In 2015, Round 2 LLC secured the rights to produce this classic Racing Champions line of die-cast models from the 1990s. The Mint collection uses the original Racing Champions castings and we also mix in 1:64th-scale models from the Racing Champions Ertl “American Muscle” series. Round 2 selects the best vehicles from both lines to create a fresh, all-new Mint collection featuring the most accurate and exciting models from both brands.
After tremendous success in the early 1990s with licensed models of authentic contemporary and vintage stock cars, Racing Champions of Glen Ellyn, Illinois launched a line of showroom stock models. This new series appeared in 1996 and was called Racing Champions Mint. At the time, these replicas were the most detailed 1:64th-scale die-cast models available at mass market retailers in the United States.
Original marketing material proclaims that, “These unique limited production die cast collectables are 3.25 inch replicas of the original factory vehicles.” This generous size and a die-cast chassis give these models their characteristic heft. The company boasts that the Mint line is, “a distinctive collection of die cast collectables that chronicle America’s [automotive] accomplishments through the decades.”
The vast range of castings includes cars from each decade starting with the 1930s and continuing into the 1990s. Examples from the 1930s include elegant models from Cadillac and Duesenberg. The 1940s bring stylish cars from Lincoln and Buick and the 1950s feature the ever-popular Bel Air and Thunderbird. Staples from the 1960s include the Impala and Mustang while numerous circa 1970 muscle cars appear from Ford, General Motors, and Mopar.
In the 1980s, examples like the Bronco and Buick GNX appear and the 1990s include such classics as the Viper and Corvette. The line also features pickup trucks from several decades and quirky vehicles like the Pacer, Edsel, and Corvair. The sum of all these models is a deep and rich sampling of America’s automotive history. Although the Racing Champions brand continued to use the Mint castings in other assortments, the Mint name was dropped in the early 2000s.
Racing Champions Ertl
Racing Champions purchased the venerable Ertl Company in 1999, changing the company name to Racing Champions Ertl. For several years Ertl had been producing 1:18th-scale die-cast models and had built a loyal following for the “American Muscle” name. By 2000, Racing Champions Ertl introduced a new selection of high-detail 1:64th-scale models under the Ertl American Muscle brand name. These cars featured opening hoods and most also had an opening trunk. The artfully rendered plastic chassis featured separate parts for the suspension and exhaust. Often, headlight and taillight lens were molded separately in transparent plastic. All of these details brought the cars to a new level of authenticity and accuracy not seen before in such a small scale. These miniatures were only available for a few years and were often difficult to find when new.
Round 2 reintroduced these amazing 1:64th-scale American Muscle models alongside the original Racing Champions Mint cars and trucks in early 2016. This extensive collection of castings allows the new Mint collection to offer a formidable selection of classic and hard to find American cars.
All models are produced from the original Racing Champions Mint or American Muscle molds under license from TOMY International. And Round 2 releases them in new factory-correct colors with more painted details for additional authenticity. For many collectors these will be all-new models. Others will remember the thrill of finding these high-detail miniatures in stores 20 years ago.
“From this immense casting bank the Racing Champions design team and I have done our research and picked only the most exciting cars and trucks to offer our fellow enthusiasts,” says Tom Lowe, president and founder of Round 2. He adds, “These classics truly are timeless and the Mint series of vehicles includes only the best of the best!”