If you like fuel altereds then you truly ought to give thanks to
Precision Miniature for putting these two models into production.
It is very simple, you can now buy in 1/18 scale the two most famous fuel altereds that ever ran and even if they never produce anything else they have justified their existence.
Oh dear, which one to mention first, Pure Hell was the best performing hot rod the world ever saw, Winged Express (in conjunction with its driver) has always been the stuff of legend. Ok, the Winged Express model arrived first so here goes...
In the days when popularity was sometimes equated with amount of chrome on your machine, and choosing to use front wheels that were more familiar on full-bodied cars, the "Winged Express" had, dare I say it, a slightly heavy and agricultural look about it compared to the other top ranking altereds. If that meant it was a little heavier and a little stronger then perhaps it was not such a bad idea. The handling, ah yes the handling, the best thing to say is that it was matched with one William Borsch who could handle it, but man it sometimes did appear to be a close contest. I never did get to meet "The Wildman", one of my big regrets, though like many others I have seen Mousie Marcellus and stood close to Borsch's mortal remains. When people think of a favourite Winged Express pose it is common to have the "in your face" photo described, though for me it has to be the Steve Reyes' top end shot that I have traditionally used on my videotape flyers.
As for Pure Hell, which I've personally seen more often at the nostalgia meets (and also had the dubious experience of having been sat on by Richard Guasco), it just looked the part. It has always had a "heads up stance" that was more reminiscent of a gasser (with that amount of power in that short a wheelbase it is running a real risk of sudden weight transfer), even in its more modern form. Always highly polished (more chrome in the later years) and with the traditional twelve spokes I have always thought of this car as THE fuel altered. Very sadly the nostalgia car was very badly damaged a few years ago when towing and this must have been a real blow to Richard Guasco who shortly afterwards provided the drivetrain for a rather weird Corvette(?) bodied flopper that did not amount to all that much. More recently the altered has been restored (don't ask if it is race repaired) and has gone into a museum.
As for the models, to start with the boxes have great photos on them, the models have fantastic detailing, right down to the engraved name rocker covers, ready scuffed slicks, cockpit detail with guages, pedals, individual buckles, fabric parachute packs and full fuel hoses and wiring. If there is a weak point I might say that having the lines without wire cores makes it difficult to position the wiring exactly where you want, but that is being picky. In appearance the Winged Express is closer to the current look of the nostalgia racer, the difference in the fuel tanks is a give-away in this respect for Pure Hell.
I would imagine that most of the people reading this will already be among the converted but if, just by some incredible chance you do not understand, then please (if you have an open mind) take a look at "the crowd went ape-shit" (page previously stored at http://www.nitronic.com/research6/borsch.html), which does it's best to explain. If you understand what I'm on about then wait till the house is clear, line the two up on the table, engage your imagination and go ape-shit, you have my permission.
£ 89-99 each, inclusive of postage to UK addresses.
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