There were the AMT and Revell plastic cars models on which we, as kids, mushed glue and spilled paint and applied misaligned decals in an attempt to assemble something that resembled the car pictured on the box.
Wanting something worthy of admiration, we grew up and cluttered our desks with nicely manufactured die-cast metal models of production sports and racing cars.
And now the Amalgam Collection in England has taken the creation of model cars to an entirely new dimension with its precision-crafted scale models that truly are works of engineering and art.
Amalgam was founded in the mid-1980s to produce detailed scale models for British and German architects, including Foster & Partners. It also created prototype parts for the first Dyson vacuum cleaners, and after a decade in business started producing display models for Formula One racing teams.
The company has workshops in England, Hungary and China, and produces scale models for car collectors including Ralph Lauren and Richard Mille.
“Amalgam models beautifully and precisely capture the entirety of the original, and are impossible to discern from a real car in photographs,” the company proclaims on its website.
“To create these perfect scale replicas of modern cars, we use confidential CAD data supplied by the manufacturer and cooperate closely with their design and engineering teams to perfectly replicate the interior and exterior finishes.
“With regard to classics, in our quest for supreme accuracy and authenticity, we go to great lengths to locate the best examples of original cars and digitally scan them, capturing the precise shape and proportions of every part of the car including the chassis, engine and drivetrain. We also take around 1,000 reference photographs, capturing every aspect and detail of each car in order to completely understand and replicate the finishes and detailing.”
The company uses 3D printing and CNC machining as well as traditional handcrafting techniques to create each model. It says a 1:8 scale prototype can consume 4,000 hours of labor and each subsequent model “takes 250 and 450 hours to cast, fit, fettle, paint and build.”
“Our models then face detailed scrutiny from the manufacturer, motorsport team or client to ensure the model accurately represents every detail of the real car,” the company adds.
In June 2020, the company expanded its model lineup with its first “weathered” example, announcing that it would produce 1:18 scale models of the Porsche 917K that won the 24 Hours of Daytona race 50 years earlier. As part of the anniversary recognition, those models would include the dirt and “battle scars” accumulated during the race.
Prices for Amalgam models range from several hundred dollars into the low 5 figures. Sure, for $12,000 you could buy a used car, but would you want it sitting on your desk or coffee table?