The Great Cerritos Shrinking Machine: AUTOart’s Incredible 1:43 Countach

The Great Cerritos Shrinking Machine: AUTOart’s Incredible 1:43 Countach

It’s a fair bet that somewhere in Cerritos, California, there exists a massive – though well-hidden – machine that is capable of reducing full sized automobiles to scale models you can palm. We haven’t seen it – yet – but we’re pretty sure that it exists somewhere deep below the warehouses and offices of Gateway Global / AUTOart.

Okay – maybe we’ve been sitting too close to our monitors during deadline. And perhaps we’ve been drinking a few too many energy drinks after dinner. But the recent arrival of this amazingly red and righteously rendered 1:43 Lamborghini Countach 5000S – an image straight off those posters we had as kids – had us stroking our chins… even giggling a little.

With a full-access casting and deep under-the-skin detailing, we just can’t get over the thing; it’s amazing how much fidelity this bunch has brought to a model in a scale that usually shuns – loudly – the very idea of opening panels. And for the most part, we’d agree. 1:12, 1:24 and 1:18 are fair game, but you can’t have a great 1:43 image with door, hood, and trunk seams, right?

Umm.. wrong.

The paint, finish, and detailing on the piece are extraordinary; with working headlight doors (spring loaded, and button activated), a tilt-up trunk lid, a working engine cover, and, of course, those reach-for-the-sky doors, all replicated in scale and working on smooth hinges, this is a whole lot of fun in a wee package. Sure, it’s a little fragile, and the gaps, under a macro lens, are a little whonky. And yes, you’ll want to be tender around those headlight risers when pushing them back into place. You’ll also need to be careful when wiping off the inevitable fingerprints; that photoetched wiper arm and the exquisite little scale-relief badges affixed to the model’s tail won’t withstand a hard swipe of the cloth.

All that being said, in real time, and on display under the naked eye, we’d put the little mass-produced Lambo alongside some of the mega-thou hand-builts in this scale for sheer enjoyment. The wired engine – done with actual, bundled strands run for each of the V12’s spark leads, and the interior, with a carpeted floor, legibly-gauged dash, and leather-look seats wearing red piping – beg for some in-hand exploration. So does the trunk (okay – it’s basically a fuzzy box, but it’s there), and the well-wrought chassis, rolling on no-name (but distinctively treaded) Pirelli rubber.

If you simply must have exclusivity, be of (moderate) good cheer; the models are limited and serialized. And though you won’t be paying hand-builder prices, the car’s $150.00 tag isn’t going to be for everyone. We don’t know if that machine in Cerritos will be cranking out many of these, but at this level of detail and features, and given 1:43’s increasing popularity with image-starved collector converts from other scales, this little car almost deserves a poster of its own. Highest recommendation.


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