As the broader collector car world has finally recognized the worthiness of Japanese classics, model car companies have followed suit. We’re seeing a steady increase in the number of nostalgics available in the more popular premium diecast scales (1:18 and 1:43), which is an exciting but not unexpected development — a model car collector can only acquire so many Ferraris and Porsches before they start to get a little stale.
Arguably, the hakosuka Skyline has been the poster child of the JNC renaissance, and while there have been a few 1:18-scale premium-grade replicas released over the years, none has come close to hitting the sweet spot of detail, functionality and price as AUTOart’s new KPGC10 GT-R. Presented in lightly tuned trim, the AUTOart Hako sports a lowered stance, aftermarket spook and shoulda-been-OEM Wats. Though eventually it will be offered in a variety of colors, black is the first hue to hit the market, bringing just the right touch of malevolence to what is suddenly everyone’s favorite classic car.
Experienced model collectors will note that tuned Hakos have been available in resin-cast form for several years from Ignition Models, and may wonder why the entry of another version into the marketplace is relevant. The answer is this: AUTOart’s car is made from traditional die-cast metal, which, unlike resin, allows for opening parts.
In this way, enthusiasts can experience the fullest level of detail available in a model Hakosuka, and the AUTOart version delivers in a big way. Under the hood rests a beautifully rendered S20, with special attention paid to the “NISSAN”-embossed valve covers and triple Webers. The interior is equally detailed, with faithfully replicated wood trim and recessed gauge faces.
Recently, we featured the AUTOart Hako at the Model Citizen Diecast booth at the Palos Verdes Concours D’Elegance, a park-on-the-fairway affair that featured numerous multimillion-dollar Ferraris, Duesenbergs and the like. The crowd was typical of such an event (i.e., lots of Panama hats and blue blazers) but when it came to the scale model cars we had on offer, none came close to generating the level of interest that the Hakosuka attracted. Maybe it was because the Hako is now a fully accepted, mainstream collector car, or maybe it’s simply that the AUTOart 1:18-scale version is one of the finest diecast cars to come along this year, but whatever the reason, model collectors are going to need to make room for a new wave of Japanese classics.