Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

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twan55
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Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:58 pm

I would like to purchase a couple brand new (yet almost 50 years old) Mebetoys cars. The only problem is that they have the hideous "Fast Wheels"-type wheels on them. I'd like to swap out the tires/wheels to some that are beautiful as opposed to ugly. How hard is this to do? Do any of you do this to vintage cars regularly? I've read about a person on here swapping out one wheel set for another and it was beautiful to see. Any experience doing this to cars that are half a century old? And if so, any tips?

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Tom
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Tom » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:53 am

It depends on how the models are put together. Some are riveted, so it's a question of drilling the rivets out and afterwards glueing the model back together as well as possible. If they're held together with screws or clamped (usually with the bumpers holding the base on) it's a lot easier. You'll have to source appropriate wheels and axles and perhaps have to modify the base to accept a thicker axle. Personally I hate taking apart riveted models- it can be tough to get them back together properly.

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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby GBOAC002 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:15 am

I have only done a wheel change on two Politoys Lamborghini Jaramas (both purchased in the late 1980s) which from memory only came with horrible one piece plastic 'whizz' wheels.

In Europe as far as I'm aware the Politoys Jarama was only available in Red with matt black bonnet and boot, or silver with similar matt black bonnet and boot. That Politoys didn't make a decent job of the Jarama like they did for their other Lambo 'Export' Series cars was a shame. I blame the acquisition of the Italian company by Mattel/Hotwheels for the 'dumbing down' and cheapening process which was partly driven by fashions of the day when whizz wheels were all the rage on 'toy' cars.

Proper moulded metal wheel rubber tyres for this 'orphan' came from chipped and beaten up Lamborghini Export Series I Espada and Miura sourced from Toy fairs for a very low price.

As Politoys and Mebetoys of the period cars mostly had screw on bases it was relatively easy to take them apart to make the swap. I vaguely recall buying the correct gauge metal rod, cutting it to the right length and then 'burring' the ends over. Unlike Dinky and Corgi which had thick axles the Politoys cars had much thinner axles.

The wheel swap made for a complete transformation. Somewhere I have digital pics of the pair of Jaramas with their new wheels.If I can locate my old pic I'll post it here. I may be gone some time....
Image
Silver car shows original whizz wheels. Red car has the new Lambo wheels.
Last edited by GBOAC002 on Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Jager
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Jager » Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:52 am

What is the specific Mebetoys model ? Many of the cars that ended up with 'wizz wheels' were earlier produced with cast wheels, so you may be able to simply swap base plates / chassis if it existed as an earlier standard wheel model.
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

twan55
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:18 pm

Jager wrote:What is the specific Mebetoys model ? Many of the cars that ended up with 'wizz wheels' were earlier produced with cast wheels, so you may be able to simply swap base plates / chassis if it existed as an earlier standard wheel model.


That's exactly what I'm doing: swapping out the FastWheels on a Mebetoys Alfa Romeo Duetto for normal, nice looking wheels from the exact same model (a junked one that I bought for 25 Euros solely for that purpose).

I am NOT AT ALL good with fixing/repairing/doing anything that requires use of my hands and/or brain (neither of which are in any way competent). I'm guessing I'm going to have my father-in-law do it- since he is literally the opposite of me when it comes to working with his hands (he was a jeweler who made, soldered, welded and repaired jewelry for over 50 years).

Do you mind if I ask you one more question? I just received a Politoys Iso Grifo, the back window of which is cracked. I would like to replace it some time as well. Can this be done? If so, are windows more difficult because they're glued in or whatever? I'm trying to ascertain whether or not I should also buy a junked on of these, solely for replacing-the-window purposes...

Here's a picture of the type of car, just so you can see what I'd be dealing with:

Image

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Tom
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Tom » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:25 pm

I haven't seen many vintage models with the windows glued in. They are usually a press fit or located by a pin. If you disassemble the model, you'll see it yourself...
You might even be able to find repro windows for this model.

twan55
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Tom wrote:I haven't seen many vintage models with the windows glued in. They are usually a press fit or located by a pin. If you disassemble the model, you'll see it yourself...
You might even be able to find repro windows for this model.


Just checked, and you're right- the windows are not glued in. It looks like it would be an easy repair...

Repro windows? That would exactly fit my 50-year-old 1:43 scale Politoys car? Wow- didn't know there was even a market for such a thing...

Where would I look?

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Tom
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Tom » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:21 pm

Google, ebay... there is a repro industry for vintage diecast parts, not sure if Politoys is popular enough.

twan55
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Sun May 01, 2016 1:24 pm

I have another "swap out" question:

How hard/easy/possible is it to swap out (and find) wheels for vintage Politoys and/or Mebetoys cars that never did have normal (i.e., non-"Fast") wheels? For example, I'd love to change the wheels of this car:

Image

...from the hideous ones it currently spouts to nice ones- but in this case I'd have to find- and hope they fit- suitable replacement wheels. What's the formula? I'm guessing; measure out the FastWheel and get the dimensions (tire size, axle size etc.) and then try and find replicants, with the only problem being I'd be ordering the (replacement-part vintage) car without being able to actually measure anything. I guess it'd be a matter of simply trying to approximate/hazard a guess as to what I'd need and hope I was right...

Suggestions?
Last edited by twan55 on Sun May 01, 2016 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Tom » Sun May 01, 2016 1:35 pm

I've tried some searches in English and Italian and found nothing of use. However, this is my source for spares for anything vintage diecast: https://www.modelcarparts.com/categorie/parts

It helps that he has a booth at our local diecast swapmeet, but he ships anywhere. Also, I tend to buy wrecks for parts at said swapmeet as an EUR 1 wreck often gives me spares for a couple of projects.

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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby GBOAC002 » Mon May 02, 2016 9:54 am

I agree with Tom about trawling the toy fairs for wrecks. I needed a front seat back for an otherwise pristine Dinky Toys Monteverdi. I found a chipped and generally battered one which had a spotless interior at a toy fair. I offered the seller Fifty pence or one pound for having explained why I need the model. He was happy to shift unsaleable stock.

In the absence of toy fairs (as you are in the US) check out ebay for the right model and scale and you may be able to pick up what you need. Sometimes other Citroen models will have wheels that fit the Dyane. 2CV for instance. As you know companies like Norev, Dinky, Corgi, Mebetoys, Politoys, Solido all did diecast metal models which might have had metal wheels and rubber tyres. Better still if they are 'playworn' and chipped to become cheap donor for the necessary bits.

twan55
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Fri May 13, 2016 10:22 pm

GBOAC002 wrote:I have only done a wheel change on two Politoys Lamborghini Jaramas (both purchased in the late 1980s) which from memory only came with horrible one piece plastic 'whizz' wheels. As Politoys and Mebetoys of the period cars mostly had screw on bases it was relatively easy to take them apart to make the swap. I vaguely recall buying the correct gauge metal rod, cutting it to the right length and then 'burring' the ends over. Unlike Dinky and Corgi which had thick axles the Politoys cars had much thinner axles. The wheel swap made for a complete transformation.


What do you do if the car is fastened together not by a normal screw? Like:

Image

Then what do you do? Can one unfasten the bottom of a car where the screw (or screws) that holds it together has no thread?

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Jager
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Jager » Sat May 14, 2016 2:45 am

Twan, these are not screws, they are rivet heads from stalks attached to the upper body of the car.

Google "Removing rivets from Dinky/Corgi/Matchbox' cars and you should find numerous threads with tips & advice. Here's one to get you started.

http://www.thedinkygarage.co.uk/thedink ... plate.html

Basically you use a drill to remove the rivet head. Unfortunately that usually means you can't re-attach the base the same way, so you to drill through the centre of the rivet/stalk so it can take screw, or use super glue.

Good luck.
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

GBOAC002
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby GBOAC002 » Sat May 14, 2016 4:35 am

Those look like cast wheels anyway with plenty of clearance to pull straight off without removing baseplate. I would say finding replacement wheels with equally narrow holes to fit existing axle is the bigger problem. You might need to pack out the width difference between chassis and new wheels with metal washers which is a real fiddly job!

Carefully drilling out the rivets with a Dremel modellers drill and then drilling new holes into the support posts to take self tapping screws is the method I would use if wheels can't be pulled straight off.

twan55
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby twan55 » Sat May 14, 2016 5:01 pm

Thanks guys. Just FYI: the pic I included in my last post was not of the car whose wheels I am seeking to replace. The reason why I posted it is simply because it was a picture of a car which happened to have the same bottom attachment (what I've been told is a "rivet'). Here is the actual car I bought (and whose wheels I hope to one day replace)- it's the one on the bottom right (the A70):

Image

Thinking about rolling the dice and getting this one (and doing the same thing) as well:

Image

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Jager
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Re: Swapping out "FastWheels" on vintage die cast cars...

Postby Jager » Sun May 15, 2016 1:12 am

It's probably a good idea to buy a playworn wreck (or 2) off eBay and experiment with these first before attempting anything on the mint example.
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen


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