Friday, March 26, 2010

Run for your life!

There is a recent (2010) amusing story about this subject. Funny and heartbreaking at the same time, depending on how one sees it.
The protagonist is a young lad under our watch (his mom works abroad) and is the subject of an unusual snapshot of life. A true story...
So here goes…
He was being taught how to drive their ‘green’ car on that day. It seems like one of those normal days for practice driving, as he has done this routine previously and even had attended formal driving school weeks back. But this is no ordinary day, and what was about to happen will change his life forever.
He seems a bit edgy that day, as observed by his two lady passengers. It was maybe due to an earlier scene in which passing-by school children were laughing at him while he seems so tensed practice driving. Another is that, a rusted VW Beetle overtook him because he was using only 1st and 2nd gear all the time. On top of that, the Beetle’s driver even made an effort to stop and asked “if anything is wrong”, since the ‘green’ car’s pace was too slow. Subsequently, adding insult to injury? Maybe!
Then a few meters down the road, the unthinkable happened. The ‘green’ car being an import was equipped with an active heater. That heater core has a hot water recirculation system from the engine radiator going to the inside aircon evaporator/waterheater radiator via a pipe loop. That pipe inside the car’s interior leaked and the a/c fan drove white steam spewing from the aircon vents. Like sauna steam, it’s warm but won’t hurt you. Harmless steam won’t kill you, but can ruin your life (and your character), which is even worst.
Guess what! Our young lad panicked, opened the car door and ran for his life! In all probability and instinct-driven went on to saving himself! He did run a good distance away from the ‘green car’ and leaving his lady passengers still inside the car! The ladies were all composed and even were asking him to park the car properly, while he was biting his nails, shaking his head, and was jittery. Our disgraced protagonist was later on repeatedly saying “Di ko na kaya” and “Ayaw ko na” (“He can’t do it anymore”) , referring to him driving the ‘green’ car never again….forever! He totally freaked out!
The incident totally changed his life and what people perceived of him. He’s been the butt of jokes in many instances. Definitely this one will stick out like a sore thumb for the rest of his life. Life then can be a sick joke!

On a much lighter side of things, this particular ‘run’ is much welcomed in its life span. It can well be said that a diecast manufacturer will maximized the production run of a certain casting, for profit. You’ll eventually wish that they’ll retire it after so many over-played variations. Such is the case, when HW opted to retire the two castings of the beloved Porsche 911. Retirement then should be a good thing after all?

The two 911 HW Final Run,
Love the met blue paint job…

…the spoke-wheels as well!

White paint is fitting on the Carrera…

…the side graphics is spot-on hot!

These won’t hit the roof in dollar value…

..who cares…

…a good champ knows when to retire in good esteem.

These are special for 911’s collectors?
I personally feel; they are!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2 Slices of Pizza

Pizza is an inseparable part of me and my teenage slice of life. Having been blessed to be sent to the big city for college schooling, my journey to adolescence started with that time too. Using our Volkswagen, my dad and I would journey 125km from our home to my second home in the city. More aptly, a dorm away from home, best describes it. Before my dad headed back home, he always treated me to a hefty meal of pizza, chips and chicken. These memorable rites were repeated countless of times, and collectively, a wonderful bonding of father and son. Looking back, I greatly appreciate my dad for doing so.

Well, there’s also something special with this particular pizza themed diecast as well. Lesney Matchbox did the early VW T2 in the guise of a Dormobile. They got it right, a proper Dormobile is a Microbus with a pop-up roof as a sleeping deck, and the 2 versions (blue & orange) in transitional wheels are so pleasant in every detail. From that casting, another variant was developed. That other variant has the roof rendered without the pop-up plastic; making it a one whole piece of diecast top. Curiously the bottom plate has still the ‘Dormobile’ marking, which IMHO should be more aptly termed as a ‘Kombi’. That makes it somehow special though; a marking error from the factory maybe, that no one needs to complain about. Me, I love it 100%. With the pizza tampo, it serves as a reference to that memorable time when VW and Pizza became part of my slice of life.

White pizza van VW T2 has the still ‘Made in England’ charm.

Black pizza van from the Mattel era is a VW T1 ‘Samba’ in the backdrop.

These 2 makes me crave for 2 slices of pizza. Tasty!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

How to Spot a Rabbit

The colorful story of the VW GTI Mark 1 is such a well documented and glorious one. Even Jeremy Clarkson has high regard for the original hot hatch. But then again the Mark1 GTI has a continental divide that makes it even more interesting. Jeremy’s beloved Golf GTI was the 1976 European version with the 1.6 liter 110PS that started it all. Then from across the pond, there is the Rabbit GTI of 1983 U.S. release with the 1.8 liter engine.
Of course, the Golf was never called one for the 1st series in the American market, but was known as the Rabbit. The succeeding generations were properly named Golf, in whatever market they were sold, up to the 4th generation. VW of America revived the Rabbit nameplate again, on the Golf Mark 5. Confusing? I am as well. It’s purely marketing to me!

Small-scale talk-wise, HotWheels didn’t miss the opportunity to model this famous hot hatch. Made in HongKong and marked ‘Hare Splitter’ it is an obvious spin of the Rabbit nameplate. Surely HW was suggesting this to be the GTI version of the Mark1 VW Rabbit, as this was ought to be a sportier version. But then again, there a continental divide that makes this particular diecast interesting like the real Mark1 GTI! The Rabbit version has square headlights and the Golf version has the round ones, as easy visible differentiation. So HW actually modeled the European Golf GTi, not the U.S. Rabbit GTI. A wonderful mix-up of sorts! Another interesting tidbit to add to the colorful GTI Mark1 story!
I love this Hare of a Golf….

Or Golf of a Rabbit….

GTI spotting #1 (above): backdrop #1 is the HotWheels Golf5 GTI (custom by Komenda VW). No Rabbit5 GTI exist! Another one of those amusing marketing move!

GTI spotting #2 (below): On background is Matchbox Golf GTI Mark2. No confusion of hare whatsoever :-)