Tag Archives: Buick Riviera

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.

Monthly Acquisitions November 2019

Monthly Acquisitions November 2019
November 2019 acquisitions

28 more models entered my collection in November, a few left in the direction of Kakha, but it was still a large haul…so much for going on a diecast diet!

It was the second month of the year, where I went over twice my nominative budget of 100 lari (the other was April). The grand total was 210.70 lari ($70.94), most of this was from just three models which cost me 140 lari ($47.14).

Monthly Acquisitions November 2019 big expense
Soviet Made GAZ M_13 “Chaika”, Saviem Car Transporter (Majorette) and Dinky Austin a40 Van

The most expensive was the GAZ M_13 “Chaika” (1:43 scale), this was made in the USSR and cost me 60 lari ($20.20). This was from Gocha’s stall at Dry Bridge market. Other stalls were selling the same model at 150 lari ($50.51)! So I kinda got a bargain! This is a nice addition to my Soviet-made models of Soviet cars, most of which are in the same 1:43 scale. I have seen recently some models of Soviet cars made in China, these don’t really interest me and seem a little overpriced (at 25 lari a piece).

The Austin A40 Van (Dinky) I looked at in a previous post (Dinky Austin A40 Van from the late fifties.) It is the oldest model in my collection. It cost 40 lari ($13.47) also from Gocha.

Gocha also pulled out the Saviem Car Transporter (Majorette) from his car, he is learning what I like. This 1:60 scale transporter looks good with the 1:64 scale cars I like to collect. This was also 40 lari.

Hot Wheels

Monthly Acquisitions November 2019 HW
11 Hot Wheels

There were 11 Hot Wheels models added.

  1. Tesla Roadster with Starman. This was the only Hot Wheels model I bought new. I’m not a big fan of  Tesla but I like models related to space travel.
  2. Jaguar XJ220. This came from Kakha in a trade with some other models.
  3. Nissan GT-R (R35). This I found in a secondhand store.
  4. BMW 2002. This is a great casting of an early seventies BMW.
  5. Boom Box. This has a plastic body, I was hoping it would be a Color Shifter, but it isn’t. It is from a Batman pack and has the livery of the Gotham City Police Department.
  6. Z-Whiz (Datsun 240Z). I was very happy to find this even in this highly play worn condition. The Z-Whiz was the first Japanese Import to be made into a casting in Hot Wheels history. This model is from the late seventies. The green-tinted windows seem unusual, the pictures I have seen have been of blue-tinted windows. Made in Hong Kong.

    Z-Whiz, playworn but historically interesting as the first Japanese import modelled by Hot Wheels
  7. 1985 Honda CR-X. Another one for my JDM collection.
  8. The Jetsons Capsule car. Inspired by the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon.
  9. 10 and 11. 2011 Dodge Charger R/T. This was bizarre. I found these Color Shifter models in the secondhand shop, I could only find this model, not any other ones. Hot Wheels make several Color Shifters that change colour with changing temperature. This Dodge is orange when cold and yellow when hot.

    Color Shifters Hot Wheels Chry
    yellow when hot, orange when cold, 2011 Dodge Charger R/T


Monthly Acquisitions November 2019 MBX
6 Matchbox models

Nothing very old here. Certainly nothing from the early seventies or before. No Lesneys.

  1. 1968 Lamborghini Miura P-400. A recent casting of the classic Miura in almost the same colour as the early Superfast model. Made in Thailand.
  2. 1969 VW Karmann Ghia. Another recent casting of a classic VW. Made in Thailand.
  3. Ford Model A Coupe. 1:52 scale. From the early 1990s. Made in Thailand.
  4. Lamborghini Countach LP500s. Matchbox International Limited. Made in China.
  5. 2000 Chevrolet Corvette. Made in Thailand.
  6. White Water Raft Boat. Made in Thailand. This boat is missing the trailer it originally would have come with.

Other Brands

I found quite a selection of models from different brands this month.

Monthly Acquisitions November 2019 Other brands
11 Models from other brands

  1. 1960 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon (Johnny Lightning/Playing Mantis). 1:64 scale. I come across very few of this brand here in Georgia (the country not the state). In the US the brand sells for about three times the price of Hot Wheels, the models have more details, they also have a metal base and body and rubberised tyres.
  2. 1972 Buick Riviera (Johnny Lightning/Playing Mantis). This model has an opening bonnet (hood).

    Monthly Acquisitions November 2019 Johnny Lightning
    Johnny Lightning Buick Riviera and Ford Country Squire
  3. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (Jada). Some fancy wheels on this model.
  4. Lamborghini Countach (Maisto). I find it difficult to resist any Countach or Miura, both are such iconic Lamborghinis.
  5. GAZ M 13 “Chaika” Made in USSR. 1:43 scale.
  6. Mcdonalds Flintstones vehicles x 2. These aren’t diecast. I loved Hanna-Barbera Cartoons as a kid, especially The Flintstones, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and Tom and Jerry.
  7. Shell Tanker (Corgi). Made in China.
  8. Austin A40 Van (Dinky). The oldest vehicle in my collection to date. Made in England.
  9. Saviem Car Transporter (Majorette). 1:60 scale. Made in France.
  10. Porsche 911 GT3RS (Majorette). Opening doors. Made in Thailand.


Totals: 28 Models:  11 Hot Wheels, 6 Matchbox, 2 Johnny Lightning, 1 Jada, 1 Maisto, 1 Corgi, 1 Dinky, 2 Majorette, 1 made in USSR and 2 McDonald’s Toys

2 bought new,  23 bought secondhand, 3 traded

Outlets: 20 Secondhand Toy Stores,  3 Dry Bridge Market, 1 Pepela, 1 XS Toys and 3 Kakha

Net expenditure: 210.70 lari ($70.94)

1 lari = 34 US cents

Monthly Acquisitions: December 2017

December’s haul

18 models added this month. Most were secondhand as there are still few new models hitting the pegs in Tbilisi Toy Shops. I kept within budget (100 lari) for the sixth month in succession.

6 Matchbox models

Matchbox is my favourite brand. I found a new Toyota Land Cruiser in Pepela, where most of the models I find are the uninteresting unlicensed fare.

  1. Street Rod (Matchbox “Speed Kings”) (1:45 scale). A model from the Lesney era, only my second Speed Kings model. This came from Dry Bridge Market.
  2. Hovercraft (2002). This model is missing its cannon. It doesn’t float, it has small wheels poking through the cushion base.
  3. Pontiac Firebird (1:64 scale) from the Matchbox International (between Lesney and Mattel eras) era. I only got this because it was Matchbox.
  4. Land Rover Discovery, (1:60 scale) I can’t resist Matchbox Land Rovers.
  5. Cadillac Escalade.(1:68 scale) I have a variety of miniature 4 x 4s, I like to take photos of them outside in nature. It has Green Lantern tampos.
  6. Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 (1:58 scale). A third Matchbox 4 x 4 and one of only two models I bought new this month.

6 Hot Wheels Models

No new Hot Wheels in the shops, I found these in the secondhand toy shops near Tbilisi Central Station.

  1.  Mad Manga. I don’t usually collect cars which are conjured out of the imagination of a Hot Wheels’ Designer, but here I make an exception. Mad Manga designed by Jun Imai, is a crazy looking car in the Japanese Bosozoku style.
  2.  ’64 Buick Riviera. This was my favourite find of the month, I love the style and it looks great in metallic green.
  3. Jaguar XJ 220. I can’t resist Jaguars. This was a phenomenal supercar in its day (the early nineties). The XJ220 officially recorded a top speed of 212.3 mph (341.7 km/h) during testing by Jaguar.
  4. 72 Ford Gran Torino Sport. I have this casting in metallic green from the Fast & Furious series. Now I have one loose from its packaging.
  5. Porsche 911 GT2 Cup. This Porsche is missing its rear spoiler. I must have around 50 models of the 911 in various guises. Usually, if I  draw a car it is a 911, it is such an iconic design.
  6. Cadillac Eldorado Convertible. This is a long car, the model is longer than Matchbox’s Cadillac One.

Cadillac Eldorado Convertible and one (2)
Cadillac One and Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

The 6 other models I found were more varied than the Hot Wheels/Matchbox selection.

Other Brands

A few trucks here.

  1. A Racing Semi Tractor Cab has no brand marked on the base, it fits well with the Trailer without a truck I found last month.

    Matchbox Trailer and cab 2
    Semi Tractor and Trailer


  2. I also found a Hubley Semi Tractor Cab. Hubley is an American brand, one of the few models I have which is actually made in the USA. The model may be from the sixties, it is quite weighty, I’m not familiar with the brand.
  3. A Maisto Delivery Van.
  4. A Husky ERF 66 CX Cement Mixer. it is always a pleasant surprise to find Huskies here. These were small scale models made by Corgi exclusively for Woolworths in UK from 1965 to 1970. By 1970 the exclusive marketing contract with Woolworth had come to an end and  the series was re-launched as Corgi Juniors.
  5. Majorette Mercedes Benz Zetros Fire Tender. This model I bought new from XS Toys, which have a big display of Majorette models (but the selection is frustratingly limited).
  6. The tiny green Zaporozhets model is in plastic but there is some kind of mechanism in the base as though it was part of some mechanised track set. I found it loose at Dry Bridge Market.


  1. Totals: 16 Models: 6 Matchbox, 6 Hot Wheels , 1 Majorette, 1 Hubley, 1 Husky, 1 Maisto and 2 brand unidentified Made in China2 bought new, 16 bought secondhand

    Outlets: 11  secondhand toy store, 1 Pepela, 1 XS Toys, 1 Clothing Market, 2 Dry Bridge Market ( 1 Gocha, 1 other), 1 Technical University Metro and 1 cheap secondhand toy store

    Total cost 73.56 lari ($28.51)

Highlights 2017

My diecast model car collecting continues unabated, when I counted (Counting the collection) I was surprised to find I had over 1000 models. Each month brought in around 15 -20  new models. Here are the highlights.

Best of 2017
Highlights of 2017

The biggest highlight came at the end of January, when I finally found a Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt on the pegs of Smart in the shape of Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine. I wrote about the find in my previous diecast blog: Super Treasure Hunt found

Mystery Machine Super TH
Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine (Super Treasure Hunt)

February’s haul was less exciting but included a Kinsmart 1967 VW Beetle which reminded me of the much earlier Dinky Beetle, I wanted as a kid.

Best of 2017 blue
Kinsmart VW Beetle (February) and Tomica 6 wheeled Tyrell Ford (November)

March saw just eight models added to the collection but any one of them could have been the highlight. Monthly Acquisitions March 2017

I chose the Corgi Routemaster Bus because it comes with a strong frisson of nostalgia for  the brand (Corgi), the model itself and the associations with London, the city of my birth.

Best of 2017 Corgi
Corgi Highlights: London Routemaster Bus (March), Kojak’s Buick (October) and BMC Mini Cooper (September)

In April, I finally found a black Hot Wheels VW Kafer Racer, which I’d been searching for so long, I also found the red version in June and I’m now looking out for the new blue version.

Best of 2017 Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels Highlights: ’64 Buick Riviera, VW Kafer Racers (red and black) and the Mystery Machine

In May, I was directed from the secondhand toy store to a basement near the train station, where I found a treasure trove of old diecasts. The highlight for me was finding a Matchbox GMC Tipper Truck with regular wheels. This model also has that frisson of nostalgia, it was the model from which I learnt how to find the engine of a big truck (by tipping the cab).

Best of 2017 Matchbox
Matchbox Highlights : GMC Tipper Truck, VW 1600TL (July) and Vauxhall Guildsman (August)

In June, I received a package from my friend Viljar, who lives in Estonia. The package contained amongst other models a Matchbox VW 1600TL. In August, at Dry Bridge Market, I found a Bulgarian made Vauxhall Guildsman in a blue, which I much prefer to the original Lesney pink. In September I was selling at Drybridge Market (Selling)

but despite selling over 60 models, I still walked away with three including a Corgi BMC Mini Cooper. Monthly Acquistions September 2017

There have been few new models in the shops since April, so most of my finds have been secondhand models found at Dry Bridge Market or the secondhand shops around the Central Station. Of the highlighted models, only the VW Kafer Racers and the Mystery Machine were bought new.

The Corgi Juniors Kojak’s Buick and the Tomica Tyrell Ford both came from Dry Bridge Market.

Finally in December, my favourite is the ’64 Buick Riviera (Hot Wheels), which I found in the secondhand toy store.

Last year the highlight was a boxed Corgi Citroen SM. Highlights 2016

Citroen SM Corgi
Citroen SM (Corgi)

What will 2018 bring, I wonder…









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. 

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.

’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.

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.


A “Typical” haul from the Secondhand Toy Store

Today (December 2), I visited the secondhand toy store near the central station in Tbilisi and found amongst their new stock, five I was happy to buy for three lari a piece ($1.11). There were no older Matchbox cars  from the seventies to get me really excited, these didn’t have much of that frisson of nostalgia that drives my collecting but they are still welcome additions to the ever growing collection.

a typical haul

  1. Hot Wheels ’64 Buick Riviera…my favourite of the bunch, I love the style and the metallic green paintwork. I was also born in 1964 and the Buick Riviera was in my Ladybird Book of Motor Cars (1968), a cherished book as a child. I have another version of this casting somewhere. American Cars: Buick

2. Matchbox Land Rover Discovery…I will always pick up Matchbox Land Rovers at this price. The Land Rover is such an iconic vehicle. I also like to take pictures of 4 x 4 s in nature. I expect to take this Land Rover with me on a trip sometime.3. Hot Wheels ’72 Ford Gran Torino Sport, like the Riviera another US muscle car, whose style I really like. It looks good in the blue with white stripes.
4. Mad Manga (Hot Wheels), a crazy looking fantasy model in the Japanese Bouzouki Style, the model looks to have drawn inspiration from a ’73 Skyline. I have two other variations on this casting. I posted about this in an older blog: Mad Manga
5. Pontiac Firebird Ramair (Matchbox)…This I got because it is Matchbox, if it were any other brand I’d have probably left it, the least interesting of the haul for me .  I left behind a Maisto Dodge Viper and a Hot Wheels chromed Pontiac Firebird…and numerous other vehicles I forget.