Reviewed and Photographed by Peter Brown
Automodello™ is a manufacturer specializing in overlooked, neglected and interesting as well as new models from British, European, North American and other marques. Their inaugural model was the 1964 Griffith Series 200, followed up by their Bricklin SV1. These are resin-cast models, crafted in the diminutive 1:43 scale so popular in Europe, and now making inroads here in the states. Quality is a hallmark of these replicas, and their unique subject matter gives them an appeal all their own. Upcoming models include a 1966 Fitch Phoenix, a 1966 Griffith Series 600, and a 1974 TVR M Series. You can purchase these and other fine scale models at Diecasm.com.
Bear in mind that you are looking at a model which is only 3.5 to 4 inches long, so this is rather like examining it under a magnifying glass. What's amazing is that it can hold its own under this intense scrutiny--that's how well it's done.
From the Automodello website: "…The brainchild of Jack Griffith, the 200 was his attempt to out-Shelby the AC Cobra, a car that Griffith himself was an authorized dealer for at his Long Island Ford dealership. And it followed Shelby's Cobra recipe: take a light, nimble British sports car chassis and insert Ford's new lightweight 289 cubic inch V-8. But as the chassis Griffith chose was TVR's tiny Grantura Mk III, a car smaller even than the AC Cobra, the combination was that much more explosive…"
These models belie their small size with a wealth of detail and precision. Wire wheels are oh-so delicately replicated complete with knock-off hubs, badges and scripts are all microscopically correct, "glass" is crystal clear and complete with simulated rubber seals, and interiors get detailed nicely as well, particularly the dashboards. Panel lines are deeply etched and so real you'd swear the panels actually open. The tiniest details like photo-etched windshield wipers, parking lights, side vents and bumperettes are all there too. To the naked eye these models are nearly perfect.
If space is a concern, 1:43 scale may be the way to go for precision replicas if these Automodello models are any indication. As some of my fellow diecast collectors already know, you can't beat this scale for interesting and unusual subject matter.
The Griffith 200 Series is available in Regal Red as a Limited Edition of 262 pieces for $94.95, or in Opalescent Silver Blue as a Founder's Edition of 192 Serialized pieces for $194.95, complete with VIN plate, and a certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Andrew "Jack" Griffith. All Automodello models come with their own clear display case.