Monday, March 19, 2007
Review-AutoArt Porsche 911(997)
AutoArt has been producing their fair share of Porsche's recently, these 2 Porsche 911 (997) models are a high point in many ways.
Porsche has chosen (thank goodness) to go back to the more Porsche-like round headlights for the newest incarnation of the 911.
AutoArt has done a great job capturing the contours of the real 997 in these models. The finish on the cars is as well done, both cars are painted and have nice opaque paint. So the red looks nice and rich and the yellow DOES NOT look toy-like. I mention this because most times when you see a yellow car, the paint job leaves a lot to be desired which is not the case with these cars.
The real 911 for reference. Photo used with permission from Porsche.
These models have a nice "full look" to the rear end. The capture the overall look of the back of the car well. And for Porsche fans, it's all about the back end, isn't it? The Porsche Carrera S logo's are tampo printed on and are nice and crisp.
Do you like lights on your cars? Well this car's got plenty to go around...and holy crap they're bright! The light harness (which can be seen below) is woven throughout the body inside. There is a small plug that can be disconnected if you want to separate the body from the chassis at a distance of more than 2 inches or so. If you take the body apart and the wires come out of the little areas where they're snapped down, you'll need to make sure the wires are replaced in the proper route inside before putting the body back together. There is very little room inside the body so everything's got to be exactly where it should be to put the body together.
And yes, this release has not only a driver but a passenger as well.
The wheels are worth mentioning here. The detail is fantastic, down to a very finely done Porsche emblem in the center. And on both car the wheels are round, nothing to be taken for granted with plastic, press on wheels these days.
The real Porsche wheel for reference. Photo used with permission from Porsche.
So I opened up the car and the first thing that struck me was the motor...it's behind the axle! Well this was a surprise (ya, I didn't notice where the motor was when I looked at the bottom of the chassis...DOH!). And upon further inspection there was a "holy cow" moment here... look at the motor. No not just the huge clump of noise suppressors (5 in all!)... the motor isn't laying flat!
My first thought was that the motor wasn't snapped down in the cradle as it should be. No that's not it, AutoArt has put the motor at an angle...wow!
I'm guessing they put the motor behind the axle and at an angle to get clearance inside the car for the full interior. Full interiors aren't something that I much care about but I know that I'm in the minority on this one.
The gearing on this car is the standard 10-tooth pinion with a 36 tooth spur. The gears mesh nicely and do give the car nice acceleration. I had an issue with the gear on the red car, but more on that later. The brakes on the car are similar to other AutoArt's, so if you're looking for stop-on-a-dime brakes you might want to change the gears and/or motor. While I don't have a notation on the packaging, I'm assuming this is still the same 26k motor that's been standard for AutoArt for some time now.
Why did I take a photo of the guide? Well, look closely at the braides. There's a dab of glue on each side. This is new, and all the guides that came with each car (the 2 guides that were in place on each, plus the 2 extra's that came under the base) had this glue on them. The recent AutoArt Porsche's that I'd gotten don't have this done to them from the factory. I like this and I think it's a smart thing to do, especially with this type of guide design.
Performance on my wood track is really pretty good. I did lots of laps with both cars and not only did the tires stick better than I expected but the wheels and tires were nice and round on both. Out of the box there was a bit of repositioning I had to do to get the tires to sit flat on the wheel but after than the car smoothed out nicely. I do have to report that the red car's crown gear spun loose from the axle.
Overall, these are really great cars. They look correct for the shape of the 997. They run well even without the benefit of magnetic downforce. They're going to be available at a reasonable price. Yes they're street cars, there's no getting around that. And to appeal to a broader audience hopefully AutoArt will see their way clear to make either the RSR or Cup version of these cars so we can have racing versions. But these 911(997)'s should find their way into the collection of serious Porsche collectors.