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1:18 Lexus LFA die-cast replica from Autoart

By Mark Savage
Published: August 10, 2011
1:18 Autoart Lexus LFA
Product: The car world lives for new high performance models, but only a rare few move into the realm of exotics with the likes of Lamborghini and Ferrari.
Lexus is trying to make that jump right now with its LFA, a beautiful sleek coupe that reminds some of earlier Toyota Supras, but with a lot higher price tag. The LFA lists at $375,000 and boasts a 4.8-liter V10 that delivers a monster 552 horsepower.

Autoart captures the limited production LFA in 1:18 scale with its new upscale Signature Series die-cast. The sample model was brilliant white, while Autoart also offers the model in red, yellow and matte black.
Like all exotics, only a few LFAs are to be made each year; just 500 in the next year or so and the first ones were delivered last December. They are all hand-built in Aichi, Japan, and feature a carbon fiber reinforced polymer monocoque chassis with aluminum rear and front sub-frames. These are light race-type cars, weighing between 3,200 and 3,400 lbs.

Reports say they are nearly perfectly balanced and the enthusiast pubs are drooling over the V10 with its forged aluminum pistons and titanium connecting rods and valves. One engineer builds and signs each engine too. No wonder they cost so much!

Speed? Well, the LFA reportedly has a top speed of 202 mph and power-to-weight ratio of a scant 5.6 lbs/hp. Zero to 60 flashes by in 3.6 seconds and 0–100 in 7.6 seconds. England’s popular Top Gear TV show set the fastest lap ever in the wet on its test track, faster than an all-wheel-drive Lamborghini Gallardo.

Performance: All that is great, if your customers were buying the real car, and certainly these facts all make good talking points when showing the die-cast version to potential buyers.

But again Autoart has created a beautiful scale model of the LFA, worthy of its more upscale Signature Series.
The white LFA is built from 293 metal and plastic pieces with photo-etched air intakes and outflow grilles.
Naturally, the hood and hatch open, along with both doors. This one also has a button under the car to release its rear spoiler. While its paperwork claims the spoiler is adjustable, the sample car’s spoiler angle could not be adjusted once released.

Autoart’s front and taillights are gorgeous with small projector beam lights under the slightly sculpted lens cover up front. The thin red rear lenses are detailed to make them appear almost jewel-like.
There are fine details too, like the amber side reflectors and chrome-ringed three-pipe exhaust system. The beautiful chrome-plated wheels have been painted black for a smoked effect and there are tiny Lexus logos on the center cap. Red Lexus-labeled brake calipers are inside the wheels along with drilled disc rotors.
The detailed engine looks great too, with some wiring and functioning hood hinges. Underneath this model is well detailed too with realistic looking suspension pieces and engine piping and mufflers.

Many die-cast cars look good outside, but few are as detailed inside. The Lexus features a red and black interior with two-tone steering wheel. All buttons and gauges look to be properly located and the racing seats look bang on, complete with belts.

Exterior paint is smooth and rich and I think the white color allows a buyer to fully appreciate the car’s flowing lines, including the curved door edge that leads into an air vent behind the doors. Sexy, but functional on the real car.

Marketing: This, like a Lamborghini, is an exotic car that collectors want to add to their collection, because of its uniqueness. In the real world, so few will be made that many of us will likely never see one.

Create a display with this and other exotics to lure people to your counter for a discussion. Make sure you know some of the exotics’ finer points to hook them. You’re like a salesman in a luxury car store, helping them fulfill their dreams.

It's always wise to also stock some 1:43 die-cast along with these premium models, in case a customer’s budget won’t allow them to go this route. Displaying a TV with re-runs of old Top Gear episodes can also draw interest and increase customers’ knowledge and desire to own such models.

Product: Lexus LFA
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1:18
Stock No.: 78831
MSRP: $163.95
Availability: Gateway Global; call 866-288-6278 for sales information

Rare exotic model
Extra-fine detail
Good pricing for such detail

Note: A version of this review appeared on pg. 17 in the September 2011 issue of Model Retailer magazine.
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