Lotus Exige S exudes sportiness even in 1/18 scale
British sports cars used to rule the world’s road courses with the likes of Jaguar, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Triumph, and Lotus slicing through corners to give their drivers a thrill. Speed wasn’t always so essential, but handling was key.
Lotus always has prided itself in creating lightweight, crisp handling cars. But today speed and power are more important than in the formative 1950s and ‘60s, and that’s what makes the Lotus Exige S a highly sought after sports car.
Now Autoart creates a beautiful one in 1/18 scale, the sample car being a bright yellow with black interior. However, the Exige S also is available in red or white; all retail for $130.
The mid-engine Exige, built in Hethel, England, has been around since 2000, with the first S model appearing in 2006. Exige is now in its third iteration, or Series 3, which is what Autoart’s model portrays. A Series 2 version also is available from Autoart. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart’s Lotus Exige S→
Redesigned Mazda Miata still the perfect sport car
My generation may have been having fun, fun, fun till our daddy’s took our T-birds away, but since 1989 the fun, fun, fun has mostly been provided by Mazda’s Miata.
Lyrically it’s not the same at all, but the feeling continues to be the same and the nearly all new and slightly smaller 2016 MX-5 Miata continues the tune.
I’ve run out of superlatives for the car that was my first Zoomie Car of the Year Award winner back in 1990, just after the original hit the streets. Miata reinvented the fun, affordable two-seater. Back in the 1950s and ‘60s there were MGs, Sprites, Austin-Healeys and Triumphs. Today, as in 1989, there is only the Miata in the small roadster category, at least starting at less than $30 grand.
Mazda continues to keep the car simple and slips it back closer to its roots by downsizing it in every way, except driving excitement.
The new car rides on 1-inch less wheelbase, is 6 inches shorter in length, loses 0.5 cubic feet of trunk space and drops about 250 lbs. Even the engine’s horsepower is down a smidge to 155 horses.
The result is a superbly balanced sports car that remains light, peppy and easy to throw around curving country roads, or winding city streets.
I felt no discernable reduction in power from the 2.0-liter I4 because the new 6-speed manual is so well suited to it. Shifts are short and direct and the clutch light. I took this on an afternoon spin around the Holy Hill area over winding side roads and with the top down. What a joy, smelling the apples, barley and livestock as the car flitted through the early autumn sun. Continue reading 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Club→
Sports cars come and go, a sort of a flavor of the week mentality affects sports car buyers. Since the 1950s there have been MGs, Sunbeams, Triumphs and at the higher end, Corvettes and Porsches.
But occasionally a car maker captures lightning in a bottle, and it maintains some staying power, such as Mazda’s RX-7, which was made from 1978 to 2002 and its iconic Miata. Our topic here is the RX-7, which was famous for its unique twin-rotor Wankel rotary engine, its sporty looks and its pop-up headlights. Oh, and the RX-7 was modestly priced as sports cars go.
Certainly the RX-7 was popular enough to warrant someone like Autoart delivering a fine 1:18 scale, and so it does.
There were three distinct generations of the racy RX-7, the third beginning production in 1991 and known as the FD model for its Japanese VIN number designation. The FD was manufactured until RX-7 production ceased in 2002.
In 1999 Mazda cranked out one of its racier versions (not that they all weren’t fairly racy), the Spirit R Type A. This model boasted 276 horsepower and a torque rating of 231, put to good use by a 5-speed manual transmission. The Sprint R RX-7 weighed in at a svelte 2,469 lbs. and rode on 17-inch tires and was one of the models most frequently raced. Continue reading Die-cast: Mazda RX-7 Spirit R Type A→
Tiny MGB roadster a throwback to early sports cars
England’s MG was one of the early two-seat sports cars that assumed almost epic popularity among enthusiasts in the United States after World War II.
Returning GIs who had seen the small, sporty, fun to drive MGs while stationed in England during the war desired the roadsters once they reestablished themselves after the war.
Old WWII airports around the country were converted into race tracks and road racing’s popularity grew. So the nimble MGs became regular weekend warriors along with Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Sunbeams and Triumphs.
Autoart delivers a tidy 1:43 model of the 1969 MGB Mk. II roadster, the MGB being made from 1962 until 1980. MG began in Abingdon, England, near Oxford, in the early 1920s as Morris Garages, a Morris dealer, began making its own versions of the Morris cars. Design work came from Cecil Kimber. MG made cars for more than 50 years before falling on hard times and being sold to various auto-making entities. The name now is owned by a Chinese automaker.