Category Archives: Buick

Brand Comparison: Buick Riviera: Johnny Lightning v Hot Wheels

1971 Buick Riviera HW and 1972 Buick Riviera JL
1972 Buick Riviera (Johnny Lightning) and 1971 Buick Riviera (Hot Wheels)

I don’t see many Johnny Lightning models, but this Buick is a little gem with its two tone paintwork, realistic tyres and even an opening bonnet. The Hot Wheels model is longer and lower and less realistic. The Hot Wheels interior is a shiny silver, the Johnny Lightning model a more subdued olive green.

1972 Buick Riviera JL
opening hood

Hot Wheels are designed to be played with. They have a “fun factor” that isn’t so present in detailed replica models. The Hot Wheels model will be faster on the track but the Johnny Lightning model looks better on the shelf.

Both Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning are American brands, the Hot Wheels model is made in Malaysia, the Johnny Lightning model is made in China. New, the Johnny Lightning model would be more expensive but I picked mine up secondhand for just 3 lari ($1.05).
My choice here would be the Johnny Lightning model.

American Cars: Buick

Buick is currently the oldest still-active American automotive make, and among the oldest automobile brands in the world, dating back to 1899. It is one of many General Motors brands. For much of its existence in the North American market, Buick has been marketed as a premium automobile brand, selling luxury vehicles positioned above GM‘s mainstream brands

I have nine Buicks: a Maisto Buick Bengal Concept, a Hot Wheels Buick GSX, a Hot Wheels 1971 Buick Riviera, two’64 Rivieras, two Corgi Juniors Buick Regals   and two Matchbox 1956 Buick Century Police cars. 

P1660100
9 Buicks

Maisto is not usually my preferred choice in the 1:64 scale but they do produce some interesting cars ignored by other manufacturers. The Buick Bengal is a concept car unveiled to the public at the 2001 Detroit Motor Show with the aim of rejuvenating the brand and appealing to younger customers.

Buick
’56 Buick Century Police Car (Matchbox) and Buick Bengal Concept (Maisto)

In my 1968 Ladybird Book of Motor Cars, the last two cars were a Buick Riviera and a Cadillac Eldorado. Large cars even by American standards. I have a Dinky Eldorado, I’d love to find a Corgi Riviera.

P1660101
Ladybird Book of Motor Cars (1968) and Hot Wheels Buick Rivieras

In the TV Series Kojak used a red, magnetically mounted Federal Signal Fireball rotating emergency light atop his unmarked police vehicle (a bronze 1973 Buick Century Regal 455), a model reproduced by Corgi.