Sunstar’s 1:12 Morris Minor and VW Cabriolet: Cheap Thrills

Sunstar’s 1:12 Morris Minor and VW Cabriolet: Cheap Thrills

In a lot of ways, Sun Star’s 1:12 offerings of late define their very own segment: heavily featured models of historic, humble cars. “Humble” is an understatement. These ain’t Lamborghinis, guys… if you somehow strapped the full-sized versions of this pair together and fed the result a diet of high octane fuel, you’d still be pushing far less than a hundred horses. The Karmann-bodied ’49 VW Beetle Cabriolet made a paltry 30, and the even more anemic ’60 Morris Minor convertible cranked out a washing machine-like 27.5.

But horsepower wasn’t what these cars were about. These little rollers offered wind-in-the-hair driving pleasure with 40 mile-per-gallon thrift in the days before stratified fuel charges and factory-offered fuel injection.

They also boasted hatfuls of pokey character – and every drop has been caught and wrought in this hand-happy scale by Sun Star. Both cars have working fabric tops, working steering and suspension, and good (great, on the VW) chassis detail. Each also features a sweetly done up engine. The VW’s 1100cc flat four is wired and plumbed, and sports a rubber fan belt (a critical element on these air/oil cooled cars), and the Morris’ crisp, apple green 948cc inline four is set into a deep, fully piped engine bay. Side windows work via the door cranks, and the interiors on both have working glove boxes, visors, and seat backs front and rear. Both also feature flip-up directional “trafficators” for when you’re mind-motoring.

Just be gentle – especially on the Bug, which gets the most advanced, and therefore fragile, features, including working door handles and wheels you can change by doffing the hub caps and removing scaled lug nuts. Both cars’ convertible roofs work well enough, but remain rumpled for a while after deployment; we got the fabric boot onto the VW’s stowed chapeau easily, but gave up on the Morris after ten or so minutes of tucking, tabbing, and swearing aloud. Both cars come with faux tools – a nice touch, if panic inducing when dropped into the carpet. These things are tiny. The Volks’ comprehensive chromed set comes in a round hard shell that tucks into the front-mounted spare tire, while the Morris makes do with a proper satchel placed onto a shelf in the trunk.

The verdict? Despite the occasional glitch, and a lean toward the experienced adult collector, either of this pair certainly deserves a place in the sun. Get your summer on.

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