Category Archives: Auto World

Auto World Plymouth 1:64 Models

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Auto World is both a US store and a manufacturer producing models under Auto World, Johnny Lightning, and Racing Champions brands. Models cover multiple scales and even include HO scale slot cars. In 1:64 there is a difference between Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions models (made under licence from Tomy who no longer make them) and Auto World ones. Johnny Lightning continue as they have always done with models of American vehicles with fat speed wheels and some custom finishes to give them on the peg appeal at a pocket money price. Racing Champions seem to have a less clear cut identity with prices similar to AW and some features like wing mirrors that AW models lack but slightly less detailed models in some cases. Auto World was created with the collector of classic American vehicles in mind and is a series stated to be to strictly to 1:64 scale and which is finished in realistic colours, with realistic wheels and fitments, and well printed detailing. Its main competitor is probably Castline’s M2 ranges. In my eyes Auto World tend to look rather more realistic than M2 because they do not include the opening doors which detract from many M2 models.

Here I look at two new AutoWorld models which are recolours on existing castings and which I think show how collectable US 1:64 models have become.

AutoWorld 1964 Plymouth Barracuda                  Vintage Muscle Series release 4b #3

Aware that Ford intended to use its compact Falcon as the basis for a sporty car other manufacturers started to design their own. Chrysler created a fastback design based on their new compact Plymouth Valiant. The large rear window was the largest producer for a production car at that time.  Engine and gearbox options were the same as the Valiant’s, including two versions of Chrysler’s slant-6 engine. The highest power option for 1964 was Chrysler’s all-new 4.5 Litre V8.

Though the Barracuda was launched two weeks before the Mustang it only sold 23,443 units in 1964 compared to Ford’s 126,538 Mustangs.

The styling influence lived on with the large rear window being a key feature of the Chrysler owned Sunbeam Rapier and Alpine 1750 Arrow cars.

The casting captures the shape of the car well. The printed chrome round the windows is well done as is the rear window surround and fuel filler.

Good wheels have the smaller white sidewalls that emerged in the early 1960s.

From the front the grille is neatly moulded in and then black washed and all the chrome printed. The lights are printed in white which is quite effective and seems to be becoming popular on US 1:64 scale models. Even the moulded in wiper arms are neatly over printed in silver.

That huge rear window and all its fittings are nicely caught. Rear lights are printed on with silver base over printed with light lenses. An effect which is acceptable in this scale.

The rear scripts and boot fittings are all printed very finely and all is topped off by a registration plate though there is none fitted on the front.

Some attention has been paid to the engine bay which appears to house the optional V8.

AutoWorld 1958 Plymouth Belvedere                    Classic Chrome series release 4b #2

This casting has been seen before in several colours and in the special movie related “Christine” model from the film based upon Stephen King’s book.

The Belvedere modelled here is the version sold from 1957 to 1959 at the height of the era of Fins as styling statements. The design was so forceful Chrysler advertising was under the strap line  “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” In 1958 the Belvedere was the top trim level and was available with a large V8 engine called the Golden Commando.

The profile of the car with its jet fins has been nicely captured and the side ornamentation printed well right down to the door handles and the Belvedere badging which can only read clearly if you enlarge photographs of the model.

The wheels and tyres are modelled well though a black wash on wheels might make them look more realistic.

The front grill and huge bumper are well modelled and this time a number plate is included though it only carries the legend Belvedere. In the centre of the grille the V sign is picked out in gold. The bonnet emblem is printed over a raised moulding and even has a tiny Plymouth script printed on it much too small for the naked eyes to read clearly.

From the rear the excellent printing on the lights, huge bumper, and even the tiny Plymouth script along the lip of the boot, are all clearly visible.

Finally we get the view under the bonnet which clearly houses a large V8 engine painted gold as one imagines that the Golden Commando would have been.

Two nice models of classic American cars.

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1:64 Americana from Auto World and M2

By Maz Woolley


The US 1:64 scale market may be dominated by Mattel Hot Wheels but collectors of classic US post war vehicles were more likely to collect models from Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions for their greater realism and fidelity, though even they were not very realistic in some ways, the very over-scale tyre widths for example. Firms like M2, Greenlight, and Auto World have entered in to the market with models clearly aimed at more discerning collectors whilst Johnny Lightning failed under Tomy ownership and ended up being taken on by Round 2 the owners of Auto World.

This article looks at one M2 model from the AutoThentics release 35 and three models from Premium Release 4 from Auto World. In both cases the manufacturer seems to release models in groups of six in sets and then waits for a while before making them available as single models. In the case of M2 there only seems to be one or two new casting variants in each release whilst Auto World usually run to about three.  M2 just release a single set at a time of six cars but Auto World release two different sets at a time with the same six models but in different colours.  None of these models are available easily or consistently here in the UK and I have to thank a fellow North American collector for obtaining them for me.

M2 Release 35


Chevrolet 210 Beauville Station Wagon 1957

There have been a lot of 1957 Chevy’s made in a variety of scales, but few Station Wagons. Here is one from M2 of the Beauville which was positioned under the Nomad in the range and which was a nine seater with the Townsman being the 6 seater. As shown on the M2 the Beauville was trimmed and finished to a high standard.


Whilst this model is pretty good there are a few features that I find spoil it rather. The first is the opening doors which are not only a terrible fit but also do not close properly on one side either. The second is the wheels. All the web pictures I can find shows the car with slightly wider white walls than those on the model but this is a much smaller issue than that door and they are otherwise very well modelled. Perhaps they are as fitted to a preserved car.


On the plus side all the printing is very neatly done down to Chevrolet scripts an logos. All the lights are neatly modelled and the grille is excellent though a lack wash would make it even better. And of course it is a four door Station Wagon and not yet another Bel-Air Coupe.

M2 have used this casting again in Release 39. This time it is in the bottom of the range Chevrolet 150 Handyman with its basic paint and trim replicated well and a complete absence of white walls on the tyres which is entirely correct.

Auto World Premium Release 4 A

This version of the release includes the following vehicles but only the first three are new castings the others are previous castings in new colours/versions.

1963 Dodge Polara (Blue)
1964 Plymouth Barracuda (Red)
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix (Gulfstream Aqua)
2015 Ford Mustang GT (Guard)
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A (Pink with Black Graphics)
1975 Pontiac Firebird T/A (Silver)


1963 Dodge Polara 


For 1963 the wheelbase was longer and the front end was re-styled. Dodge has downsized this premium range in the expectation that its competitors would do the same but they continued with full size cars for 1963. This did nothing for the sales of the Polara which did not start to increase until the front and rear re-styling of the 1964 car.


The model is excellent with nice thin paint and a clean and crisp casting. As only the bonnet opens it has lovely panel lines all round. The black washed grille and the white rear panel are first class in this scale and I really like the white finish to the light lenses it works well. I am not sure that the wheels are 100% right but web searches show similar ones though with white walls in a slightly different place. It would seem from the pictures on the Internet that few Polaras are running on stock wheels now



1964 Plymouth Barracuda


This model was announced some time ago and has taken a long time to produce. After its announcement Auto World had issues with their contract caster in China and may even have replaced them for Release 4. The vehicle has seldom been modelled and my affection for it comes in no small part from the influence it obviously had on the design of the last series of Sunbeam Rapiers here in the UK.

The Plymouth Barracuda was based on Valiant underpinnings and was one of the new breed of smaller “life-style” coupes designed to appeal to those who didn’t want or need a full size sedan but wanted something with style and  performance and more space than an out and out sports car. The car could be bought with engines from a 2.8 litre six cylinder up to a 4.5 litre V-eight.


This model is another beauty. The red paint is excellent an all the printing well done. The rear lights though printed are very fine. That distinctive front end is well modelled and the printed grille and badging is excellent in such a small scale.  All in all the model is very satisfying to look at.


It is great to have a model of this car to add to the more popular Pony Cars of the period with which it competed.


1964 Pontiac Grand Prix


Whereas the previous two models were of less widely modelled cars the Pontiac GP has been modelled very widely. But the new Auto World casting is a really good one capturing the shape very well.

The Grand Prix was based upon the mid-sized Catalina but trimmed to the level of a the full size Bonneville. The 1964 car had only a few minor changes from the 1963 car and was fitted with engines ranging in size from six to seven litres. A long list of options were available for the car.


Again this is an impressive 1:64 scale model with excellent thin and even paint. The printed badging is tiny but all very neatly done. And the front and rear ends are well modelled with the lights again finished in white at the front.  The printed chrome trim is very neatly applied as well making this another excellent model.


Again I am not convinced by the positioning of the white stripe on the sidewalls but otherwise the wheels are nice and like all the others the rubber tyres are well made and not over wide.

Some of the Auto World castings now seem to be appearing in the revived Johnny Lightning range as well.

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