Collectables>> The Chris Lee Collection Pt.1

When all the various Speedhunters were talking about this month's 'collectables' theme, I knew I had to make a stop by an old Miata acquaintance of mine, Chris Lee.

Many of you might not know of Chris Lee, but will a good portion of you will instantly recognize his black wide body 1995 Mazda Miata which can be seen throughout the automotive internet.

When he's not tinkering/getting frustrated with his Miata, he spends his time collecting 1:18 die cast scale models. Over the years, the number of scale cars in his collection has went deep into the triple digits.

Chris has many rare 1:18 die cast models throughout his collection, but the true gems are the ones that he has taken apart and customized from the ground up. This widebody SA22 FB RX-7 is a perfect example.

Most of Chris' modified models are scale versions of what he would like to build in real life if money was not object.

The great thing about modifying these die cast models is the fact that you can do whatever you wish to them. As you can tell, Chris loves cars with a mega slammed ride height and wheels that are perfectly flush with the fenders. When was the last time you saw a really slammed Toyota 2000GT on Watanabe wheels?

Here's Chris' bosouku car collection.

I just love this boso style Skyline with red SSR MkIIIs.

Check out this amazing time attack style R32.

Takata Green wheels with a white NSX is a combination that can never go wrong.

Chris not only has Japanese die cast cars, but cars from all over the globe. This is his European collection.

Chris' love of mega slammed cars reflects to his European cars also. This BMW E24 6 series on super wide BBS is amazing…

…as well as this E28 5 series…

…and this E32 7 series.

Here's the rally car collection.

If this widebody Fiat 131 Abarth on Panasports was a real car, I would drive it. The car was originally a WRC model which Chris customized to a street version.

We're so used to seeing Renault Alpines plowing through the european countrysides in the dirt, mud, and snow. But what if someone built one for the street that was really low with a love for Work Equip 01s? Chris Lee has envisioned just that.

More rally cars.

An Alfa Romeo GTA on Watanabe R Types.

Here's the Mercedes section.

More Mercedes.

To the right of the Mercedes section is the Porsche collection as well as some Jaguars.

Both of these Porsche 934s are drool worthy.

…and here are some more Porsches.

A quick glance at this section, you'll see the Ferrari section. But if you take the time to study the photo even more, you'll see just how wide of a range of cars Chris has. You can spot some Lamborghinis, American cars, classic F1 race cars, and even some World War 2 fighter planes.

This Holden Commadore was originally a V8 Supercar but has since been transformed into a street going version. This model is an unfinished model.

All of this 1:18 die cast model collecting started back in 1998 when he attended CCS (College for Creative Studies) as a transportation design major.

One of his professors assigned a project to the class to go buy a 1:18 die cast model which will help each student study and understand perspective as well as scale. This got Chris interested and also jump started to collection.

They didn't make too many 1:18 die cast cars back in 1998, but his really hobby took off took off when many new manufacturers joined the game. Now, there are many different options and each one being very accurate to scale.

The detail Chris puts into these models is amazing. I just love the oil drips on this scale shop floor.

For those of you that follow us on our Facebook page, you may remember this purple jacketed guy as Scale Cool Guy.

Chris mentioned that these models can't be obtained from any store nor can people buy parts to modify their own. Each car has been hand crafted and parts hand made.

For example, some of the wheels originated from bigger scale models but fit perfectly on these 1:18 models. Some wheels weren't wide enough for Chris' taste so he has widened the barrels himself. For the wheels to fit as perfectly as they do in their respective fenders, Chris grinds down each fender so the widened wheels (with tires) will fit just right. 

When Chris modifies these models, he just doesn't glue on the wheels and call it a day. He always makes sure everything functions like it should. Suspension is lowered and wheels are changed, but these models still maintain all its functions and is still able to roll.

When he customizes engine details like the turbos or putting in a set of ITBs, he makes sure it's believable and make sense. Since he does modify 1:1 cars, that knowledge trickles down when it comes to modifying die cast models.

Chris also mentioned that he has put enough money into his collection to buy a brand new entry level Ferrari. But would he sell his whole collection to own a Ferrari? Not in a million years.

Scale cool guy approves.

Next, we'll take a more detailed look at some of his favorite customized models.




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I have a [considerably smaller] diecast collection myself, but its entirely made up of 1:18 F1 models. I'm curious where Chris bought his display cases? I like the design of these.


Keeping all of those models nice and clean must be nightmarish haha. Awesome collection.


Simply fucking amazing !

Great stuff Chris Lee.


Damn. Amazing collection.


Out-fucking-standing. As a collector of small Japanese robots, I bow to you, sir. This collection blows my few hundred bots out of the water.


Wow I would love to learn how to modify little stuff like this, so awesome.


My jaw is on the floor.


This is insane! The level of detail is amazing. Keep it up Chris.


The 850 and 855R are amazing....


That. Was, Awesome.


i want more miata pics LOL


Group C RX7 FTW :D


OMG...that's pure AWSOME!!!


Love that garage, oil spots, cherry picker holding S20 engine. Amazing detilas. I wonder if he has any RWB porsches. If so, that would be one killer car collection.


nice collection too!!


Unbelievable collection. The attention to detail is breathtaking.


Work Equip MK III? Thought SSR made those.


Kudos ! Simply the best 1/18 collection in the planet :))


Great collection! I think an article with pictures showing his process of doing a modification on a car would be amazing too!


The silver KPGC110 Skyline lowered on flush Hayashi Street wheels with stretched tires looks perfect. The white R32 time attack style Skyline looks like something from Video Option. I wish Kyosho and Autoart sold those cars exactly how Chris modified them.


Awesome collection...


Amazing. Where can u get the wheels?


Thanks guys! glad you guys enjoy it.


Holy sh1t.......... seriously impressive collection and some very nicely modified cars. I've always admired his Miata too.


so cool collection!! me even jealous :))


I love his european cars!!! Amazing!

I would like to know price of all of these cars :D


holy shit. the gtr's with K-style and option stickers n shit? fuccckkkk


very nice job!!!!


best 1:18 scale model collection on the planet.just wondering why there is no marlborough R32 from bathurst? isnt that what made the godzilla???? maybe it could be a future project... with a full start to finish model spotlight


Amazing collection! I want to looks at these pictures all day!


awesome collection!! my favourite si lancia delta martini


wow, i would hate to be a 6 year old in this house


That is amazingly cool! i want that 86!!! the details are amazing!! does he sell these at all!!?


AMAZING!!!!!! Not only the does the dude have the hardest Miata ever built...... but this collection is ridiculous! You have no idea how long I've wanted to see a 2000 GT slammed on Watanabe's. Thank you sir :)


that is the coolest thing ever.


i already had some pics of his built supra, its the most awesome diecast supra ever built!


R32GTSt, you're thinking of the Winfield R32 GTR. If you look on the internet I'm sure there are pleny available. It's one of the most famous cars ever to race at Bathurst.


I am stunned in amazement.

I want to look at each car in details... please have more pics part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc...

How could you spend so much money into the collection that you can buy a brand new entry level Ferrari?

Chris Lee is how.


How do you fabricate tiny Itb's and stuff, plastic molds?


Great Craftmanship with a keen eye for coolness.


My God, I am speechless, I want the whole collection!


Sooo awesome ... jalous (grown) man here...


There is one Subaru in his Euro collection... lol


The shop is really perfect.


That is an insane collection. I am totally jealous of all the work and detail that went into it. I see lots of GT-R's, so it definitely gets my approval


Where to get 1/18 hayashi's? :O AMAZING collection!


I really like your Japanese cars.


This is fucking unbelievable. This guy is masterful.

I can only launch Photoshop to make my car visions. :(


More pictures


more more more more more


Man, this guy is amazing! I love the dedication that he has put in these models...

What are these models, by the way?

Autoart? Kyosho?


Man, this guy is amazing! I love the dedication that he has put in these models...

What are these models, by the way?

Autoart? Kyosho?


chris, could we please stay in touch? i´m very interested in seeing your r34 built and more pics of your cars :)


This collection is dope! How in the hell do you fabricate parts???!!! This grasshopper wants to learn!


Great Stuff !!


Thanks for all the comments guys!

Most of the models are from Autoart, Kyosho, Minichamps, UT(Not in business anymore), CMC, Exoto, GMP, and True scale. I know there is some small shops in Europe that sells some custom parts ,but I haven't use any on mine. To get parts, I usually cannibalize another model and use it for parts. Some times I just scratch build parts out of...well... anything I see around me! I use 'michaels' a lot! (Yes its not just for Grandmas LOL) I found Trumpets for ITB's was part of button or something. If you are wondering about where I got the Work Meister, Watanabes, and some other wheels? They are from Jada models...1/24 scale to be exact. Jada models are know for over exaggerated wheels or cartoon like style. B/c of that 1/24 wheel fits on 1/18 car perfect! I have to say they are about 18in size wheels in real life. These wheels good to use it as a base...I make my own barrel to make them staggered or Hella flush it. There are many people out there starting to modify these little cars... and there are some many others that are way more skilled than I am. If you want to see more stuff, go check out '' and goto 'Craft section' for modified 1/18 Die cast models. I go by 'Kickinoutyo' there ,so you can check out more picture. I'm planning to post more stuff there and maybe a build thread...if I can get my lazy ass to document


good collection, if a little bit sad and geeky


Im having a lot of trouble finding a toyota corolla model like the one you have, any help please?


wicked collection.. you got some models most retailers struggle to supply..


In the last post, we looked at Chris Lee's overall collection . This time around, we'll be taking


Last year, we gave Miata connoisseur, car designer and 1/18th scale model car customizer, Chris Lee a


The customized 1/18th die cast model doesn't have the biggest following. But it does have a lot of


Awesome collection... Beautiful display!
Is there any theme behind the arrangement??