By Maz Woolley
All photographs are supplied by, and copyright of, the manufacturer.
Autopioneer is a new range of models made to 1:43 scale in resin with white metal and photo-etched fitments. They intend to release a model every two months going forwards. However, unlike many similar ranges specialising in glamorous coach built cars from the past it is not built in China, but in Europe. Each model will remain unique as they will not appear again in other colours and only 50 of each model will be made. This means that the models are expensive as well as exclusive.
Like Matrix, AutoCult and others Autopioneer only intends to announce each model shortly before it becomes available in the hope that the model will not be copied by others and spoil sales.
This article covers the second model made in this range which is a Hooper bodied creation on a 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith chassis made for Nubar Gulbenkian. Guilbenkian was a playboy tycoon who lived at the Ritz Hotel in London. His money came from the family’s oil business – it owned five percent of BP‘s stock. He liked big, fast and expensive cars and developed a taste for Rolls-Royce cars. All his Rolls-Royces were coach built to his own suggestions for design and were extravagant in style and luxurious in fitment.
The car modelled was the first of his flamboyant Rolls-Royces and was based on a 1947 Silver Wraith chassis. There was a
traditional sliding Deville extension over the chauffeured compartment – a recurrent theme on his cars. All windows were electrically operated. There were no sweeping, but flush,
door handles which were not visible from the outside to support the streamline shape. It is said that deeply conservative Rolls-Royce was not very happy with the car and that the English coachbuilder Hooper had no desire to give his name in connection with the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, but both needed the business.
The car is coloured in the corporate colours of Gulbenkian’s firm after the pictures of the car which is currently undergoing restoration in the UK.
The photographs below show a well modelled representation of the original vehicle finished to a high level of detail.
The arrival of another entrant into this sector of the market means that collectors of unique coachbuilt cars have an even wider choice of models to collect – if they can afford them!
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