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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
12-19-05
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CMC 1:18 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta
Precision Miniatures ’33 Willy’s Gassers
K.S. Pittman, Bones, Dubach & Pisano and Stone, Woods & Cook

 

CMC 1:18 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta Precision Miniatures ’33 Willy’s Gassers
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

Let's all sing!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
With PM’s Gassers a-flowing and
Ferrari’s a-glowing
First Peek’s now in gear
It’s the most, wonderful time – of the year!

While this may not be your "first peek" at some of these models, they are recent entries that are probably included on many hobbyists Holiday shopping lists. Hopefully we’ll have some new stuff showing up here anytime to share with you.

 

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  CMC 1:18 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta

CMC has emerged with arguably the year’s most anticipated model, a Ferrari 250 SWB. Two years ago there were two manufacturers that announced they were going to start building precision versions of the Ferrari sports cars and CMC has not only won the race to market, it has set the bar very high in the process.

The packaging is pure CMC which means you get a fairly plain box, a polishing cloth and a detailed mini-pamphlet on the model and its history. The model is embedded in a tight foam shell. So tight in fact that you need to remember to grasp the model from under the front wheel well and sort of fish the model out of the box. Lifting it straight out can result in unintended damage. Inside the shell you’ll find the tool used to remove the spare from the trunk.

Once out, the model’s red color explodes against any surrounding. It is a flamboyant red accented with chrome trim deeply polished to a high gloss. I have to admit I paused for a moment because my hands were shaking in anticipation (or maybe because I had two pots of coffee). Like many collectors, I have been waiting for the moment where I could unpack a model of a classic Ferrari and not immediately have to start rationalizing that sad refrain of “it’s an ok model for the price.” The story of Hot Wheels stranglehold on the Ferrari license has been done to death, so let’s not recapitulate it here.

That was then and this is now.

And so the heavens might not have opened up and birds didn’t start to sing, but I could swear I heard Enzo himself whisper to me “That’s a-nice-a model.”

The sculpted Pininfarina body is amazing, dead on scale. It is sleek and aerodynamic – with every badge, vent and louver replicated. The front grille is delicate and perfect, the exquisite, chiseled prancing horse mounted dead center completely aligned with the trademark yellow rectangle on the hood front. The front and rear lighting is done well though mounting posts are somewhat visible, especially on fog lamps and ancillary lighting. The stance though seems a bit high, especially in front. This car begs to be put on a turntable and when you do it’s hard to stop looking at all the wonderful swoops and waves.

The hood slopes gently up to the front windows and to the most detailed windshield wipers I’ve ever seen on a model. The model boasts 1,141 parts and there at least 5 on each wiper between the motor, wiper and real rubber blade.

As Snoop Dogg might say, let’s go back to the hood.

It is hinged with a mechanism similar to the ones we started to see on some Auto art and GMP models this year, and features an adjustable bracket. The chrome trimmed air intake is covered by a delicate screen. Putting a fingernail under the intake and lifting forward, you will unveil the fire breathing alloy Tipo 168 B V-12 engine. The engine features braided hoses, properly colored and run wiring, linkages and plumbing. The three twin choke carburetor set-up is duplicated.

While the intricate engine is stunning, the interior might be even more impressive. The seating and door interiors are supple saddle colored leather featuring hand stitched details. The faux wood Nardi three point steering wheel emanates from a dashboard that has gauges with detailed faces. The quality of execution continues on the floor with matching soft carpet and door steps that aren’t glued but riveted. The model actually smells like a new car. Open the trunk and the carpet from the interior is replicated, but this time frames the removable spare tire.

The tires and wheels are flawless execution of craft. The chrome trim wheels feature filigree spokes individually wired by hand. Unscrew the working Borani wheel nuts, and you get a full view of the photoetched disc brakes, the 250 SWB being the first production Ferrari to have them. The wheels allow for the valve stem of the Continental tires to protrude – those tires that are just as detailed as the rest of the model with embossed markings and specifications.

Flip the car over and you’ll be amazed at the chassis detail. The steel tube frame is well executed and from the rocket-like exhaust to the detailed suspension parts executed primarily in metal (including the shocks!), the attention to getting it right is awe inspiring.

Overall, the impression you come away with is that CMC has executed a museum quality piece without a BBR or Exoto price tag. I use the word museum in both the positive and fair warning sense of the word: there is a fragile quality to the model. During a gentle inspection, the right front wheel came off in my hand. The model is so well executed and the original car such a timeless classic that I’ll make do. Can’t wait for the racing versions!

Legacy Motors stocks the 1:18 '61 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta by CMC.

 

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  Precision Miniatures ’33 Willy’s Gassers

If the three gassers Precision Miniatures delivered a few months ago weren’t enough to satiate or tempt you, then there are three more on the market which hit the same high notes and then some.

Like the previous versions, there are common elements between all three models: the lightweight, removable bonnet, tampo graphics, jewel-like exterior hinged doors, riveted windshield trim and engine firewalls and detailed exterior stock parts like door handles that gassers were required to have. To PM’s credit (and our delight), once again the models are highly individualized beyond spec requirements, not just repaints with minor changes.

There’s also the secure packaging in handsome boxes featuring classic photos of the 1:1 and the stellar notes from our own Bill Bennett. From those notes you can make personal connections to these models. For instance K.S. Pittman, originally a pilot for Stone Woods and Cook, got his own ride when he hooked up with Chuck Stolze owner of S&S Auto Parts in Falls Church, Virginia aka where I attended high school. It really is a small world after all.

Keeping with the K.S. Pittman model for the moment, it is the most like the original three in the series in that it has a chopped body. The beautiful shade of orange crush colored paint with gold highlights is credited to “Paint by Molly” in a fairly weird trademark that adorns the front bonnet. An immediately noticeable change is the tires and wheels: while the previous gassers feature no name slicks mounted on Halibrand wheels, this car features white lettered Goodyear’s on chrome Cragar mags. Yum.

The engine is a blown Dave Zeuschel Chrysler 420 coupled to a B&M TorkFlite tranny. Cranked up, it could produce 740 hp while zooming a quarter mile in 8.55 seconds. The valve covers feature Chrysler Fire Power embossed logos. The wiring, linkages and plumbing is completed to the nth degree. The engine block looks appropriately raw-ribbed. The fan belt is, as on all these models, soft stretched rubber. Want detail? How about a pressure gauge with readable face tucked behind the engine block, or the wisp of exhaust residue covering the tips of the white headers.

Like Paris Hilton, the interior is skinny on substance: weight is everything and the less of it the better. Shifters and steering wheels are nicely detailed and the cockpit seats include racing harnesses. The accelerator pedal is a chromed custom figure eight and if you don’t look carefully, you can entirely miss the jet black roll cage.

It doesn’t stop there, turn the car over and you’ll find a detailed suspension featuring several separate parts. The minimal yet intricate front suspension managed by a single leaf spring contrasts with the highly developed rear ladder suspension.

The rear wheelie bar has unique black struts. The nylon chute pack, while anonymous, looks fully capable of deployment – the white flexible conduit looking appropriately rugged.

Legacy Motors stocks the K.S. Pittman Willys Gasser from Precision Miniatures.

 

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  Precision Miniatures ’33 Willy’s Gassers, Continued.

The Chuck (have wrench, will travel) Finder’s driven Stone, Woods and Cook A/GS car has a meaty, rough look to it. The name and sponsors, with the exception of a tiny Autolite decal on the front fenders, are one tone of blue away from the sharkskin blue color sported by this model.

Whereas most of the gassers featured painted-out headlights and hood ornament, the SW&C has aluminum inserts instead. Taking off the bonnet, there’s a 400 cu. in blown Oldsmobile engine and again, I’m amazed at the little details that PM changes. For example, you get Stone Woods & Cook lettering on the valve covers and Mondello headers.

The interior is stripped and remarkable in it’s austerity but there is one very cool feature: a dashboard that is polished to a mirror finish with nary a gauge, dial or button in sight. Chuck could have shaved looking at this thing. This car is also not chopped, giving it a slightly different look then it’s more streamlined cousins. In the two non-chopped models reviewed here, there is a wheelie bar in the back, but no strut and wheel assembly.

What makes this particular model so collectable, besides the craftsmanship, are the legendary names involved: the SW&C-Chuck Finders owner-driver relationship would only last five months in the summer of 1964. The car was appropriately named the “Dark Horse” and while it was capable of beating very good cars, ultimately Oldsmobile power was never able to match Chrysler’s hemi enhanced power plants.

Legacy Motors stocks the Stone Woods Cook / Chuck Finders Gasser.

I’ve saved what might be the most handsome model in the series thus far for last: the Bones, Dubach and Pisano AA/G "Chizler Too.” What makes this model so special?

You can start with the candy apple red paint with just the slightest hint of gold metal flake that not only coats the racing shell but continues on the uniquely air scoop. The front bonnet also features four locks and aluminum headlight inserts. The Chrysler 454 Hemi is as remarkably detailed as the other engines in the series, but here again there are unique details like the compact radiator.

The external decaling and markings are among the most sophisticated in the series. I really like the hand painted look of the classification numbers on the windows and who doesn’t like having an STP decal in the window. The interior is very stripped down though this is one model in the series where you can easily see the chute pull mechanism. As with all the models in this review the seats are slightly soft to the touch and the pilot seat features a nylon racing harness.

Moving to the back of the model, notice the locks on the trunk outline. The model features Halibrand mags and the rear tail lamp on the left rear fender. Turning the car over, not only is there detailed suspension that is typical of cars in the series (this one a dual leaf spring front and ladder rear chassis) but also there’s a nylon ballistic blanket wrapping the transmission – in case the transmission went kerplewie, Bob Balogh would be happier if he kept his “Bones” away from gear rotors.

Legacy Motors stocks the Bones, Dubach and Pisano AA/G Chizler Too.

Seven gassers, seven individual pieces of master craftsmanship, seven of this year’s best models. All of them have been reviewed here (the un-chopped Ohio George car is the only one not reviewed in a First Peek.) These uniquely American models are all destined to be classics of the hobby and certainly one or more is right for your collection. Have some.

Legacy Motors stocks the complete line of outstanding Precision Miniatures Willys Gassers!!


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 directly at rhurley@mn.rr.com.
 

 
     

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