James Bond & Johnny Lightning
Johnny Lightning and White Lightning were trademarks for the American based Playing Mantis , but nowadays they are a part of RC2, known for Racing Champions. The brand already existed in the sixties, but the success was poor. In 1970 and 1971 they start producing and selling model race cars and the selling figures went straight up. They sold their models as "The fastest toy cars in the world". In 1971 the company director was accused for fraud, but later the accusation was cancelled. At that moment the company was already bankrupt. In 1994 the brand name was bought and again they started producing model cars. Today the models are most wanted, especially in the United States where they have lots of collector clubs. Johnny Lightning produces highly detailed model cars on a scale of 1:64, some are TV and film related such as, “Herbie”, “Ghostbusters”, “James Bond”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. In 1998 they start working together with EON, the producer of the James Bond franchise and with Inkworks, an American based manufacturer of trading cards. Together they produced a whole series of James Bond model cars from "Dr. No" until "Die Another Day". The first ten models saw the living daylights in 1998. Each model was accompanied by a trading card with a scene related to the model car. The cards came in landscape model. For each car they produced five different cards, so for the collector there were fifty cards to collect. The ten model cars were reproduced by Corgi, including the cards were the brand name "Johnny Lightning" was replaced with "Corgi". For the rest the cards were identical.
This first series of "Cars & Cards" was related to the following James Bond movies: "Dr. No”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “You Only Live Twice”, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “Diamonds Are Forever”, “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “For Your Eyes Only”, The Living Daylights” and “GoldenEye”. The cards are numbered from #1 to #50, on each card reverse there is a checklist.
The same year a model race car was issued, the relation to James Bond was the following:The car body was black, except for the hood showing a picture of Sean Connery and on the doorside of the car the name "Goldfinger" was printed in gold paint. Inside the packaging there was a trading card.
Two years later they released a new series with only six model cars, the trading card returned and there were also five cards to collect for each car. So there are thirty cards to collect. This time the cards were printed in portrait format. The numbering followed the previous released cards and started from #51 until #80. One mistake slept into card #68 showing a scéne from the movie "For Your Eyes Only", that should be a scéne from "A View To A Kill”.
The sceond series of "Cars & Cards" was related to the following James Bond movies: "Dr. No”, “Goldfinger”, “Thunderball”, “A View To A Kill”, “GoldenEye” and “The World Is Not Enough”. Tthe cards are numbered from #51 to #80, on each card reverse there is a checklist.
The following year in 2001 a third series was released with again six model cars. Inside each packaging there was a trading card. This time the card showed the official movie poster. Lucky for the collector that they only produced one card for each car.
Also that year a miniature diorama was released, the diorama was related to the third James Bond movie "Goldfinger". Inside the packaging there were two model cars and three figurines: James Bond, Oddjob en Tilly Masterson.
In 2002 James Bond celebrated his 40th anniversary, for that special event they released two dioramas.The first one showing a scéne from "Live And Let Die". It's the boat scéne where the speed boat crashes into Sheriff J.W. Peppers police car. Inside the packaging you can find a speedboat, a model car and two figurines. The second second set has two cars an three figurines; "Q" and two times "James Bond".
With two miniature dioramas it wasn't finished for 2002, short after the diorama release a new series of twenty-four model cars and three ravishing four car gift sets came on the market. Each model was accompanied by a trading card showing the poster of the related movie. Some movies got rewarded with two model cars, the poster stayed the same for each model.
The four car gifts got names as “Heroic Horsepower”, “Ravishing Tops” and “Villainous Vehicles”. Each car was already available in the twenty-four cars series.
Somewhat later in 2003, Johnny Lightning re-released a series of seven James Bond model cars. The only difference was the blue packaging and a certificate card. The packaging was blue with white lettering, the box showed the James Bond Gun Logo and some artwork in the style of "The World Is Not Enough" poster art.
The world wide internet gave us the opportunity to buy a limited edition of chrome Aston Martin DB5 .The model was simply packed in a white box . The James Bond Gun Logo was printed on the opening lid. The release was limited to only 500 model cars.