Marcus Nicholls explores the large-scale world of a Bristol based model maker
My first encounter with Amalgam cars came during visits to the model shop ‘St Martins Accessories’ in London’s theatre-land. The narrow shopfront display was completely dominated by an example of the manufacturer’s art, elevated on a Perspex shelf. Sometimes a Formula 1 car held the prime spot, at other times it could be a top-end road-going supercar. Whatever the subject, I couldn’t help but stand and stare at it. A hyper-realistic, 1:8-scale model (approximately twenty-four inches in length) is hard to ignore.
Bristol-based Amalgam’s beginnings can be traced back to the mid-1980s in the production of architectural and industrial models. Formula 1 teams located around Oxford required scaled-down replicas of their cars and turned to the company to make them, some in 1:8 and even huge 1:4 scale, a size that is truly spectacular when observed in the flesh. Customers include Ralph Lauren the fashion designer, Richard Mille the watch maker and Sebastian Vettel as well as former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo who requested a series of replicas of the brand’s most famous cars.
The team at Amalgam takes around three months to research and create the master patterns for a 1:8-scale car and as you might suspect, these models are not cheap – the limited-edition Ferrari 333SP costs £8735. However, they represent a pinnacle of scale model car collecting and each is a work of art in its own right.
From my first observations of Amalgam’s jaw-dropping models in a London shop window to more recent close-up encounters of their magnificent creations at the Nuremberg Toy Fair, I have long held an admiration for this British company and I think any petrolhead would have an Amalgam model quite high up on their list of ‘things I would buy after winning the Lottery’. We can dream..