Words and Photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov
If there’s anything this hobby can never have enough of, it’s Aston Martins. The V8 Vantage was sorely missing in 1:18 scale until recently, when it was made by GT Spirit, CMR, CMF and now AUTOart. The former three are resin and sealed, and the AUTOart is diecast and opening. So far AUTOart released three excellent colours – Cumberland Grey (just brown actually), Chichester Blue, and Forest green, as presented here. The Suffolk Red is yet to be released. James Bond fans naturally had to have it in Cumberland Grey, but that film is before my time, and I’m from the crowd that thinks a British car must be green as often as possible, so I went with that. The tan interior certainly made the choice easier.
Starting from the outside, the paint is great. Sparkly and authentic looking, but not with over-size metallic flakes. The stance, as compared to photos of the 1:1, is mostly okay. It is difficult to determine whether it is correct since some cars seem to be riding level both front and back, while some are a little lower in the front. I certainly prefer the latter, as it looks more aggressive, but can’t fault AUTOart since both options seem to be present on the real thing.
The balloon tires irked me a bit, but once again, they look the same way on the 1:1. The rest of the model is quite nice, with excellent chrome work on the bumpers and window trim, while the side strake in the opening of the front fender bears the “Vantage” inscription. The Aston logos are 3D front and back, as expected.
Moving to the interior, we find the execution to be a mixed bag. The simulated wood trim on the door cards is just a tampo print, with no texture or elevation. It looks like an afterthought. The interior looks great in that colour, but I wish it extended to the dashboard as well. But then you look at the instrument cluster, and it looks VERY good. The gauges have real depth and the simulated wood looks amazing. The gear knob has numbers on it, and there are finally fabric seat belts – hooray! The elbow rest in the back seat looked like it was actually functional. I even poked at it to make sure it wasn’t. So like I said – a mixed bag.
The trunk is carpeted but there’s nothing interesting to look at, except a very cool photo-etch metal strip on the edge. I like that they bothered to put it there. See, things like that really elevate a model in my eyes.
The engine is a typical AUTOart Millenium affair. Nothing groundbreaking, but not bad either. Lots of the usual rubber pipes and hoses. Look closer and you’ll see that they included the engine bay illuminating light on the underside of the hood! Wow, talk about attention to detail. Loving the actual struts as well, no big ugly dog legs here.
The undercarriage reveals decent detailing, with colour coding on the shock absorbers and the exhaust. The suspension, however, is not functional.
I have to admit, I’m very excited that there’s finally an opening model of this car. I love Astons and AUTOart did a good job for the most part, with a few cost cutting measures here and there, but that’s understandable. It is a good looking, solid, nicely detailed model. It almost sounds like a flaw (it isn’t), but it’s your typical well-made AUTOart Millenium. Being made of diecast metal is certainly fitting to this car as well. Definitely buy one if you like Astons as much as I do.
One of my favorite cars. I wonder if all details available in AUTOart version worth the price difference from the gts release.
Great review. Thanks for sharing!
I do hope Autoart or another brand makes the James Bond version of the car with the revised front bumper and wheels. It looks much better IMO.
The face of the model doesn’t look quite right. It seems too “flat”. The angle of the headlamp housing and grill needs to be slanted forward at a greater angle; the real car has a more “3D” look to it. This model looks kind of dull, which shouldn’t be the case as the real car looks fantastic.
In fact, the whole model doesn’t look right. It seems that when diecast finds it way to the test bench, all objectivity goes out the window. That’s why I keep opting for side by side. Put the GTS next to it and there is no way you are going to pick the AA for its looks. If you like some serious shelf presence that is. Why would you pay 3 times the price of a model that looks 3 times better. Because the panels open?
If you look at the profile shot, the “face” is a lot more slanted than it looks head-on. Also, like I mentioned, the ride height on most 1:1s is lower in the front, which it isn’t on the autoart, which slightly exacerbates that face up look. I would still opt for this one. I don’t know GT Spirit and don’t own any of their models, so that was never really an option. For me personally, this is the only model of the V8 Vantage available on the market. And the GT Spirit version is from 1977, while this one is 1985. They all look slightly different as they were hand made bodies. There are some cars that look like the GTS on google, and some that look more like the autoart.
Maybe the body is out of shape, but if this is Diecast it’s already a big plus, and it has real chroom around the windows instead of silver lines.
Went for the GT-Spirit before the others where announced, good in the money aspect, otherwise this would be my choice.
Now, in 2020, this phrase sounds ironically: “The engine is a typical AUTOart Millenium affair. Nothing groundbreaking, but not bad either” :)
Because I did not see any modern AutoArt composite series’ model with the engine of such quality as this old one! In today’s AutoArt 1:18 world, one would call a composite model with such level of engine details brilliant!
If all replicas followed the lead hear, be it metal or plastic it would be a win.
I originally bought the green because I favor green cars,and the interior was far superior with bright contrast and wood paneling….The seller notified me there was a flaw, and it wasn’t available!! I was hot for the car and I noticed the Vantage which had been selling for about $180 started to skyrocket to over $300 so after pestering the seller to get me another green at the same price with no success ,I bought one in Chichester Blue and convinced myself I liked it just as much (but I didn’t) ! So I’m now on the trail of another GREEN this is nuts to duplicate the purchase especially since I don’t have the space……I don’t know why I’m so crazy for this car , but I think it has to do with the strange plateau on the hood and equally strange airbox beneath ..Also the lines of the car are so lean , creased ,and have strangely sixties appeal plain dual exhausts are so simple and clean I don’t know about the no-grill grill jury’s still out on that….Finally youtube has a great 6 or 7 minute video on this car it was so ferocious spitting and snarling that I was drooling with desire I haven’t pulled the trigger yet on the green……Hell I might yet lose it!!!!