End of the Beginning
1962 was the ninth year of Corvette productionthe final one for the first- generation car, but the model had already morphed dramatically from earlier years. Gone was the painted cove on the side that gave the Vette its 50s Chevy family resemblance. The new car was wider, and the rear end had a slicker, more modern pre-Sting Ray look. Gone, too, was the 283ci engine, replaced by a quartet of 327s ranging from 250 to 360hp. Autoarts Fawn Beige convertible is a particularly nice example in 1:18. No telling which engine lives under the air cleanerits definitely not fuel-injected; but lets assume that the top carbureted 340hp unit is sending power through the included 4-speed. Engine and interior are both very nice, and kudos to AUTOart for a smartly fitting hardtop. Year 62 Vettes sometimes get overlooked as the year before the C2, but this handsome machine is well worth worth parking in your diecast Corvette garage.
AUTOart; distributed by Gateway Global (562) 623-0210; autoartmodels.com
A Snake Charmer from Franklin
What was once merely the stuff of dreams for car-crazed horsepower junkies is now a reality for all: the big three are fielding street-legal monster machines with upwards of 500 horses. Fords foray into insanity is the Shelby GT500 Mustang that boasts a supercharged V-8 with 500hp and enough torque to wrinkle the asphalt at stoplights anywhere. The various Shelbys have been some of the hottest sellers in Franklins lineup, and the newly minted 07 GT500 will surely continue the success. The beautiful blue-and-white stripe pattern evokes the most heroic Shelbys of yesteryear, as does the signature snake badge jauntily offset in the left front corner of the grille. Exquisite finish and exceptional detail on the supercharged cammer V-8 are obvious highlights, but Franklin deserves credit for a delightful underbody with some of the best subtle paint shading weve seen. Even if you dont have the budget for one of these bruisers in your driveway, you owe it to yourself to have one on your shelf.
The Franklin Mint (888) 771-6468; franklinmint.com
Baby Benz Goes Ballistic
When you look at the AMG version of the Mercedes baby roadster, surely you all had the same reaction as we did: Whatonly 355 horsepower?! OK; 355 ponies seems like plenty for a tiny two-seater like the SLK, but you just knew someone would scheme to squeeze out a few more. Two firms have delved into such wretched excess: Lorinser and Brabus. Both add an extra 100 or so horses and then sprinkle the body, interior and wheels with style and performance mods to balance things out. Hotworks Racing Factory decided the AMG SLK was spicy enough to release in 1:18. The SLKs signature retractable hardtop is functional on the model. The SLK 55 AMG comes stock but has provisions for optional hop-up kits; and did we mention the kits were free with the diecast? This is a ton of model for the estimated $60 price tag, and given the scarcity of AMG tuned Benzes in the U.S. market, how can you resist?
Hot Works USA; distributed by Sunrich Toy & Hobby (909) 287-0655; hotworksusa.com
Danbury Diamond in the not-so-rough
When we contacted Danbury Mint about our big vintage feature for this issue, they promised us some big news for the segmentif it could be ready in time. Timing was tight, and this is still a preproduction piece with a few tweaks yet to come, but were squeezing it in: Danburys new 1932 Cadillac V-16 Roadster. And big it is; the original was nearly 19 feet long with a 143-inch wheelbase, and it weighed 3 tons. The 452ci V-16 made 175hp and the kind of torque typically pulling something with Union Pacific stenciled on the side. In the roadstereven one this huge that was enough to hustle this leviathan to 100mph in style befitting a king or a movie star. Danburys version communicates the exclusivity and opulence of these hand-built dream machines. The fine hood hinges, delicate spoke wheels and brightwork that is beyond elegant top this most admired Caddys list of features. Production units should be arriving as you read this, but even this prepro deserves to be displayed (wonder whether Danbury will notice if we forget to send it back ).
Danbury Mint (800) 243-4664; danburymint.com