Trying to define what makes Brooklin collectors so fanatical about the models they love isn’t hard – especially once you start grouping more than a couple of the models together. That’s not to say that any one of these British-born creations aren’t entertaining as solo pieces. They’re wonderfully well built, beautifully finished off, and hefty in hand – so much so that palming one for the first time always engenders the same astonished reaction from the newbie, as the sheer mass and density of the model registers. Once a few of these white metal wonders are set door to door on a shared shelf (judging by the number of “Brooklinites” out there, a common occurrence), it all becomes clear: these babies are special.
Brooklins have their own vibe – much the same way that Matchbox cars, or ‘sixties-era promotional models do. Though they’re detailed, they leave a lot to the beholder’s imagination, showing just enough to get the mind rolling, then pulling back just in time to let the collector’s knowledge of the subject fill in the blanks; foregoing photoetched parts and highfaluting stamped pieces in favor of metal, metal, and more metal.
That’s certainly the case with this neat little ’37 Lincoln Le Baron convertible, sent along to the magazine’s offices by Brasilia Press, who distribute Brooklin in the US. Save the rubber tires, the windows, and the plastic interior and top, the whole shebang is done in painted, polished, or otherwise prettied-up white metal. That includes the wee door and trunk handles, the wheels, the radiator grille, both bumpers, and even the greyhound that rises off the top of the radiator shell. No wonder this one clocks in at just a couple clicks shy of a pound.
It’s a heavyweight in sheer presence, too; with only 37 1:1 copies made, these Le Baron convertible sedans were prime pieces in a year where only 977 Lincolns of any stripe were sold. Built on the 145-inch wheelbase, and powered by the 414-cube V12, the car was regal, yet streamlined; proper, but forward-thinking, with faired-in, teardrop headlights and a classically-proportioned grille. As one of the “factory custom” coachbuilder alternatives (there were over 20 to choose from), the Le Baron would set you back around $6,000.00.
Of course, that price could go up, and quickly, depending on any flourishes requested by the buyer. Some cars had dividing windows between the front and rear sections; one ’38 Le Baron, in particular, was a drastic departure from stock – but we’ll get to that someday, especially if someone makes one in scale.
In the meantime, this deep blue model is a charmer. I love the quality of these things; the paint (a new, water-borne process only recently put into use at Brooklin’s Bath, England factory) is nearly flawless, and it’s accented by the tightly-placed, tidily installed trim all over the car. Wide whitewalls fill the wheel arches perfectly, and the Lincoln that sits on the tabletop in scale is just as snazzy and elegant as the real thing. Favorite detail? The wrinkles cast into the styrene convertible top. Good eye, fellas, and a good call… though this maker has an almost fanatical resistance to the use of plastic, metal probably wouldn’t have “read” right, no matter what they painted it with. And it would certainly have elevated the model’s weight into truly toe-breaking territory.
A lack of side windows allows a peek into the cabin, and it’s got good representative detail on the dash and seats; there’s a proper steering wheel and a floor shifter, but don’t look for readable gauges or the like. Not happening here. Nor is there a whit of detail for the inner door panels. And, by golly, the front seat looks like it’s a bit too far to the rear.
Is the lack of interior detail a deal breaker? Nope, and here’s why: These cars aren’t about gee-whiz detailing and get-the-magnifier working features. They’re about a fan base centered around a well-loved, distinctive line, hand-built by a tightly organized, passionately focused crew who know their collectors, and know them well. It wasn’t too long ago that I was a newbie to Brooklin, myself. And I don’t mind confessing that I’m not an expert on the line, or its history. But I surely do know what I like, and I’m liking this little Lincoln – and just about every one of this maker’s offerings these days – a lot.
The radiator ornament and the rear-mounted license plate came separately packaged inside the box, and required a little glue (white glue is recommended) to place them onto the car; in around five minutes, the Lincoln was ready to join its brethren on the shelf. Before I put it there, I took another moment or two to take it all in, from the relief paint in the metal grille to the full-metal chassis below.
I’m not a Brooklin fanatic, yet. But I’m starting to understand, one heavy, wonderful little model at a time.
brooklinmodels.co.uk / brasiliapress.com