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Battery-Operated Tin Toy: Taiyo Strip Blazer 1970 Camaro

Inside a clear acrylic display case on top of my model collection shelf is a battery-operated Bump ‘N Go race car. It’s roughly a 1:18 scale model of Malcolm Durham’s 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Funny Car dubbed as the “Strip Blazer VIII”. The tin toy was given to me by a good friend, Frank Koh, to augment my collection of Camaro memorabilia along with my actual 1:1 scale 1971 Camaro Rally Sport (RS).

The author and his 1971 Chevy Camaro RS in the late ’90s.

I learned that Malcolm Durham started his drag racing career in 1957 with a 1956 Chevy. After much success, he then raced a 1962 Impala 409, a 1963 Z-11 Impala 427 (Strip Blazer I), and a 1964 Chevelle (Strip Blazer II), which he updated into a Funny Car in 1965.

Strip Blazer I – 1963 Chevy Z-11 Impala with a 427 V8

Strip Blazer II – 1964 Chevy Chevelle with the Impala’s 427 V8

Strip Blazer IV – 1965 Chevy Corvair Monza Altered Wheelbase

In 1966, Durham raced a tube-frame Camaro with a 10-inch wheelbase extension and then added a supercharger in 1967. He raced a Camaro with a Logghe chassis Camaro (Strip Blazer VI) that clocked 7.5-second elapsed times in 1968 and broke the 200-mph barrier in 1969. The 1970 Camaro Z28 (Strip Blazer VIII) was powered by a supercharged 427 and was partly sponsored by Coca-Cola and AFB carburetors.

Strip Blazer VI – 1968 Chevy Camaro

Strip Blazer VIII – 1970 Chevy Camaro Z28 Funny Car

Malcolm Durham and his Strip Blazer VIII 1970 Camaro Funny Car (Photo courtesy of Malcolm Durham)

Our fully-operational battery-operated Strip Blazer tin toy was made by Taiyo in 1970. We can only guess that Taiyo just added the racing livery to their battery-operated 1970 Camaro Bump ‘N Go tin toy to imitate the colors of Malcolm Durham’s Strip Blazer Funny Car without adding wider wheels and drag slicks at the back and jacking up the rear to imitate the original car’s drag racing stance.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a pair of D-size batteries when we took these photos, but the lights at the back glass of our tin car still work and the car will move forward on a flat level surface, go in reverse and then turn when it hits an object, and stop if the metal “feeler” underneath the front bumper senses the edge of the surface.

Our Taiyo Strip Blazer is complete with all the glass; the “chrome” or polished tin trim around the windshield and back glass; the front bumper, grill and lights; rear bumper, tail lamps and panel, which was polished tin instead of body color. The wheels looked like they have hub caps with the incorrect 4-bolt lug nut arrangement instead of the 5 bolts of actual cars. The rubber tires are the same on all four corners.

The tin toy car has minimal scratches, some scuffing, and a few pitted areas but it still attracts attention when it is displayed. There was a time when I considered having this toy car repainted Hugger Orange with black stripes to match my actual Camaro, but when I learned that Malcolm Durham was one of the most successful African-American drag racer to compete in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and that he’s the 48th drag racer in the NHRA Hall of Fame, I opted to keep this car as it is. Unless, of course, I can find another nice Taiyo 1970 Camaro that needs a paint job…

To see other scale model cars and motorcycles that we have previously posted here in the Power Wheels website, please click “The Rack” button on the header bar near the top right of your screen (if you’re using a PC, laptop or tablet), or type “The Rack” on the Search bar (if you’re using a mobile phone). The Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (M-ECQ) is now being implemented by the government, but we’ll stick to reviewing the miniature cars and motorcycles from the safety of our home.  We encourage you, our dear readers, to stay safe and stay home when you have nothing important to do or go to outside your residence. Help flatten the curve of the infection rate and help avert a second wave of infection by doing your part. Together, we can beat COVID-19!