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Lola Aston Martin LMP1 No. 007 from Autoart

By Mark Savage
Published: August 14, 2012
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Product: Back in 1959 the legendary Carroll Shelby teamed with Roy Salvadori to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for British sports car maker Aston Martin. That was its high watermark, though, and it was another 50 years before Aston again stirred the water at the famous endurance race with a prototype racer.

In 2009, Aston Martin joined with Lola Cars International to create the Lola-Aston Martin B09/60. Lola builds racing chassis for nearly every major form of racing and brought its expertise to the B09/60 build while Aston Martin provided a monstrous 6.0-liter V-12 for power. Autoart delivers a masterful version of the 007 racer in 1:18 scale, cloaked in the famous Gulf Oil livery of powder blue and orange.

This car raced in the prototype LMP1 category at Le Mans in 2009 and throughout the Le Mans series season, winning the season title. At France’s historic endurance venue the Lola-Aston finished fourth overall, but was the highest finishing car running on traditional gasoline; the top three finishers that year ran on diesel.

Drivers for the successful LeMans car were Czech racers Tomas Enge and Jan Charouz and German racer Stefan Mucke, all experienced endurance racers.

The B09/60 was an evolutionary racecar based off the 2008 model, but with 50 more horses due to the use of a production-based engine with larger air restrictors. The normal Lola gearbox also was upgraded to an Xtrac 6-speed with paddle shifters for the driver. Another unique feature was the rearward brake cooling that used two fans to blow air through the brake system instead of using ducts on the body to boost air flow.

Performance:
This is a beautiful race car. It’s paint scheme is flawless and the 222 metal and plastic parts that went into the Lola-Aston model are well-fitted, delivering a high-quality model.

The tiny doors to the cockpit open to reveal a well detailed interior, including racing seat with red lap and shoulder belts, a finely adorned dash and steering wheel, and a multitude of buttons and wiring running alongside the seat.

There are chrome-looking latches for the front and rear bonnets and a sturdy black carbon fiber-looking rear wing. On the roof are three antennae, and metallic-looking gas-filler openings adorn either side of the cockpit, just rear of the doors.

The thin orange and black mirrors have realistic mirror surfaces, and the trio of headlights looks realistic behind the giant single lens. The rear lights look good, too, and there is fine photo-etched meshwork on the tail.

Naturally the engine with its giant roof air intake, which gives way to a carbon fiber-looking neck under the blue scoop, is authentic looking. It includes fluids tubing, wiring and exhaust pipes finished to reflect the original’s look.

Further detail is offered on the wheels: The Michelin tires are crisply stamped, and you can read the Brembo label on the gold calipers behind the smoked racing wheels. Naturally the logos and decals on the body are well-reproduced.

Marketing: Le Mans may not be as popular as NASCAR or Indy Car in the U.S. market, but there are many followers who appreciate the radical-looking prototypes that press the envelope in the French countryside each summer. Some of the same cars, or similar models, also race the American Le Mans Series.

Display this with die-cast racers and plastic models from the American Le Mans Series and those that are raced in Europe. These are specialty items that can make your shop stand out from those that just stock the various look-alike NASCAR models or only give shelf space to Mustangs, Corvettes and Camaros.

If you carry slot cars, put them in the display too. I know Scalextric has this very same Lola Aston Martin in 1:32 scale for the track. If you have an in-store track, encourage folks to test the Le Mans cars, and then work to interest them in the die-cast models.

This car creates many opportunities for cross sales between product lines and segments.

VITAL STATS
Product: Lola Aston Martin LMP1 No. 007
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1:18
Stock number: 80906
MSRP: $218.90

BOTTOM LINE
• Gorgeous detail
• Pricey, but worth it
• Popular livery