I’m a big fan of XCartoys. They’ve got some seriously cool diecast in their range and they’re only expanding. Normally focused on Chinese domestic market cars like the Hongqi CA770 and Tianjin Huali, recently they’ve turned their attention to vehicles from European and US brands like the Tesla Cybertruck and Mercedes Unimog. With this release they’re bridging the two worlds with a German sedan that also has a strong connection with China: the Audi 100 C3.
Made from 1968 to 1997 across four generations (C1-C4) the Audi 100 was the predecessor to the A6. The C3 model was introduced in 1982 and the newly designed aerodynamic body marked a departure away from the boxy lines of the C2. Clever construction features such as the pin-mounted windows gave the car a drag coefficient of 0.30, giving the C3 an advantage over similar sized rivals in terms of economy and top speed figures. Engine choices were an array of 4 and 5 cylinder petrol and diesel models with the range topping Turbo model capable of hitting 140mph.
The C3 was also license built in China from 1988 by First Automobile Works (FAW) in Changchun, Jilin Province. Chinese market models utilised either a 2.0 litre four-cylinder engine or a 2.2 litre five-cylinder. Early sales were slow and went almost exclusively to members of the Chinese Communist Party, but by the mid 90s private buyers began purchasing at a steady rate and FAW built examples soldiered on until 1999 when finally replaced by the Audi A6. FAW also made extensive use of the C3 to form the basis of an extensive range of Hongqi models which included parade cars for the CCP, 4 door pickup trucks and restyled 100 bodies featuring Chrysler and Nissan engines.
1980s and 90s era Audi saloons aren’t common in premium 1/64. Tomica have done the 80 and 90 models in 1/64 but these can be stupidly expensive and difficult to obtain. At the time of writing for example, there are only four TLVN Audi 90s on Ebay with the minimum cost being £71. The XCartoys 100 set me back just under £20 including shipping. And honestly, apart from one alarming flaw, it’s not worlds apart from a TLV.
The XCartoys model is a replica of a later facelifted 100 and it could pass for a Tomica model on the surface. It’s not quite TLV-N quality, but not a million miles off. The proportions are great, the paint and details are both high quality and it rides smoothly on treaded rubber tyres and sprung suspension.
There’s sharp decals forming the front headlights and badges and clear plastic utilised for the rear lights.
But there’s one rather big and ugly criticism however, revealed by a peek through the windows. The interior is pretty much as you’d expect with some pleasant detail and…. hang on….. what?
Quite why the steering wheel is mounted this way is beyond me. That’s not a normal driving position that’s for sure, unless you’re driving a Toyota Tonero forklift truck. At first I thought it was perhaps a factory error on this model but it’s actually molded to the dashboard. It’s so badly positioned it’s laughable, and quite an unfortunate blot on a rather handsome canvas. But unless you spend your time with it inches away from your face, you’re not going to notice. Best just to bask in the retro Audi cool.
Despite the daft steering wheel, this Audi has rather won me over. XCartoys continue to impress me. Here’s hoping for more of the same.
(Find the XCartoys Audi 100 on Ebay)