The Essence of the Car

By David Roots

Editor: David recently posted an introduction to his range, The Essence of the Car, on our Facebook page. Interested in this different approach to capturing the visual character of cars we suggested that he introduce his series in more detail here on the website. The article and all photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Essence of the Car is a different concept in the presentation of scale model vehicles. Instead of the high level of detail usually found in the die cast ranges, these models present the vehicles in their basic form. All are made to the standard collector’s scale of 1:43 and each model carries a serial number and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The idea started because I wanted a model of a special (full size) supercar that I was working on. Having gathered together models of comparable supercars, it became apparent that the scale of my model needed to conform to that of the models of comparative subjects. It quickly became apparent that to try to achieve die cast levels of detail within the limitations of domestic model making would be too time consuming. Therefore the idea of capturing just the raw shape of the car was born.

As the body started to take shape, the wheels were the next problem. Proprietary wheels would not fit with the simplistic approach of the body. So, the wheels and tyres had to follow the same approach. The wheels and tyres should be made as separate parts, the wheel centres being simplified to the swept shape of the wheel while the tyres were reduced to simple rings of an appropriate section.

The Essence Of The Car is basically a hobby. All of the master models are made in house by hand. When those are complete, the necessary moulds are made, again in house, and duplicate copies can be made. All of the models are then finished by hand. A typical mould is an open block into which the resin moulding compound is poured.

Whilst the process has its limitations, it is being continually developed to widen the scope of subjects that can be modelled. Examples developed earlier included thin sections such as tail fins, open pickup truck bodies and separate chassis and axle detail where these are an important part of ‘The Essence Of The Car’. More recent developments have been the inclusion of separate cycle type mudguards made as part of the tyre and the manufacture of full sweep mudguards and running boards which involves laying up fibreglass tissue into a mould. I have now developed a method of producing the basic interior of open top cars and have also developed the system of using wire armatures for slender elements of the cars.

From that modest beginning, I now have a range of 87 models, the latest being Volvo P1900, MG EX127, MG EX135 and Lotus Esprit Turbo. The number of new subjects per year depends on ideas for new ones, but currently, there are more subjects in the pipeline even though most models only get to 2 or 3 off, but I have fun doing them and it is mainly a hobby after all. My range caters for individual one off buyers, private collections and specialist collecting groups. In addition, because of the simplicity of the process, I am able to accept private commissions. I find subjects in various ways. Via the internet, in books and periodicals. When I discover a likely subject, I first try to match it with any of my current client base. I have been known to float the idea on the appropriate Facebook pages. Another way forward is to complete the master and photograph it mocked up with its wheels etc. And offer it that way. I also accept the occasional commission. Classic car clubs tend not to be interested. I do have a quite extensive range of experimental cars.

A recent model, MG EX135, came about because of an e-mail with a client who is interested in such cars. Research for this also found me one of the next models, also an MG.

The main challenge is trying to find suitable 3 View drawings. When this proves to be fruitless, I then have to work with a combination of a good side view photograph, a set of principal dimensions and more photographs taken from as many angles as I can find. The shapes of older cars are not usually a great challenge compared to more modern ones.

The big question is, how long does it take to create the master model. It can take relatively few hours spread over varying time periods. I have never made a record of how long it takes to make the master model. Once I have the mould, the copies can be cast in a few hours with the finishing taking a few hours spread over, sometimes, several days

A recent development has been my collaboration with the German publisher of a yearbook devoted to 1/43 scale vehicles. My models have featured in two editions, the first which was 2016/2017 and the latest 2017/2018. It is titled: Modellauto-Jahrbuch (ModelCar-Yearbook) published by TIM Verlag (   

Pictures of some models from the range are shown below.

Apollo Race Car


Dubonnet Dolphin


Farman Saloon


Lea Francis


Lester MG


MG EX127


MG EX135


Phantom Coupe


Rumpler Tropfenwagen


Saab Formula Junior


Voisin Aerosport v2


Volvo C303


Volvo P1900

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Another Miniature Ford Prefect 100E?

By Mike Harvey

Article text copyright of the Author. Photographs by, and copyright of the Author except where otherwise credited.

Editor: This article is based upon Mike’s recent posting on our Facebook page which is so interesting that it is reproduced here so all our readers may share it. This follows up Dave Turner’s recent article on the 1953 Ford Prefect which can be found here

I have just rediscovered my Premier’s plastic kit of an English Ford. Despite the box front artwork the kit is a left hand drive 100E but with a Prefect grille. The box side artwork shows a left hand drive car but with a missing B pillar on the driver’s side. Moulded in light blue plastic it scales out at 1:25.

There are two tone chromed parts with wheel hub caps a slightly different colour to the surrounds, and the grille surround different from the slatted part. The chromed V emblem for the bonnet top helps date it. 

The instructions for putting the parts together are shown below.

I have not had the heart to put it together, and dry runs show that 60+ years after manufacture a considerable amount of fettling would be needed to produce a good result now.

Mike points out that although the grille and other fitting are clearly those of a Ford Prefect it has a two door body shell and the Prefect was a four door in the UK. Perhaps Ford sold two door cars with Prefect trimmings in other markets or maybe the car is a hybrid between a Prefect and Anglia.

This model  was joined by several other UK cars in the original series. In addition to the Triumph TR3 shown on the box side below there were also a Jaguar XK120 as well as a Nash Rambler a.k.a.  Austin Metropolitan.

Editor: Mike also pointed us to the Onethirtysecond web site where there is a page dedicated to the kit and the one piece resin body created from it. Onethirtysecond was run as a hobby company and seems to currently be on a back burner due to the owner’s other commitments so the resin reproduction may no longer be available.

onethirtysecond 100E Photo © onethirtysecond

onethirtysecond Ford 100E Photo © onethirtysecond


Matt Irvine, famous for his books on making plastic kits, confirmed to onethirtysecond  that Premier was a kit line made in the US making it a puzzling choice for a US maker.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

1:10 Scale Hand-Made 1923 Voisin C6 Laboratoire

From Jerry Broz

Hand-Made 1923  Voisin C6 Laboratoire to 1:10 scale

The text is by, and copyright of, Jerry Broz. All photographs are by, and copyright of, Yves Bertola.

This article shows a handmade 1:10 scale model of a unique full size Avions-Voisin C6 Laboratoire Formula One race car that ran in Grand Prix ACF de Tours 1923.  At a later date part two of this article series will look at the details of the race, the car and its designers, Gabriel Voisin and Andre Lefebvre, as well as the commercially produced and hand crafted models of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire.

It has been 40 years since this meticulously handmade, proportionally correct model was made.  Frenchman, Yves Bertola, was 30 years old when a few black and white vintage photos, and the principal dimensions of Voisin C6 Laboratoire were printed in the first issue (Nov./Dec.1978) of the bi-monthly magazine “The Enthusiast“.  The article sparked his passion for this technologically and aerodynamically advanced race car, which was significantly different in comparison with the other contemporary race cars.
He decided to build a model of this car not realising he was taking on
quite an endeavour to make this model.

Before he began building the model he had to make a series of detailed drawings. In 1977, there were no personal computers with CAD, no three-view engineering drawings or any other documents readily available for this car. The scale engineering drawings for this car were made the old fashion way, i.e., with ink pen on drafting paper, a ruler, a protractor, and other manual drafting tools.  All drawings were painstakingly extrapolated from the perspective and the position of the photographer. Yves Bertola was able to transform all this, along with technical data, front and rear track, wheelbase, wheel and tire size, etc., to get right proportions.  Finally, after numerous tests, verification, and comparisons, the three-view drawings were ready to be used to build the model. When personal computers arrived in 1990s the pen and ink drawings were redrawn on AutoCAD.

The 1;10 scale model of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire race car is a
quintessentially handmade model, as there is not a single part of the model produced commercially. Absolutely everything is painstakingly “hand-made“.  In fact, relatively simple hand tools were used to build the model. No lathe, no milling machine, or hand held power drill/grinder, only a soldering iron and small hand tools (shears, files, hand drill, sanding blocks, jeweller’s saw, etc.). Most of the model is made from brass pieces such as 0.5mm sheets, rods and tubes of various diameters, flat and extruded H profiled strips, nails to represent rivets, mini fasteners, chrome paperclips, glove leather, thin sheets of steel, very fine wire mesh, etc. Forty years ago the materials and various small pieces commonly used in model making today were unavailable.

The wooden base of the seat is padded with foam and the leather is stretched over it and glued to the base.  The front and back of the wheels are made from a brass sheet, with the front bent to a slightly conical shape and the wheel halves soldered together.  The tires are made from the round rubber rod, cut and the ends glued together and then carefully fitted onto the wheels. The dashboard dials were
drawn at a large scale and cleverly reduced to correct size on the photocopier and then glued into the eyelets.  There are other handmade parts of the model that required ingenious and imaginative methods to create such as the hood leather belt, steel
cables, shock absorbers, wooden body sides protectors, windshield frame, suspension leaf spring clips, etc.

When Yves Bertola visited automotive dealership in Nimes, he met an 82 years old gentlemen who worked as a mechanic in 1923 when he was 23. As a mechanic he had an opportunity to work on Tours’ Voisin C6.  The retired mechanic said that the Voisin C6 was not blue, but had the color of eggshells, sand, or cream.  In the 1923 photos from Tours’, the Voisins C6 were apparently of aluminium
color.  Unfortunately, there is no credible or substantiated information whether the Tours’ Voisins C6 were painted or not.  And if they were, what was the colour.

The following photographs show in great detail the exceptional 1:10 scale model of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire built by Yves Bertola.


Thanks to Yves Bertola for the information about this unique model and for his photographs. 

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Cult Models for 2018

By Maz Woolley

All photographs provided by the manufacturer and may be prototypes subject to refinement and changes.

Cult Models has a past history of making 1:18 scale models of classic British cars and four more are expected in the first half of 2018. These models are made in China for Cult.

Cult have been known to offer some of the more reasonably priced 1:18 scale models in the past but the price has risen steadily over the last year or so making each model a significant investment for collectors.

Land-Rover Discovery Mark I metallic red 1989

This model of an early Land Rover Discovery with the graphics printed on should prove popular. The wheels seem to be very accurate and the large areas of matt black also seem well printed.

Austin 1100 Glider yellow 1969

The car is a four door illustrated with right hand drive and the correct grille bars for the 1100. I don’t believe that the name “Glider” was ever used on a UK car, though looking at the web shows it was used and perhaps in the Netherlands as most of the references using this name seem to be Dutch.

The model seems to capture the shape well and though the colour is certainly authentic the Author wishes they had done it in another colour.

Sunbeam Supreme MKIII white/maroon 1954

From 1953 the former Sunbeam -Talbot 90 was marketed by Rootes Group as the Sunbeam Mark III. On the radiator shell instead of “Sunbeam Talbot” used on previous versions “Sunbeam Supreme” was to be seen.

This model captures the cars shape well and again the wheels seem to be neatly represented as does the chrome belt line.

Triumph Spitfire MKII blue

A popular vehicle for modelling and one that is available in almost every scale commonly available. The Cult model seems to be a good replica of the real thing. The early Spitfire front and rear end is clearly captured as are the simple painted steel wheels and chrome hubcaps.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Dinky Small Auto Set

by Terry Hardgrave

The 1953 US Dinky Toys catalog pictures a small red racing car that many collectors might not have seen before.

In fact there are other cars in a little set. These were originally introduced in 1936 and called the Small Auto Set, and numbered 35a, 35b, 35c, and 35d. They were tiny, only a little over 1″ long, and made to OO scale. All of these were discontinued in 1941, due to the war, then re-introduced in 1946.

35a is called the Saloon Car and has the appearance of an early Triumph. It was made until 1952. 35b is the Midget Car Racer and is modeled after an MG Type R race car, and was the longest made, being deleted in 1957. 35c is the MG Sports Car and based on the MG Midget or Type P. This was deleted in 1952.  35d is the Austin 7 car, modeled on the Austin 7 Opal 2-seat touring car. One source says it was deleted in 1948, but it appears in the 1951 US Dinky Toys catalog.

The pre-war 35d models only came with a wire windscreen … postwar without. My example,shown below on the right, is the only pre-war model of this set that I have, and it also shows the pre-war style white tires and thinner axles.

The price lists from the early 1950’s catalogs show these as being priced at $0.35 each, and they always came in trade boxes of 6.
Here is another photo of this little, very antiquated set of tiny Dinky cars!

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at


MAR Magazine Collection on Offer

Offer made 15/3/2018

Simon Matthews has contacted us. He is moving house and would like to sell his collection of MAR magazines. He says that they are in excellent condition having been read and then stored in boxes.  He has issues 1-204 with the exception of issues 3,4,13 & 193.

Simon travels around the UK on business so it may be possible for him to meet any prospective buyer at a mutually convenient point to pass them on.

If you wish to talk to Simon about acquiring these magazines please send an email to or use our contact form from the menu bar and we will pass on your details to Simon.

Autocult and Avenue 43 Models March 2018

By Maz Woolley

All photographs supplied by Autocult.

Autocult have announced a Porsche Teram Puntero in the “Past Brands” series, a Fiat 750MM Panoramica Zagato in the “Small Cars” series, the Walter Regent Sodomka in the “Streamliners” series and the Maybach SW42 from the “Prototypes” series.

A new car appears in the Avenue43 range distributed by Autocult: BMW 700 Martini type 4.

All models shown are 1:43 scale resin cast in China for Germany.

Porsche Teram Puntero

This Argentinian made car has an interesting history. In the early 1950s the Argentinian Dictator Juan Perón created a state run engineering conglomerate to produce vehicles and aircraft.   A car called the Justicialista was made but only  167 sold and it was an expensive flop and production was entirely abandoned by the mid 1950s when Perón was overthrown.

A small company Teram bought the factory, tools and parts and chassis for 144 cars. They produced an entirely different set of panels to cover the chassis and sourced engines from Porsche, the same engines used in the 356.

Sales began in 1958 and it took till 1963 to sell all 144 cars.

Fiat 750MM Panoramica Zagato

Panoramica” was a concept pioneered by Ugo Zagato and the designers at Carrozzeria Ugo Zagato & Co. This involved larger side windows reaching up higher into the roof than had been previous practice and the front screen similarly extending higher into the roof.

Zagato produced eight “Panoramica-concept”  cars on the chassis of the Fiat Topolino. To prove its toughness the Fiat had to master harsh conditions and was registered for the famous rally Mille-Miglia in 1949. The tiny Fiat Zagato came fourth place in its class.

With this success Zagato added the letters “MM”, which was the acronym for Mille Miglia, to the type designation. Sadly this car never went into series production and of the eight cars built only one survives.

Walter Regent Sodomka

Walter was a Czech car maker famous for large limousines from the late 1920s onwards. The Regent  succeeded the Super 6 and used its 6 cylinder overhead valve engine. The Regent had a body made for it by Carrosserie Sodomka.

This body was  streamlined with covered rear wheels, a front end designed to split the airflow and curved to smooth its flow. The closed limousine version  has no B pillar and this gives the impression of one long glassed side which is captured well in the model. The bare chassis with drive train was offered for drivers who didn’t like the Sodomka styling.

The Regent was sold for five years  and only a few dozen were made.


Maybach SW42

Maybach had been a maker of luxury cars in the 1930s favoured by the rich and famous. Production of passenger cars was ceased in 1941 and not restarted at the end of the Second World War.

In 1956 Karl Maybach,  son of the company’s founder, had an urge to drive a specially bodied Maybach. A Type 42 SW model from 1937 was chosen as the chassis and a modern body built to clothe it by the coachbuilder Spohn.

BMW 700 Martini type 4

The BMW 700 was a considerable success and kept BMW alive at a time when its large limousines no longer sold enough to keep the company afloat. Willi Martini prepared racing cars based on the BMW 700 with a glass fibre body creating an attractive coupé.

This was successful in its class in touring car racing and was also sold to private buyers. Styling was then updated and magazines road tested it but it did not go into series production and in 1965 BMW ceased production of the 700 and Willi Martini moved on to tuning other vehicles.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at


1970 TONKA Streaks and Rods

By Jerry Broz

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

1970 Vintage Tonka Assembly Line – Street Streaks and Hot Rods

Tonka’s quality image and immense line of automotive toys has become legendary. These toys are well-known for their stainless steel bodies, low friction axles, lifetime tires, non-toxic baked enamel finish or parts made of the new amazingly tough polycarbonate material used in today’s automotive and appliance industries. It is quite amazing that Tonka toys can be found in kids’ toy boxes all over the world.

Among the new toy cars of the late sixties and the early seventies, Tonka introduced the “Assembly Line Street Streaks Hot Rods“. There were a total of seven toys available as a kits or as assembled toy cars. These toys are very hard to find collectible toy cars, and difficult for collectors to pass up. These Hot Rods have chrome-
like finish exposed engines, injectors or scoops, headers, radiators, hubs, front and rear tanks, rear bumpers, steering wheels, and even a wrecker hook. Durable plastics are used for the other parts of the vehicles such as the chassis, coupe tops, wrecker boom, tonneau,
windshields, etc. Each toy car has a rugged steel body with rubber fat rear slicks. The kits have very well written and illustrated assembly instructions. The full collection is known as the 1970 Vintage Tonka Assembly Line Street Streak Hot Rods. Pictured from top to bottom are the Freeway Fireballs (2 cars), Shuttle Buggy, and Draggin Wagon #1, respectively.  The other three, which are not shown, were called the Highway Hornets (2 cars) and Draggin Wagon #2.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Atlas Dinky Deluxe – #500 Citroën 2 CV 6

By Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Another Atlas Dinky model has arrived in the Deluxe series issued in the UK. It is another French Dinky this time #500 1966 Citroën 2CV 6. This is another model that started as French made in 1967 and ended its life being made in Spain for Dinky after 1974. Atlas has replicated the French edition which was according to them available in pale grey or blue though some listings also claim it was made in beige. When production transferred to Spain the latest jaunty orange colour became available as well as the later square lights.

The model features the roof replicated in its first, rolled back, position which was great fun in sunny weather. The photograph also shows the way that the sprung fabric seats on metal tubed frames were used. In the Author’s memory these may have been simple but were very comfortable too!

The model has jewelled headlights as another “extra” over the earlier 2 CV model in the range as well as neatly modelled grey wheels with special hubs similar to those on the real car and tyres with Dunlop marked on them.

One curiosity is the silver panel below the front grill. This is actually the location of the number plate so a black box would have been nicer.

The rear is rather plain and the rear lights still a simple red cluster though the 2CV 6 was to gain larger rear lights from the Ami in 1970. Another mystery is the yellow panel as the French still used white/Silver on black plates in 1966.

The side view shows the fact that this update of the 2CV had conventionally hinged front doors.  The real car had side windows in two halves with the lower part being a flap that lifted upwards. The original Dinky didn’t have this moulded or marked in and the Atlas copies the original.

The final photograph shows the features that make this a Deluxe model, the open roof and the opening bonnet. Quite a nicely replicated engine with the inbound brakes clearly visible. If my memory serves the engine was actually all dull alloys and seemed incredibly low down and small.

Rather a nice model of a distinctive vehicle but one wonders how many of the collectors will remain with this series as there seems to be no prospect of any more UK Dinkies and even the Ford Galaxie 500 we were promised in the promotional literature has not been seen.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Johnny Lightning “Magma” 1968 Camaro

by Frank Koh

1/43 Scale Johnny Lightning from the Playing Mantis Days

In the late nineties Johnny Lightning came out with a somewhat limited edition line of 1/43 scale cars called “Magmas”. There was even a mail-in offer of a special red Magma 1968 Camaro. That exclusive model could be purchased only if the mail-in offer was availed of. Needless to state, not many red “Magmas” Camaros were made; hence, they can be considered the “chase cars” from the good old days. Such was the ingenuity and innovation of the Johnny Lightning team when the company was owned by Playing Mantis.

Believe it or not, this Johnny Lightning “Magmas” 1968 Camaro is close to two decades old. I have owned this exclusive available-thru-mail-in-offer-only red Camaro for many years, acquiring it by way of the secondary market. It represents one of the better marketing strategies of Johnny Lightning when it was owned by Playing Mantis: Authorize a limited run of a popular model in an “exclusive” color, then sell it thru the company’s mail order channels. [Regular 1968 “Magmas” Camaros were were teal blue and green variants sold thru regular retail outlets.] Consequently, for all intents and purposes, the red “Magmas” Camaro was one of the first “chase cars”.  Brilliant.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at