The Great State of 1:18 Scale
by Doug Breithaupt

Can anyone doubt that the quality and variety of 1:18 scale diecast cars is at an all-time high? Every month, new models appear on store shelves and the challenge for collectors is simply how to find enough display room.

In the past month, the three cars shown below, came in search for shelf space in my toy room. The first is Guiloy's Chrysler Atlantic show car, the second a 1969 Dodge Charger by Hot Wheels and the third is the Audi TT Roadster by Maisto. They represent three very different cars and three 1:18 scale manufacturers who are challenging the current marketplace.

The Chrysler Atlantic is simply one of the most striking show cars ever built. Based on the Bugatti Atlantic of the late 1930's, Chrysler's stunning dream machine represents the best of the current retro trend in automotive design. That it was not put into production is a crime for which the accountants at Chrysler should certainly be convicted. Guiloy of Spain has reproduced the Atlantic in amazing detail including realistic floor and trunk coverings. The engine bay is impressive with the Atlantic's straight eight done to perfection. Everything is as it should be with one strange exception. The front fog lamps on the Atlantic are done in red when they should be clear. This ruins the front view of the car and I am amazed that Chrysler would have allowed this on the pre-production models they surely approved. The Atlantic is not in the normal price range for 1:18 scale models, retailing at $54.

Chrysler Atlantic Show Car by Guiloy
1969 Dodge Charger by Hot Wheels
2000 Audi TT Roadster by Maisto

The trunk and floor feature realistic covering.
The trunk does not open and paint is average.
The interior is a treat and everything opens.

The red fog lights are wrong.
One of the best big Hot Wheels so far
Maisto offers great 1:18 scale value.

Mattel has entered the 1:18 scale market with their Hot Wheels brand. The 1969 Dodge Charger is one of the few new Hot Wheels of this scale, not already offered by some other manufacturer. This is a curious marketing strategy. Why offer cars already done when so many great cars remain to be done in this scale? The Charger is a good quality model that begs comparison with Ertl's many muscle car offerings in this scale. The engine and interior are well done and the paint is average for this price range. The Hot Wheels 1:18 cars retail for $20 or more at most stores. The black roof is not an attractive addition and should have been done in blue. Too bad the hidden headlights could not be made to operate. The trunk does not open unlike most of the competition in this price range.

The Audi TT Roadster by Maisto is everything we have come to expect from this company. It combines all the best features of 1:18 scale with excellent quality, detail and paint. The Roadster model shows off the wonderful interior, faithfully reproduced. While the Coupe would have made a more striking model in some ways, the full view of this great interior is worth the loss of the top. Engine and trunk compartments are visible and nicely detailed as well. Maisto is currently producing some of the most interesting cars of any manufacturer. The TT is a delight to the eye and the touch. Best of all, the price for this great model is about $15 at many locations and can be found for even less with a bit of effort. In terms of value, Maisto has set standards the rest of the industry must follow to compete.

It is amazing that the least expensive of the three models shown is also the best made. The Atlantic has more detail but minor flaws are frustrating, especially at this price. The Charger is simply an average models and Mattel must work harder to compete in this price range. The Audi TT is simple a great model at a great price. Maisto should be proud. As a collector, I will buy a Guiloy model only if it is a car I must have, like the Atlantic. I will buy Hot Wheels large-scale cars if they represent a unique model and if i can find them on sale. I buy all the Maisto models I can because they offer wonderful cars, well-made, at bargain prices.