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Autoart nails its 1/18 McLaren MP4-12C

Supercars are exciting because they embody the auto world's future technology. To some degree they are like the old auto-show concept cars: the Futurama vehicles.

Today we immediately think of brands such as Lamborghini, Pagani, and McLaren — swoopy cars with scissor or gullwing doors that ooze speed and aerodynamic prowess. Certainly the McLaren MP4-12C, now known primarily as the 12C, fits this bill. No wonder Autoart chose it for a terrific 1/18 scale version in its Signature Series.

I love the sleek, smooth lines of a Lamborghini better, but there's no denying the 12C looks like a racer. Certainly it has the pedigree, what with Bruce McLaren, the firm's founder, being one of the premier Formula 1 racers of the 1960s, and with the McLaren race team's continued success through the years.

The 12C looks a little like a Porsche from the front, and Ferrari in profile, but with big gills carved behind doors to let plenty of air into its swagger-inducing McLaren M838 twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-8. As with all supercars, the engine sits amidships, just behind the driver, and powers the rear wheels. Horsepower. How does 616 ponies sound?

Like many supercars, which favor light weight and high horsepower, the 12X starts with a carbon-fiber composite chassis, what it calls a Carbon Monocell, that weighs just 176 lb. Overall, the car weighs just about 3,100 lb.

Unlike the funky-but-speedy three seat McLaren F1 before it, this sports car has the standard two-seat, side-by-side interior and scissor-style doors that fold up and forward.

Price? If you have to ask, you can't afford one!
Speed is the thing with a 1:1 supercar, but when it comes to a 1/18 model, performance is judged by execution of the real car's finer detail. Again, Autoart exceeds expectations on the 12C, the 1:1 one of which was in production in Woking, England, from 2011 until this April.

Autoart puts 385 parts into this model, more than half being metal, and it bathes the body in silver paint for the test car, reportedly give it 85 freehand sprays. The finish looks like it belongs on a high-end car, 1:1 or diecast.

Naturally, hood, bonnet, and scissor doors all open on realistic hinges, plus a small spoiler can be raised in back. But it's the photoetched metal grilles scattered among the 12C's many air inlets, the workable fuel filler door, real side mirrors, and the realistic-looking headlights and taillights, that bring the model to life.

Unlike some diecast that look great on top, but it plain black plastic underneath, the McLaren's undercarriage features a nicely executed carbon-fiber pattern. Likewise, the suspension works and the wheels are steerable. Displaying this in a mirror-bottom case makes sense.

I like the carbon-fiber look shroud around the engine. That means you don't see the full engine, but what is visible looks fairly realistic and includes the McLaren logo atop the air box. It looks nice, but as with most modern cars, 1:1 and diecast, the engine bay isn't exactly mind-boggling.

The wheel detail, which you'll see more of when displaying the car, is good. McLaren uses fancy five bi-spokes, and there are good-looking disc brakes and calipers visible behind the wheels.

Autoart creates an excellent interior too, with a gorgeous center stack and console with detailed knobs and clear-faced gauges. The dash looks equally good, and the floors are carpeted and include floor mats that boast McLaren's logos. Seats are no afterthought here either, with varied surfaces like in the 1:1 car, including a smooth-looking leather trim with suede inserts.

The only drawback is that you can't drive this McLaren, but it'll be a fast favorite when it's in your collection. The sample car was a well-polished silver, but Autoart also offers this in red and orange.

Vital Stats
McLaren 12C
Maker: Autoart
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: 76007
MSRP: $260

Prefer 1:1 cars? Visit to read full-size new car and truck reviews and see videos by Mark Savage.


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