I am a Ferrari boy, through and through. Cut me in half and I'll have a prancing horse on my heart. I've got a real one which I love more than the child I don't have but which will eventually force me to sell it. But ask me what the quintessential super car is and I'll only have one answer, the McLaren F1.
A car born of one man's obsession with perfection, a car which redefined what automotive magnificence meant to us impressionable children of the nineties. Yes it was made by The Enemy, but such was the amazement that this car caused in me that it caused me to forget anything else. Plus, let's be honest, the purity of the lines, the simplicity of some of the design touches made the moderately contrived, slightly lumpen aesthetic of the contemporary F50 pale into insignificance. Look at the F1 today and it's an amazingly pure device which could be released today to sharp intakes of breath. One only has to look at the F50 and the Enzo to see how dramatically they have aged, or the smiling tree frog face of the P1 to know that in a couple of years time it will be viewed as a product of its time as well.
Having come out into the open with my guilty love of a McLaren, which will no doubt see me burned at the stake the next time I go to a Ferrari meeting (also known as the mechanic's), let's get on to the subject of today's review. The Auto Art Signature Edition McLaren F1, in a slightly disconcerting shade of pale champagne (I could have sworn I bid on a black one).
Design and Accuracy 10/10
Perfection. There's no other word for what Auto Art have done here. We're into the stratosphere in terms of details. Door locks are present, hood supports, which are generally simply there to stop them closing, have been designed to replicate those present on the real car perfectly. That's the sort of thing you just don't see on models. The real car used gold leaf as an insulating material in key areas of high heat, yup, the model has them too.
Fit and Finish 10/10
This isn't really a case of the car being in a different ballpark to my other F1 castings, this is playing a different sport, on a different continent. Razor sharp panel gaps, paint so deep you could launch a submarine into it, reflective light surfaces, perfectly replicated tyres, down to the markings on the sidewalls. I realize I'm gushing here, but this is the gold standard of non-premium (CMC, Exoto) models. Goal posts have been moved.
Full complement of opening doors, luggage panels and engine covers? Check.
Steerable wheels with all round suspension? Check
A full set of five pieces of 1/18 scale luggage including two suitcases, a garment carrier, a briefcase and a tiny little document holder which all fit perfectly into the luggage areas behind the doors? You bloody well better believe it!
A frankly obsessive level of detail, which is a fitting tribute to the obsessive, no-compromise approach Gordon Murray had when designing the real thing. I can't even knock it down for Auto Art's customary lack of suspension action, it's all there, present and correct.
eBay shows these cars trading at or about the $220 mark, and considering what you're getting and the prices of cars with comparable levels of detail I don't think that's too much to ask. Quite the opposite in fact.
Tons of them about. eBay lists seven black ones, a couple of white ones, a couple of silver ones and one in the odd champagne-ish shade mine is. A wider net across the Atlantic nets another dozen or so at any given time. Not a unicorn by any stretch of the imagination.
The highest score I've ever handed out in a Cd'M. And to be perfectly honest I don't think anything is going to get a higher score, unless someone else comes into the industry and changes the game like Auto Art has. The blend of obsessive detailing and (relative) affordability that this Signature edition F1 brings is unparalleled. I've got a fair few Auto Art models, but we're into art here.
Should you buy one? Yes. Now. Stop what you're doing, whatever it is, I don't care. Go on eBay and buy it. It's expensive, granted, but this is the type of stuff you leave to your children. It's jewelry, not a model car. Auto Art even gives you a little magnifying glass for you to pore over the details. This is the best scale model I own. There I said it. I thought the Porsche transporter was the end of that particular discussion, but this eclipses it.
And finally, here it is with the rest of the F1 family, UT GTR, UT GTR Le Mans, Maisto road car and Auto Art masterpiece.