|Overall Panel Fit:||8/10|
In May 1995, Chevron debuted a new advertising campaign featuring animated cars extolling the virtues of Chevron's new Techron gasoline additive (Techron-enhanced fuel was among the first to be named as a "Top Tier Detergent Gasoline"). The commercials were created by Aardman Studios, using a clay animation style popularized in their Wallace and Gromit series. Chevron gas stations began selling toy cars based on Aardman Studios' designs the following year, and car #2 of that first wave was Wendy Wagon.
The first set of Chevron Cars came in windowless cardboard boxes, approximately 6" (150mm) x 3.875" (95mm) x 3" (70mm). The front panel features a large portrait of Wendy in front of a School off-center on a blue background. To the left of the picture is the Chevron Cars logo, features (Eyelashes blink when car moves/Doors swing wide open/Hood lifts to reveal engine), and Chevron logo. The age restriction is printed twice on the picture. The bottom of the box is nearly identical, though the image is cropped a little differently, the features list is gone, and the age restriction has been replaced with "Whether it's loading the soccer team or loading the groceries, Wendy Wagon's on-the-road from sunrise to sunset." Each end flap has a wider crop of Wendy's portrait with no text. The top panel has the Chevron Cars logo and photos of the three original cars (Sam Sedan, Wendy, and Tony Turbo) above a big "Collect all 3!" The back panel has a photo of the toy with call outs for her opening hood, blinking eyes and opening doors, another Chevron Cars logo, the legal info, and the text "Non-stop fun with Wendy Wagon. Everyone will take notice of her chuggin' and jivin' through the streets of your neighborhood." Wendy is secured inside the box between two plastic trays, and has an "Owner's Manual" that includes instructions, a character bio, and a removable character card. Overall this packaging is the best of both worlds, protecting the car while providing a fun and unique design.
Wendy is cast in green plastic, with black plastic mirrors and roof rack, clear windows, silver wheels, and black vinyl tires. The casting is intentionally soft to mimic the animated cars, but has several nice details like the distinct teeth, hood ornament, corner marker lights, and door handles. "Chevron/Techron" is printed on the sidewalls of all four tires. The marker lights are painted orange, the taillights are painted red, and the mouth and wipers are painted black. The white of her teeth bleeds onto the black of her mouth a bit, but that's the only real flaw I see. She has green eyes with black pupils, blue lids, and separate eyelashes. They're cleanly printed, but the eyelashes look a little chunky - some extra effort to taper the ends would have been a nice touch. The rear license plate is a printed sticker, and the sideview mirrors have silver stickers acting as mirror glass. The interior is blue with a black steering wheel, and also features some nice cast-in detail like seat belts and an instrument cluster shroud. The engine is a single piece painted silver, with enough detail work to recognize it as a transverse inline 5-cylinder (suggesting Wendy was at least partially inspired by the Volvo 850 Estate). The chassis is a simple plate with her name and series logo cast in.
Wendy has three features: an opening hood, opening doors, and moving eyes. The hood and doors are simple hinges, and everything opens easily and closes securely. The eyes are activated by pushing down on Wendy's hood and rolling her forward, going from wide-eyed to looking down at the road in front of her. The internal gearing works well, though her eyes will snap open fully if you release her with her eyes open more than halfway.
This is a pretty faithful representation of what Wendy looked like in her TV spot. She lacks any paint on her window gaskets, hood ornament, and door handles, but nothing that stands out as truly "wrong" (and most could be easily addressed with a silver Sharpie marker). Her proportions look good, and her expression is almost a perfect match to her box art. She measures approximately 5.5" (140mm) long, 3.25" (83mm) wide, and 2.625" (67mm) tall.
Not exactly the most enviable ride, but Wendy is actually nicely done. The engine is a great touch, and I really appreciate that the sculptors went with something that was at least partially based on a real engine rather than a random pile of tech. Recommended.
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