The customized 1/18th die cast model doesn’t have the biggest following. But it does have a lot of die hard hobbyists taking completely stock models and modifying them to however they see fit which results in some truly spectacular results. Chris Lee is one of those guys. And since you can’t just go out and buy 1/18th scale aftermarket parts, Chris meticulously modifies or hand makes everything for his models. I don’t even want to ask how many hours Chris spends molding, shaping, sanding and painting the of bumpers, wheels, interior, aero and engine parts for each car….
Yesterday, we looked at two of Chris Lee’s latest customized 1/18th die cast model creations. Today’ we’ll look at the rest of his latest additions to the already expansive collection.
The third newest addition from Chris Lee’s collection of custom 1/18th die cast models is this Honda NSX which was made by Autoart.
The Autoart NSX started its life sporting the straight from the factory OEM look. But, of course, Chris’ would never put a model on his shelf unless its modified in some way. The NSX saw a brand new and much more aggressive looking body kit be molded together by Chris’ hands.
This body kit fabrication included aero parts like the front canards…
…GT wing and rear diffuser.
The wheels’ diameter was made slighter bigger, the barrels were widened to fill the fenders and Chris made the wheels’ offsets staggered from the front to the back.
The interior was painted all black and also saw the addition of a set of Recaro bucket seats which were painted. As you can see, he went for that Type-R look with the red.
The car just didn’t receive exterior and interior modifications. A quick look from the top of the car reveals something rather sinister under the back glass.
As I said earlier, the original Autoart model was completely stock and that included the engine as well. Seeing how Chris made the car look aggressive on the outside, the engine had to match it. He custom made ITBs, a dry sump system, a set of headers and few other engine parts by hand. The finished product of the engine is nothing short of spectacular!
It’s hard to believe that this car started off completely stock. It should also be noted that all these cars feature fully working suspension and steering. If the front tires couldn’t clear the front fender, Chris did what anyone else would do with a real car –he took a grinder to it.
The fourth new addition to the collection was this much more simply modded Mercedes W140 S600. The model started off as a Norev 1/18th die cast model and, like the NSX, it was completely stock.
Chris wanted this Mercedes to be the ultimate Yakuza car. He wanted it to look mean, menacing and, of course, properly stanced out VIP style.
And also like the NSX, this Mercedes features a completely custom made body kit that has been molded, shaped, sanded and painted jet black. All the original chrome pieces have been painted black as well.
The wheels are a set of made and staggered Speed Lines.
Fitting to the badass yakuza theme, the interior was completely repainted.
This includes the repainting both the front and rear seats!
The interior wood paneling was also painted and installed. Overall, this model hits all the right boxes for a VIP car and if this W600 was actually real, it’d be a car that a Yakuza mob boss would definitely be proud to roll around with.
The fifth new model to the collection is this 1970 Challenger T/A made by Highway 61. For this particular model, Chris decided to pursue the ever popular Pro touring style of American muscle car modification.
So for this model, Chris shaved the body, molded together the front lip, modified the fenders to be able fit the widened wheels. And again, the model works like a car should: the wheels spin, the car retains full steering lock and the suspension still dampens.
Pop the hood and you’ll be greeted with a beautifully made set of miniature carburetors.
The engine was swapped out for a small block Chevy from sprint race car.
The model’s original exhaust was taken out and replaced by a fabricated side-exit exhaust system.
And the end result is a Challenger that looks like it can take out any car on the street or on the track.
We were finishing up shooting the five model cars but then I saw this Australian Ford Falcon by Classic Carlectables sitting rather pretty on the shelf and knew I had to squeeze in at least one shot. The model was originally a VIP Petfoods sponsored V8 Supercar but Chris likes his cars clean and street looking. He had all of the decals been removed then painted the car jet black. The wheels were widened and received a larger diameter with a set of new barrels and lips. Chris had to had custom make a stretched tire for fitment. This was usually done by shaving down tires from other model kits. The idea was to make road going private V8 Supercar and in that respect, I believe he’s achieved that.
It took one year for Chris to add five cars to his collection, yet each one of these cars demonstrate an amazing understanding of culture, attention to detail, and patience that is beyond words. I can’t wait to see what he creates a year from now.