Whatchamacallit? Käfer, Fusca, Beetle or Vocho? And is it Bus, Kombi or Pão-de-forma?

At first Volkswagen just called their two most popular models the Sedan and the Transporter. However, with the years that changed, especially when these models began to be exported and manufactured in other countries. And both of them received many different local nicknames. Interestingly, with time, and in some markets, VW adopted that nickname as the models’ official name. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of no other car with so many names. And I’m talking about official names, of course.

When I began to look into this, I was honestly surprised to see all the variations. Over here I listed a few of them, with a brief history of how it all started.

Mercedes 300 SLR: Spark × Minichamps

Very recently I upgraded a grail model, the Le Mans’ Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. This is one of those models that was paramount to have in my collection. I first got one in 2017, from Minichamps. And I was quite pleased with it, being the best one available at the time. However, in late December 2021 Spark released their version. Since the car is a grail model, I almost immediately bought one (or two… 😉). So, is it in fact better than my previous Minichamps version?

Oh yes, take a look here 😎.

The good, the bad and the best

I’m confident very few here recognize this poster. Heck, I think even fewer actually watched that film… Though I can’t say I watched it when it first came out (1966 – I wasn’t born yet), I watched it in the 80s. And I loved it – one of the best “spaghetti westerns”, a film genre that is long gone. However, I doubt that modern audiences will like it very much. Too “slow” for today’s movie standards.

But what the boogers does a 1960’s western has to do with 1:43 model cars?!? Well, other than the somewhat similar title, not much 😁. However, the title is pretty close to what I found out when I compared three 550 GTS Maranello models. Three models from three different brands with three different detail levels. What I concluded was not what you would normally expect

Top 5 – 2021

This year I decided to do something different to close the year. Well, I almost did this last year, but with the COVID pandemic raging the idea kind of floundered. Anyway, the intent is to show the Top 5 models I reviewed in the year. Not just the best models from a craftsmanship perspective but models that for some reason have special significance to me or the W-143 Garage. So without further ado, and in chronological order, here are the Top 5 models of 2021:

Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR #104 – Spark

Not only a FRIGGENTASTIC model from Spark, also the final “factory” Silver Arrow for the W-143 Garage.

BMW 3.5 CSL #43 – Ixo

Though a so-called “budget” model, probably the best bang-for-the-buck I found in 2021.

Porsche 934 “Jägermeister” #68 – Spark

Not a winner, however being a Jägermeister car (the only one at Le Mans), a very dear model to me.

Porsche 935 #40 – Spark

A class winner and a special one for the Garage – the second of the X-Ray cars. And, Spark-goregous.

Porsche 911 (964) Carrera 4 RAUH-Welt Begriff “Waikato” – Tarmac Works

The nice surprise of the year – I was genuinely impressed by Tarmac Works. A GREAT model on a budget price.

The tools of the trade

In theory, as long as you have available space (and money!), you don’t need anything else to collect 1:43 cars. However, after you get serious about the hobby, maybe you should put together a toolbox. There are a few items that definitively will make your life easier. Not many, and everything cheap and easy to find.

To find out what you need, clickety-click HERE.

Spark’s partworks (update!)

PW much? A TA driver is a good investment!

Until very recently, I had four models of Hachette’s “24 Hours of Le Mans Cars Collection”. These models are diecast and all partworks (pw), however they’re made by Spark. When I got these four, despite being pw models, I was quite happy with the series. I felt that for the price they had a superior value for the money. However, I recently got two more. And now, I have to say I’m not as favorable to the series as I initially was 🤨. If you head to the original page I added an update explaining why.

The devil is in the details

What makes a model “good”? And conversely, what characteristic (or lack of) makes a model “bad”? Being overly simplistic, the answer would be accuracy. If the model accurately represents the real car in scale, it is a good model. In other words, in 1:43, if you recreate the real car 43× smaller you have an accurate model. However, model manufacturers not always can shrink every detail of the real car. Furthermore, some details have more significance in the collector’s eye.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche once said “the devil is in the details”. Even though shape and proportions are paramount, some details are more important then others. With that, the presence or absence of a specific detail makes or breaks a model. If you want to understand what I’m talking about, click HERE.

Model customization at its finest

Frenchman Steph mods and customizes models for a living. I wasn’t aware of his work until I saw him featured at Petrolicious, and it’s nothing short of fantastic. From what I understood he works with all scales, big or small. I’ve been known to mod a model or two, but different than mine, Steph’s model actually looks (VERY!) good 😁.

Upgrading models

We collectors, sooner or later, will find a model that is better than the one we currently have. So what do we do? We “upgrade”. That means we buy the better and improved model to take the place of our older and inferior one. The idea is logical, however it’s not something you should do regularly. Why? Because you’re wasting money. Over here I wrote a short essay on why you should try to avoid it. Well, unless you have really DEEP pockets 🤑.

Silver Arrows – Part III: When is a silver car a Silberpfeil?

And finally we arrive at the last part of the series. After explaining what is a Silberpfeil and how they came to be called that, now it’s time to define which cars are Silver Arrows. Even though Mercedes-Benz uses the term very broadly, not every silver car is a Silberpfeil. Historically speaking you can count them on your fingers. Even if you add the variations (like hill climbers and record cars), the actual number is very low. How low? Click below.

Part III: When is a silver car a Silberpfeil?