Controversy is a spice of life, much like sex, intrigue, conflict and variety. The model car I’m about to show you is seasoned with such spice in real life, but is, on its own, a standout casting, one that I think is the new yardstick not just for the brand that makes it, but for models priced in the basic range.
For LaLD Car Week, I present to you, for your consideration, Tomica’s 2017 Ford GT.
To say that the new Ford GT made a splash is an understatement: its unveiling at the Detroit Auto Show is arguably the biggest automotive headline of 2015. A new Ford GT, with revolutionary-to-Ford carbon monocoque, radical retro design, and a Final-Form V6 EcoBoost engine from a base Mustang (wait no—), developed to win Le Mans as a GTE-Pro car on track and be the champion of supercars on the road. With bated breath, scribes and commenters went to town, lavishing praise but also calling out Ford for not getting the car out to more comparison tests, to say nothing of the kerfuffle surrounding its race version and the team that runs it.
For Tomica, however, the reveal was more ho-hum. It was confirmed on 829Japan, and released with minimal fanfare to stores. But the Ford GT is actually a part of a growing roster of supercars that Takara Tomy is beginning to pump out, and rather amazingly, this particular model went further beyond the high quality that the brand is known for.
Numbers are numbers and they can be found here, but as a summation, the 2017 Ford GT is the number one contender.
Partly because the new Ford GT isn’t like any supercar today. It’s a race car first, a homologation model of 1000 cars that came about because Ford wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of them beating Ferrari at Le Mans. For the most part, the GTE car was successful, taking the class win in 2016, but not without controversy, both at the finishing order and the fact that the race car was derided by critics as a prototype, a waiver-mobile that was rushed in by the ACO for marketing reasons.
Then again, however, creating a race car for the road is a foolproof plan to go fast and beat rivals in this stacked tier, and the road car certainly delivered. Automotive journalists lavished praise for its handling and effortless speed, styling and design, while an amount of criticism is leveled for a lack of acoustic drama. Lapping VIR faster than the Dodge Viper ACR, a yardstick of this generation of supercars, the 2017 Ford GT made its mark for living up to the rather massive hype it generated for two years.
Scaled down, then, this model surpassed every expectation—and probably every other replica at 1:64.
It certainly superseded Hot Wheels’ own GT, which, while met with greater fanfare, was not actually that much up to par, a slightly inaccurate model that looked half-baked at the back.
This one, however, was nothing less than sublime. Few toy cars get to look like the real thing even at sizes this small, and yet despite the Type 2 wheels the actual casting is realistic, with buttresses that you can even see through, just like the real thing, detailed rear tampo markings, and solid build quality.
And I was having a ball taking photos. Every angle brought out the beauty in the car, no matter the lighting. The paint is perfect, 100% Liquid Blue, as if the car was plucked straight out of the factory floor. The stance itself is fine, even with the suspension, and let me tell you: pressing down on the car was fun. The suspension was a touch of brilliance that, I thought, was the ingredient that elevated this car above the rest.
There truly is nothing like this. A model car that blends playability and collectability in a singularly astounding package, a miracle in 3 inches (not like me).More importantly, however, this casting raised a new bar for the basic/basic+ range, and for Tomica as well. Sure, there are other exotics released—the Lamborghini Centenario and Marcedes AMG-GT R that were released in 2017 were worthy contenders, and exacting and brilliant in their own right, but the Ford GT matched the hype of the real car, and rose above Mattel and Majorette to become my best of 2017.
And with that, I close this piece. This was fun to make, but admittedly I was in a massive rush to get this out to print. I hope you enjoy my first offering for LaLD Car Week 2018.