Turning Into That Guy

“You are turning into one sad motherf*cking old man.”

Bob’s Used Cars is slower than usual lately. We haven’t sold a tiny car in almost 2 weeks, which is a sad record for us. The machine has gone from forsaking us to merciless donkey punching.

In the interim Mert intercepted several shipments of vintage Hubley model kits – the old metal kits with the working steering that transport you back in time to some Ward Cleaver garage – and I couldn’t help myself. Before you could say “you are turning into one sad motherf*cking old man” I had built 2 of them. BAM! Both 1932 Chevy Roadsters. I may even build some more. Why the f$#k not? I mean, other than the long list of obvious reasons.

Gateway Drug: Hubley 1932 Chevy Roadster

Actually, these things take a lot of work to put together. There is no BAM! about it. The metal pieces all need to be painstakingly cleared of flashing and burrs, etc. Takes a while, and chops up your fingers if you’re not careful. Then with the sanding. The matter of toxic metal dust should not be taken lightly when sanding a metal kit. I would do it outside with a stiff wind blowing away from you. Do it in somebody else’s yard. Don’t huff it like Mert. Mert needs metal dust to survive, according to Mert. Mert is not a doctor.

Chevy sales brochure 1932: In reality, there weren’t all that many whitewalls on Chevy Roadsters

Gabriel took over the Hubley molds

I had so much fun with the Hubleys – Hubleys were the gateway drug – that I decided to intercept and build one of the 1/43-scale metal kits I’d been selling. Oh yeah. Those perfect little boxes. How could you resist? I can’t. I culled one of the 1961 Ferrari 250’s with Tour de France rallye decals by FDS Automodelli. Despite its size, it was a little snarlier to build somehow than the large Hubleys with all their moving parts and terrible screws. I went with the blue instead of the historically accurate silver, but I like the payoff. Looks better in real life than it does in photos. Turns out I’m not very interested in building models that are accurate representations of real-life race cars, “1st place at Le Mans 1965 yadda yadda.” Gotta have the right shade of red, etc. I’d rather build something that nobody else has.

Somewhere in England right now there could be a guy freaking out on my ferrari because it’s not the correct color. But think of it this way, Clive, now you know what that car would have looked like, had it been this color instead. Anyway, Ferrari race cars from that era were red, silver, dark blue, lighter blue, black, white and sometimes yellow. It’s ok, Cliver.

Ferrari 250 GT 1961, FDS kit

These intricate little 1/43 kits were super popular in Italy, England, France, Australia in the 1970s and 80s, and still are quite popular apparently. The out-of-production metal or resin kits are worth about 30-100 bucks unbuilt depending on scarcity and beauty. Maybe I’m a biased source however. I’ll just say I’ve paid 30 and would probably pay more; I’ve seen plenty of people pay north of 100 for a cool 1/43 kit in new condition.

How can you resist? I can’t.

It’s interesting how 1/43 kits sort of missed the American market, where motor sport stuff has always been less popular, strangely. I was into building models when I was a kid, hanging out in hobby shops during the prime years for these 1/43 kits, and I never saw one for sale or considered the possibility of their existence. However it’s been well established that I’m a idiot. Maybe I just missed the whole thing. Now all I want to do is accumulate and build the damn things. Frankly I’d like to cover every horizontal surface in the house with shiny Ferraris of every possible iteration. My wife is going to divorce me so hard you guys.

“Don’t get high on your own supply bro,” reminds Mert.

Hubley Model A decal sheet

“How are you a 60-ish guy with suspenders and calling me ‘bro’ right now.”

“How are you a 50-ish guy building models in the middle of the night and hoping nobody notices.”

He’s right again of course. If I abscond with and build many more of these kits, the miniature profits of the enterprise will quickly turn into not-so-miniature deficits, and I won’t have time for my 6 other part time jobs.

So come on down to Bob’s, under the water tower at West Bacon Road and County Road 12 and take some 1/43 kits and Hubley metal kits off our hands before our hands start building.