Certain blue chip classics have been modelled by countless different marques. The Jaguar E-type, probably most famously cast by Bburago in the ’80s, has also been offered by Polistil, Ertl (Grand Marques), Paragon and AutoArt, with quality and accuracy varying dramatically among the various manufacturers. The E-type, of course, is a car which has achieved immortality and has never really dropped from the public conscience. It, and many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and other high-profile machines will continue to be re-issued to a hungry market as modelling technology improves.
Sometimes cars only get one shot at having a 1:18 likeness cast of them. Cars which perhaps fell out of favour and into obscurity, cars which were perhaps of extremely minor interest in the first place, or maybe cars which would later become overshadowed by sexier, more exotic cars from within the same stable.
I believe that’s what happened with the Aston Martin DB7.
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The DB7 was actually listed in the Aston Martin catalogue for ten years, evolving quite a long way from genesis during that time. When it first arrived there was a fair degree of gnashing of teeth and quiet muttering when people read the ingredients list. The fact was that the new Aston was closely related to the age-old Jaguar XJS under the skin. Hardly an exotic start. The engine, too, gave cause for concern. It may have been supercharged, but a six-cylinder engine might have been fine the last time the DB initials were used in the early ’70s, and the DBS only really came alive when Tadek Marek’s famed 5.3 litre V8 was slipped under the bonnet.
One thing that couldn’t be denied, though. It looked absolutely sensational.
From delicate nose to shapely derrière, not even the Mazda 323 rear lights could spoil it. Ian Callum and Keith Helfet had created a shape which was both respectful of the past and ready for the future, and one which offered absolutely no clue towards the workaday underpinnings. It’s a shape which, fifteen years ago, when curves were out and angles came back in, looked like it was in danger of dating. However, things have gone full circle and the DB7 now looks better than it ever has before.
This model was released in the mid ’90s by Guiloy of Spain, a brand whose output isn’t always the thing of legends. Surprisingly, though, with the DB7 they got things pretty much bang on.
I should mention right now that this is not a detailed model. The doors open, there’s an “engine” under the bonnet and a space under the trunk lid, but this isn’t a model on which you’ll be finding impossibly intricate “surprise and delight” features for weeks to come. Actually, the interior is reasonable at first glance but is irretrievably let down by an over-reliance on adhesive paper stickers which, inevitably, are all peeling off and weren’t very well applied to start with.
In fact, the interior of the DB7 was never really worthy of celebration anyway. It was OK, but lacked the occasion of the bigger, more expensive Virage and Vantage, and was also home to a good few ergonomic clusterfucks, particularly if you tried to change a cassette while cruising in top gear. The DB7 was very definitely a car which sold itself from the outside.
Same could be said of this model. Against all odds Guiloy judged the proportions to absolute perfection and then did a really good job with the casting. It’s only let down by a hard vertical line on each rear wheelarch which shows where the cast was split into two pieces for release. The opening parts are quite cleanly hung with only the bonnet not quite closing squarely.
The paint is pretty good, too, if possibly a little thickly applied. There’s only minor orange peel and very few paint imperfections, and it has real depth to it, even more so when natural daylight hits it.
There is detail where it matters, too. The door handles are separate components, as are the front indicator lamps. The covers over the headlamps are well fitted, even if the actual lamps themselves are rather simplistically made from silver plastic. The wheels are slightly wrong and are missing a little detail anyway, but I still really like the look of them.
There was actually a DB7 later released by Bburago though it was the later V12 Vantage, which I never really liked. As far as I know the original DB7 has never been modelled by AutoArt or any of the even higher-end brands who create miniature works of art. Just as interest in well maintained early DB7s is becoming ever stronger, surely a decent contemporary model is well overdue. If Guiloy still has the casts, this is a damn good place to start.
(All images Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2015)