FAQs

BUYING

Where do I buy Johnny Lightning cars?

In the black menu bar of this website, click the “Where to Buy” button.  You’ll see the different chain stores that sell Johnny Lightning cars.  They’re also available from online retailers and hobby shops nationwide.

Why can’t I find Johnny Lightning cars in my area?

Johnny Lightning cars are sold to mass market stores nationwide and most of their stores will carry them.  But “most” is not all.  Specific stores are determined by our mass market partners.

Are Johnny Lightning cars sold outside of the United States?

Yes.  But at this time they’re not sold by any major chain stores.  Look online for toy stores and hobby shops.

Do you have a brick-and-mortar retail store?

No.

I bought a defective car.  How do I get a replacement?

First, return it to the store where you purchased it for replacement or refund.  If they refuse please use the Contact Us button above to explain the situation.  We stand by our products and will make sure you get a replacement if the item is still available.

Why did the price go up on Johnny Lightning cars compared to when they were last made in 2013?

When last produced, most Johnny Lightning cars were part of the “Forever 64” line.  Those cars featured a plastic chassis and less detail.  Today, Johnny Lightning cars have been restored to include a die-cast metal chassis and high-detail painting.

WHITE LIGHTNING CARS

What is a White Lightning car?

The White Lightning variation is Johnny Lightning’s chase car, a concept introduced to the die-cast market by Playing Mantis owner Tom Lowe in 1994.  Most Johnny Lightning cars will have a version featuring some special traits that distinguish it from the regular release.  These cars are randomly packed into the shipping cartons at the factory.  Usually the special traits are white and usually the car will have a combination of two.  Here’s a list of common White Lightning features.

  • White Body
  • Pearl White Body
  • Metallic Gold Body
  • White Chassis
  • White Tires
  • White Rims
  • Gold Rims
  • White Interior
  • Tinted Glass

It’s important to note, however, that some cars only get one distinguishing trait and in the past some have received as many as three.

How many White Lightning cars are made?

Generally, 2% of the production run will be White Lightning cars.  For example, if we make 10,000 1971 Pontiac GTO models in a Muscle Cars U.S.A. release there would be 200 White Lightning versions.

What is a Lightning Strike car and do you still make them?

Lightning Strike models were ultra limited (less than 1%) variations made by the previous manufacturer of Johnny Lightning cars.  They are no longer produced.

Does every car have a White Lightning version?

No.  But most do.

PRODUCTION

Why do some cars have hard plastic (ABS) tires and some have soft (PVC) ones?

We offer both for two reasons:  1) hard tires work better for downhill racing, and 2) we try to put the best-looking and most appropriate wheel on each car. Not every rim-style is made for both hard and soft tires.  For example, if we need to match a slotted mag wheel the tire will be hard ABS plastic since there isn’t an equivalent with the soft PVC tires.

How do I suggest models to make?

We listen to our collectors and they often post recommendations on the official Johnny Lightning Facebook page which we read daily.

How do I submit other product ideas?

In the black menu bar of this website, click the “Contact Us” button.  Send us a message that you want to present an idea or ideas and someone from our legal department will contact you.

What’s the difference between a test shot and a pre-production sample?

Test shots are made during the development process of the mold for a new model.  They are usually painted solid red and they won’t have painted details like headlights and bumpers.

Pre-production cars are the next step.  The mold has been finalized and the car can be added to an assortment.  Colors and wheels are chosen and the factory makes a sample.  Any corrections for final production will use the pre-production model as a reference.  For example, if the body paint is the wrong shade of green, that will be noted.  If the factory used the incorrect rims that will be pointed out and adjusted in final production.

Can I buy test shots or pre-production samples from Round 2?

No.  These are never sold.  They become part of the archive for the brand.  However, if there are any extras they are sometimes given away for charity raffles or contests.

CORPORATE HISTORY AND ORGANIZATIION

What is Round 2?

Round 2 LLC is the exclusive manufacturer of Johnny Lightning® toys and Racing Champions® replicas. Its family of brands also includes Auto World® die-cast and electric slot cars, AMT®, MPC®, Lindberg®, and Polar Lights® model kits, American Muscle® and Ertl Custom & Premium Collectibles®.

What is Topper?

Topper Toys introduced Johnny Lightning cars in 1969.  They closed in 1971.

What is Playing Mantis?

Playing Mantis was the company that bought the trademark name Johnny Lightning and reintroduced Johnny Lightning cars to the market in 1994.  The owner, Thomas Lowe, sold the brand to RC2 Corp. in 2004.  Today the Playing Mantis name is once again owned by Lowe and it’s used on the packaging for Johnny Lightning cars.It’s no longer the parent company.  Rather, it is now a brand logo and used to make the connection between the original Playing Mantis Johnny Lightning cars and the new ones.

Who owns Johnny Lightning?

TOMY International owns the trademark name and tooling for Johnny Lightning cars.  Round 2 licenses the rights to make Johnny Lightning cars from TOMY.  All car and packaging design as well as production is handled by Round 2.

Playing Mantis closed over ten years ago but I’ve heard that the owner assembled some of the original team to make the new Johnny Lightning cars.  How is that possible after so long?

A twist of fate, divine intervention?  Call it what you like.  It was a miracle.