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Diecast Model Car Restoration Is it….ART?

A well know German car firm have a tradition of having people decorate their cars but have you ever thought of trying it?

A contentious idea but there are lots of collectors who buy old and new trucks and buses to strip and repaint them to create their own fleet, and some like to give models a weathered and aged appearance.

Some ‘trashed’ restorations – I like them, but do you?

 But I have recently developed a liking for a different sort of repaint –  cars that kids have trashed basically! This can range from giving ordinary family cars a racing makeover to a full psychedelic colour splash. They are little time capsules; painted flames certainly take us back to the 70s and the times of Hot Car and Custom Car magazines.

If that kind of thing is a little too loud for your taste, then a hearse conversion of estate cars and ambulances also crop up and are easy to do. Whilst we are on an ‘end of life theme’ then we come to banger racing which has always been a popular way to give a new if short life to an old jalopy and it’s also a popular way to tart up a battered Dinky. I should make it clear here that I am not recommending anyone set about a nice old model with a tin of paint, my preference has always been original is best and I would rather see a nice play worn factory paint job, but I accept that there is a point of no return and when the paint is overwhelmed by dull bare metal then by all means get your brushes out.

I’m going to put my head above the parapet here and say that I have a real problem with some people’s ‘restorations’ and the reason is that when I have been selling nicely play worn original examples I’ve had buyers asking questions and revealing that they plan to completely restore them. Twice in these circumstances I have had another example of the same model in much more played with condition with hardly any paint left on them but no damage and offered these instead and both times the ‘restorers’ were not interested in the tatty ones. I cannot see any sense in that, it’s a time saver if nothing else! You can rarely achieve a home finish anywhere near as good as the factory paint and all we end up with is that another original model has gone forever.

 If you’re going to do it then be creative and you might come up with something good but just don’t do an inferior ‘restoration’ as that is basically a crap tribute to someone else’s design!

Do you share the same view as Baz or do you completely disagree with him? Leave a reply in the box at the bottom of the page and tell us what you think. We’d love to hear from you!


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Carson Protich

    The most expensive cars in the world are about so much more than transportation.

  2. Si Kelly

    Thanks to tweets from readers (@diecastchile and @RoutiereC), I now know that my Majorette Beetle pictured in this blog was actually made that way at the factory.
    I have found quite a few images of these online now but not much information.
    The ‘Cibie edition’ is from 1977 but I can’t find any reference as to why the unusual ‘blown paint’ finish was used on it. It must have been done by hand on the standard painted shells before they were assembled as there is no paint on the windows or base but you can see that the paint drips run inside the wings when you look underneath and looking at the various images of these they are all unique.
    This finish seems to have been applied on top of several standard colours of the beetle, I’ve found pics of it on orange like mine and on red, blue and metallic green versions and with different window colours too.
    My Beetle does appear to be one of these factory made editions but it has lost the Cibie decals from the doors and number decal from the roof. As these were hand made ‘modifications’ to the standard production models then I think it’s still suitable for inclusion in this blog (egg on face narrowly avoided!).
    If anyone has anymore info on these, such as were they sold in toy shops as usual or were they given away with Cibie products then please get in touch.
    Thanks Baz.

  3. Gary

    The multicolor Majorette models were standard issues, you could buy them in the toy shops, also the Dodge Pick Up, a Porsche Le Mans and some other Majorette models were available in similar versions

  4. Jackie Vaughan

    My husband has been watching a number of restoration videos on you tube and I was
    Wondering if there is any basic literature available that I could buy to point him in the right direction for buying equipment and the right cleaning agents required and recommended powder paints and liquid primers and paints for use in the restoring of these items . Thankyou in anticipation.

    1. Si Kelly

      Thanks for your comment Jackie! Diecast restoration and customisation is such a hot topic at the moment, and to be honest I’d keep searching YouTube as its probably the best source out there. Instagram is another excellent way to increase your knowledge – theres lots of restorers and customisers on there! Id also check out some of the model making magazines as they are a good source for learning about techniques and equipment eg Fine Scale Modelling, Tamiya Model Magazine
      Hope this helps!

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