A few (several?) months ago AlienProbe sent me a message that he had found a couple of Darda cars, a Polizei Merc and an Audi Quatro, and would I be interested in trading for them. I said absolutely, but instead of trading right then and there, he spent the summer picking more of them up at garage and yard sales for me. Now here they are, in all their amazing pull-back glory!

A little bit of background for those of you who are newer around here. Darda tracks are basically really nice hot wheel tracks. The one I have from childhood is old enough that it was made in West Germany. Instead of being gravity powered, Darda made special cars with very strong pullback motors. The roughly 1:60 scale cars can supposedly travel at 30 mph (50 km/h).

My grandma found a Darda track at a high-end local shop when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, and bought it for me on a whim. I only ever got three Darda cars to go with my track, a silver Merc (same casting as the Polizei car here), a black open wheel race car, and a Nissan Z car done up in a Nissan racing livery. Even with just those three cars, it was still cool enough that I’ve been saving it for years for my children. One of these days I’ll bust it all out and show it to you, because its time is coming sooner than later.

This excellent little collection is twice as big as my childhood fleet, and what a collection it is! All but the open wheel car work. The Dardas are built so the pullback motors can be replaced. I haven’t tried to find a source for new motors yet, but hopefully the interwebs will provide. If not, about ten years ago I found a bunch of new Darda cars on clearance (at a local home and garden store of all places!), so I can cannibalize a couple of those if need be.

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First off is the Polizei Merc. I dig these pillarless coupes in 1:1, and I love this casting as well. The Polizei livery will make it a great companion to the silver version I have from childhood. Unfortunately it lost its rooftop gumball machine along the way, but it’s no less awesome for the loss.

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Here’s a wild one for you, an NYPD C4 Vette! This is a little worse for wear, it’s clearly been stepped on, the light bar is missing, as is the back glass. Still REEAAALLLLLY freaking cool!

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Holy schneikies, it’s KITT!!! A little beat up, bit it’s KITT! Need I say more?

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Who doesn’t love a good race car? Nobody I would associate with. This Audi Quatro looks the business. Don’t mess with this rally machine, or it will eat you!

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See? It’s drawn blood before.

Next we have a NASCAR Monte Carlo SS. If memory serves me, this was Denny Hamlin’s rookie car. This is the from the era where I first lost interest in NASCAR. That interest has never returned, but who cares, RACE CAR!

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Finally we have this lovely open-wheeled racer. This one is the least beat-up of them all, and it’s also the one that doesn’t work. I assume the pull-back motor broke early in it’s career, leading it to not get much playtime after that. One way or another, this one will get repowered.

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Not only did AlienProbe score those six fantastic cars, he scored me some more track! YUUSSSS!!!!!

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The old promotional literature is fun too. Think they’ll still honor the prices on that order form? From the tiny bit of research I did, I don’t think Darda has a US office at all anymore.

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But wait, there’s more! He also sent me a bunch of Micro Machines literature and whatnot. I still have these two collector books, but mine are beaten, tattered, faded, and falling apart. I had completely forgotten about the trading cards that went along with the books, those were loooooong gone from my collection. It’s really cool to have them back.

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KINJAAAAAAA!!!!!

Check out the collections on the back of these cards! The Back to the Future II card, I still have those cars. I’ll feature them on a Micro Monday one of these days. The free collectors poster the back of the card advertises? That hung on my bedroom wall for many years, but it’s lost to time as well.

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I’m quite certain I was a member of of Team Micro Machines, but I have no earthly idea what that got me.

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The HWEP is simply an incredible thing. I have received so many great things, so many diecasts that I never would’ve seen or touched were it not for the program. Things from all over the country and across the globe. This was one of the most exciting boxes I’ve opened in a long time. The memories that came flooding back, it was a real trip. The fact that AlienProbe went and bought all these, completely on spec and sight unseen by me, well it means a lot to me. Others have also found and traded/given me Dardas, and that means a lot to me too. They’re a weird little niche in diecast history, one that most people in the US never even saw. I can’t wait to share these Dardas with my daughters, and there is going to be a lot more great stuff in there because of you all. Thanks again everybody. And thanks again AlienProbe!