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October 3, 2012

Diecast: CMC Ferrari 250 California

by Mark Savage

CMC’s Ferrari detail excels, including first working trunk latch

There are few, if any, models in the die-cast world as finely made as those produced by CMC. And while pricey, they are well worth the cost for serious, selective collectors.Ferrari 250 California convertible

Consider that the new 1:18 Ferrari 250 California is hand-assembled from 1,634 individual parts including wire-spoked wheels with aluminum rims, each spoke hand-mounted with a single nipple and each tire has a valve stem. Wiring and other under-hood detailing is exquisite and realistic looking, as is the car’s underside. No corners are cut here, thus the premium price tag.

The 250 California short wheelbase (SWB) first showed up at the Geneva Auto Show in 1960 with a 3.0-liter V12 delivering 250 hp. Top speed was 145 mph and it was said to do 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. That may not sound so impressive today, but in 1960, this was considered a super car. Think modern day Bugatti Veyron!

Why is it called California?

detail of Ferrari 250 California by CMCWell, that was Ferrari’s best market in the U.S. and its U.S. distributors suggested the name, and also requested that the car be a convertible. The 250 California was hand-built in limited numbers by Carozerria Scaglietti, which boosts their collector value; some being auctioned in the last few years for $5 million to $10 million.

The 250 SWB featured a stiffer chassis than its long wheelbase predecessor, while also being lighter and having more power. This made the car, which also featured disc brakes, a natural for racing, and it did at the famous LeMans and Sebring endurance races, a LWB model finishing fifth overall at the 1959 LeMans, so these had race cred.

How famous is it? Well, most folks will know it best if you tell them it’s the car Ferris Bueller takes on his rowdy day off in the notable 1986 movie with Matthew Broderick!

Performance: Start with the CMC Ferrari’s immaculate body and brilliant red paint job. The car looks elegant, but fast and features chrome bumpers, door handles and windshield framing, plus chrome wipers with black blades, that’s how detailed this is. The bumpers even feature chrome guards, with black rubber inserts to protect them from parking lot dings, or a wayward roll in your display case.

Ferrari 250 trunck latch

The trunk latch actually works on this CMC model, a diecast first!

The enclosed headlights look real, again with chrome rings, and the taillights are accurate right down to their two-tone amber and red lenses. The Ferrari prancing horse sits mid-grille with a logo gracing the nose and the name is etched in metal on the trunk lid, just above the trunk lock and latch, which actually works, a die-cast first. On the car’s side are stainless steel air vents with real wire mesh too … detail, detail, detail!Inside the convertible shows off its tan leather seats and black dash with exquisite gauge detail. The two main gauges are so exact you can read the numbers on the dials and there are five smaller gauges to their right, all ringed in chrome. There are 9 other levers and buttons below those gauges, plus the shifter with a black cue-ball knob and a wood-look steering wheel, again with an accurate Ferrari logo on its hub. There’s also a rearview mirror atop the dash, the style of the day, along with a wood three-spoke Nardi steering wheel.CMC Ferrari dash details

The California’s engine bay is well detailed too with “Ferrari” cast in the famous Colombo V12’s header covers and all hosing and wiring in place. I like seeing all the clamps and connectors, which is uncommon in most 1:18 models of lesser detail. Even the car’s oil filter is properly labeled.

The hood hinge is realistic too and the hood opens forward, while the Ferrari’s doors and trunk open smoothly, perhaps even smoother than the original’s did. This model does not feel delicate as some die-cast cars do, it feels substantial.

The Ferrari’s undercarriage is expertly detailed with proper brake lines and a full cylindrical spring suspension and realistic brakes. Wheels are branded Michelins and are fully removable, with locking wheel nuts that really work. Of course the front wheels also are steerable and in back are two sets of chrome dual exhausts, hinting at what must have been a beautiful exhaust note on the California. Next up, 1:18-scale engines that really run?

CMC Ferrari California models

CMC is making the California in four colors, the blue, black and silver all in limited runs.

Final Details: For those who don’t care for red Ferraris (get behind us satan!), CMC also is making the California in blue, silver and black, all limited to 2,500 pieces and including a metal hard-top, a rarity among the real cars.Ironically, although a limited build, there still will be many more CMC Californias than exist of the real car. Snag one before they sell out and double in value on eBay!

Purchase this plus more Ferraris by CMC Model Cars at Racing Heroes.

FAST Stats: 1960 Ferrari 250 California SWB

Maker: CMC

Scale: 1:18

Stock No.: M-091

MSRP: $439

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

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