“How To” Project – Converting a Johnny Lightning Zinger


-“How-To” Project-

Converting a JL “Zinger” by MINI-MOTORS, Inc.

WARNING: The Opinions to be expressed are that of one man!   While we will admit we are “die cast picky” and prefer die cast of a REAL realm, we like open engine castings. Johnny Lightning a few years back released a number of castings lifted high on what are rather cartoonish, unrealistic chassis and called them “Zingers”. The bodies and motors are awesome, but the base and wheels were not to our liking so we set out to free these castings from their “freak” underbellies and make more realistic attractive castings…… project25_1

The Zinger releases were all manufactured using existing castings fitted with larger motors and a newly remade lifted chassis. Thus, the conversion to a standard casting becomes a rather easy task.   PROJECT #1 – The Challenger………….


Subject cars, once found, need to be partnered with a casting of the regular release.


Both cars should have the rivets drilled so that they can be taken apart. Once disassembly has occurred, someadditional detailing to the interior, engine or really any parts you like can also be completed. The subject body, glass and interior can then be matted with the standard chassis. Note: Of the many we have done, occasionally, we run across some “tweaking” that needs to occur to make the chassis fit. Test fitting and adjusting before final assembly (aka gluing) is essential to the process.


Once refitted and the parts replaced, we glue with a 1:1 mixture of two-part JB Weld. Using Painter’s Tape, we then tape the cars tightly to keep them held snuggly together, wrapping all the way around the chassis and body and overlapping the tape to keep it from loosening. After 24 hours the tape is removed and the car inspected. Any over-gluing and such can be scrapped away at that time.   PROJECT #2 – The Mustang………….

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PROJECT #3 – The Maverick………..

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PROJECT #4 – AMX………..

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We still need to remove the HOLIDAY tampos from the tires…..     These are a few of the conversions we have completed.


This Casting above was included in the Zinger 5 Pack having engines in both the front and back. Both engines were removed and only one replaced in the appropriate rear. Given the front hood was then open, a matching “spare tire” was installed to fill the compartment.


The piece above was made at Lightning FEST while manning a vendor table. A good friend and I decided to do a project LIVE at the show…. One of my favorite open engine conversions.


Another of our favorites…….. also from the Zingers 5-pack….

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This was a conversion in which both the chassis and the white interior were swapped…. The result is superb. And actually what we consider to be one of the best never done versions of the car ever made – LOL!


We decided to leave this motor on the one – although it does look a bit big……..

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There are more projects in the works – we will add pictures as they are completed.   Let us see some of your de-Zingered cars……… email us at mini-motors@comcast.net and we will add them here….

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