The Martini bender is over folks. I'm sorry, it's time to wake up with a splitting headache, a lady of questionable morals and aesthetic merits snoring next to you, a lingering feeling of regret and an itch in your nether regions you swear you didn't have yesterday.
We return therefore to the world of road going cars. No rollcages, no exotica, no alcohol sponsorship. However do not despair, because in the realm of road cars the subject of today's review isn't a bad one. In actual fact it's a scale model replica of my daily driver. The Auto Art rendition of the Honda S2000.
Warning, the following bit might be biased and moderately untrue...
The Honda S2000, launched in 1999 was Honda's attempt to get into the roadster market and boy did they ever get things right. The engine revved to eleven billion rpm and made fourteen megawatts of power with the help of VTEC, sorcery and a pact with the devil.
Actually, no, it didn't, but suffice to say it's a revvy little bugger with more than enough power to get you into trouble and a chassis, which until the AP2 revision in 2004 could be, if we're being charitable, described as a tad twitchy on the limit. The first time I gave mine some proper stick on a wet corner some poo came out. I love the S2000, it's a faithful companion and in a garage filled with tempramental old things and the occasional Italian car it is a faithful companion which always starts on the button and never fails to raise a smile, especially when you get to 6000rpm and everything gets a little bit more fun.
But enough of that, let's get on with things shall we?
Design and Accuracy 8/10
This is an earlier Auto Art casting, something which shows in a couple of details which aren't really up to the real thing. For example the car is missing the headlight washers (however closer inspection of USDM cars shows them not having had them, but mine's Italian and it does). However all of the outside decals, badges and plastic trim parts are present and accounted for, so it's still a very good example. The score would have been a seven, were it not for two interesting details. Honda made a great deal about the car coming with Bridgestone S-02 rubber (damn their hides, it's getting nigh-on impossible to find them now!) , the model replicates the tyre's design perfectly. Also present is the little wind deflector between the seats, that and the tyres are worth an extra point.
Fit and Finish 8/10
Very very good. All of the panel gaps are arrow-straight, the paint is very nicely executed without any untoward blemishes or odd finishes. This model was purchased long after it went out of production and a long time in a transparent box can dull the bodywork, this car however is factory fresh which is a testament to how well Auto Art were building cars, right from the start.
Nothing out of the ordinary here. Four opening panels, steerable wheels and... um... Yeah, I forgot about the suspension, not sure if it works or not. What I can tell you is that what there is to open does so with commendable solidity and everything within is rendered extremely well. I would have liked the little cubby holes inside to open, but that is really splitting hairs (plus the hinges would have been so tiny the thing would have broken at the second attempt).
I paid less than $80 for mine from eBay Germany but a casual snoop of US eBay puts them all north of $120, that's a lot of money. It would have been a ten for what I paid, but I think I got lucky and considering that I always use US eBay as a yardstick for value and rarity I'll keep to that.
Four are currently on US eBay, two more for across the Atlantic, however none of them are silver like the object of this review so if you're hell-bent on that particular colour I'm afraid you're out of luck at the moment. That means that it gets quite a high score for rarity, which I'm actually quite surprised about, considering the subject matter is a relatively workaday production Japanese automobile.
Final Score 39/50
Another resounding Auto Art success. Taking these pictures was a lot of fun for me because outside the garage was the full size version of the subject of my snaps. There's something strangely pleasing about seeing tiny details of your actual car replicated faithfully in a model. Should you buy one? Well getting one was a complete no-brainer for me. I drive a real one, so as a diecast enthusiast it was practically law that I end up with a small version. However personal considerations aside I think it's a worthy addition to any collection, particularly that of a Honda fan.
Oh, and as a purely self-indulgent excersise, here's a comparison of tiny Honda and real Honda.