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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
1-17-05
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AUTO art 1:18 MERCEDES BENZ 190E 2.5-16 SENNA 1984 #11
AUTO art 1:18 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C5R LEMANS 24HR 2003 #50

 

AUTO art 1:18 MERCEDES BENZ 190E 2.5-16 SENNA 1984 #11 AUTOart 1:18 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C5R LEMANS 24HR 2003 #50
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

So, let’s say you were promoting a new product – how would you get people interested? Well, one approach is to get a celebrity to use your product and give them a chance to look good using it. People imagine themselves as the celebrity and...you get the point.
 

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  AUTO art 1:18 MERCEDES BENZ 190E 2.5-16 SENNA 1984 #11

That was the thinking behind the people in charge of promoting a new track (the 4.5 km Nürburgring) and a new car, the Mercedes 190E. To promote both, an exhibition race was scheduled with a number of driving legends, including Denny Hulme, Phil Hill, Sir Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg and Niki Lauda. A few young drivers were added for spice, among them a virtual unknown who had made his F1 debut that same year: Ayrton Senna. The cars were 20 near street spec Mercedes 190Es. Senna went on to win that race, with Lauda second. Models of the Lauda and Senna versions celebrating the historical moment have just been released by Auto art Millennium .

When you do a "walk around" of an Auto art model, it’s hard not to start with the paint. On this car, it is a gorgeous gold with understated scaled metallic flaking. The color is consistent throughout – many times the spoiler areas have noticeable fluctuations but here it matches seamlessly. The racing graphics are decaled but are so well done they are indistinguishable from tampo graphics to the naked eye.

Moving to the front of the car, the most noticeable detail is the delicate hood ornament. It sits perfectly on the fabulous signature grill. The headlights are realistic and bumper areas, down to the headlight wipers, are well executed.

Yes, Virginia, Auto art has finally made a model where the hood stays up - on its own - supported by realistic hinges. Regarding the engine, one of the details caught by early adopters of the Auto art 190E Evo was that Mercedes was mis-spelled on the valve cover. Not so here. Though I don’t buy models based on the engine compartment, I have to say this one has enough eye candy from all the plumbing to keep you interested. If you flip the car over, you can see the rear multi-link suspension Mercedes pioneered with the 190E. To borrow a phrase from another Daimler-Chrysler division: Sweet!

The car’s interior is rather odd. Picture a passenger car, with wood appointments, sporting a roll cage. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. The interior is flocked where it should be and the dash is detailed. The ironies continue though, such as racing seats in the front and a standard passenger bench in the back. It’s a four door sedan that doubles as a race car - you've probably got several in your collection, right? Yeah, I know, I kept shaking my head too.

Exploring the rest of the model, you find somewhat pedestrian dish wheels and soft, racing tires – no lettering - true to the original car. The rear lights and logo treatments, like the front, are remarkable for their clarity and refinement. The shut lines are tight. The windows are among those details on an Auto art that just make me mumble “how did they do that” - they are not just sheet plastic, but textured like auto glass. I found myself marveling at the rear defroster (then again I’m living in Minnesota where it's currently -13, so maybe I have an unnatural appreciation of that feature.) The roof has an indentation for a moon roof, which I can’t verify on original photos of the car, but it’s such an afterthought it hardly matters to the beauty and lines of this work of art.

Auto art has introduced an entire line of models based on the 190E. In December, the 2.8 street Evo version appeared and additional versions are promised. Even if you are not a Mercedes collector per se, some model, perhaps a 300SL, has probably found a way in to your collection because the style proved irresistible. For the same reason, it says here that one of these190E’s will make a worthy edition to your model garage.

 

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  AUTOart 1:18 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C5R LEMANS 24HR 2003 #50

If you collect racing diecasts, sometimes you wonder if manufacturers are taking you seriously. You know what I mean, you get the livery you want, but it’s on top of the same old mold as last year’s model. One famous manufacturer of IRL cars, for more than a few years in a row, produced almost any IRL livery imaginable, so long as you "imagined" it on a 1997 Reynard chassis. Is it any wonder we don’t say more often “Gee thanks; think I’ll skip this year’s version of the same old same old.”

Not so with Auto art. Their newest LeMans models of the 2003 Corvettes follow in the proud tradition of previous models. Since 2003 was the 50th anniversary of Corvette, it was appropriate that the two cars were numbered #50 and #53. I’m a sentimental guy so I chose the #50.

The lustrous blue paint is absolutely stunning, especially with the white and red tampos providing a striking contrast. Comparing this to the 2001 Auto art models, you immediately notice several differences. For example, look at the photo I’ve provided for comparison of the bonnets. Notice the fine venting on the new model compared to the more molded venting on the 2001. There’s also the change in engine configuration, hood pins, and upgraded headlights.

The wheels are imprinted with the Oz label and the tires are fat Goodyear slicks. Moving back through the model, little details separate the model again from its predecessor, like the all new interior (love the Pratt&Miller badged door guard). The side mounted exhaust is not to be overlooked and again is an area where Aa could have skipped modifying a detail but chose not too.

One downside of these models is it takes so long to get them manufactured - almost two years after the race. But on the whole I'd rather have doors that open as opposed to the sealed “motorsport” versions Auto art has sometimes made lately. I’m glad they took the time.

I don’t think I’ve seen a racer with rear lights that show off brilliantly in any light like they do on this model. They look lit (or at least reflective) in almost any light. The issue Auto art had with the spoiler being at an incorrect angle on previous LeMans Corvette’s are not duplicated on this model.

Certainly this car is a must have if you collect LeMans racing models or Corvettes. If the phrase made famous by Mr. Theriot is not bouncing around in your head right now then let me help wake up the echoes: you want this car and you want it right now!

 

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  How To Get your Models Featured in First Peek

If you are a representative of a diecast manufacturer and wish to get your products featured in First Peek, please contact me at rhurley@mn.rr.com.

 

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Box o' Lincolns!

 
     

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