The Phantom Rises: Automodello Releases the Phantom Corsair in 1:24 Resin

Jan 15, 2012 2 Comments by

Rust Heinz’s Phantom Corsair was a standout machine at a time when streamlining and aerodynamics (or at least styling that looked aerodynamic) were making profound changes to car design – and, by extension, what folks considered stylish and modern.

The Phantom cost twenty-four grand to build at a time when a mini-mansion could be had for that sum; most of that went into the build, commissioned at Bohman and Schwartz. The car’s sleek shape rested atop a modified Cord 812 chassis. The Phantom retained the 812′s front wheel drive, Lycoming V8, electrically controlled gearbox, and straight rear axle layout.

Unfortunately, Rust passed away before the car could be manufactured and sold, at a planned $12,000 per. The prototype did see production, however – in the movies, appearing as the “Flying Wombat” in the comedy The Young in Heart, where film taken of the real machine on the road was sped up, to give the car more on-screen velocity.

We got this production sample from Jim Cowen, the man behind Automodello. Cowen’s company has been making some solid calls in 1:43 (a Griffith 600, a Bricklin, a Fitch Phoenix, and, most recently, a Packard Twelve, just to name a few), and this is their first 1:24.

We’ll be giving it the full send up and some video coverage in coming weeks and in the upcoming issue of Die Cast X, but we wanted to share these snaps and our first impressions in the meantime. Like Automodello’s 1:43 cars, this one’s a killer on display. Look for a piano-smooth black finish on the car’s heavy resin body, decorated with beautifully turned out detail pieces for the headlights, driving lights, and bullet taillights. Everything’s been placed flawlessly, including the photoetched windshield wiper arms resting on the butyrate windshield; the coolest detail is those stacked triple-blade bumpers, which have been acid-etched at their centers and detail painted – wow – then assembled onto metal bracketry and installed onto the model. This is a piece in keeping with the upper levels of collecting. It’s virtually flawless, yet unmistakably hand built.

Another cool feature, the removable roof panel, makes looking into the interior easy. The seat’s been cast with a realistic leather pattern and finished in a believable semi-dull black, and the dash is positively popping with foil-based and photoetched gauges and decos. That removable panel is slick – and it gives proof to the doubters that resin models can, indeed, be tooled with opening panels. You can peer into the rearmost section, too (the Phantom was nominally a six-passenger design), but it’s hard to imagine what riding in that part of the car must have been like, with only the split rear window for light.

The car comes on a faux leather-wrapped plinth in a gorgeous presentation box with a certificate. We kept the car on that plinth; you can remove it, but the chassis detail, well done as it is, is mostly limited to that which can be seen from the front and rear. In the interest of playing it safe with this loaner, we decided to leave well enough alone.

The Phantom will be joined soon by a Mormon Meteor, also in 1:24. In the meantime, the Phantom will see only 299 pieces made, and the price is $299.95.  For info on these models, and where to purchase, go to the Automodello site.

Keep making those good calls, Mr. Cowen. We can’t wait to see what you do next.

Gallery > Automodello Phantom Corsair RELEASE

1:24, Featured News, Online Exclusives

About the author

I was always crazy about toy cars and car-themed play sets, but I got hooked on car models when my cousin sent me a pair of built-up AMT kits - a '61 Continental and a '57 Thunderbird. I was six or seven years old when another cousin - Carl - showed me how to build and paint, and by the time I was nine, I had a pretty good collection and a great "spares box" on hand. The original Auto World catalogs were my dream books; my allowance was spent before it was ever earned, and I knew every hobby store and model retailer on Long Island. Then came slot cars, Cox .049-engined Baja Buggies and airplanes, and, ultimately, the real things. I still have some of those old models, and when time allows, I still build or detail scale cars. But it's the ready-to-display replicas and scale racing models that have really had me jazzed for the past fifteen years or so. The "mint" diecasts and the 1:18 American Muscle cars that I cut my serious collecting (and writing) teeth on back then led straight to the current crop of offerings from high-end makers and models in every scale. I also love scale model photography, and shooting, scoring, and producing videos of the models I love. I'm a proud member of the DiecastSpace Diecast Hall of Fame, as well as the Diecast Car Collectors' Club Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame. I'm also proud to be a part of the Die Cast X Team, and as Editor-in-Chief, I'm looking forward to years of growing the publication and showing new collectors how much fun this hobby can be. And, yeah - I still have that spares box.

2 Responses to “The Phantom Rises: Automodello Releases the Phantom Corsair in 1:24 Resin”

  1. Frank Kelly says:

    That is one SWEET piece Joe. Would love to add one to my collection. Will keep my eyes open for sure.
    Thanks Buddy.

  2. Joe Kelly Jr. says:

    Hello, Frank –

    Yeah, this is a beautiful model. This company makes some very offbeat (and very cool) models in 1:43, and they’re real car guys. I hope they continue making this kind of stuff, for all of us who appreciate off-the-beaten-path collectibles in scale.

    Thanks for checking it out!

    All the Best,


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