Johnny Lightning cars - need info - racing wheels and Camaro

Supra80 Tuesday, 10/11/2016

Hey guys, Just signed up to your excellent site. Really enjoy reading and watching your racing. A lot of the info on tracks and cars is very helpful. Thank you.

I've been hunting some fast cars for the last couple months and have bought quite a few of the  recommended ones that can be found on this site along with other boards and various online sites. Unfortunately it's been a bit hit and miss with the main problem being that despite all the cars being new and sealed, many still have defects to the wheels/axles that make them either really poor on the track or far less than what they could have been (I'm trying to stick with stock atm but will move to modified with a few of these later on).

One thing however that has really thrown me off is the Johnny Lightning cars. I've got quite a few of the known fast models such as the BWF camaro, various vans. However I've come across a fair few that have these strange wheels with a 'lip' on the inside. Please check the following image for an example.$_12.JPG?set_id=2

After a bit of searching, I believe these may be what JL refer to as 'racer's edge speed wheels' (I could be wrong). I first saw them on a JL dragster that I purchased and it was supposed to be quite fast. Upon looking at the wheels, I couldn't understand how these cars would be fast considering the uneven design and the small amount of plastic that would be touching the track. After testing out the dragster and noting it's  average performance, I then went and checked a lot of the JL cars I have (which were still sealed) and was shocked to find that many had the same wheels.

One particular car I was very disappointed in was the spiderman camaro that has been mentioned a few times on this site as being fast. Unfortunately it also has these wheels and was actually a poor performer on the track. I would really appreciate it if anyone who has the red spiderman camaro could check the wheels and let me know if they're the same as the following one.$_12.JPG?set_id=2

Overall, it has been very interesting. Buying these cars is almost like a lottery with only a few so far that have lived up to the hype. I still have a lot that are unopened and will get to testing them over the next few weeks. I'm currently using a temporary setup until I can have a proper track built with a timer and satisfactory length (I'm currently using an extended 6 lane '1/4 mile' track).


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Supra80 10/11/16

It would also be great if anyone can add some replies regarding any fast cars, in particular JLs that may be worth pursuing for testing. I probably have many of the ones that have been mentioned frequently but it would be great to hear of anything new that may have come up.

I will try to list some of the ones I've bought that may or may not have lived up to it. 

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kylejake 10/11/16

Supra80 hello my name is Jeremy the Founder/President of the Lincoln Johnny Lightning Race Club here in Lincoln RI and we have been racing JL castings since 2007 every month. The thing on the inside of the wheel is called the Racers Edge. These wheels aren't always fast but if you find the right one they can win you a race. They tend to wobble on the axle which will slow them down so check them before you put them on the track. The 69 Black With Flames JL Camaro was put on the map in gravity racing because of our club. My former Vice President of the club purchased a BWF Camaro back in 2007 on eBay and dominated every Johnny Lightning that it raced up against on our original 22ft. track. This Camaro wins on long or short tracks and to this day we still haven't figured out what makes this particular Camaro the fastest Camaro Johnny Lightning has produced. It's a pretty heavy casting for such a small car! The other castings that are very fast are the Monopoly Chevy Silverado Pickup Truck, 70 Dodge Challenger (Purple) from the Mopar Or No Car series, and of course I can't forget the JL Boogie Vans that have won our Fastest Car Of The Year championship in December. There are other fast Johnny Lightning cars and trucks but those few are the most fastest on the tracks. If you are on Facebook please Like our LJLRC Racing Facebook page also our Diehard Diecast Racers Facebook page where we discuss nothing but what is fast on the tracks. Also check out our website at We race upwards of 600 cars a month on our 2 tracks and also host a lot of the RedlineDerby races. 



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kylejake 10/11/16

Also the Spiderman Camaro is a fast car that we have raced over the years!

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FOTF 10/11/16

Welcome to die-cast racing, Supra! Yes, I think those ridged tired are known as "racer's edge" wheels--Redlines have a similar thing, actually. The idea behind having less tire surface touching the track might be to have less friction between the two.

I do have some of those Spiderman Camaros, and mine have the racer's edge as well. Not all of them are fast--you have to hope for a good one--but they can be very fast; I recently set a record with a White Lightning:

As for Monopoly Silverados--make sure you get the black one; the light blue ones are the ones with racer's edge, but I've never seen them do much as racers. The black ones (which don't have it) are much better. You might also be interested in black Chevy Spiderman Vans, blue Dodge Spiderman Vans, and blue '68 Spiderman Camaros (among others), but beware the rubber-tired editions of the Chevy vans and the blue Camaros. These can be identified by their having six spokes (plastic-tired variations of the Chevy vans have five spokes; plastic-tired variations of the blue Camaros have either wheels like the BWF Camaros' or possibly five-spoke--unless I'm mistaken and the Camaros' five-spoke wheels are their rubber-tired edition). I don't think you'd have to worry about that with the Dodge Spiderman Vans--I think they're all plastic-tired.

Like my page that I linked above if you're on Facebook--or at least check out the posts and what I mention are fast. Those could give you some ideas (though fast Redline Jet Threats might be rare, and fast aqua Fat Fendered Forties really seem like they can be rare).

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Supra80 10/13/16

kylejake: Thank you for your reply. I have previously read some of your posts on a few different forums while I was doing some research on fast cars including a thread about the unbeatable BWF camaro (iirc wasn't it finally beaten by a spider van?). I will certainly check your FB pages and hope to gain some more insight.

I currently have those cars/trucks/vans you mentioned (although not ALL of the vans) and they are clearly very fast. What I'd love to know is..are there any other known very fast JL castings? In your experience, have you seen pretty much all that JL has to offer over the years...excluding lets say some of the rare releases (various white lightnings etc)? Could  there be some castings or models that haven't seen a track or maybe not in a large enough quantity to pass a final judgement?

I'm wondering is it possible that because of the reputation of a few vehicles such as the camaros, vans, etc, that maybe most racers just buy those particular ones and don't go looking for other fast cars? I've found the 'hunt' to be interesting, quite expensive and unfortunately not very rewarding at times considering the amount of duds. Therefore I can understand why it would be better just to buy a known fast casting and hope it has good wheels and axles.

I'd love to hear about your experiences racing and seeing such a large amount of JL castings.

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Supra80 10/13/16

FOTF: Thanks for your input and information. I've read quite a few of your posts and always enjoy watching your team and all the other great racers here. I've also seen your FB page, it's very good.

I do have all those JL castings you mentioned but didn't know about the rubber tire versions..appreciate you sharing that. I have been stung by JL and their 'stealth' rubber tire versions in various lines (I believe it was one or two of their marvel vehicles).

I've also opened a second spiderman 69 camaro and it was much better than the first although it still has a bit of wobble. I guess the hunt goes on. :)

It's not all JL though, opened up a few of the known, fast matchbox lasers with mixed success (280 ZX, Mercedes Benz 500, 300 ZX etc). That includes one of the alternate 280ZXs but it's axles aren't the best..doh!

Hope to open more Hot wheels soon. The usual FTE cars have looked good so far (Way 2 fast, Cad V16, Hot tub, Hemi 300, etc) Also the awesome funny cars (pro circuit Kenny, Martin Firebird , Probes etc). I don't have any Redlines yet.

I get the sense that you're more likely to find more quick cars with hot wheels and less duds for the known fast castings. While with JL, it's more mixed but if you do land one of the really is a beast. The matchbox cars on the other hand seem to have less fast castings that are known but I do wonder how well raced all their catalogue is and whether there are  some hidden gems.

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kylejake 10/13/16

There are many fast Johnny Lightning castings! Another one I didn't mention is the Olds Toranado Stars and Stripes with Uncle Sam on the roof. Also there is the Custom GTO from the Cat in the hat series that we have seen win. There are also some fast Pickup Trucks like the Dodge Lol Red Express that does very well. Go to our website and click on the Results toolbar to see what wins in our Johnny Lightning Stock class.

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Supra80 10/22/16

Thanks for sharing kylejake. I'll give the Olds a shot and hope to get a good one. I do have the custom GTO but it's quite noisy and not the best roller (haven't put it on the track yet).

Have you seen many of the White Lightning Monopoly Silverados and if so how do they stack up against the standard one? 

I'll report back soon on some White Lightnings I have on the way..they're the WL versions of some of the faster JL cars.

  • WLs generally don't differ in speed from normal JLs; it depends more on the particular car. — FOTF
  • As for those Silverados--I think I've seen four WLs race, my two and two others seemingly faster than mine (though .... — FOTF
  • ... my first one might have originally been faster and slowed down over time; however, I now have two very fast normal ones which ... — FOTF
  • .. haven't gotten slow after racing since January and April 2015, respectively). — FOTF
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