By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.
From time to time models from Italian part works turn up on eBay and at toy fairs. When they do they often offer a good budget model for a modest price. The model this article focuses on is a 1:43 scale Maserati Kyalami issued as part of an Italian part work by Leo Models of Italy but made in China for them. Leo Models specialised in preparing a range of masters for part works and budget ranges though the web site quoted on the model is no longer responding so this cannot be confirmed.
Excess stock from the Maserati part work series has been made available through wholesalers in the UK over the last few years, though not all the cars available to subscribers appear to have been made available on the secondary market. The standard of the models is variable but the Kyalami is very good.
The Kyalami is a four seater coupé produced by Maserati from 1976 to 1983. It was named after the Grand Prix circuit in South Africa where a Cooper-Maserati won the Grand Prix in 1967
This was the first model developed after Alejandro de Tomaso bought the company and it was derived from, and mechanically similar to, the the Longchamp a three-box grand tourer made by De Tomaso Automobili. Pietro Frua was commissioned by De Tomaso to turn the Tom Tjaarda-designed Longchamp, into a Maserati. The interior was also upgraded to incorporate classic Maserati elements such the steering wheel and instrumentation. Thankfully the Maserati V8 was used and not the American-sourced Ford V8 which was used in the Longchamp. The same styling found its way to the larger Maserati Quattroporte which shared the same running gear as the Kyalami. The fact card in the part work is completely wrong in its statements about the engine which is described as a 6 cylinder 1488cc unit. Clearly the quality control in pre-production was non-existent!
The model captures the shape well. Hints of the Lancia Beta, and even the Fiat 130 coupé in the styling perhaps? It is certainly a clean design with typical late 70s mixture of boxiness and sculpted sides.
The wheels and tyres are accurate if a little bland.
The front end is well modelled with the grille and lights very neatly done and the multi part front bumper with embedded indicators and sidelights nicely moulded and printed. However, a little red paint on the trident would have made it even better.
The windscreen wipers are fine mouldings and better than the Photoetch ones on many dearer models.
Inside the model a pale blue matt finish suggests the leather sets and door cards. The dashboard has instruments moulded in but is all black.
To the rear the missing number plate is annoying. Again the lights are very well made separate units, the multi-part bumper is well modelled. The chrome strip and name badges has been printed so finely it is only obvious how fine when you blow up the photograph of the model.
The glazing for this vehicle is excellent. Flush fit all around the car is shown with an open drivers window.
All in all a very nice part work model of a vehicle from a period when styling was considerably different to the styling we see today.
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