New GMP Models

30 Dec 2007 | 2,241 views | No Comment
GMP, a relatively new model car company, has already established a reputation for unbeatable detail, impeccable quality and models that sell out almost immediately after they hit the market. Their lineup is a strong one in 1:24, 1:18 and 1:12 scales, with everything from Cobras and Corvettes, to Pontiac GTOs, Ford Mustangs and Plymouth Road Runners. Their 1:24 collection includes Ford Mustangs, Mustang Shelby models, Pontiac GTOs, and Buick T Types among other things—but you’d better check with GMP because their models sell out quickly. Their 1:18 models include Plymouth Road Runners and GTX models, Ford Mustangs, Pontiac GTOs and many other designs. Their 1:12 models are absolutely breathtaking, and must be seen to be believed. And that’s a good place to start off our series of reviews. The first is GMP's all-new 1:12 model of the Chevrolet C5-R racing series model:. Yes, it costs $500, but you won’t even blink at that price tag when you see what you’re getting. You’ll even need an owner’s manual—provided by GMP—to work all of the details and appreciate them. First, a little bit about the car’s background. The Corvette C5-R series of Endurance Racing Classics has been around since 1999, and is absolutely legendary in terms of performance, with race records at places such as Daytona, Sebring and LeMans Road America. The car is powered by 427-cubic-inch, 620-horsepower V-8 engine that puts out an incredible 495 pounds-feet of torque. Top speed is 205 mph. The first thing you notice is the wealth of textures and materials used in assembling the model. Rubber, wire, steel, copper and brass fittings, and hoses of every description can be seen everywhere among the more than 800 parts that make up the model. And the location, position and texture of each part has been carefully compared to the real car. Even the dozens of decals, tiny to large, duplicate precisely what you'll find on the full-size racer, and the tires are so real that they are designed to "give" on a firm surface just as tires on a real car will. There also are automatic jacks on the car, so if you want to display the car with tires removed, you simply push the jacks and turn the screw heads. The maze of wires and complexity of the connections and fittings make it a display worth having. One more thing—if you want one, you’d better hurry. There’s only 500 of these beauties available for purchase at the outset, and I suspect they’ve sold pretty well. Anyone will tell you that some of the raraest, most expensive collectors cars out there are Ford Mustang Shelbys. Even mentioning the name will probably cost you ! But GMP has taken care of all that by providing collectors with some of the most well-done Mustang Shelbys you’ll ever see—all in 1:24 scale. One of the nicest is the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500 coupe, available only in blue with white stripes or white with blue stripes.. I’ve always appreciated the way in which GMP takes time to replicate the various details of each model year. They don’t cut corners by using parts from another year of a make and plop them into the next model, hoping nobody will notice. For that reason, you’ll see plenty of detail that is specific to the 1967 version of this car, and nothing that doesn’t belong there. Ask almost any Shelby expert who has seen these and they are likely to agree. For instance, inside the car you will see readable gauges, the tiny correct emblem on the glove box door, fabric seat belts and the correct wood steering wheel for the 1967 version. The tiny controls are all present and accounted for, and they aren't painted on, either. Even looking at the clutch and brake pedals shows the correct relationship between the two -- one is higher than the other from the floorboard. The silver door trim and red reflector lights at the bottom of the doors also are faithfully replicated. The seats fold, too. Open the trunk, and there is a set of floor mats neatly wrapped in plastic as though it was done for the real car at the factory, all ready for you to install yourself if you wish. The engine is incredibly complex looking with every decal, identification plate, warning label, wire and hose placed exactly as it would be in the real car. Tiny, authentic Shelby insignias, done in correct colors, can be seen in various places on the car. The stance and proportions of this car are dead-on accurate, and the body sits well on the frame, not too low or too high over the wheels. Doors, hood and trunk all open and close smoothly. Overall, I found no flaws on the car, which retails for $129.95, and quite a lot to please on GMP's new Shelby. Of course, GMP also offers “normal non-Shelby Mustangs to collectors, too. You may want to consider, for example, the all-new GMP 1967 Ford Mustang Convertibles, which come in blue and maroon shades. Both are equally attractive, and if you don't mind paying about $130 for each, you might want to get the pair. The model itself is of a GT convertible that's chock full of options from whitewalls and stripes to a tricked-up 289-cubic-inch engine. It has the optional wood steering wheel, deluxe bucket seat interior, chrome trim doors and seats -- and a host of other goodies, too. The model has the usual working features you would expect from GMP: Doors, trunk and hood that open; a fully plumbed and wired engine with every decal, sticker and plate in place; folding seats; and a fully detailed trunk. The detail is so minute that the two tiny marker lights on the hood scoops are precisely replicated, and every nuance, paint shading and coating under the chassis are faithfully reproduced. I thought that the rear end of the car was a bit low over the back tires, and the doors on my model were a bit tight, but that's about it. As usual, GMP has done a terrific job replicating a popular car. You’ll also want to take a look at GMP’s 1968 Mustang Cobra Jet Coupe, too. The 1968 Mustang was only slightly different in appearance from the all-new 1967 model. As such, the 1968 had the same bulkier sheet metal below the belt line as did the 1967 version, a concave rear panel, an aggressive grille, and a generally more muscular look overall than what was seen on the first Mustangs. The engine -- the 428 Cobra Jet -- was a 335-horsepower V-8 that since has become legendary among muscle car lovers, according to musclecarclub.com. This engine differed from the regular 428 in that it had larger valve heads, shared an intake manifold with the racing version of the 427-cubic-inch engine, used a ram air induction system, and had a few other distinct features. It could hit 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, and could do a quarter mile in 14.01 seconds, with a top speed of 101 miles per hour. As you might expect, given the prominence of the engine in automotive history, a lot of time and energy was spent getting the engine replicated on the model just right. The effort paid off, too, because it's really a masterpiece, with every sticker, hose, tube and plate an exact replica of the real thing. Now take a look at the interior, in all its glory. As usual, GMP has done the job right. Everything from the door sill plates to the knobs and the lettering and appearance of the instrument panel gauges is precisely as it's illustrated in my 1968 Mustang showroom catalog. What's really nifty is that the back seat folds down in exactly the same manner as it does in Mustang. But where the accuracy really shows is in the little things. For example, take a look at the red side markers. If you look closely, you can see the same texture and grid under the lenses as you would see on a Mustang. Doors, trunk and hood all work beautifully, and if you look at the car's underbody, you'll see everything is in place there, too, including the tiny paint markings on the drive shaft and other components, to indicate that the part had been "inspected" by a worker. Criticisms? I thought the rear of the car sat a bit low over the wheels, but that may have been an accurate stance for a 1968 Mustang CJ with big, fat tires and a sports suspension. I also thought the driving inboard lights in the grille looked a little bit too toy-like in their "chrome" housings. What can you pay for all of this fun? $129.95. Not bad at all. Of course, Fords aren’t the only product that GMP does well. Take a look at a pair of Pontiac GTOs, one in 1:18 and the other in 1:24. They are the 1970 GTO Judge convertible in 1:18 scale and a 1970 GTO Convertible in 1:24 scale. Let’s look at the larger model first—and believe me, it’s something else. It has red-orange paint, huge spoiler and flashy decals, and it resembles strikingly a similar real car that was featured in a recent collectors magazine. Equipped with any of a number of powerful V-8 engines, the real car was introduced as a $332 option package during the 1969 model year to combat the new Plymouth Road Runner at the lower end of the muscle car market. The convertible was especially rare -- only 168 were made. The Judge model has, as one would expect with GMP, a high degree of detail and very accurate presentation. The car comes with opening doors, hood and trunk, and the front seats fold forward and back as well. GMP really did its homework with this car, with an accurate representation of the hard-to-duplicate color. It even matched precisely the silvery blue paint Pontiac used for that year's engines. Fuel lines and brake lines accurately mimic the parts on the real car. And be sure to notice the attention to detail in the fabric seat belts and hints of a rolled down window in the door openings. Sadly, it was hard to keep the hood open to examine the engine compartment, and the doors on the car are somewhat stiff. But those are minor complaints. My favorite re-creation, however, was the blood red 1970 GTO convertible done in the smaller 1:24 scale. For my money, the smaller car seems even more detailed: There's a key in the ignition, a tiny Hurst emblem on the minuscule floor shifter and one of the most detailed trunks I've seen a while. Seats fold back and forward, and there are tiny plated ashtrays and even tiny chrome bands around the pedals, as there were on the real car. These are, as you might imagine, rare products -- and they aren't cheap. But there should be some appreciation in value in a few years given the limited production numbers -- 350 in the case of the 1:24 red convertible. Each model goes for $129.95. Mopar fans get in on the fun, too with GMP, with its collection of Road Runners and GTX models. GMP has made it easier for enthusiasts to get a Road Runner by offering a Lemon Twist (yellow) 1970 Road Runner convertible to hobbyists. There’s a reason why these cars have sold so fast, and this car is exhibit A. Highlights include a perfectly plumbed 383 engine -- a rarity since most models of these cars have Hemi engines, as you might expect. You even can locate the famed "beep beep" horn under the hood. A realistic metal antenna, chrome plated exhausts, headlamps, backup lights and taillights and even identification plates on door jambs and under the hood are some of the details sweated by GMP on this one. Inside, the seats tilt, the gauges and shift quadrant are readable and the shade and texture of wood are just right. Fabric seat belts, authentic console courtesy lights and correct Road Runner seat upholstery design add just the right touches. The only quibble -- and I my research isn't certain about this -- is that the underbody of the car is painted black. As far as I know, all Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge products of this area were known for having paint overspray underneath the car. Anybody know the answer on this one? Otherwise, the underbody is a terrific rendition with brake lines, fuel lines and other elements accurately depicted. I won't even guess what a 1970 Road Runner Convertible would cost, but I'd be willing to bet it's the price of a good-sized Pittsburgh home. Meanwhile, you can get one of these beauties for $139.95. Road Runners not your thing? Check out GMP's new 1/18 scale Plymouth GTX, one whale of a model car that may well be sold out by the time this appears. Why is it so terrific? Detail. The detail on this car is such that it has windows that raise and lower (a feat mastered only by GMP), a rotating driveshaft, real spring and scissor hinges and a working latch for the hood, an adjustable "Air Grabber" scoop flap on the hood, folding seats, a dome light, a working glove box, seat-belt harnesses mounted on the car's inner roof, and even a spring-loaded license plate in back to cover the gas filler tube. All of this is in addition to the usual extensive plumbing and wiring, engine decals and detailing that all are hallmarks of the GMP product portfolio. There are only a couple of points needing attention. First, the trunk is so tightly assembled that it's hard to open beyond a crack, making it difficult to enjoy all the detailing inside. Secondly, the rear seat belts in my model didn't lay flat on the sea I also wonder about the coating on the bottom of the car. Chrysler often oversprayed its products with body-colored paint during assembly, but this model didn't reflect that. (Maybe it was only some cars?) At any rate, this car, at $129.55, is an absolute must for collectors, especially those who love Mopar. For more information on GMP models, go to www.gmpdiecast.com. And stay tuned to automobilejournal.com for reviews of more GMP products in about two weeks.

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