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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date

AUTO art 1:18 2005 Ford Mustang #05 FR500C
AUTO art 1:18 Lamborghini Gallardo
AUTO art 1:18 2004 Nissan 350Z #22 JGTC


AUTO art 1:18 Ford Mustang #05 FR500C AUTO art 1:18 Lamborghini Gallardo
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley

We have a world tour of models this week featuring a new classic American sports car, an Italian exotic and an audacious Japanese GT racer.

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  AUTO art 1:18 Ford Mustang #05 FR500C

Over the past couple of years, the news out of Dearborn has not been all skittles and beer for America’s oldest car maker. Profitability challenges driven by the high cost of wages and a reliance on the quickly evaporating SUV market have weighed down Ford’s stock profitability.

But one thing that has gone very right for Ford has been the rebirth of the original pony car the Mustang, so much so that one wonders how much impact it has had on GM and Chrysler trying to reclaim their muscle car heritage.

As part of this renaissance, Ford is actively involved in helping the Mustang rehabilitate its road racing past. While the model has been well represented on the drag strip the last few years by John Force, the Mustang had disappeared from all but vintage events until recently.

Ford is now trying to stir the Mustang legend with a client racer, the FR500C GT. In its first season of Grand AM competition, the #05 Venture Steel Multimatic Mustang piloted by David Empringham, never finished lower than tenth in any race and won the GS class championship. Empringham and Scott Maxwell drove together in every race except the Mosport 200, a race won by Empringham that put him and the Mustang atop the standings.

Such early success echoes a bygone era in which the Mustang racing legend was borne on the talents of drivers like Mark Donohue and Dan Gurney. The championship model under review bears a paint scheme reminiscent of the 1965 Ken Miles Shelby R-Model #98 GT350. There’s also a sister car in harvest gold livery that is the very ghost of George Follmer’s famous 1970 BOSS 302 racer.

While the model shares the same body shell with AUTO art’s 2005 Mustang just about every other aspect of the car has been touched to bring it to race spec. That hasn’t always been the case with race conversions. I chuckle every time I pick up my #2 Worth Lexus IS 300 Grand AM cup car that has the one racing accessory no driver wants to be without: a rear window defroster. Oh well, that model was a one off custom and I haven't seen a defroster on a racer since.

The stance has been lowered and the car looks race ready on stout Hoosier slicks. The metal honeycomb wheels offer clear view to the red Brembo calipers and brakes. The tampo graphic treatments stand out in high resolution against the snow white body.

The hood has four non functioning pins (thank goodness) and when lifted it reveals the Cammer 5.0 R50 V8 engine. The ‘R50’ racing version features cylinder heads, from the Ford GT program and, in fact, if you own a AUTO art’s 2005 Ford GT, compare this engine to that one and you see the similarities. The R50, however, has a unique, bulging intake manifold. All the details like wiring, clamps, and fluid fill caps (complete with tiny printed warnings) are complete. Reminds me of a GMP engine cabin, which is high praise indeed.

The excellent craftsmanship carries over to the interior. There are some elements you expect like the roll cage, a braced fire extinguisher, electrical wire runs and a performance shifter. But there are also some details that a lesser manufacturer might leave out like interlaced window netting on the driver side, a cerulean blue racing harness with photo etched buckles and chrome framed dash gauges.

Open the trunk and you’ll get a view of the complex fuel management system that feeds the Cammer 5.0 power plant. One appreciates the clear plastic tubing, a spider web of wires and even the wholly cosmetic gas cap. Looking at the belly of the beast, you will see the massive 6 speed transmission, upgraded suspension and fully emulated exhaust.

While there are compromises here and there such as tow rings that are permanently flush to the body work, there are elements of this model that are beyond world class such as the head and taillights, the tampo graphics and the interior. This is an exciting and seminal model - a must have for those that collect racing Mustangs. The world limited edition is 6,000 pieces.

Legacy Motors carries AUTOart 2005 Mustang - Grand-Am Cup GS.

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  AUTO art 1:18 Lamborghini Gallardo

My childhood memories of what defined exotic speed and power are wrapped up in two icons of the age; the Saturn V rocket which powered the Apollo space program and the Lamborghini Countach LP500.

Man did that Lambo have it all.

It was a totally adolescent, self indulgent fire eater with a sleek Bertone body deliciously interrupted by spoilers, vents, scoops and intakes of every angle imaginable. It had aerodynamics galore. The car looked like it had been engineered by Industrial Light and Magic and then put on steroid-laced gas. It was to most other cars what Raquel Welch was to most other women; more curvaceous, a little bit dangerous and completely unattainable.

Fast forward to the present and times have changed. Our rockets (and some say our ambitions) have become more tepid with time. But while a design of orgiastic proportions like the Countach seems somehow misplaced in the post 9/11 world, our need for cars that dazzle us with their sheer presence is as appreciated as it ever was.

On to this stage struts a revitalized Lamborghini now owned by Audi. In the new century we’ve seen the introduction of the Murcielago and most recently the Gallardo. In the best of traditions, Lamborghini has named their newest family member after a famous breeder (and his breed) of fighting bulls. It also translates directly in to the English word Gallant. The Gallardo is not as break bad wild as the Countach or a powerful hot house flower like its exotic older sibling the Murcie. What makes the Gallardo special is its somewhat pedestrian ambition: it is meant to be an AWD daily driver. At $165,000 it's a bit beyond my reach for a grocery getter - how about you? Call it what you will, but it's among the most relevant super cars of our time.

AUTO art makes the Gallardo in several colors and two body styles, one with a clear shell over the mid engine power plant and another with a louvered engine bonnet. The model color reviewed here is balloon white and features the louvered bonnet. The closest I can come to describing what balloon white looks like is to ask you to imagine a sort of pearlescent bright ivory color. Depending on the light, it can shimmer brightly or create a halo of understated grace. It is not appliance white as it has a patina somewhat like parchment. For a white model, it is one of the more remarkably colored subjects in my collection.

The model has fully opening parts including the forward trunk, interior and engine bonnet. The interior is a black affair with light café au lait colored seating surfaces, door centers and dashboard highlights. The carpet is soft to the touch, Chrome trim highlights the cabin’s climate ventilation elements and the shifter that manages the six speed transmission. Steel trimmed black pedals help properly accessorize this elegant driving space.

The engine is a 5.0-liter V-10 that throttles up to a fierce 493 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque. No wonder this 2.5 ton thrill ride has a top speed of 192 mph (boy will that make an impression at the Piggly Wiggly!) Much like the other modern exotics such as Bugatti, the engine is masked a bit –hard to see under the shadow cast by the bonnet. It’s all part of the clarity of line that typifies the rest of the car.

Turning the car over, you can see the suspension consists of unequal-length control arms and coil springs front and rear. You can also see the unique footprint of the 19” red lettered Pirelli P Zero rubber. Steering can be posed by moving the wheels. Easily viewed are the Lamborghini stamped brake calipers that control the whopping 14” rear and 13” front disc brakes.

There are details that abound on this seemingly simplistic form that will make your eyes pop from the bull logo on the front hood to the delicate Lamborghini insignia chrome scripting on the rear bonnet. The headlights and tail lights show no signs of mounting posts (though the same cannot be said about the running lights). All louvers are flawlessly spaced, cut and painted in the rear quarter panel sides and top. Even the opening trunk is a pleasant diversion featuring deep grey flocking and more space than most super cars boast for groceries.

Of particular note is the black patterned grilling that masks the front, rear and side intakes and vents on the car. It is consistent and delicate. Close up, you can view the louvered openings through them but from any distance at all it camouflages their purpose.

Through simple form, stance and an attitude that seethes rather than confronts, Automobili Lamborghini has created a masterpiece with the Gallardo. In turn AUTO art has done a fabulous job scaling it to a 1:18 work of superb craft.

So, where have you gone Racquel?

Going back to those days when I was in deep teen thrall over that wild Countach, I realize how much has changed. I remember my favorite soda was a sugary sweet soda pop concoction called Cheerwine, my favorite food was a Payday candy bar and my favorite rock band was Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with full orchestra no less). Now, I prefer diet Pepsi, some salted Virginia peanuts and the simple fun of Barenaked Ladies. Times change and taste changes too.

While I’ll always have a soft spot for the Countach LP500, the Gallardo is more elegant and its cloaked ferocity makes it an instant classic. And it has plenty of dazzle - just ask anyone who saw Mission Impossible 3. It sits proudly next to the Countach in my cabinet. It belongs.


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  AUTO art 1:18 2004 Nissan 350Z #22 JGTC

Founded in 1994, the Japanese Grand Touring Car (JGTC) series currently features some of the world’s most advanced series for GT racers. At $1.5 million per car, JGTC cars sports elements such as full carbon fiber bodies, titanium frames, and retractable jack-stands. JGTC consists of two classes, GT500 (max. 500hp) and GT300 (max. 300hp). Horsepower is controlled through use of air restrictors.

This AUTO art model of the GT500 class 2004 Nissan 350Z Motul Pitwork driven by the team of Kageyama/Krumm is part of their Motorsport line. As with all Motorsport models, body openings such as the trunk, hood and doors are sealed. Any views of the twin turbo VQ30DETT 24 valve V6 engine will have to be in your mind’s eye.

But even though it’s sealed, the model has more than its fair share of detailing. Those of you that might be put off by the “sealed” warning will be happy to know that features such as louvers, windows, headers, fluid fills and vents are not paint, stickers or tampo graphics but bona fide openings.

The model has a streamlined yet muscular look, almost like an arm cocked in a bicep. The 350Z’s stance is low slung and the scale appears dead on. The tuner inspired red and silver paint is gorgeous. The tampo graphics are cleanly executed from the delicate Japanese characters on the 2005 Ashi Expo graphic on the rear quarter to the ironic Kyosho and Ebbro tampos. Bring a magnifying glass to truly appreciate the detail.

The front of the car has hood locks, spoiler, open grille and louvers, brilliant headlights, tow eye, and a chromed inset Nissan logo. There are small wings on the front of the car that must help not only airflow but down force.

The interior of this RHD car is more detailed than I expected for a non opening model. Windows have open venting, the black race seat has a white NISMO harness and there is a fully detailed dashboard and gear shift. All of this is surrounded by a fully constructed roll cage. The steering wheel moves when posing the front wheels.

The rear of the car does not have the level of detail that makes the front remarkable. The plastic spoiler looks plastic and is not scored to mimic carbon fiber. Openings are blacked out. But the rear lighting is well done and the logo inset and tow eye are as remarkably well done as those same elements on the front of the model.

What might be the best feature on the car are large scuffed and lettered Bridgestone Potenza tires mounted on glossy black five spoke mags. Look closely and you can see the near holograph NISMO logo on the brake calipers that control the pizza size brakes.

This is a very handsome model and if you collect JGTC cars or just GT cars from around the world, this is a fine model that will look good on the shelf.

Want more information on JGTC? Click here.

Next week:


Happy Labor Day!


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