This is another one of Danbury Mint’s ‘movie car’ models in precision diecast. I was enthralled to see the “Christine” Plymouth Fury debut but loving hot rods the way I do, I could not wait to see “The California Kid”. The Kid gets its stardom from a 1974 made-for-TV movie starring Martin Sheen. In the story line, Michael McCord’s (Martin Sheen) brother is killed at the hands of a small town law enforcement officer, Sheriff Roy Childress (Vic Morrow). Set in 1958 in the town of Clarksberg, speeders get forced off mountain roads in his jurisdiction. A cool car was needed for the part so that McCord had what it took to avenge his brother’s death. The producers saw Pete Chapouris’s ’34 three-window coupe, made in the mid 70’s, and fell instantly in love with it. Much the same way I did when unboxing this little lovely 1:24th.
Danbury’s project engineer knew what they wanted in the model yet knew the existing car was modified over the years. An electric antenna was placed between the trunk and rear roof line and A/C was added. These weren’t on the screen car so DM kept it true to the plotline for a mid-fifties hot rod. Immediately grabbing your attention, when viewing the replica in real life, is the paintjob. Jet black, it is as shiny as a wet pearl. Sculpted by a four alarm blaze, the flames run three quarters of the Ford’s length. They are gorgeous, classic and old-school; yellow edged with orange but outlined in white pinstriping. In fact, the pinstripes start off engulfing and highlighting the forward louvers amply covering the hood sides and top. They also outline the Ford’s mid section and wrap around the tail end. “The California Kid” is announced on either door.
Danbury was faithful to this build and portrays the low-slung rod with grace and muscle. They rendered the period-correct wheels in just the right color. They used those super-cool blue dot tail lights, nerf bar bumpers and chrome goodies throughout the chassis assembly. You simply have to check out the exhaust pipe treatment; it is as radical now as it was back then. The suspension bars and coil springs are totally realistic. The grille is photo-etched metal and the trunk lid (open from the rear) exhibits a photo-etched latch mechanism and a genuine leather trunk liner. The interior is fantastic. DM supplies a new tool to aid in opening the doors to take a close look. The windows, like the real ‘34’s, do not go all the way down. Nice touch DM. Take your time in looking around, the views are rewarding. Oh, and the doors snap shut.
The engine bay is beyond belief. You’ve got to see the throttle return spring live and in person. The headers are period-cool and the wiring, hoses and air cleaner help sell the miniature illusion of reality. The car takes the movie license plate, California JDV 607. The stance is, “in-the-weeds” and thoroughly ‘bad’ looking, for then or now, and the quality of build has never been better. After the, “Christine” Plymouth Fury and Dodge Charger and TV's "General Lee", what could possibly be next in the movie/televison car line-up? I’m thinking of one in particular, a hot rod too, but dare I say it and jinx it? Not on your life. For now, there’s a new kid in town and I’m loving every inch of it!
This is a limited numbered edition model ending production on 12/31/07 so make arrangements now to get yours.