Tifosi is an Italian word used to describe faithful and fanatic motorsport fans – particularly Ferrari fans - and while the Italians may be noted for their passion, other corners of the world have fans just as faithful to their own brands of motorsport and their own domestic car manufacturers.
The motor racing history in Japan may not be as long that in Europe or America but they have achieved great success since their entry into international racing and their domestic racing is some of the most hotly contested, and passionately followed, in the world. Japanese car makers have had success in all forms of racing but what seems to kindle the greatest passion of the Japanese fans are GT and Sedan racing. In GT racing no series of cars has had a more storied run than the “Z” cars. Starting with the 240Z back in 1970, the Nissan Z cars have been the gold standard for GT racing in Japan.
In 2004 the NISMO racing version of the 350Z won the JGTC championship in Japan and it is the Team Championship winning Motul Pitwork car of lead driver Masami Kageyama that AUTOart has chosen to recreate in 1:18 scale. It is also interesting to note that this car has also gained fame as a favorite race car among the legions of fans worldwide of the video game “Grand Turismo” so it is possible that AUTOart sees a new market there. AUTOart did a number of interesting things with this car. First inside the oversize box that the car comes in you find that that the car comes with a quality display case and base as well as a little trophy. Inside the car you also get a driver figure of Masami Kageyama.
The car itself is a real treat to the eye, flawless red and silver paint and all manner of tampo graphics and photo etched badges and details that really make the car look like a top end diecast. From every angle there is something cool to see and it is all clean and crisp. The ‘carbon fiber’ bits are particularly well executed. All the louvers are ‘real’ as is all of the screening for numerous vents. The glass and glazing is up to AUTOarts best standards, which is to say that they are darn near perfect. The wheels and tires are up to AUTOart’s best standards with nicely done brake rotors and calipers showing through. They also remembered the left and right side wheel color coding – a nice touch.
Peek in through the window and you see a pretty typical modern racing interior and a fairly well done racing figure behind the wheel. And that is about it because this is a sealed model. Now on your typical GT model there might not be much to see under the hood anyway but it is always nice to have the option to look under the hood and inside the doors. Negatives? It’s a sealed model. Also you can see casting seams on the driver figure, not a big deal but if you are going to put one in the car it really should come up to the standards of the rest of the build.
While I’m sure that some 1:18 collectors would have preferred that the car lose the figure, trophy and display case and instead have an opening hood and doors but I think AUTOart is perhaps reaching out to a wider audience with this car and dollar for dollar there is a lot to like with this one and I expect many 'Tifosi' in Japan and elsewhere will be looking to put one of these on display