Plastic fantastic: The best scale-model vehicles, according to Hagerty readers

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Building cars is a sure sign of being a gearhead, but not everyone plays at 1:1 scale. In fact, many folks who play with cars today started with scale models on a tabletop. The art of un-sticking one’s fingertips typically preceded the art of carefully gluing and assembling cast plastic bits and pieces and applying decals.

Just like life-sized cars, there is a wide degree of difficulty, depending on the project you want to take on. Popular brands allowed enthusiasts of all ages to build just about any car they could dream of—including some which only exist as models. To find some of the coolest, we asked the Hagerty Forum’s users to call out their favorites, and here are the results.

Ala-Kart

hot rod roadster coupe model

This wild 1929 Ford Model A pickup is an example of art imitating life. The Ala-Kart was a real car which AMT duplicated for enthusiasts to enjoy by assembling their own. The original builder was George Barris, and upon its completion in 1957, the Ala-Kart went on to win the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award—twice. Sure, you could paint the model any color you want, but we think the heavy pearl white is spot on.

1964 Mercury Comet

1981 mercury comet race car model number 81

Similar to the car above, this one is an example of how models allow all of us to possess a piece of history without necessarily possessing the means to acquire the real thing. Mercury was the first American company to enter the East African Safari Rally in 1964, a rally which ran through Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Five Mercury Comets were built to run the race, but didn’t fare well in the end, with just two finishing, in 18th and 21st place—out of 21 finishers.

Badman  1955 Chevrolet Gasser

1936 badman gasser model car

The two cars noted above might be based on real cars, but from everything we could find, this one is not—but that makes it no less awesome. In fact, this high-nosed Gasser served as inspiration for full-scale build years after thousands of the model kits were sold. The original design was done by artist Tom Daniel and served to shape the view of so many young gearheads’ picture of what a Gasser should be during the 1970s and ’80s. Hanging a straight axle in the air at the starting line, thanks to big-block torque, will always be cool.

Datsun 240Z

bre datsun race car model with driver john morton

With a guy like Peter Brock behind the scenes, Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) had a pretty good chance of success, but what it realized was even better than expected. The 240Z was relatively new to the U.S. but with John Morton behind the wheel, the red, white, and blue Datsuns quickly became front-runners at any race they attended.

1980 Chevrolet Corvette

lindberg snap fit model corvette

In what is now a comical amount of foreshadowing, model company Lindberg released a kit of “GM’s mid-engine experimental sports car,” calling it the 1980 Corvette. Little did Lindberg know that such a thing was still 40 years away from production. The model appears to be based more on the Chevrolet Astro II concept than any production car at the time, which might be part of what makes it so darn cool.

These are just a few of the models suggested by the Hagerty Forum’s users, and if you think there is one that deserves inclusion, leave it as a comment below. While you’re in the Forums, be sure to chime in on this week’s Question of the Week to have your opinion included in next week’s story.

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