Die-cast: DNA Collectibles’ VW Passat W8

DNA’s Passat a rare and beautiful animal …

About 6 months ago we introduced you to DNA Collectibles, a new Swiss company that had just released its first batch of 1/18 scale sealed body resin cars. That one was a sexy Audi R8 LMX, but its latest is this handsome dark blue 2001 Volkswagen Passat W8, something you might actually have seen in a suburban driveway sometime.

As a refresher, DNA was started by four friends who worked at another firm creating die-cast models, but when that firm closed they struck out on their own to make the cars they loved into die-cast models. Their goal was to release a couple cars a month, the first in mid-2018. Now more than 20 are available, with emphasis on VW, Volvo, Saab and Subaru. All the cars are cast in China.

The History

This VW is just as well cast as the Audi we saw last year, yet decidedly more family oriented. Certainly we’ve all seen Passats on U.S. roads since the 1970s, and in greater volume than that wild R8.

But the Passat W8 is rare in its own right, only 11,000 were made from 2001 through 2004 when Passat was redesigned. The W8 is not your typical 8-cylinder engine. Here in the States we think of an 8-cylinder primarily as a V8, but the W had four banks of two cylinders each in a W pattern. Sounds a bit weird, but folks who drove one say it was incredibly smooth. It just didn’t sell well.

For the record the W8 cranked 271 horsepower from its 4.0 liters. Torque was 273 lb.-ft., not quite as peppy as some of its competitors, but VW earns points for creativity.

This Passat model is of the facelifted B5.5 Type 3BG that was built in late 2000 with the luxury version featuring VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system coming in 2001. DNA also notes that the W8 engine was basically a test bed for what would become the W12 engine used in VW’s Phaeton, Audi A8 and Bentley Continental GT, and later the W16 that makes the Bugatti Veyron a supercar.

The Model

DNA’s resin models are expertly cast with beautiful seams and smooth sculpted fenders. Door handles are well shaped, photo-etched metal trim lines along the body are exact in size and structure, here with a shiny chrome finish.

This model’s deep blue paint job is stellar with bumpers to match and that incorporate VW’s chrome strips to accent their lines.

Up front is a chrome grille with large VW logo and W8 insignia on the lower left. Headlights are well-executed too with a textured look to the lenses and an amber turn signal lamp between two clear headlights.

Down low are two fog lights indented in the flat black lower grille and air dam.

In back are tall red taillight lenses, again with horizontal textured lines, four chrome-plated exhaust pipes and PE VW insignia, plus Passat, W8 and 4Motion logos on the trunk lid. There is no license plate front or rear.

Atop the car is a dainty, but well-shaped antenna, more chrome PE framing the side windows, clear side blinkers embedded in the front fenders a bit in front of the doors, and mirror-faced body-color side mirrors.

Tires are treaded, but not branded and the wheels are sharply detailed with a matte silver finish and visible disc brakes and calipers behind them. Each wheel has a VW logo as a center cap.

Inside there’s a slightly pinkish tan interior with ridged seats and cloth-look seatbelts and PE buckles. The dash is black over tan with a black steering wheel with detailed hub and VW logo. The console is tan with a T-handle shifter and visible park brake handle between the seats, while the center stack appears to be a detailed decal. Dash gauges look realistic and have a 3D effect.

Door handles and releases also are molded and painted to look realistic, not decals.

A couple other details are nice, including the large black windshield wipers that tuck down under the hood’s upper edge and a brake light inside the rear window that also features a defroster grid.

The only disappointment here is that we can’t see the Passat W8’s special engine. That would have been particularly appropriate on this model.

That said, this is a handsome model of a car that I’ve not seen cast in this scale, making it particularly attractive to VW lovers wanting something that closely resembles their sedan! You can order direct from DNA, which supplied the sample model.

Vital Stats: 2001 VW Passat W8

Maker: DNA
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: DNA000029
MSRP: $108 (VAT included)

Link: DNAcollectibles.com


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