Speed Racer Mach 5

David Graves is back tonight with another terrific die cast car review - this time it's the Mach 5, from Speed Racer.  Take it away, David!

As a kid, growing up, I always loved the cars from movies and television. One car in particular always stood out to me because of its unique shape, and all of its cool features. I remember drawing it in my school notebooks, and dreaming how cool it would be to own a real car like this. 

Well, I never did get the real car but ERTL gave me the next best thing. The 1:18 scale Mach 5 is without question the best Mach 5 ever to be released so far. Thereís so many extras and goodies on it, itís enough to make your head spin. 

Packaging - **
Iím not a real fan of packaging. I just see it as a barrier between me and whatever is in it. The packaging for the Mach 5 (sorry no pics) is very plain, with a picture of speed on the outside. But the window is big enough to see what it is you are buying, so it does its job.

Sculpting - ****
Where to start? Itís about the most perfect rendition of the Mach 5 ever made. Itís everything a collector could ever ask for. Made from die-cast metal, from the front of its pointed M to the back of its fins, to the rubber tires, this car is perfect. It even has the clear plastic headlights with a small yellow painted light inside.

Paint - ****
The huge M on the front had no flaws on it. The 5ís on the side as well were flawless. There was no chipping on any of the white paint. The motor is all one color (not sure what it looked like in the show, since I donít think Iíve ever seen it). The interior is red, with black dials. If I had to nit-pick on anything, it would be that they could have colored and labeled the buttons on the steering wheel instead of making it just solid chrome, but that is a very big nit-pick.

Features - ****
This is where this car shines. Doors, trunk, hatch in hood, periscope, hood, blades, and hydraulic Ďjumpersí are all movable. By a small lever on the bottom of the car, you can push in or out the saw blades, which extend, and then retract nicely. Both saw blades can be spun individually as well. The trunk is empty (you will need room for Chim-Chim, and Spritle of course). If there was any flaw that I could find, it would be with the Ďjumpersí underneath the car. They are made out of very thin plastic, and are not strong enough to hold up the car itself. At least, mine were not. However, I never planned on displaying the car like this, so it never bothered me. Also the hood is too heavy to stay open by itself. The messenger bird inside the hood isnít removable, but still, a nice touch to know itís in there.

Accessories - **
Only one thing to speak of really. It comes with a small plastic non-articulated Chim-Chim (sorry I couldnít find the monkey to take a picture) Of course I didnít buy the Mach 5 for the small plastic monkey, but itís nice for them to throw him in. If I had to nit-pick about something I wish it would have come with, it would be the Ďbubble topí that is used when they went underwater. That would have been a nice touch.

Fun Factor - ***
Well, Iím not taking it out into the backyard to play with it in the mud anytime soon, and with the price tag around $30 I really wouldnít give it to kids to play with. But itís still fun to take it down from the shelf, and always give it a good long look. It rolls very nicely, and if you have the money to give it to a kid, Iím sure theyíd love it (and also break it very quickly).

Value -  ***
How do you put a value on a childhood memory like this? The Mach 5 has been out for awhile now, so thereís not telling how much you will have to pay. I did look it up on eBay to see how much they are selling it for, and it ranges anywhere from $24.95 - $39.99. It just depends on how bad you really want it. Even at $40 itís a very good buy for a car that offers so much.

Things to watch out for - 
The saw blades are a little fragile, so you might want to use them with care. Also, the Ďjumpersí are thin, and could be broken easily. Other than that, the casing is built like a rock.

Overall - ****
If there is anyone out there who has a childhood fascination with this car, the ERTL MACH 5 isnít to be missed. Itís about the most perfect Mach 5 ever to be made. 

Packaging - **
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Feature - ****
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - ****


Figure from the collection of David Graves.

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