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CMC 1960 Ferrari 250 California SWB

This Ferrari 250 excels at detail
Ferrari 250 California
There are few, if any, models in the diecast world as finely made as those produced by CMC. And while pricey, they are well worth the cost for serious, selective collectors.

Consider that the new 1/18 scale Ferrari 250 California is hand-assembled from 1,634 individual parts including wire-spoked wheels with aluminum rims, each spoke hand-mounted with a single nipple and each tire has a valve stem. Wiring and other underhood detailing is exquisite and realistic looking, as is the car's underside. No corners are cut here, thus the premium price tag.

The 250 California short wheelbase (SWB) first showed up at the Geneva Auto Show in 1960 with a 3.0-liter V12 delivering 250 hp. Top speed was 145 mph and it was said to do 0-60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. That may not sound so impressive today, but in 1960 this was considered a supercar. Think modern day Bugatti Veyron!

Why is it called California?

Well, that was Ferrari's best market in the U.S. and its U.S. distributors suggested the name, and also requested that the car be a convertible. The 250 California was hand built in limited numbers by Carozerria Scaglietti, which boosts their collector value; some being auctioned in the last few years for $5 million to $10 million.

The 250 SWB featured a stiffer chassis than its long wheelbase predecessor, while also being lighter and having more power. This made the car, which also featured disc brakes, a natural for racing, and it did at the famous Le Mans and Sebring endurance races, a LWB model finishing fifth overall at the 1959 Le Mans, so these had race cred.

How famous was it? Well, most folks will know it best if you can tell them it's the car Ferris Bueller takes on his rowdy day off in the notable 1990s movie!
Ferrari trunk lock
Start with the CMC Ferrari's immaculate body and brilliant red paint job. The car looks elegant, but fast and features chrome bumpers, door handles, and windshield framing, plus chrome wipers with black blades, that's how detailed this is. The bumpers even feature chrome guards, with black rubber inserts to protect them from parking lot dings, or a wayward roll in your display case.

The enclosed headlights look real, again with chrome rings, and the taillights are accurate right down to their two-tone amber and red lenses. The Ferrari prancing horse sits mid-grille with a logo gracing the nose and the name is etched in metal on the trunk lid, just above the trunk lock and latch, which actually works, a diecast first. On the car's side are stainless steel vents with real wire mesh too...detail, detail, detail!
Ferrari open
The convertible shows off its tan leather seats and black dash with exquisite gauge detail. The two main gauges are so exact you can read the numbers on the dials and there are five small gauges to their right, all ringed in chrome. There are nine other levers and buttons below those gauges, plus the shifter with a black cue-ball knob and a wood-look steering wheel, again with an accurate Ferrari logo on its hub. There's also a rearview mirror atop the dash, the style of the day, along with a wood three-spoke Nardi steering wheel.

The California's engine bay is well detailed too with "Ferrari" cast in the famous Colombo V12's header covers and all hosing and wiring in place. I like seeing all the clamps and connectors, which is uncommon in most 1/18 scale models of lesser detail. Even the car's oil filter is properly labeled.

The hood hinge is realistic too, and the hood opens forward, while the Ferrari's doors and trunk open smoothly, perhaps even smoother than the original's did. This model does not feel delicate as some diecast cars do, it feels substantial.

The Ferrari's undercarriage is expertly detailed with proper brake lines and a fill cylindrical spring suspension and realistic brakes. Wheels are branded Michelins and are fully removable, with locking wheel nuts that really work. Of course, the front wheels are steerable and in back are two sets of chrome dual exhausts, hinting at what must have been a beautiful exhaust note on the California. Next up, 1/18 scale engines that really run?
CMC's Ferraris
For those who don't care for red Ferraris, CMC also is making the California in blue, silver, and black, all limited to 2,500 pieces and including a metal hardtop, a rarity among the 1:1 cars.

Ironically, although a limited build, there still will be many more CMC Californias than exist of the 1:1 car. Snag one before they sell out and double in value on eBay!

Fast stats: 1960 Ferrari 250 California SWB
Maker: CMC
Stock No.: M-091
MRSP: $439
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

To read 1:1 car and truck reviews by Mark Savage, visit


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