Fall Down The Rabbit Hole Of Weird With AutoCult Models
Photos Courtesy of AutoCult
While many Petrolistas’ appetite for full-size cars and motorcycles might only be restricted by the limits of money, space, and perhaps the aquience of their significant others, the passion for collecting can also be scalable—perhaps starting with the gift of a $0.99 toy for a child. I grew up loving toys, and in time, models, which ignited a life-long passion and interest in all things automotive. Sound familiar?
Manufactured as long as the real thing has been, models and toys are built to different scales with varying degrees of detail. Whilst some are merely mass produced toys, others are truly beautiful recreations of classic automobiles, only at a miniature scale.
Petrolicious had the opportunity to speak to model car artisan Thomas Roschmann, founder and managing director of AutoCult. Thomas has plied his trade in crafting recreations of classic cars for almost three-decades, having got his start in the business at Playmobil, and later, model companies Schuco and Herpa, before striking offon his own last year. He was nice enough to tell us more about his company, the weird models they choose to make, and a bit about the process—which takes about nine months per car! Enjoy!
How did you get started with making models, and when did you decide to make it your profession?
Thomas: I was, and still am a typical boy. My parents told me that before I could even say “mom” or “dad”, my first words were Mercedes and Volkswagen. I gravitated towards the arts in school, and wanting to put that to use, and make a living, I started my career working at Playmobil 27 years ago, making toys. Toys are design, and cars are design—so I put the two together. After Playmobil, I moved into models, and worked at companies like Herpa and Schuco. Last year, after working for others, I decided I would like to work more freely, and independently, so I founded my own company, AutoCult.
How did you decide which cars to make, and why?
Thomas: Following a tenant of our AutoCult philosophy, our models comprise of mostly obscure brands, and designers. They don’t really exist anymore, and are not really well known, but they are interesting, and important in their own ways, which is why we want to bring them back to life.
The material we use is Resin, because with it we have the flexibility to make models in small quantities. And that is important for our philosophy of “strange” cars – the production run of all our models is limited to 333 pieces.
We like cars, car history and model cars and that brings “sun in our life”. Also, it is great to be independent, and free. Of course, while no one is pushing us to do things only for business, and financial reasons, we still have to respect the market.
What model are most proud of?
Thomas: Definitely the Schlörwagen. For my point of view, it was one of the most complex car designs that ever existed. It has no edges, only rounds and curves. Without getting our hands on the original—we had only photographs to go on—we are very proud of the final product, and our customers are as well.
What is the most challenging car to reproduce?
Thomas: The most challenging models are the models that does not exist anymore (like the Schlörwagen, or the Alamagny), and you can not find detailed pictures or drawings. So one needs to make very detailed schematics for the model makers in China, so they understand the body and shape of a particular car. Luckily, our product manager, Andreas, studied to be a car designer, so he is able to make these drawings himself.
AutoCult models are “kerbside” meaning you don’t get opening panels, but what you do get is handmade beautifully and crisply detailed. The bodies are manufactured in resin, hand painted, and then adorned with photo-etched parts made from ABS plastic, and which are chromed if needed to give it the most authentic look. The first seven model releases include a 1939 Schloerwagen, 1948 Alamagny, 1947 Volpe, 1946 Aero Minor II Sedan, 1953 Ruhrfahzeugbau Pinguin II, 1961 Intermeccanica IMP, and the 1949 Petermax Müller Weltrekordwagen. Each model is accompanied by a booklet that contains a history of the car, along with the serial number of the model, with each strictly limited to just 333 copies.
Thomas’ company is a labor of love, but it also provides a valuable service to our enthusiast community. Besides the Intermeccanica, to most of us these marques will not ring any bells, but Thomas’ AutoCult renews interest in them, and keeps them alive. Beautiful and even educational, reviving rare and extinct vehicles is something for which AutoCult should be saluted.
These are scale replicas rather than real vehicles, but since not all of us can afford a proper car collection, models are the next best thing—they allow us to dream
Visit autocult.de for more information.