Mar/Apr 2019 edition
Issue #4 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
John C. Lutsch
Our previous article, “Part And Parcel”covered only a tiny portion of the vast array of collectible reproductions of automobile components; a situation we’ll try to redress by examining several outstanding scale model engines, starting with a group produced by GMP in 1:6 scale several years ago.
Offered were 12-cylinder motors from Ferrari; a 250 Testa Rossa, a 250 SWB, a 250 GTO (pictured), and a flat-12 312 PB (pictured). Also produced were three different 4-cylinder inline Offenhausers; a “clean” version (pictured), a “dirty” race-used version, and a turbocharged Indy engine. A group of three Ford V8 Flatheads followed, along with a Keith Black Chrysler drag racing engine.
All the GMP pieces were built to a good quality level, utilizing metal, plastic, and photo-etch parts. Because of their relatively large size, they are a commanding presence on a display shelf. The four Ferraris had a sound chip in the base, which was linked to the gear shift lever, allowing the operator to “run through the gears” audibly. Unusual, and rather gimmicky. Perhaps the most impressive of the GMPs is the Ferrari 312 PB, with its sliding block fuel injection system, and delicate wire mesh coverings for the intake trumpets. These large-scale GMP engines are all long out of production, but many fine examples can still be found on the secondary market.
A more rarified model is the 1:8 scale Amati Ferrari 375 marine engine, which powered the 1950’s Italian hydroplane “Arno Xl”. These were only produced as kits. This amazing miniature is composed of over 125 cast metal parts, and 450 functional brass nuts & bolts! The eight intake trumpets are machined aluminum, and the model weighs a hefty 3.5 pounds. When originally produced, the kits sold for around $1,000, requiring a skilled builder to do them justice, adding more cost. When properly constructed, the twin-supercharged marine version of Ferrari’s mighty 375 MM engine is a real visual treat. These scale masterpieces were rare when new, and almost impossible to find today.
AutoMobilia Resource’s Editor, Marshall Buck, is a renowned master model builder and automobile authority, whose company, CMA Models Inc., has produced its own Ferrari 375 Lampredi engine, in 1:12 scale. Available as kits (only 50), as well as an edition of ten “factory” builts, they are absolutely remarkable in quality and detail. Each engine contains hundreds of individual pieces, including machined nuts, bolts, and stud pins. The fuel pump alone consists of 20 parts! These amazing engines were first offered around fifteen years ago, with the built versions selling for $2,500. Each is mounted on a metal engine stand affixed to a solid machined aluminum base. Finding one of these jewels on the open market would be like stumbling across a Renoir in someone’s attic!
On a slightly more prosaic level, CMA also produced a series of 1:20 scale pewter models of the McLaren M8D engine, presented on a beveled wooden plinth with an etched metal information plate. Proving that a model engine doesn’t have to be laden with extreme detail to be effective, these were nicely cast, simple representations of the iconic Chevrolet V8 that became a legend in Can Am competition. These can still be found on occasion… and very affordably.
Moving to the other extreme, there are the 1/3 scale Ferrari engines produced by Terzo Dalia, noted builder of the Ferrari 250 GTO shift lever, featured in AutoMobilia Resource issue #3. With prices soaring into five figures, these astonishing models have graced some of the world’s finest collections, as well as Ferrari showrooms and dealerships. Five different types have been produced; 250 GT Competition (pictured), 250 GTO, 312T, 250 SWB, and Enzo. Each is composed of over 400 parts, and everything is bolted together using no adhesives.
The casting and machining is exquisite, and the large scale allows beautiful details, like the tiny Weber carburetor return springs and copper manifold gaskets. The Dalia engines are shining examples of what is possible when exacting craftsmanship and unlimited funding are available. They are absolute works of art!
To read more great columns like this one from automobilia expert John Lutsch...
John C. Lutsch is the owner of Aeromobilia.com, an internet-based purveyor of unique automobile and aviation-related art, models and rare treasures for the collector and enthusiast.