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August 30, 2015

Die-cast: Bburago 1:18 Ferrari California T

by Mark Savage

Bburago moves a bit more upscale with new Ferrari lineferrari

First the news – Bburago is moving more upscale with its Signature Series. Even bigger news, Bburago again has the license to create Ferrari models and has a full line for 2015 and beyond.

Bburago began as an Italian die-cast car maker 40 years ago when the Besano brothers created Martoys. Production took place in Burago di Molgora in Italy’s Monza province. In 1976 the company was renamed Bburago, combining the B from the brothers’ name with their plant’s hometown name. Now the May Cheong Group of China owns Bburago along with its other noteworthy die-cast brand, Maisto.

That’s the corporate history lesson, but the big deal is that Ferrari is back in the fold after 15 years and by way of celebration Bburago has created a 1:18 scale Ferrari California T in a striking dark metallic red with black roof. And it moves well beyond toy to collectible.

The History:

Yes, Ferris Bueller drove an old version of Ferrari’s California, but this model, the T first appeared in 2014. The T stands for turbo, as in turbocharger, something Ferrari had not used on any of its models since the stellar F40. That’s been a while!

The new California is a front-engine coupe that looks more traditional than what you may first picture in your mind. Mid-engine Ferraris have been the norm for many years.

But California packs performance, starting with a 3.9-liter bi-turbo that creates 552 horsepower and 557 ft.-lbs. of torque to the rear drive wheels. So 0-62 mph flashes by in 3.6 seconds, Ferrari says.

The Model:

There’s a lot to like with this new Bburago, in addition to its price point, which is rumored to be in the $60 range, so just short of some 1:43 scale resin models and approaching the neighborhood of Auto World’s fine muscle cars, but steering well clear of the premium level models with extremely fine detail.

This is a good looker though, the paint job is extremely strong. The review model, which came screwed into a Styrofoam base and in a sharp high-end looking red box with Ferrari embossed prominently in silver. Hood, doors and trunk open and this T model comes with its black roof panel in place. A second model with the panel removed also is available.

Head and taillights are nicely executed to give the car increased realism and the chrome grille and rear diffuser are well detailed. There are four exhaust pipes in back and the Ferrari black horse logo is large on the front fenders and modest on the nose and a chrome one on the tail. Ferrari also is photo-etched into the trunk lid.

The big rear window has a defroster grid and the big sculpted side mirrors feature mirrored faces. Under the big hood is a modestly detailed engine, better than you’d likely expect at this price though. There’s a Ferrari logo on the cover between the twin turbos and their giant black hoses. Hood ducts have textured black plastic inserts instead of photo-etch, but again, this model is value oriented and this is something you won’t notice when the car is displayed in a case on a shelf.

The black and tan interior looks great with attractive tan bucket seats and a dash that is nicely detailed. Gauges look accurate and the steering wheel has big silver paddle shifters to give the car a racy look. There are no seatbelts.

Tires are treaded and there are big disc brakes behind the star-shaped wheels. Those hubs look a bit more entry-level (plastic) though than the rest of the car.

Collectors though now have a new source for 1:18 and 1:43 scale Ferraris, and the pricing is attractive enough to help you fill some voids in your collection.

Car: Ferrari California T (closed top)

Maker: Bburago

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: 18-16902

MSRP: Est. $60

Link: Bburago.com

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