The wonderful world of die-casts: The ultimate toy store and Gilles Villeneuve’s Ferrari 126 C2 from the 1982 San Marino GP

Written by Dan Heyman on .

IMG 2027

Front wheels may be a little akimbo, but this is otherwise a very highly-detailed, high-quality casting.

So we’re going up a scale for this entry, from the 1:64 Hot Wheels/Matchbox world to the wonderful, detailed and diverse world of the 1:43 scale die-cast model; this is Minichamps territory, and the prices will go up a little from the $.89 to $1.40 you’ll pay for a Hot Wheels mainliner at your local Wal-Mart.

The attraction to this scale is simple: there’s a lot of variety, they’re cheaper than 1:18 scale models, yet there’s still enough room on the casting to place details such as sponsorship decals, colourful interior gauge clusters and accurate aero addenda and wheels.

It’s an area of collection that you want to be careful of, because there are just so many beauties available at this size, and you’re paying upwards of $70 for some of the best.

The store

At least I thought so, until I visited the ultimate die-cast model store called “Warm-Up” across from the Museo Ferrari in Maranello, Italy. It’s not the official Ferrari store, mind you—that’s up the street, across from the factory—but a third-party place that is a haven for collectors.

They have everything; rally cars, GT cars, road cars, bikes—it’s to the point where I swore it was just some guy displaying his own collection and hey, if someone’s willing to drop €300 on his pristine 1:18 scale Lancia Delta S4 rally car with the classic ToTip livery, then so be it.

What you’ll also find here amongst the 100 euro-plus AutoArt and Kyosho models, however, is a little all-Italian company called “Brumm”; they specialize in 1:43 scale racers and they can be had for less than €25 over there and as I would later find out, less than $40 here.

The car

Even though you’re undercutting much of the competition by $20, you still get great detailing like crystal-clear sponsor decals—nine of them—on the side pods, aluminum-painted rear wing, racing harness inside and even proper “Goodyear” markings on the tires.

Granted, upon closer inspection there are a few shortcomings—namely the akimbo front wheels—but it hardly matters; this is an excellent model and we’ll be looking at some more of these going forward—Brumm does Gr. C and prototype cars as well, and there are some real beauties.

IMG 2019 Villeneuve

As far as the significance of the model itself, it should be important to all Villeneuve fans as it is a 1:43-scale reproduction of the car in which Villeneuve finished his last ever race, a second place finish at Imola after a long battle with teammate Didier Pironi.

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