might recognize this guy:

john

If you want to see the above diorama in person, it is on display at Disney’s California Adventure, I believe in Sarge’s Surplus Hut.

I picked up my models at Wal-Mart where they had only four characters: The Sheriff, Sarge, and of course Lightning McQueen and Mater:

precision-series-cars-002     precision-series-cars-005     precision-series-cars-008

precision-series-cars-003     precision-series-cars-004     precision-series-cars-009

Once out of the packaging each model is enclosed in a case for display purposes:

precision-series-cars-cases-002

Each model comes with a plate that looks like it could be used as a key fob. McQueen’s hood opens and Mater has a working headlight and…

precision-series-cars-cases-001

A working tow hook!

This is a first for this character in die-cast. Most of the characters have a thing that they do, either on their own, or when they interact with their playset ‘home’.

But no matter how cool this series of die-cast models is going to be I won’t be buying any more. Cost and display space forbid it! But if I could afford to buy the entire town of Radiator Springs? I’d throw away the double bed in the spare room!

Each Precision Series die-cast model retails at $14.95 CAN. If you’re interested.