As has been mentioned here before, my favourite 1:18 models tend to be of ordinary, everyday cars, albeit those which no longer feature on the road prominently enough to still be in the collective conscious of the general public. A case in point is the second generation Opel Ascona, a car which, seemingly bizarre in hindsight, was sold alongside its Vauxhall Cavalier sister on the UK market for a good few years towards the end of the ’70s. In a parking lot the bluff-fronted Ascona looked oddly distinctive beside the shovel-nosed Cavalier; which wore the nose of the Opel Manta, which was also based on this platform. Confused? So were GM. Anyway, here’s Opel Ascona (B), the limited edition i2000 model, in 1:18 scale.
All images become crisper and more intelligible if you click them around a bit.
So, what do we have here, then? Well, insert your Babelfish now, it’s one of these: This was one of the more distinctive Ascona editions, with styling house Irmscher brought in to add some visual weight to the car, and GMs powertrain engineers charged with the task of getting a little more power out of the cam-in-head two-litre engine. Switching from the traditional “Varajet II” carburettor netted a handful of extra ponies, giving the Ascona a more valid claim to the Sport title. It was this engine set-up which later went on to motivate the Manta GT/E which fought Ford’s Capri during the ’80s. The i2000 is a properly obscure car, in the UK, but the internet is chock-full of talk about them, so there are plenty of images with which to gauge the accuracy of this model. It’s a SunStar creation, part of their European Collectibles series. And I reckon it’s pretty difficult to fault, for what falls under the category of “budget” model. That’s my favourite category, incidentally. I reckon the proportions are spot on. This two-door bodyshell was always a crisp looking shape, very much a product of GM’s international design thinking of the time. It shows the same level of design cleanness as the Chevy Monza. The actual casting itself is great. It’s symmetrical, which is a good start, and a cleanly cast, with no excess flashing or obvious cast-lines. The metal thickness seems even all over with no sink-marks or bulges. The paint is very well applied, too; some kind of two-stage process having been performed to get the two-tone effect of the lower-body graphic. That’s a nice representation of the 2.0 CIH engine, going as far as to include plug leads and distributor cap, engine fan and brake master cylinder all individually detailed. Also, it appears that this engine is the carburetted version; with a pair of the things. This matches the badging on the back, which declares 2.0S. If it had been injected 2.0E would have appeared. That’s attention to detail, that is. I struggle for anything much to say negative about the interior. The gearstick looks a little exaggerated, but that’s about all. Detail abounds, with the door handles and interior releases being picked out as separate parts and a comprehensive dashboard laid out correctly. There’s carpet on the floor, and look up and you’ll find grab handles and sun-visors at your convenience. Even the rear screen defroster element is picked out correctly. The only fault I could really find on this model was a minor one, straight out the box, which I infinitely forgave. The “O” from the rear “ASCONA” badge was missing, and I seem to remember random letters dropping off the backs of the 1:1 scale machine during car-washing activities, so even that little fault is just like the real thing. As it happens, just after I shot these images the remaining letters fell off when my finger brushed across them, inadvertently debadging my Ascona. A great model, and one which is nice to have alongside my Opel Manta. (All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)