I’ve been holding off from posting a Diecast Delight until I thought I might have a Diecast that truly is Delightful.
Ever since I chanced upon an original brochure for the Honda City in The Carchive, and then tracked one down online for its partnering bootspace occupant, the Honda Motocompo, I’ve wanted to add a Honda City to my collection. Alas, the only model made is by AutoArt, and it’s prohibitively expensive for a man who daily-drives a ’98 Audi through necessity as well as choice.
So, Praise Be obscurity and badly phrased eBay adverts.
All images may be clicked and enlarged so 1:18 scale folk can drive them away.
I’ve got far more space in my diecast collection for those cars which were churned out in their millions and discarded like tissues at the end of their life. The original Honda City is just one such car, they were produced in massive numbers but it seemingly didn’t occur to anybody that preserving a few of them would be worthwhile.
Truthfully, it wasn’t, really. The mini-sized City was a perfectly OK little car, despite originating in ’81 it resembled a scaled down 1983 Civic- or in other words it was basically a true successor to the original Civic in terms of size. Aside from its appearance it wasn’t an especially memorable machine. Until they decided to turbocharge it.
The City Turbo arrived in ’82, and the wilder-looking, intercooled Turbo II, appeared in late ’83, with its wide arches and unique six-hole alloy wheels. It was a vervy, angry little car that thoroughly deserved its nickname of Bulldog, and it’s this car that AutoArt have depicted in this 1:18 rendition.
I’ve looked at this model all over and it is quite frankly flawless. The casting of the body, the shut-lines between the opening doors, the way everything fits together is absolutely perfect.
I’ve found one tiny little paint defect on a front fender, but it’s a minor one. The paint is otherwise beautifully applied and the metallic finish doesn’t give the game away as to the scale of the model. Every little decal, graphic and emblem is perfectly applied.
The headlamps are all individually modelled and look “Just like the real thing” ™, and despite the fact that the wheels are almost totally solid, they’ve still made the effort to replicate front brake discs and calipers which are visible through the ventilation holes.
The bonnet opens squarely and is supported on its own tiny strut. Underneath it is a beautiful representation of the tiny turbocharged, intercooled ER engine. It’s all fully plumbed and wired.
There are also plentiful underhood warning stickers, including one on the underside of the hood that depicts the CVCC vacuum system in all its arcane complexity.
Things are no less detailed inside. As well as being precisely accurate there is a flocked material effect on the seats and the carpet, as well as a pair of rubber floor mats in the footwells.
The sliding HVAC controls look like you could actually operate them. Plus the dashboard cluster is actually modelled in 3D, with dials behind plexiglass rather than just a sticker or even photo-etched component. It’s all a little bit overwhelming.
And then you reach the boot. If the removable boot floor carpet over the spare wheel isn’t enough, the cargo that fits into the bootspace might be.
The addition of the Honda Motocompo makes this deal a bit of a twofer. AutoArt have modelled, perfectly, Honda’s compact boot-stowable 50cc motorcycle and included it with the City.
It is supplied in such a way as it can be depicted in its folded form…
….or ready to ride.
It’s models like these, recording overlooked moments from the passing of motoring history, that I value the most.
(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016)