Words and photos courtesy of Wes Shakirov / StratosWRC
The maestros at CMC continue with their pathological obsession with detail. Their latest effort, the sexy 1938 Bugatti 57SC Corsica, is no exception. While I do agree that the other versions are arguably more beautiful, my collection is more Goodwood Festival of Speed rather than Pebble Beach Concourse, so I chose the Sport Roadster version. I can never resist cars with a number on their side.
In the 1930s, England had plenty of wealthy playboys that could afford to not only buy these cars, but race them as well. This example was owned by a gentleman racer, who only had to paint a number on the car’s side, and bring a spare wheel along. A small driver-side windshield was attached to offer the driver some protection against the elements.
The model is a limited edition of 1000 pieces and is an absolute beauty to behold. It goes without saying that the weight tells tales of quality before you even lift up those panels, and you almost don’t want to! It is made of 1780 parts, so you handle it and hold your breath at the same time. There are jewel-like details everywhere. From the tiny, spring-loaded engine cover latches that are surprisingly easy to operate, to those exquisite knock-offs that hold the hand-laced wheels in place, the model is full of delicious details. I love the plaques at the front that are actually insignia for various automotive clubs that this car was a part of.
Every opening part is secured. The trunk clicks satisfyingly into place, the engine covers are held together by four of the aforementioned latches, and even the doors have functioning locks. The spare tire compartment is workable, and those lovely rear wheel covers can be removed with the aid of a supplied screwdriver. Speaking of tools, there are also tweezers to work those delicate engine cover latches, but I found them unnecessary as the latches are quite user-friendly.
Moving on to the interior, we find a lavish carpet and leather seats. The doors have tiny pockets and the instruments are all legible and lovely to look at. The rolled up canvas top is a great touch and lends the model an air of authenticity, not that any more of that was required! The seats can be tilted forward to allow the owner to peek into the trunk section. Ah yes, the trunk section. Lift it up, put the supporting rod into place and marvel at the cool little tools that are placed in there. None of them are removable bar the manual, which is held in place by a magnet.
Moving on to the engine, we find astonishing levels of detail that continue where your eyes can’t follow and require a bright light to be seen. The belouvered 8 cylinder engine (good for 200hp at the time) is a masterpiece that probably claims the majority of the parts count in this model. The variety of materials used is staggering as always. When fully opened, one of the engine covers rests on tiny metallic buttons of the cover of the other side. The underbody reveals much of the leaf spring suspension workings and more angles into the engine and brake structures. A sextet of exhausts traverses the entire length of the car and proudly rounds off the rear.
What can be said about CMC models that hasn’t been said already? What other praise can be lavished? I’m just grateful they’re around, because few other manufacturers deliver such unique subject matter coupled with astonishing detail. Pick up any of the versions of the Corsica, if you’re into cars of that era, but be quick about it, as they certainly won’t last.