We at hobbyDB are proud to announce that Jim Cowen of Automodello is joining the hobbyDB Advisory Board. He’ll be assisting us with his own company’s model cars, of course, but he brings other unique expertise to the table as well.
See, many of Automodello’s high-end resin models are based on rare, one-off vehicles or versions of a car built for a specific event or purpose. In the course of researching which incredibly rare vehicles to reproduce in miniature, Jim has gotten to know the current and past owners and drivers of many of them. It’s hard to argue that anyone else knows more about these coachbuilt, customized, or concept cars besides the actual owners.
Automodello began in 2008 as part of Diecasm, in 2008. “Automodello started by producing replicas of dead marques and interesting models,” said Jim. “We began with 1:43 scale, 1:24 in 2011 and finally 1:12 in 2015. When Automodello entered 1:24 scale it was with the 1938 Phantom Corsair, then the 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster Mormon Meteor, 1930 Cord L-29 Brooks Stevens Speedster, all of which were one-offs.” Such concepts and customs are unusual for model makers to produce, because with only a single livery or configuration to offer, there isn’t much opportunity to use the same casting over and over again.
When Automodello decided to work on the big three American manufacturers to go after, they started with Ford, where a license was obtained to do the 1962 Ford Mustang I Concept and 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III, all of which had not been produced in larger scale. While Automodello has since added licenses for GM, All American Racers, Classic Team Lotus and Noble Automotive, it has always remained true to building interesting models.
In some cases, their models are as rare as the cars they’re based on… literally. “Our first model was the 1964 Griffith Series 200 in two editions,” said Jim. “The Standard Edition was Maroon Red with a build of 262 which represented the total number of actual units of all their models produced by Griffith Motorcars. We also produced 192 Founders Edition models, which were hand-signed by Jack Griffith, founder of Griffith Motors and represented the number of Series 200 cars that were produced.”
When you ask about Jim’s favorite model, he has trouble deciding. “It’s like asking me which of my children do I like best… luckily for me I only have one child, so she always wins,” he laughed. “For Automodello I now have close to a hundred children. I have found the ones I like best are the ones that have just been released because we can continue to hone our skills and quality.”
Regarding the people who own some of the rare cars Automodello has modeled, he has many stories to share. We’ll be bringing you some of Jim’s conversations and memories of these encounters in the weeks to come.