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1/18 DeLorean DMC-12 by AUTOart

Maybe it was the brushed silver bodywork, the gullwing doors, or the product placement in Back to the Future. Regardless, there’s serious nostalgia for the DeLorean. Lucky for fans of the car, AutoArt has released a 1:18 example.

– George@ChoiceGear


The DeLorean DMC-12, commonly referred to simply as the DeLorean, as it was the only model ever produced by the company, was a two-seat, rear-engine sports coupe manufactured for the American market from 1981–1983 in West Belfast, Northern Ireland by John De Lorean’s DeLorean Motor Company. The car features gull-wing doors and an innovative fiberglass chassis and underbody structure, along with a unique, rust-proof brushed stainless-steel body. The body design of the DMC-12 was a product of Giorgetto Giugiaro of Ital Design and was fitted with panels made of brushed SS304 stainless steel, uncovered by paint or protected with clear coating. The stainless steel panels are fixed to a glass-reinforced plastic (fiberglass) monocoque underbody developed by Lotus. The underbody is affixed to a double-Y frame chassis, derived from the Lotus Esprit platform.

The 1/18-scale DeLorean represents the first time AUTOart has undertaken the challenge of producing a die-cast model car body with a brushed stainless-steel finish. The whole development of this model took over two years from start to finish. To replicate the same effect and texture in a scale model is a long and painstaking process. Different types of nickel-chrome plating effect have been tried. The surface finish cannot be too glossy, i.e.: a mirror finish, which is what usually results from normal chrome plating. To simulate the actual brushed stainless-steel texture, more than one year of continuous trial and error was required before the desired glossiness was achieved.

Before the chrome-plating process, the cast body surface needs to be finely polished, then buffed to a perfect finish in order to achieve a good chrome-plating result. The polishing process alone takes an average of 70 minutes for each and every body, and is performed by experienced workers. After the chrome plating, the surface is polished again with a special formulated cloth roller to create the very fine hairline texture simulating exactly the brushed and polished stainless-steel body texture of the DeLorean. The chrome plating of the complicated body shape must be flawless, but tiny bubbles or rashes often appear in some areas of the body after the plating, which means the body must be scrapped as rework is impossible. Because of this, more than 40% of the metal bodies are scrapped after chrome plating, making the production cost extremely high. The price point reflects AUTOart’s commitment to delivering the highest possible precision to its discerning collectors by creating a fitting tribute to this unique car and its exceptional story.

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