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January 19, 2015

Die-cast: CMC Aston Martin DB4

by Mark Savage

CMC creates rare, beautiful Aston Martin DB4aston2

Rare counts for a lot in the real, that is 1:1, vintage car world, and it’s making its mark in the diecast car market too.

CMC, the premier high-end diecast car model maker has made a habit of creating beautiful 1:18 models of rare race cars and elegant 1930s automotive style icons. The cost is up there, but so is the detail. You almost expect these models to start and drive off your desk or display shelf.

So it’s not surprising that CMC has chosen the rare 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato as its latest artistic endeavor, and in sumptuous Aston Martin racing green. For the record, the rare Zagato, which is the lightened version meant for racing, consists of 1,825 parts of which 1,394 are metal.

The Historyaston

Only 19 Aston Zagato models were made over a 2 ½-year period from late 1960 into 1963. All were custom-made and designed by Gianni Zagato and featuring soft curves, which became popular in the 1960s on high-end cars like Astons, Jaguars and Ferraris.

At the time, Aston was trying to beat Ferrari’s 250 GT in sports car and endurance racing, so it made sense to go with a lightweight body made of thin aluminum plates and featuring minimal amenities in an effort to cut weight and increase performance. Riding on a short, 93-inch, wheelbase and weighing just 2,701 lbs., the DB4 was just 168 inches long. That’s about the same length as today’s Nissan Z350, but the Nissan is roughly 400 lbs. heavier.

cmc-ProduktfotoErcole Spada at the Zagato firm did much of the styling on the race versions to cut the DB4’s weight, lowering the roofline, creating a flatter and longer front end and reshaping the car’s tail.

In the Zagato version the metal bumpers were removed and enough aluminum used to save 100 lbs. compared with the original DB4. Power was stout too, with a 314-horse inline 6 that reportedly did 0-60 mph in just 6.1 seconds. The DB4 Zagato could hustle!

Ultimately two Aston DB4s ran in the 1961 24 Hours of Le Mans, but Ferrari still won with its 250 and American Phil Hill one of its drivers. Aston had won the race in 1959 and was still searching for a way back into the winner’s circle. DB4 wasn’t it at LeMans, but did manage to win a support race at the British Grand Prix in 1961, and the likes of Jim Clark, Innes Ireland and Roy Salvadori drove a DB4 in competition, so the team had top-line drivers. No less than Stirling Moss placed third in one at the 1961 Goodwood races in England too, a moral victory for the British car company.aston8

The Model:

Like all CMC models, the Aston is meticulously assembled by hand and the DB4 is flawlessly painted in its light metallic green racing colors.

Detail is tremendous, from the body with its metal wipers with rubber blades, to the functioning gas cap atop the right rear fender to a detailed underbody.

That makes it special, but there’s even more to appreciate.

Another beautifully detailed interior from CMC.

Another beautifully detailed interior from CMC.

Both doors’ windows have sliding windows within them that can be opened or closed, there are metal door handles to pull open the well-detailed doors, metal latches on the trunk to lock it in place when closed, metal trim around all the windows, including rear windows with a funny little bulge indentation to mirror the rear fenders.

Front and rear lights are look realistic and the air vents on the front quarter panels are well detailed, including a trim strip along with a Z, for Zagato. Up front is a toothy grille that is exquisitely rendered. All it needs is some bugs and butterflies stuck to it to look like it just pulled into the pits.

CMC delivers another beautifully detailed engine under a well-sculpted rear-opening hood, which features a support rod to allow you to display this with the hood open. The inline 6-cylinder engine, which made 314 horsepower in the original car, is wired and features three dual carbs off the engine’s passenger’s side. There’s also complete sparkplug wiring and the radiator and all other under-hood essentials are well detailed to create a fascinating display with the hood up.

Triple carbs and a big powerful Aston engine here.

Triple carbs and a big powerful Aston engine here.

Inside the trunk is a removable spare tire held in with a three-point leather belt. Meanwhile the four exposed tires are treaded Dunlap racing tires and are mounted on Borrani wheels with central locking nuts, so easily removed and remounted. The stainless steel wire wheels are like a fine piece of jewelry and include air valve nipples on the rims.

The Aston’s underbody is perfectly reproduced too with dual exhaust and full suspension detailing, although I doubt many folks will display this to show off the underbody. Obviously a mirrored-bottom display case would serve this model best.

Inside?

aston5Yes, that’s real black leather on the rounded bucket seats and doors and a faux carpeted floor. This dash and 3-spoke steering wheel (looks like wood or wrapped leather), create a realistic appearance. Both doors open wide enough to offer a plain view inside. Gauges are well detailed and accurate and there’s a park-brake lever next to the driver’s seat. The model is left-hand drive.

After studying photos on the internet the only variance I see in the model vs. the 1:1 version is placement of the running lights up front. Most pictures show them being slightly offset from the grille, whereas here they are incorporated into the grille’s outer edge. None of your friends would ever know.

Overall the Aston Martin DB4 is another stunning model from CMC. The detail is again of the level you’d expect at this price and what collectors have come to expect from CMC, mainly unparalleled excellence.

Purchase this and other CMC models at Racing Heroes.

Take off a wheel nut and off comes the tire to reveal a detailed hub and suspension.

Take off a wheel nut and off comes the tire to reveal a detailed hub and suspension.

FAST Stats: 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Maker: CMC

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: M-132

MSRP: $518

Even the undercarriage is finely detailed. Better put this in a case with mirrored base.

Even the undercarriage is finely detailed. Better put this in a case with mirrored base.

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