AutoArt 1:18 1959 Chevrolet Corvette- Ltd Ed of 6000
Reviewed by: Rusty Hurley
There are certain automobiles that have an inner spirit symbiotic with the movie character that drives them. For example, rough hewn detective Frank Bullit and his fierce 1968 Mustang or debonair James Bond and his graceful Aston Martin DB5. Add to this list the irreverent Otter from Animal House and his 1959 Corvette in Roman Red.
Like Animal House’s leading man, the 1959/60, the Corvette was still in its formative stages but the style and panache of the Corvette name were becoming well established. The sweeps and curves designer Harley Earl had lavished on it were still present plus it had the engineering influence of Zora Arkus Duntov. With Bill Mitchell's stingray designs still in prototype mode, the 1959/60 models represtned the pinnacle of this Corvette era.
The $3,875.00 base priced Corvette came with a 283 ci, 230 hp engine with four-barrel carb and three speed manual transmission controlled with a T shifter. For under a grand, you could kick the power plant up to a 290hp fuelie ($484), add a Powerflite automatic transmission ($199) and get a Positraction rear axle ($48). Add some of these upgrades and your little red corvette had all the goodies necessary to earn you a stint on double secret probation.
That paint is clear, reflective and a spectacular shade of Roman (did someone say Toga!) Red. The white coves are flawlessly done with the trademark crossed flag logo adjacent to three spears in shimmering chrome.
There are two differences between the 1960 and the 1959 Corvettes: the seating of the 1959 is pleated vertically while the 1960 iteration is horizontal and the 1960 came in five additional color configurations. This is good news for Corvette diecast collectors and most likely AUTO art’s production department because there are many possible sequels to the two initial models offered, the other being in Tuxedo Black. That said, red is the color I bet most fans of the pre-stingray Corvettes will want in their diecast if they have to choose only one. And they will not be unhappy with this little red corvette.
While some previous road car Corvette engines from AUTO art have been crushing disappointments, here the engine is recreated with depth and detail. The hood pops open and has a latching mecahnism that braces it. It’s too bad the engine is really difficult to see given the massive hood proportion -but that’s a price you pay for correct scaling.
The chrome work is exquisite – from the bezels for the quad headlights to the wheels to the unique exhaust positioning out of the rear bumper. The famous toothed grille is cleanly executed. The badges and insignia on front, back and wheels is highly detailed and worth getting out the magnifying glass to view. Chassis detail is excellent for the price range.
The removable hardtop is accurate but comes at the cost of obvious pre-drilled holes in the body that I could do without. I suppose someone out there might regularly display this as a hardtop but in my cabinet it will be forever a convertible. If the rest of the model wasn’t so eye-popping, maybe these tiny holes wouldn’t be such an annoyance. This can be an issue with hard top models in general and it’s too bad there can’t be some sort of magnetic solution deployed.
The red interior is well done and that’s saying something, because red plastic interiors almost always look toy-ish. In this case the chrome trim (including details like the t-shifter) and flocked carpet make it look refined and elegant.
So what you have here is a car and model of impish charm that has style, panache and is built for fun. Otter lives.