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February 17, 2013


Die-cast: Autoart VW Beetle impressive

by Mark Savage

Volkswagen Beetle’s popularity continues, in die-cast now

vw1Everybody loves the Beetle. I mean more than 21 million Beetles were made and sold since going into production in 1938, the final original style Beetle rolling off a Mexican assembly line in 2003.

That makes Volkswagen’s Beetle the most produced car ever, at least using one basic design.

So it’s no surprise that a diecast car maker, Autoart, has taken up the Beetle’s cause for 1:18 scale collectors.

Autoart nailed it.

Most folks, especially us Boomers, know the story of Hitler demanding a “people’s car” (Volkswagen) for Germany in the 1930s and car maker/designer Ferdinand Porsche coming up with the bug-like design. Only a few were made before WWII, but vehicles based off the design, known as Type 82 Kubelwagens, were built for the German war effort.

That may seem a pretty odd way for the most popular car ever built to be born, but the Beetle’s simplicity and reliability led to its popularity exploding after WWII, not only in Europe, but also the U.S. market.

Autoart executes the simple VW interior flawlessly.

Autoart executes the simple VW interior flawlessly.

One irony, the British had the chance to build the Beetle after the war as the Volkswagen factory machinery was shipped to England. Yet British car makers declined to build the car, deciding it was too inferior in quality and design to be sellable. Remember, this comes from the folks who even into the 1970s had trouble getting the electrical systems in their cars to work.But that’s history.This Autoart beauty is the popular 1955 1200 series and reflects the simplicity of the time and the popular Bug appearance of the car with its open oval (not split as in earlier years) rear window and rear-drive, rear-mounted air-cooled engine.

Autoart’s model features opening doors, hood and trunk, so you can see the simple motor (with belt and hoses), plus the bolt-on chrome bumpers front and rear. There are tiny running boards, with chrome trim, along the sides, plus the plain chrome hubcaps with a stamped on VW logo at their center.

A fine glossy black finish along with good detailing such as chrome trim around all the windows, an accent side molding and hood trim with VW logo, along with chrome handles on the trunk and hood, make this a sharp collectible.

Under the hood, simply a spare tire. Hinges are well executed to hold the hood up for display.

Under the hood, simply a spare tire. Hinges are well executed to hold the hood up for display.

Autoart does a nice job with the realistic looking head and taillights too, along with the thin twin exhausts at the rear. I like the gray and black interior too. This is simple with a glossy off-white wheel and tall shifter lever and knob. The bare bones dash has a lone round speedometer and the seatbelts, well, there weren’t any in 1955. There is a back seat though, designed for contortionists’ comfort.Under the front hood, which is hinged properly as in the real car, is a spare tire, again, nothing fancy, just reflecting the simplicity of this iconic car.Considering that most of the original Beetles in this country have rusted, rotted or fallen into disuse, both Boomers and VW lovers will be excited for such a finely detailed model to highlight in their collections. While Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Corvettes are popular among collectors, I wouldn’t underestimate the power of mass appeal that the Bug had, and has!

FAST Stats: 1955 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 (black)

Maker: Autoart

Scale: 1:18

Stock No.: 79776

MSRP: $163.90

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

See my 1:1 car and truck reviews elsewhere at this site


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