Gullwing by AMG.
This is not a joke. Repeat: this is not a joke.
Gullwing by AMG.
This is not a joke. Repeat: this is not a joke.
Concepts are normally outside of my collecting scope. Don’t get me wrong—concept cars are fascinating design studies, but even the most avid collectors have their limits. Run some enticing discounts by me, though, and those restrictions get immediately thrown out. Anything is game when cars are half-off, especially when your ultimate dream is to have every car ever created.
And that’s exactly how I ended up with this trio here, consisting of a gullwing Mercedes, a not-really-a-Mercedes, and the spiritual predecessor to Audi’s R8 supercar. BoS (Best of Show) Models is the maker of all three, and they’re the masters of automotive obscurity in the eighteenth scale. From Zagato specials to classic Studebakers to Porsche wagons, they make the cars that you never knew existed and the cars that you never knew you wanted. Household names and cookie-cutter sports cars won’t be found here; these guys are who you go to if you have a thirst for automotive knowledge. Their catalog is incredibly offbeat and niche, but we should all applaud them for taking the road less traveled.
With its sleek wedge profile, cavernous hood ducts, flying buttress rear pillars, star-shaped wheels, and fancy gullwing doors, the Mercedes-Benz C111 is clearly the prettiest car in the group. Having said that, the C111’s significance goes beyond its show-stopper presence. It was primarily a test mule for Mercedes to experiment with a host of different powertrains, from Wankel engines to diesel ones—later on implementing forced induction as well—and achieved numerous speed records in the process. Though they produced more than a dozen total examples for testing, the C111 ultimately never made it to mass production. A shame, because—performance and looks-wise—this could’ve been one of the greatest Benzes of all time, right up there with the 300SLs and 190Es and CLK GTRs.
Things get wedgie-r with the BB CW311, which wins the award for the quirkiest and most interesting car in the group. Yes, it looks like a spaceship. No, that’s not a taxi sign but, rather, a rearview mirror on top of the roof. Yellow-tipped exhaust pipes shoot out behind the driver-side door (the doors are gullwings too, by the way). Sitting behind the cabin is an engine from your favorite German tuner, AMG. It’s even made an appearance in the movie Car Napping.
Built using parts from Mercedes-Benz and Porsche cars, the CW311 was the creation of mad scientist Eberhard Schulz, who worked for both companies before moving on to other automotive endeavors and establishing his own Isdera brand. The name of this car is derived from its drag coefficient (Cw) of 0.311, and the B+B logo on this prototype represents the company Schulz partnered with to develop this prototype. Like with the C111, Mercedes opted not to mass produce this concept, but the CW311 lived on as the Isdera Imperator 108i and is the only unofficial M-B in history to don the three-pointed star.
The Quattro Spyder was the R8 of the nineties. With a mid-engined layout, Quattro all-wheel drive system, and body made of aluminum, the Spyder (it had a removable roof, in case you were wondering) featured a similar makeup to Audi’s modern supercar. But, because Audi could not meet their targeted price point for the Quattro Spyder, they were forced to nix the project. Some people say that this is the best-looking car that Audi has ever created. I would disagree but, then again, I’ve never cared for Audis anyways.
A joint venture between two of the most prestigious coachbuilders in the world sounds like a great idea on paper. There’s a saying in sports that “games aren’t won on paper.” Pair Giancarlo Stanton with Aaron Judge and you’ll still get a first-round exit because the pitching can’t stop the bleeding.
In the case of the Mercedes-Mclaren SLR, that statement couldn’t be more true.
Both of these companies are so fundamentally different that you wonder how they ever thought that collaborating was a good idea. Mercedes is about luxury, styling, and straight-line speed; Mclaren is about the entire driving experience. In the end, the three-pointed star on the nose doesn’t lie: the SLR is definitely more Mercedes than Mclaren. It’s a weekend cruiser more so than a track toy. Compared to its rivals of its time period (early-2000’s) in the Enzo Ferrari and Porsche Carrera GT, it just can’t keep up. Despite all of its carbon-fiber innovations, the SLR still weighs nearly two tons. Being available only in a 5-speed automatic transmission implies that its target buyers simply don’t care for spirited driving. With a hood that long and a seating position that far back, I can’t imagine trying to nail apexes in this thing. I’ve driven SLS AMG’s in video games and could barely see the edges of the track while in cockpit view.
As an Enzo guy until the day I die, I would frequently engage in friendly debates with my friend—who loves the Carrera GT—about which supercar was best. One thing we always agreed on, though, was that it wasn’t the SLR.
Styling will forever be a divisive topic regarding the SLR, but it’s certainly Mercedes in that department as well. It’s essentially a Mercedes SLK with stretched-out proportions, and it’s never a good thing when you resemble a car that costs ten times less. I don’t like how tall the back is compared to the front. There are a few interesting details that help the SLR stand out, such as the flamboyant, side-mounted exhaust pipes and the fancy turbine wheels, but this car just isn’t a looker with its Squidward nose. Sorry.
Despite everything I’ve just said, there’s always room for one of these in anybody’s collection. I once owned a Maisto version of this car, which is a very solid representation of the SLR for those who aren’t willing to spend more. I ended up getting rid of it—a decision I still question to this day—to clear shelf space for better things at the time. Rather than buying another Maisto, I upgraded to this SophiArt instead. These are from the same people that make FrontiArt models which, if you’ve been around, are those outrageously expensive resin models for the one percent. The SophiArt line, however, falls within the league of most other 1:18 brands, so I gave this dark blue SLR a crack.
This is my second time with this brand, the first being their BMW M4 GTS—a decent model for the price but wrought with some quality issues. There are none to speak of here. These models come display-ready on an individually-numbered, carbon-patterned plinth, in an acrylic showcase. The detail throughout is solid, with the usual trinkets (mesh, badges, etc.) that I’m getting tired of repeating over and over again. I clearly didn’t do my research beforehand, so I was very excited to discover that the wheels steer on this SLR! No, they’re not physically linked to the steering wheel, but this is exactly what I’ve been pleading for on my resins. If there’s a major selling point to this model, this is it.
The AMG GT is one of the best sports cars money can buy. What happens when you add two more doors to it?
Well, you get this…
The GT63 is AMG’s own entity, not based on any existing Mercedes-Benz product. This is them saying, “We’re not just a tuning company; we’re perfectly capable of creating our own cars too!” AMG has already blessed us with the SLS AMG and AMG GT, but those are bonafide sports cars. The GT63 is their first real audition for a piece of the pie that is the ultra-competitive luxury car market.
Eerily similar to M-B’s own CLS-klasse, it’s a 4-door coupe, so there's already some internal clashing going on. But with the CLS63 AMG now discontinued, the GT63 fills in nicely where the top-of-the-line, high-performance model left off. The problem, however, is its price. At a 50% premium over its replacement, you have to wonder whether there’s actually demand for a car like this. Nonetheless, I’m sure most of us would like to see AMG succeed, because we can’t get enough of their insane machines.
Though its name is shared with the AMG GT, the GT63 uses a different platform to accommodate its larger size. However, many of its design cues are still derivative of its “sibling”, starting up front with the enormous, in-your-face grille with the vertical chrome slats. The eyes are similarly shaped but are now sharper and meaner than ever. The sloping rear mimics that of the AMG GT, and the GT63 retains its sleek taillights as well as its two-tone mesh wheels. Hey look, no 4-door coupe will ever top the first-gen CLS in terms of design, but this isn’t too shabby either.
In summary: yes, the GT63 is very much a stretched AMG GT.
This eighteenth-scale diecast model from Norev is both a hit and a miss. Like many other models from the French maker, the GT63 needs a more aggressive setup to bring out the sportiness of the real car. That means throwing on larger wheels with lower profile tires and dropping the car down a couple ticks. The shape of the wheels is also incorrect - they should be concave as opposed to flat-faced.
It might not be the best visual representation of the GT63, but where the Norev shines are in its features and that fantastic interior. With wheels that steer and opening doors, bonnet, and rear hatch - as well as a working suspension - the model doubles nicely as a kid’s toy, though it’s a rather pricey one at that. The dealer-exclusive tax applies here, but that’s justified with the sheer amount of detail on the inside. Take note, GT Spirit, of the yellow stitching on the GT63’s upholstery. There’s a lot to take in here, so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.