Model: Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Class Racer
Release: 2022 Car Culture – Deutschland Design
eBay link: Hot Wheels 1994 Mercedes DTM
Why I’m featuring it: Two years ago, I wrote a feature for Lamley about the Matchbox DTM cars. You can revisit it here. The Alfa 155 is one of my favourite cars and the Matchbox model one of my favourite diecast of all. With wide arches, big wings and colourful decos, the cars of the 1990s DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft – German Touring Car Championship) look great as toys or models in any scale.
Hot Wheels is on a streak with new Mercedes models. To my eyes, the slammed black ’72 280 SEL 4.5, the 300 SEL 6.8 AMG Red Pig and recent CLK-GTR are all spectacular new castings. This killer trio is now joined by another winner, the AMG C-Class Racer that debuts in the latest Car Culture Deutschland Design set. Thanks Bryan (@beardedmugmedia) for finding one for me.
The C-Class arrived in the DTM in 1994 as the successor to various iterations of the 190E 2.5-16, which has been extensively modeled in recent years by Hot Wheels, Mini GT and Tarmac Works. The new Hot Wheels C-Class represents the car of Klaus Ludwig, who scored three wins and eight further podium finishes on his way to the championship title.
As you can see, graphics designer Steve Vandervate did a terrific job to replicate the complicated scheme of sponsor D2 Privat, a Mannesmann cellphone network that was later swallowed up into Vodafone. I love an authentic paint scheme so I’m especially happy not to see a random Hot Wheels logo among the many other names depicted!
C-Classes were still running a similar scheme when I watched an ITC race at the Norisring in 1996. This was Dario Franchitti’s car, post-accident!
Back to the model. Credit for the casting design goes to Mark Jones, who as usual has captured the feel of the real car without tying the model to a particular scale. “I think it came out well,” says Mark with typical understatement. “The wheel-to-body clearance is really nice and I remember having to negotiate for the through-holes in the lower body!”
Take a look at the area just ahead of the front wheels and you’ll see what he means. Not even my older Microchamps (Minichamps 1:64) C-Class can boast that detail!
Mark acknowledges that some people may feel the model is a little on the large side. Personally, I think it’s fine just as it is but to dig a little deeper, I took some measurements. Google tells me that the real ’94 C-Class DTM measured 4,666mm long x 1,789mm wide x 1,280mm high. Taking a ruler to my three C-Class DTM models and dividing through to get the scale, reveals the following stats:
Minichamps: 72mm x 27mm x 20mm (1:65 x 1:66 x 1:64)
Hot Wheels: 77mm x 34mm x 22mm (1:60 x 1:52 x 1:58)
Matchbox: 76mm x 32mm x 24mm (1:61 x 1:55 x 1:53)
(all measurements L x W x H, approximate scales in brackets)
The Minichamps is billed as a true-scale 1:64 model, and mostly conforms, but the numbers bear out the subjective impression that it looks a little narrow. At the other extreme, the Matchbox’s chunky, toy-friendly proportions are reflected in its excessive width and height. The Hot Wheels, meanwhile, sits somewhere in between. The numbers say it’s too wide for its length and height, but somehow it looks great all the same!
To finish, here are some quick shots of Ludwig’s C-Class in good company. First is a side-by-side with the Boulevard release of another of Mark’s creations, the CLK-GTR, also in a D2 Privat paint scheme. He says he has a particular affinity with the CLK, having seen the cars race in period at Laguna Seca.
Second, here it is with Ludwig’s 1990 190E DTM car, which coincidentally arrived this week from Tokyo Station. Two different approaches, both great models.
A third comparison pic will have to wait a little longer but there’s another Hot Wheels DTM car coming soon. This will be Mark’s take on the Alfa Romeo 155. I can’t wait for that but honestly, this beautiful new C-Class will more than do for now.
(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)