Throughout the the late 1920s, one name was synonymous with dominance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance classic: Bentley. Beginning in 1924 and continuing from 1927 through 1930, the dashing British team piled up victories with their fast, rugged roadsters and their crew of rakish young drivers who would become known internationally as “The Bentley Boys.” These archetypical playboy sportsmen burnished the image of Bentley as the sophisticated choice for well-heeled bon vivant drivers for decades to come.
With corporate partner Audi taking a year off from factory-backed competition in the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans, the time was right to resurrect the legend of the Bentley Boys. A pair of closed-cockpit prototypes would be entered in the LMGTP class, powered by a turbocharged, 4-liter Audi V8 and crewed by superstar team Joest Racing. The result: modern-day Bentley Boy Tom Kristensen would claim his fourth consecutive win at Le Mans in car #7, partnering with co-drivers Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith to finish two laps ahead of the second place car…also a Bentley.
After a lengthy wait, TSM has finally released their 1:18-scale resin model of the 2003 Bentley Speed 8 EXP Le Mans-winner. Featuring TSM’s customarily excellent level of detail, the Speed 8 will be an essential addition to any collection of 1:18-scale Le Mans prototypes, and with a production run of only 750 units, we expect to sell out quickly! Our allotment is scheduled to arrive around January 23rd; please visit http://www.carriagehousemodels.com for availability updates.
One of the best aspects of Southern California car culture is that there really isn’t such a thing as an “off season.” Whether your preference is organized motorsport, a spirited Sunday drive in the canyons, or just a relaxing stroll through a car show, worship of the automobile is a year-round activity here. So, while much of the rest of the country shivers under a blanket of snow, the Carriage House Models crew will be soaking up the warm winter sun at the 12th-annual San Juan Capistrano Car Show on Saturday, January 31st at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center & Sports Park. We’ll be there with our full range of 1:18- and 1:43-scale cars, with special show pricing on selected models.
Benefiting the SJC Rotary Club, the show offers a wide variety of vehicles, from hot rods and musclecars to European exotica, as well as a selection of new cars from local dealers. The event is pet-friendly, and will feature a “disc dog” demonstration.
For more information, visit the show’s website: http://sjcrotary.org/Page/carshow. We hope to see you there!
Over the holidays, I had a few of my old Bburago 1:18-scale models out of storage for photography at my wife’s family’s house. My mother-in-law, who up to that point had never seen one of these cars up close, marveled at the level of detail that went into them. I explained that as charming as these 30-year-old pieces are, they appear rather quaint when compared to the modern precision replicas we sell today at Carriage House Models (such as the 50th-Anniversary Lamborghini Aventador pictured above.) She wondered what set the newer models apart, to which I could only answer “modern manufacturing processes, more precise tolerances, laser-cut parts, etc.” That’s when her eyes started to glaze over, and we both reached for our mimosas.
I could have offered a better explanation by referring her to Autoart Models’ Facebook post of January 6th, in which they laid out the method by which they obtain a flush wheel fit on their racing models. Using what can only be described as an exhaustive process, Autoart manually grinds the zinc metal of their models’ fenders to achieve a thinner “sheet metal” effect that allows wide racing tires to fit under the body, giving a properly scaled clearance. This is the sort of detail that a casual observer might not consider when examining a model car, but I guarantee that they would absolutely notice something “off” about the model if Autoart did not go to all this trouble.
When Autoart first appeared on the diecast scene in the late 1990s, it was apparent that the rest of the model car industry would have to raise its game substantially to compete with this new level of detail. Fifteen years later, Autoart continues to set the standard by which other 1:18-scale model cars are judged, and while other companies can now match the accuracy of their products, Autoart remains at the cutting edge of miniature car craftsmanship.
Within the next two weeks, we anticipate arrival of TSM’s 1:43-scale McLaren F1 XP-5, the exact car that set a world record for top speed among production vehicles in 1998 by reaching 243 miles per hour at the Ehra-Lessien test track in Germany. The McLaren F1 is widely regarded as the ultimate road car of the 1990s, if not of all time, and claiming the title of “Fastest Production Car In The World” was surely the achievement that cemented its legend forever.
We saw TSM’s brilliant work at this scale last year with their wonderfully detailed Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, and we expect that the F1 XP5 will be just as great. Pricing is expected to be around $80.
Please visit http://www.carriagehousemodels.com for availability updates.