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April 10, 2016

Die-cast: Autoart’s Alfa Romeo 4C

by Mark Savage

Modern Alfa Romeo 4C gorgeously finished …alfa2

Alfa Romeo has come and gone and come again to the U.S. market, but it has held a special place in the hearts of performance-oriented drivers in Europe consistently for 100+ years.

Now Alfa is back at it with the 4C in the United States, sold through its Fiat dealerships. Finally, Alfa has a sexy sports coupe to rekindle some of the excitement the brand carried here in the 1950s and ’60s.

Lucky us, since we can’t afford a motorized Alfa, Autoart has created a spiffy 1/18 scale version using its new composite material that looks as good, or better, than its die-cast models of the past.

The History

Alfa has a long history with about as many twists and turns as an Italian Alpine mountain road has switchbacks.alfa1

It began its industrial life as A.L.F.A., which stood for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili, or Anonymous Lombard Automobile Factory in English. It was based in Milan, Italy. Actually it had started in 1906 with another founder, but as with many European makes, its life got complicated, so let’s stick with the A.L.F.A. lineage.

alfa3By 1911 it was involved in auto racing and by 1915 Nicola Romeo was leading the company, which began making military equipment for both Italian and Allied forces. By 1920, the company’s name was changed to Alfa Romeo. But from 1932 through 1986 it was owned by the state government before Fiat (now Fiat Chrysler) bought it.

Fiat abandoned the U.S. market in 1983, but when it came back in 2008, it led with the tiny Fiat 500 and in late 2013 began selling the Alfa 4C, a lightweight rear-drive two-seat sports car. Alfa had last sold cars in the U.S. in 1995. So after nearly 20 years it returned with the 4C, featuring an asking price of $57,000+, and weighing less than 2,500 lbs. The 4C has plenty of scoot though, with a 237-horse turbo. The 4C is made in the Maserati factory in Modena.

The Model

There’s no denying the pretty metallic red Alfa 4C looks great. The color is a grabber, but so are the sexy rounded body lines, plus the scalloped air scoops that blend from the front fenders into openings just behind the doors.

Up front are realistic lights with small projector bulbs in what looks like a carbon fiber surround and blow is a fine black photo-etched mesh grille and triangular nose piece below the Alfa logo on the car’s prow.alfa4

Along the sides are amber reflectors on the front wheel wells’ leading edge and the rear of the back wheel wells. There’s also a clear side turn signal indicator on each front fender, just in front of the door. Mounted on the door’s side, so lower than most, are racy red and black mirrors with reflective faces. Autoart also includes a silver key hole on the driver’s door.

The rear is nicely executed with round taillights and twin exhausts and more black mesh below the license plate area. You’ll also see two exit holes for the side air ducts, these next to the rear hatch atop the tail.

Under the black-trimmed rear window is the peppy turbo engine with a cover labeled “Alfa Romeo 4C.” Inside is a gunmetal gray interior with attractive gauges and round air vents on the dash, and bucket seats along with what appear to be metal seatbelt clasps. A big black wiper arm, looks ready to clear the broad windshield with one full sweep.

Down low are big disc brakes and red Alfa Romeo calipers behind fancy five-ringed wheel covers that also feature Alfa logos on the hub. Tires are treaded here, but not branded.alfa5

While this metallic red version is gorgeous, Autoart also offers models in black, white, silver and Alfa red.

Vital Stats: Alfa Romeo 4C (red)

Maker: Autoart

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: 70186

MSRP: $130

Link: autoartmodel.com

 

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