It wasn’t easy for Ferrari to nip the top on its 458 Italia, given the 202mph supercar’s speed, and, oh yeah … where to put the roof in its down position. Maranello’s answer came in the form of a moderate redesign starting aft of the doors, all the way back to the 458’s retro-bullet taillights. The simplicity and speed of the doffable top’s careful choreography as it splits, then disappears below a hard tonneau, is remarkable. It can be argued that Mattel’s own choreography — the dance involved in making ever-better model cars for the masses— is equally notable. This latest from the Hot Wheels Elite catalog has opening doors, deck, and boot, and steerable wheels. Metallized five-spoke wheels front ceramic-look brake discs and Ferrari calipers; their finish contrasts with and enhances the rosso corsa paint, screened-in vents, and the photo-etched cavallinos and “Ferrari” scripts. Everything’s tight and tidy, and the details in the cockpit (the mega-buttoned steering wheel, replete with paddle shifters, is a marvel in miniature) and on the peek-a-boo 562-horse V8 under the rear deck are crisply cast. What’s hard to believe is the excellence of the piece, for the price. — Joe Kelly, Jr.
Italia Spider 1:18 | $99