How These Model Makers Painstakingly Replicate Formula 1 Cars for Your Home
Sandy copeman wants to make you a Ferrari—or an Aston or a McLaren or a Mercedes—you can park neatly in your living room. His company, Amalgam Collection, got its start in the 1980s as an architectural partnership, but it has gained traction as the go-to source for scale versions of luxury road, race and classic cars. It’s no surprise, then, that the founder and brand director spent his teen years hand-building chassis for slot cars while growing up in the UK, but his professional model-making was initially directed toward crafting reproductions for design and architecture giants, such as James Dyson and Norman Foster. In the late 1990s, when some of Amalgam’s employees suggested making replicas of Formula 1 cars, however, he had an epiphany. “My interest in F1 cars had been dormant,” he says, “and suddenly it was as if I’d awoken the beast.”
Fast-forward 20 years and Copeman and team have taken their small-world manufacturing to locations around the big world—Bristol, England; Hungary and China—where specialized crews make mini versions of cars, yachts and private jets. The finished products range in price from $1,000 for a 1:18 iteration to $100,000 to $200,000 for a 1:4 scale model of a bespoke project. The company’s latest example is the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance F1 car, just released in December.
At the start, Amalgam crafted replicas for the auto marques themselves as display or promotional tools, but now consumers have also become customers. Watchmaker Richard Mille commissioned a cut-away scale version of his Airbus A320neo jet in which the entire interior was duplicated, complete with dining china and ceiling lighting. Mille loved it so much he ordered more, many of which are on display in his boutiques worldwide, says Copeman.
While the models Amalgam makes don’t have working engines, they’re indistinguishable from the real car in outward appearance. “Aesthetics are important to us. That’s why we get along with the Italians so well,” he says with a laugh. The painstaking process of developing and machining a new model can take between 2,500 and 5,000 hours. The final product will have thousands of pieces. Every single one of those is engineered from scratch. And Copeman’s version will look as sharp in your great room as the real thing looks in your driveway or on the track.
Source: Robb Report