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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
4-23-05
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Precision Miniatures 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan
AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4

 

Precision Miniatures 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

Two-tone cars have been around since the beginning of the automobile. As a styling trend, it has gone in and out of vogue ever since then. Sometimes it’s a contrast between two similar colors, but more often you get a combination of a color splashed against a neutral background of black or white. This week’s First Peek looks at two two-tone titans.
 

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  Precision Miniatures 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan

Boy, are these guys on a roll! Their hearse and ambulance line is unchallenged so far in the category "most unique model line introduction in 2005." (Never too early to be thinking about year end awards). We know Precision Miniatures can do the extraordinary and unusual and do it well. Their lineage of fuel altered dragsters and salt lake racers is well documented. But can they execute at lower price point on more of a daily driver type car – something everyone’s familiar with?

You betcha’.

But even in this case, they don’t go for the most mundane first; they stretch by executing a 1956 Bel Air four door hardtop sport sedan, complete with a continental kit. In 1956, for a whopping $2,230, Dad could get a six-cylinder hot rod that was also a respectable family vehicle (Note: the ads for this model reinforce that image – like the smiling Dad flooring it with his inexplicably cheerful pregnant wife in labor sitting next to him).

First, let’s start with the two-tone finish – a gorgeous combination of richly applied dusk plum and ivory. The car will be available in other combinations, but this is a perfect match, the two white spears, enveloped by chrome, violating the darker color on the side panels is striking. There are plastic parts – the removable wheel skirts and spare tire, but the colors perfectly match the satin finish of the metal parts. One of the treats of owning this model is looking at it in different lighting. Take it out in the sunlight and the darker color gleams and flashes brilliantly – roll it into some shade, and the soft ivory gives the model a glowing aura.

The 1956-57 Bel Air series is known for their unique grille configurations and PM executes this one to perfection. It is forceful but delicate. On top of the grille, emblazoned on the hood is the trademark Bel Air logo and jet-inspired hood ornament. The engine compartment is plumbed and wired – seems basically correct. The angle of the hood makes it challenging to view. There are neat details, like valve covers with raised Chevrolet script, so those of you into after-market detailing can easily highlight it in silver. Chassis detail is minimal but well presented – including a patterned muffler.

The four hinged doors open to a scrumptious two-toned black and ivory interior which is the killer feature on this model. The “real” patterned cloth on ivory colored vinyl bench seats are dead solid perfect. The deep pile carpet, foldable sun visors and a detailed two-tone dash and steering (this time black and silver) are so realistic you’ll start humming Buddy Holly as you take in the view. The tires are period correct whitewalls and the wheels feature a dusk plum highlight. The spacious trunk opens and looks as though it’s big enough to fit most of Des Moines. The trunk is not carpeted but instead has a rubber ribbed platform. Wonder if we could get PM to make a 1:18 bag of golf clubs…

Overall, with this model, you have to say that PM has been able to being their unique style to a "normal" subject and execute it with the flair they bring to more exotic subjects. Like any model, there are areas that might be a nudge or tick better, but then again this isn’t the usual Precision Miniatures $100+ car. When you compare this model to those being executed buy ERTL Authentics or Highway 61, you have to give PM their due.

In my opinion, this is the best 1:18 model execution of a 1950s subject since the 1950 Oldsmobile and Highway 61 Chevy 150 and therefore it gets my highest recommendation. This model is a great value and is part of a limited edition of 1,900. Don’t snooze on this one. Legacy Motors sells the 1956 Bel Air Sport Sedan.

 

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  AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Growing up in the DC area, you heard one phrase all summer, every year: “Washington: first in war, first in peace and last in the American League.” Well, if you live in North America, the same thing seems to happen every now and again when it comes to global diecast distribution strategy. You watch helplessly as the model comes out first in Asia (ok, I’ll grant you, that makes sense), Singapore, Europe, then sometimes evaporates for months at a time, before finally the slow boat from China reaches the shores of Vancouver, Seattle or LA.

So it is with the Bugatti Veyron. For most of the world, this may not be a “first peek”, but for those of us who live in the land of the first place (enjoy it while it lasts) Washington Nationals, we are finally getting our moment in the sun with what might be the exotic diecast of the year. The only unfortunate thing is we’re talking last year.

The good news: this two-tone wild thing, named after the last man to win LeMans in a Bugatti, is worth the wait. The car comes in the special Bugatti blue box, as did the Chiron released earlier this year. The enclosed certificate is more than a nice touch – on the back is a thorough background of the real car.

Now, to give this review a little context, I should explain I’m a sucker for any car that goes after an “-est”. You know, fastest, meanest, biggest, brawniest, richest, etc. Where some collectors might find models like the Veyron or the Maybach bordering on the vulgar, I admire the sheer audacity that brings such dream machines to life. In this case, the folks at Bugatti started out with one purpose in mind: make the world’s fastest production vehicle. As they say on the poker shows, “I’m all in!” on this one.

The Veyron is outfitted with an engine right out of science fiction; a W12 16.4 engine sporting four turbochargers capable of 1,000 hp. On the model, the visible portion of the open air engine looks like a machine lifted right out of an H.R.Giger lithograph. The air induction system alone looks like it is built to support warp factor speeds. It can go 0-186 in 14 seconds or, you might just say “Warp factor 5, Mr. Sulu!”

The car sits on the fattest tread tires currently mounted on a production model. The massive 20.5” twelve-spoke wheels are amazingly detailed and positively glitter. The two-tone paint (inspired by the 1937 Type 57) sparkles in direct light and is subdued in shade. The finish quality is the best I’ve seen on any Auto art, which you can translate to being the best I’ve seen next to the CMC W154.

Open the cabin door and you encounter an interior you would more expect in a Gulfstream jet - a combination of stainless steel and butter smooth leather. Pause a moment to ogle over the way the venting around the dash and front window is constructed and replicated here. The trademark grille is finely done in mesh, the front trunk opens and inside is a Bugatti leather case in the cargo hold. The headlights and rear taillights are flawless.

Where the Chiron is remarkably simple and elegant, the Veyron is a muscular voluptuary of curves. Even the spoiler is toggled (on the model it is controlled by a switch located on the skid plate chassis.) so the curves aren’t interrupted. If a car, or model, is capable of causing you to need to take a cold shower - this is it. Legacy Motors sells the AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4.

 

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  Bonus Pictures

I've included some bonus pictures of each model. The order is a bit random but I hope you enjoy them! Legacy Motors sells both the Precision Miniatures 1956 Bel Air Sport Sedan and the AUTOart Bugatti Veyron 16.4.
 

 
     

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