Gear: Are These The Most Life-Like Scale Model Cars That You've Ever Seen?

Are These The Most Life-Like Scale Model Cars That You’ve Ever Seen?

By Benjamin Shahrabani
November 2, 2015

Photography Supplied by David Cox

Perhaps now slightly overshadowed now by Lego, 3D printing, video games, and the instant gratification of the internet, one pastime that should be getting more love is assembling scale model kits.

Available for more than sixty years, and intended to give hours of pleasure to car enthusiasts and hobbyists, scale model kits provide would be model builders with the necessary parts, and other details for producing a miniature automobile. The cost, and complexity of a scale model can vary greatly, but some of the most collectable and revered were manufactured by the Pocher company, based in Italy.

While recently revived by Hornby, Pocher was most active from the ’70s through the ’90s, and produced extremely detailed 1:8 scale kits based on original manufacturing plans from Mercedes-Benz, Rolls Royce, Fiat, Bugatti, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Porsche. Often featuring thousands of parts made of plastic, metal, brass, and rubber, the assembly of Pocher models is usually accomplished with very little glue.

Today, a wellspring of dedicated enthusiasts like David Cox have continued to build, restore, and refine Pocher models. David’s customer models usually take about 300-500 hours of his time to complete, while some consume even more.

Before setting to work, David likes to do copious research on the backstory for the model he is building. While this may not be a new idea, it has been one that is strangely powerful for him, as “knowing something about the history of a car helps me make decisions about its design, and helps me stay on track during construction,” he says.

To that end, David adds custom details and transformation kits—”transkits”—that didn’t come in the box when the model was new. The result is a total metamorphosis to something that makes one do a true double-take: is it real, or “just” a model? Working doors, lights, crankshafts, steering, suspension, as well as other functions as pedal-activated brake lights, opening windshields, operating chrome-framed side windows, lighted instruments, and sliding seats can all be added to a particular model, far beyond the limitations of the original kit.

Quite similar to the thrill of hearing an engine start for the first time, the glee of completing a Pocher kit, or adding one to your collection, is addictive. While one could certainly build the car out-of-the-box as per the instructions, kits from Pocher, and companies like them, serve as jumping off points for a builder’s imagination.

And if you love model kits, but possess less than agile hands, you could always give David a call…

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