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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date

GMP 1997 Ford Mustang Trans Am #16
CMC 1937 Mercedes W125 Nurburging
Collectors Edge: AUTO art 2005 Ford GT vs. Beanstalk 2004 Ford GT Concept


GMP 1997 Ford Mustang Trans Am #16 CMC 1937 Mercedes W125 Nurburging
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley

After a bit of a breather, we have some serious content for you this week, and it looks like we will have a busy fall. I haven't been hiding out, in fact I've had some writing opportunities that will be published soon. But fear not readers, my loyalty is to First Peek and we've got "plenty o peek" coming up.

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  GMP 1997 Ford Mustang Trans Am #16

It is a tribute to the Mustang’s heritage that some of the best people in the race business today associate themselves with the original pony car. Two of those current luminaries are John Force and Jack Rousch. While Force has stuck to drag racing over the years, Rousch has undertaken several ventures with Ford in different types of racing, one of which was a Mustang program in the Trans Am series.

The Trans Am series, is the surviving intra continental series from a golden age of racing that included Can Am. [Let me digress for a second and plead to would-be diecast makers; the Jaguar in the current Trans Am series is absolutely stunning – someone might make a nice piece of change making a 1/18 model of it.] Rousch’s 1997 program won the championship in a Mustang driven by Tommy Kendall. The fourth place finisher in the series standings belonged to John Gooding in the Rousch prepared Mountain Dew Mustang. Now available in a limited edition model by GMP.

The colorful box art is fantastic, complete with Mountain Dew paint scheme and detailed photos – quite the contrast to the generic feel of the CMC and AUTO art models we'll discuss momentarily. You could easily display the model on top of the box and get an amazing panorama of colors for the eye. The interior packaging reminds me of Team Caliber NASCAR models, the diecast company recently sold by Rousch.

The model itself lives up to the hype implied on the box. The Mountain Dew livery has plenty of pizzazz. The tampon graphics are numerous and flawlessly executed, even on the modesty panel of the engine. Ironically for all the Rousch association with this car, there are no Rousch Racing logos anywhere, so there must have been some licensing issue or perhaps the model was based on a restored version that lacked them.

The car has a low and wide stance that maximizes ground effects – the front bonnet lip is barely off the ground. The car sits very sleek, giving it a mean so the air channels to the spoiler on the back that keeps the rear of the car stable.

Take off the front bonnet and the engine (complete with “Dew” bumper supportl) and brakes and suspension are represented in good detail. The air filter is so large it obscures much of the engine, but the engine is fully wired. One excellent feature is the full replication of the air induction system runs cool air to the front brakes. The car’s skeleton is also not pressed out of a single piece of colored plastic, but is separately constructed for the cabin, rear and front. As is typical for GMP, the wheel/tire combo is excellent. The wheels are a dull gold that is highlighted by polished chrome rims. On these striking wheels are mounted soft Goodyear Eagles. Notice the contrast between the huge rear tires and smallish fronts.

The cockpit is interesting but difficult to see. This isn’t any fault of GMP’s, in fact by faithfully replicating the model there is a very narrow area viewing area it. But take a long look and you’ll appreciate the view Gooding had when piloting this thundering Mustang. Shifts and levers are astonishingly detailed, the gauges are well defined and the wiring and roll cages are accurately modeled. The faux carbon fiber is perfect Note how the rear view mirrors are mounted.

The front and rear bonnets are attached using a rubber latching system. These are made with soft rubber, not actual latches like the real car. In this case, you appreciate the detail, because actual latches this size would have not survived many dis-assemblies. Once the rear bonnet is off, the full gas management system is unveiled, with all the linkages separately painted and articulated.

This might be a fourth place car in the standings but in terms of “wow factor” from the glossy finish to the engine compartment this is a first place model all the way. I own the stunning GMP Sunoco Camaro Trans Am model, so I was expecting this model to be fabulous. I am not disappointed. GMP has staked out much of Trans Am’s past and hopefully they will continue to produce worthy subjects from this exciting brand of racing. [Note to self, get the Donohue cars and the Jack Baldwin Hot Wheels Camaro before they disappear.]

If you haven’t treated yourself to any of GMPs Trans Am models: this Mustang is a good way to start. You can purchase this outstanding model at Legacy Motors. Please CLICK HERE.


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  CMC 1937 Mercedes W125 Nurburging

If it’s 1937 and you are strapped into the fastest Grand Prix car of the age, you’d be staring over the front cowl of the intimidating Mercedes W125. At the world’s greatest tracks, the W125 would prove dominant, whether it be the uniquely banked Avus or the romantic locales of Tripoli and Monaco. At SPA, the W125 would set a torrid pace, ripping through the old track at 193 mph. And those weren’t even accomplished by their best driver. In 1937, that driver was Rudolph Caracciola and he piloted the W125 in victories in several Grand Prix including the one that CMC has modeled here, the car that one the race on what is arguably the greatest race circuit of them all, the Nurburgring.

The W125 won because of several mechanical innovations made necessary when the 1936 W25 was totally outclassed by Auto Union. Mercedes reorganized it’s racing operations under Alfred Neubauer who brought on 30 year old “Technical Director” Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Uhlenhaut smoothed operations between racing and design, often testing the cars himself, lapping the Nurburgring with lap times competitive with the drivers.

The Uhlenhauth directed improvements included the suspension, specifically vastly improving handling by instituting a softer front suspension. He also added engine power by having the supercharger work on an induction system instead of the “push carbeurator”. This and a change in engine size boosted performance to 654 hp compared to the 354hp of the W25.

Like most CMC models, the car is not so much a model but a precision engineered sculpture. But you wouldn’t know it from the packaging. The model comes in the austere plain box packaging all CMC models arrive in, which is unexciting yet completely faultless and perfectly protective. The English in the notes is somewhat broken (but hey AUTO art, at least they try). The car comes complete with polishing cloth. Mine did not have tweezers, but that could just have been mine. You’ll need them (more on that in a minute).

This is my first “silver arrow” and the execution of the model is breathtaking. Just start with the basic shape and stance, the models looks like no other car from the 1930’s. I swear CMC must have magic elves (or is that elfin magic) execute their paint these days because it is miraculous for silver paint to be so stunning, rich and even. Not a tool mark, orange peel, inappropriate metal flake or chip in sight.

Like buying a new colorful fish for an aquarium, putting this car next to the other in your collection can suddenly make some of them appear old and poorly tooled. Much of this is do to the front grille work with the unique faux headlight design. The delicate metal work is intricate and consistent. The most persnickety amongst us will be thrilled.

The numbers and insignia are applied well, but are only a distraction in what on closer inspection becomes an amusement park for your eyes. The working front suspension replicates the revolutionary design that made the W125 unique. The big brakes are remarkably detailed to include minute vents.

The front cowl has four lines of vents across the top of the front bonnet and another pair on the side of the chassis. Shut lines are secured with the locking cowl system using a series of spring-lock mechanisms which you will need tweezers to open.

The in line V8 engine is artfully modeled here. Everything from textured fill caps to small specification stickers just left me whistling in my amazement (and if my wife ever asks, yes it was a model of a car I was whistling at). Not only is there wire, but things like pigtailed linkages to the cabin controls. While many of the materials are plastic, that is not the overall impression your eyes will dwell on, there are too many other interesting details such as the supercharger assembly and the headers which lead to a raced-look exhaust, complete with heat discoloration.

In terms of wheels, no one today is making wheels equal with CMC and that is certainly the case here, the delicate filigree wire wheels are modeled with painstaking care, a lover’s attention to detail. The tires are deeply treaded and every trademark and specification imaginable is embossed on the originals faithfully replicated here.

The cockpit it a multi media delight with the textured, cloth seat, riveted metal dashboard, mirrors and windscreen. Ironically the steering is not functional through the steering wheel, however, the wheel itself is jewel-like, with the enameled logo in the center dead on perfect.

The rear boot of the car reminded me of what I was trying to achieve with every Pinewood Derby car I ever built. The boat tail design buttressed by aerodynamic axle shrouds form a very post-war type of look. The underside of this model is a large skid plate.

CMC claims there were over 1,000 parts used in this model and I’d take them at their word. Seeing photos of the model on web is one thing, experiencing this kind of magical detail in person is something else again. Each time I take the model out of the cabinet for viewing, a nuance I had not noticed previously stands out and shouts "isn't this cool?"

There have been whispers for some time now that the best models in the world might be CMC. They are not a prolific company, but each model should come with a sticker on the box warning users to put on a bib to catch the inevitable drooling. This model will only enhance their growing reputation.

CLICK HERE to purchase this model at the official store of the Diecast Zone, Legacy Motors.


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  Collectors Edge: AUTOart 2005 Ford GT vs. Beanstalk 2004 Ford GT Concept

So when AUTOart comes out with a Ford GT, we should all be excited. One of the best modeling companies making a replica of the most dynamic American production road car on wheels,what’s not to like? Looks like AUTOart will dominate another nameplate, right?

Well, maybe. Trouble is AUTOart invaded the territory of one of the best inexpensive model builders of the last decade: Beanstalk. In the short life of Beanstalk, they established a reputation for really good models at bargain prices made under the strict direction of Ford. Among Beanstalk’s best models are a posse of Ford Concept GTs. So, using the new “collectors edge” scoring system (I just thought of it ten minutes ago) let’s take a look at the new kid on the block and see if you’re really missing that much if you stick with yesterday’s hero.

Fit and Finish
The AUTOart has shutlines tighter than Scrooge’s wallet, while the Beanstalk, which looked great right before I opened the AUTOart box suddenly looks Burago-ish in its shut lines. The paint is also far better on the AUTOart with the red reflective paint applied smooth as silk. The GT striping and bonnet insignia are exquisite. The paint on the Beanstalk is good and rich, but shows orange peel not evident on the AUTOart. The paint also suffers around body panel edges. The Beanstalk’s pin striping is actually more striking than the AUTOart (black with white edging) and is brilliantly done while the Ford oval insignia is a surprising black. Since this is a Concept car, it’s hard to say that a black oval is incorrect, but it sure seems odd for a brand known for a blue oval.
Edge: AUTOart

Since this is my scoring system I’m going to have one whole section on lighting, because lighting (and wheels/tires) can sabotage an otherwise fine model. In this case neither model is hard to look at. The Beanstalk’s front lighting is very well done for a model in its price range. The rear lighting has nice textured lenses. The AUTOart’s lighting is superior in detail but don’t read that as “more correct”. There’s a big difference between concept cars and the street legal variety, and the AUTOart's are more detailed and practical since the 2005 model is legally compliant. Only the AUTOart has parking lamps and they have mounting posts (groan) but you need to go looking for them.
Edge: AUTO art

Well, if the first two rounds have the AUTOart ahead on points, the wheels/tires feature a strong counterpunch from Beanstalk. The Beanstalk tires feature Goodyear insignia and deep, patterned tires. The wheels on the Beanstalk look more plastic than alloy. The wheels are much better emulated on the AUTOart. The brakes on the AUTOart are remarkably well detailed, with detailed calipers. The Beanstalk model’s brakes are not done badly but it would be wrong to characterize them as remarkable. Both models have good stance but the AUTOart is slightly better –the car looks ready to pounce. The rear tires seem slightly wider. Oddly enough, both models have a bit of an issue with too much camber in the right front.
Edge: Logo tires win me over: Beanstalk

Nothing to write about: the AUTOart has a large Le Mans inspired skid plate and Beanstalk has a Concept car chassis which means it’s not deployable on the road. The Beanstalk model does show lots of engine. If the suspension on the Concept car is this primitive , the ride in these things must be hard on the old duff. Ho hum.
Edge: Beanstalk

Rear Bonnet/Engine
Neither rear bonnet stays up, which makes typing a review a royal pain. In the photos you will notice my high tech solution for this. The AUTOart engine is nicely detailed and plumbed though a bit plastic looking. The Beanstalk’s is not plumbed but has a far more metallic/futuristic look to it. On the AUTOart you discover a complete rear suspension segregated within the engine compartment. The AUTOart’s bonnet is far better detailed, from the rear window defroster to the detailed rear window trim including a painted rear window brake light. The Beanstalk’s bonnet is far more mundane but is latched, not mounted on (gasp!) dog-leg hinges.
Edge: Push. Ok, the AUTOart is probably better but I’m going to punish them for the bonnet not being able to stand on it’s own. And dog leg hinges? C’mon it’s 2005.

Oh boy. The Beanstalk can probably feel their chance at the title slipping away. The AUTOart cabinet is sleek and gorgeous. The dash gauges are readable and defined. The tinted windows filter the light to give this cockpit the feel of a rich racing machine. Comparing how details like the shifting mechanisms are painted, the Beanstalk’s economical build quality is obviously less strict. All isn’t lost though for the Beanstalk, though. The racing harness is nicely displayed and the seats are in fine racing trim. The running board has the Ford imprint. But even those Beanstalk extras suffer by comparison to the AUTOart where the belts are made of realistic materials and photo-etched buckles are exquisite.
Edge: AUTO art

Detail, Detail Detail.
It should be clear now that this is an apples versus oranges comparison. The Beanstalk is a build of a Concept car, and in a head to head comparison it shows. The AUTOart has wipers, complete lighting, a highly developed suspension and even a rear bumper. The screens for the air induction systems on both models are good with the AUTOart having better fit and finish.
Edge: AUTOart

I have a relative who lives in a southern state where it gets really hot in the summer. I asked him why he never got air conditioning. He responded unexpectedly but logically: “Because I’d get used to it”.

If you own the Beanstalk and you have no desire to do anything other than admire it from two feet away from your cabinet, then there’s no reason for you to upgrade to the AUTOart. That said, for me, the Ford GT series of cars is as close as America has ever come to building something like a Ferrari, and I like to immerse myself in my Ford GT models of any vintage. If that description fits you, then enjoy your Beanstalk as long as you can. It’s a handsome model worth more than the asking price. But the AUTOart, my friend, will make your heart race. You’ll discover you can’t live without air conditioning.

To purchase the AUTOart 2005 Ford GT at Legacy Motors, CLICK HERE.

Here are some special detailed comparison photos between the AUTO art and Beanstalk Ford GT models. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Next week:


Classical Gass


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