Category Archives: Automodello

Countryside Weekend in Review!

By Randy Rusk

Editor’s Note:  Every March in the suburbs of Chicago, USA, a group of 1/43 collectors come together to meet face-to-face.  After all year reading MAR Online and interacting on various virtual groups like Forum 43, it’s very nice to meet in-person, socialize, buy and swap, and ‘talk toys’.  The guys (it’s all guys unfortunately) come from all over the US, Canada, and occasionally even the UK.   The weekend is very full with Friday dinner for early-birds,  BuzFest on Saturday, and Chicago deep-dish pizza that night.  Sunday morning is the Countryside Classic Toy Show where many of the 1/43 guys have tables.  Then we all head back home with our various purchases!

Here are my impressions from the Countryside weekend for those who weren’t able to make it.  After checking into the venerable Holiday Inn, I ventured off to BuzFest. Buz’ gracious “hostess with the mostest!” wife had a great spread of sandwiches, snacks and desserts out – but I was saving myself for the deep dish pizza that was to come. More on that in a minute.

There was already a solid group of guys in the room when I got there, full of tales about models they recently acquired – or were about to:

But what stopped me in my tracks – and had me immediately reaching for my wallet – was the surprise arrival of a new Conquest woody, the 1959 Mercury Colony Park Station Wagon in red, black or white (with or without roof rack):

These came in just a day earlier from overseas so the timing was perfect. I nabbed the red one.  Several others snapped them up as well.  Regardless of the model that weakened your knees, Buz was very happy to get us into that next new car:

With stories shared and money spent, it was off to Giordano’s for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. A big thanks to Frank for once again coordinating a good meeting space with hot pizza at a great price.

And while you might look at these pics and wonder why no one is smiling, it’s because they all took their pizza consumption very seriously! With lighter wallets and full bellies, it was time to retire to the hotel for a fresh start in the morning.

Sunday was bright and sunny and felt like it was at least 20 deg F warmer – a very good sign. Another good sign was the long line waiting to get into the toy show.

Now, normally I’m not a big fan of crowds, but for the future of our hobby, it was really nice to see a big turnout of avid collectors pouring over the tables.

Word on the street is that they were all lining up to see John’s latest pink and green masterpiece in model making excellence:

OK, well, maybe not so much, but it was great to see all the dealers who support our hobby out in force with lots of great stuff to buy.  You might spot Automodello in the collage below.

Finally, at the Forum table, our thanks to Esval for sending several boxes of models, as well as to Sergio for a sneak peek of prototype samples of some of his latest offerings from Goldvarg. That newest woody (top left) is a must-have for me:

Well, all in all, it was a great time to catch up with old friends and new models. I always think of this show as the first sign of spring… and with the mix of scale models viewed (and purchased) over the two days, I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 holds!

I hope everyone made it home safely and I look forward to seeing you all again next year. A shout out to Dick Browne, our fearless leader at Forum 43.  I hope all is well and that we’ll see you all back in Chicago in 2019.

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A very special TVR

By Maz Woolley

With thanks to Jim Cowen and Alan Audus for their contributions to this article

Most readers will be familiar with the highly detailed resin models produced by Jim Cowen’s Illinois based company Automodello in a variety of scales from 1:43 to 1:12. Automodello produces models of US and British vehicles which have not been modelled to a high standard before. The models shown below are available from, Automodello’s associated trading site, and their dealers. TVRs have been a favourite subject since their first model, a 1964 TVR Griffith Series 200. So the TVR Taimar recently released and shown in the manufacturer’s photographs below is an obvious gap filler.

What readers may not know  is that by enrolling in their Enthusiasts Edition program it enables Automodello to paint an upcoming model in factory colours commissioned by an owner or collector. Indeed as we will see later they will also modify the mould in some ways to make the car even closer to the collectors requirements. This “made to measure” service is expensive, but then so is a hand tailored suit. The enthusiasts edition 1:43 scale models cost 399.95 US Dollars for the first model and 179.95 for additional models. Models to 1:24 scale are also available as Enthusiast Editions at 699.95 USD for the first model and 465.95 for additional ones. Each Enthusiasts Edition build is limited to 15 pieces.

British TVR owner Alan Audus enrolled in the programme as he had always wanted a model of his 3000M. Photographs of Alan’s  beautiful car are shown below. The 3000M was one of the M Series cars like the Taimar and was powered by the Ford Three Litre engine  used in the British sporting versions of the Ford Capri. Like all the M series cars it has a fiberglass body on a tubular frame .

Jim Cowen at Automodello kindly put your Editor in touch with Alan and I asked Alan some questions about the car and the process of having his car modelled. Our question and answer session is below with photographs of the model following them.

How long have you owned your TVR 3000M?

I have owned my 3000M from new. It was first registered on the First of  August 1979 and is 37 years old this year.

Did you have it restored or was it bought restored?
It has never been restored. It hasn’t been on wet or dirty roads for 35 years and when it was it was cleaned, sometimes by torch light, to make sure that it was clean before being put back in it’s Garage.  
Is there any particular reason for owning a TVR rather than another classic marque?
I love the style, looks and above all the sound. If you have heard TVRs on the move you will know what I mean. It wasn’t about owning a fast car, but  car in my mind which is “drop dead gorgeous”. As you can tell I still love it.
Have you ever owned, or do you own, any other classic cars?


Has anyone else in your family had/got interesting vehicles?


Is there any particular reason for having a 3000M?
A Boss at work had one when I was 23 years old. I looked at it and wanted one badly but the insurance for anyone that young was too expensive. But when I was 26 I had a test drive and that was enough to get me hooked.
What journeys do you use it for and how any miles does it do each year?
In the first two years I owned it it was a daily drive, except for the winter months when it never came out of the garage. I bought an old car to use in the winter. During this period I clocked up 18,000 miles, but over the last 35 years I’ve only done another 18,000 bringing it up to a total of 36,000. It does not come out in the wet and whether a drive is 10 miles or 40 miles it gets a good clean before it is tucked away under it’s dust sheet. Everything is polished and original, the engine bay, suspension, and wheels on both sides. It is really a working museum piece. No expense has been spared to keep it that way.
Do you collect models, and if so what types/scales?
I only collect TVR models. Mostly Spark and Automodello to 1:43 scale. I also have Jadi 1:18 scale models but they are not the same  quality.
Why did you decide to have Automodello make your car?
I asked Automodello as they already made a Taimar Turbo and my car is the same style and shape. But being a model maker, I love aircraft as well, I thought that if they just filled in the lines of the opening tailgate and vents round the rear window they could produce my 3000M. To me it was easy but to Jim and Raffi it meant making a new body mould. When I spoke to Jim to ask him to make the model I said “If you can make this model all you have to do is tell me how much. I’ve wanted a model of my car for years”. 
Was the process of getting the model produced an easy one?
For me it was easy. I’m an Engineer and a perfectionist and so are Jim and Raffi so they understood my passion and they share that passion for four wheels.
How did they get the information needed to make the model?

I gave them close up pictures of all the differences between my 3000M and a Taimar.

Are you happy with the end result?

How many ways can you say Fantastic! I emailed Jim and said “Automodello = Automagic” or better “Automagnificant”. I still look at the model daily and think that they have done a brilliant job.

The photographs below shows pictures of the model Automodello created specially for Alan. It is a wonderful match for the beautifully maintained original.

1-TVR 3000M 022 1-TVR 3000M 029 1-TVR 3000M 077-001


Automodello have now created a series of TVR 3000M cars in other colours which are pictured in photographs from the manufacturer in the gallery below:

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