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1:18 Nissan Calsonic GT-R and Toyota GT Coupe from Autoart

By Mark Savage
Published: June 14, 2010
2008 Nissan Calsonic GT-R Super GT
2008 Nissan Calsonic GT-R Super GT
2000 Toyota GT Coupe
2000 Toyota GT Coupe
Product: Demand for die-cast Japanese cars, especially high-profile racers, continues to grow as younger car guys get into the hobby. They’re after cars they identify with, like the awesome Nissan GT-R of the past few years. Some also are itching for historic Japanese models that set the tone for the Asian carmakers years ago.

Autoart is right on target with these collectors with two new releases, the Calsonic Impul GT-R that has become a dominant player in the Japan Super GT series; and the Toyota 2000GT Coupe, made from 1967 through 1970.

The GT-R is one of Autoart’s Signature series of finely executed racers that kicks the detailing up a notch compared with its other 1:18-scale models.

Nissan’s GT-R GT500 is an extremely lightweight race version of the GT-R, with its center of gravity lowered for better handling and track control.

Some consider the 2000GT Japan’s first super car; Toyota made only 337 in its short run. However, it sent the signal that Toyota could design not only fresh-looking cars, but also sports cars that could kick butt.

Performance: Autoart’s Signature series is one of the best values available in 1:18 die-cast, with fabulous detail at much lower prices than most primo models, such as CMC.

The Calsonic GT-R is a perfect example, composed of 255 separate metal and plastic parts covered by a beautifully cast body and luscious blue paint job, complete with all the appropriate sponsor logos and markings for the No. 12 racer.

Popping off the hood reveals impressive details, with carbon fiber fender covers, a nicely detailed V8 with Nissan logo and giant air intake complete with hoses. The engine is wired and plumbed; there are impressive-looking springs, shocks and fluid canisters too.

The rear window is mirrored with the Potenza logo printed across the top, and the taillights and latches all look impressive and authentic. Doors open to reveal a detailed race car interior with realistic seat belts, gauges and a cool Nismo GT Pro racing seat.

Wheels are highly realistic chrome that has been painted with a silver coating. Also on the exterior are photo-etched grilles on air inlets and outlets and a giant rear wing and carbon-fiber look racing mirrors. Way cool!

The Toyota is a beauty, with chrome trim around the windows and driving lights and on the small bumpers front and rear. The headlights roll up with a small lever under the car’s nose, and the hood, hatch and doors also open.

Engine detailing is good, with Toyota 2000 imprinted on the headers and spark plug wires along the long straight-6’s top. Plus the hood opens forward on delicate looking metal hinges that are inset into the nose.

Inside, the cockpit is extremely attractive and detailed with various chrome-trimmed gauges, a wood-look steering wheel that actually turns the wheels, and fake rosewood veneer dash trim, as on the original sports car.

Fit and finish is quite good, with a glossy red paint job (white is also available), treaded tires and fine detailing, including fender-mounted mirrors, wipers and chrome door handles and gas cap.

Marketing: What’s not to like here? There’s great detail and finish at a reasonable price for what you’re delivering.

These are rare items too, that collectors can’t find in mass-market outlets, if anywhere other than your shop. Stock these and other Asian makes to draw younger collectors to your shop. Cross merchandising could really help you here. Remember, Tamiya and others also offer plastic model kits of Japanese makes that could be part of a great display.

Autoart has quite an array of Japanese cars now, particularly in 1:18 scale. See if you have a local “drifting” club, because its racers could be very excited to see scale models of some legendary Japanese makes at your store.

Pass out coupons for 10% off, or see if you can get on their e-mail list and let them know what you’ve got. Set up a table at one of their rallies just to show off a car or two so they’ll come visit your shop.

VITAL STATS
Products: 2008 Nissan Calsonic GT-R Super GT, No. 80877, $159.95; 2000 Toyota GT Coupe, No. 78746, $129.96
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1:18
Availability: Gateway Global

BOTTOM LINE
Rare Asian models
Awesome detail
Will draw younger collectors
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