pegasus front

MCHOF’23: Model Building Legend Richard Mike Johnson Takes Flight

We recently ran across an old custom model car that blew our minds. It was executed with such forward thinking and creativity that we had to bestow an award for it. Given that, the Model Car Hall of Fame inducts Richard Mike Johnson (and his Pegasus model) as Model Builder of the Year for 2023.

pegasus side

Just take a look at the Pegasus for a second. Without context, one would likely guess it’s a ‘Tooned Hot Wheels car, likely a caricature of a 1963 Corvette. The lines and proportions are all there (including the parts that are intentionally out of whack). The overall effect feels like someone who understands cars and caricatures designed it.

pegasus news

Turns out, it’s a larger scale model, made from a Revell Thunderbird. At least the chassis started that way. The body is mostly scratch-built from plastic and “green stuff,” the putty so many modelers are familiar with. Oh, and it’s not a recent design inspired by the recent Hot Wheels series. This was built in 1962. Also, keep in mind, that this was before the C3 Corvette even hit the roads. Now look at that thing again.

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richard mik johnson clipHow’s that for forward thinking? Consider the distorted models that would come from the minds of Ed Roth and other automotive maniacs. Stretched, squished, twisted bodies and tires and mutant drivers became some of the most beloved model cars of the 1960s.

The Pegasus is on display at The International Model Car Builders’ Museum in Utah. The museum was founded with a simple goal: Preserve the memories of the scale vehicle hobby for all hobbyists – old and new – and promote and support contemporary contests and displays that encourage current builders. The mission of the Museum is multifaceted.

It’s great that models such as the Pegasus and designers such as Johnson are still around to share their talent and insight. For that fortunate fact, Richard Mike Johnson is the Model Car Hall of Fame’s Model Builder of the Year for 2023.