[Long backstory]

If I had to pick a favorite diecast from my vast collection of liberated cars, freed of their packaging, then this M2 Machines, Detroit-Muscle Release 04, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona Hemi is the clear winner. I originally found it in Spring 2012 at a TJ-Maxx where someone had already opened its clam-shell packaging,one end of its iconic rear wing popped out of its rear fender. For a nice discount, I took it home and repaired the damage within seconds.

Release 04 of M2's Detroit-Muscle series was not well-met; M2 tried experimenting with their product line by giving classic American muscle a more pro-mod look with larger wheels and wider tires. This is only one of two Detroit-Muscle release that featured them. The pro-mod look was taken over by their more affordable M2 Drivers line. An important note is the headlights on this Daytona: only Release 04 Daytonas have their headlights up, no other releases have this rare feature.

However, this was my first non-Mint M2, so instead of being kept in a dark closet with the rest of my collection, it traveled with me to college at USC. There it received a M2 Auto-Case (M2's clam-shell packages didn’t come with them to keep initial costs down) and resided with a few other finds I picked up during my freshman and sophomore years.

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It had the honor of getting its picture taken while resting on top of my 16th-floor window at Capstone, one of the tallest buildings in the City of Columbia.

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Yes, the window rotates 90 degrees open, making the vertical glass perfectly horizontal. A previous student broke the metal stops that were to prevent the window from full opening.

Eventually, it was joined by a notable M2 Mopar, a ‘69 Plymouth Road Runner from Detroit-Muscle Release 03. R03 was a popularity failure for M2. They wanted to be able to showcase their excellent engine detailing so they permanently elevated the hoods using 4 metal columns. This feature returned for one last hooray in Detroit-Cruiser Release 01 and disappeared since then.

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A special note for this Road Runner, it features 1969 Code-W23 wheels originally produced by Kelsey-Hayes. These wheels a rare for an infamous reason...they were known for premature failure and were recalled as soon as they arrived. An original set from a ‘69 Charger Daytona was sold on eBay for about 5,000$.

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As time passed, M2 Machines continued to produce more Daytonas but only one caught my eye, Release 17's. Finished in a beautiful shade of “Blue Fire Metallic” over a white interior and stripe, it was a beautiful diecast rolling on Magnum 500 wheels. There were only two downsides to this diecast; it wasn’t a Hemi and it didn’t have the headlights up.

None the less, I bought one anyway. This one was liberated instantly and I undertook my first M2 Machines swap. I had practiced before, taking apart my own Daytona and putting it back together, so this was an absolute breeze. The Daytonas traded wheels and interiors, giving mine the white interior it deserved from the beginning along with some period-correct. The whole procedure lasted maybe 10 minutes, mostly due to me spending time taking pictures. The only telltale sign that my car was originally blue inside is the plastic blue tab that hold the front axle in place and vice-versa for the Fire Blue Metallic Daytona.

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Needless to say, I was pleased with the end result.

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I eventually found a way to offload the less-desirable Fire Blue Metallic Daytona to recoup the costs for buying it for this swap. I’m sure someone out there has it right now, thinking it’s a rare chase car or an error. However, while my Daytona looked better with a white interior, it still felt...incomplete. Thus, we return to the Road Runner and it’s “recall” W23 wheels. A few minutes later, I swapped wheels but allowed the Road Runner to retain its red-lined tires as the white-lined variant didn’t look all that visually-appealing.

However, after putting it back into its protective case, I noticed something...the case was stuck. After trying to pull as hard as I wanted to without risking any damage to both the case and car, I gave up.

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There’re cracks and fractures forming at the corners of the clear case, I must’ve accidentally pushed it down too hard.

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In a incredible twist of irony, one of the few diecasts I enjoyed having liberated was now un-liberated, stuck inside its protective casing.