“Sure, it’s basically a lump of metal, but so is a bar of gold.”
Now that’s one way to characterize how well CMC has executed the famous 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in 1:18. Another way is to say it is an astonishing model available of perhaps the most admired automotive design. Ever.
The quote, however, belongs to Chris Evans and it was his take on the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in 2008. In 2010, he paid $12 million for one. Not a bad investment, but more lucky if you had purchased one of the 39 total Ferrari 250 GTO’s back in 1962 for US $18,000 and kept from crashing it. You’d have something that’s appreciated far more than any kind of unobtainium you’d care to mention. If you can find one, crashed or not, and an owner willing to sell, be prepared to write a hefty check. One sold at auction in 2014 and garnered more than $38 million with fees.
Seems Mr. Evans was on to something and CMC is too.
For Ferrari, the 1962-3 GTO represented a departure in basic race-craft. To that point, Enzo Ferrari’s point of view on aerodynamics had been that it “was something that people that can’t build engines do”. But that was until the 250 SWB, a lion of a race car, displayed a problem that British sports cars, particularly Jaguar but also Aston Martin and Lotus did not; it got to a certain speed, then encountered a wall of air.
So Ferrari hired Giotto Bizzarrini to conceive a design that consisted of a modified frame of the 250 SWB, the Tipo 168/62 V12 engine of the Testa Rossa, and fold it into a body more admired than Kathy Ireland. I’ve often wondered how Enzo must have influenced it directly given his over-the-moon admiration of the Jaguar E-type. In either case, after Bizarrini left in the famous palace revolt, Fogheri sorted the design, Scalagetti engineered it and Pinanfarina built was immediately successful in sports car racing, which Ferrari would dominate until some guy from Texas turned up with something called a Shelby Daytona Cobra.
The CMC Ferrari 250 GTO model is feature rich with 1,841 single parts, of which 1,215 are metal. And it’s quality is obvious even without listing all the fussy details - but we will get to that too.
CMC has captured the physics of the shape but, to be fair, it isn't a shape that will please everyone as some elements reflect more restored versions. On the other side of the coin, consider these were still days where models were created over wooden bucks and most of these Ferrari 250's crashed at some point so some variation is just part of the historical mix. To my eye, it is at once voluptuous and muscular with graceful curvature in the tear drop front bonnet and front wheel arches. All the ducts on the body are sharply cut with the rear brake ducts protected by mesh screening. All body openings, doors, bonnets operate, the famous hood intakes can be removed, the fuel cap flips open, as do the coolant and two oil fillers.
Present is the typical CMC excellence in glazing of the light sets which are framed like jewels by chrome bezels. The clarity of the windows is remarkable and if the multi-part wipers with their rubber blades don’t thrill you, perhaps the sliding side windows will. You’ll be amazed at their thinness.
I’ve never thought there as a market for die cast rotisseries, but this model might make the case for one. The chassis offers some wowie-zowie moments - not only all the goodies from the suspension, transmission and dry sump system, but the dual exhaust and detachable stainless-steel bottom plate finished in high gloss. No one will ever accuse CMC of under-engineering their materials. The windshield angle is picture perfect giving the roofline a flatter, sleeker appearance which is enhanced by tight shut-ins.
The interior reflects some modern updates but is generally pleasing with fully articulated harnesses of leather and metal. Mixed media is the order of the day with real cloth seats, metal roll cage, netting, riveted door sills. The dash features a Nardi steering wheel and detailed instruments plus the famous naked shift pattern gear base. Of course, this is a race car, so there is lots of exposed aluminum to save weight which probably accentuated the glorious shriek of the V12 engine.
I should pause here and let you know that CMC has made all of the finger fun a lot more enjoyable. The mechanisms such as the engine locks and straps, wheel nuts and filler caps are better engineered and easier to manipulate. Perhaps I’m just getting used to this level of build, but this CMC model is both exquisite and robust. It comes with the tool set pictured, so go ahead and undo those leather straps…
On every CMC model I look forward to the removable wheel/tire combination as it almost always exceeds expectation and that holds true on the 250 GTO featuring Borrani central locking nuts with logos that are just about microscopic and side-dependent threading supporting Dunlop racing meats.
Good model? No. Great model? Oh yeah. Controversial? Sure. This is a model of one chassis and it didn't have the most aggressive front end, has two "gills" not three and lacks Ferrari badging. If you're buying the model thinking it will appreciate in value, you might be right. But of course, there are more than 39 of them, so while it might be a "bar of gold" buy the model based on its astonishing artistry. I like the silver color of the review sample as the shape is enhanced in the way it reflects light. The CMC Ferrari 250 GTO in 1:18 is a model that will look great in any collection, be it a single car in a lit display case or on that shelf (or so) you've got dedicated to the prancing horse.