On the Origin of 5pecies
I seem to have this awful habit of browsing eBay late at night before bed in search of the next 1/43 to add to the never-ending fleet on my shelf. About a week and a half ago, I laid eyes on what I immediately decided would be the one. It was love at first sight when I saw the listing for a new Minichamps 1/43 BMW 520 (E12) in Mint Green. I knew it would be the same as the V126 560SEL and E36 M3 in terms of being a Maxichamps packaged as a new limited edition Minichamps, but I didn't care. It's a wholesome and humble family sedan in a fun color that would perfectly represent my taste in cars in 1/43 scale.
I'm not sure what I expected when I found it, but I took it upon myself to buy it since I'm an enthusiast of base models of nice cars. The 520, when new, made 114 hp from its carbureted M17 inline-4. It could hit 60 in 10.6 seconds and achieve a top speed of a mind-blowing 110 mph when equipped with the 4-speed manual. These might sound pathetic today, but they were very respectable back when the Corvette made only 190 hp. Mind you, none of this matters when you consider that this is a $45 scale model.
I spoke highly of the E36 and E64 yesterday, but let me be the one to say both of them combined can't hold a candle to this E12. Paul Bracq and Marcello Gandini, of Mercedes W108 and Lamborghini Miura fame respectively, penned the E12 in the early 70s as a replacement for the outgoing BMW Neue Klasse, their midsize executive model. It certainly scales down well to 1/43 form, which is something that can't be said of a lot of older cars.
I'm actually really happy knowing it's a 520 instead of a 528i or something along those lines. There's something about having a model of a rather basic trim level of a luxury car that I absolutely love, hence why I own the Norev 330i. I should also note that this model runs rings around the Minichamps E36 M3 from yesterday.
I'm not sure how many people feel the same way about this thing, but it lights a certain fire inside my heart that i can't quite explain. As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate older cars much more than when I was younger. I used to not care for cars such as the E24 524td and W126 300SD Turbodiesel I saw in my neighborhood when I was a kid because they were older cars. I've learned to love them and live my life dreaming of seeing cars like them in my driveway instead of a new G30 and V222.
Unlike my Maxichamps S123 230TE, this model actually has a badge, which is a welcoming sight. The taillights are very nicely detailed, but I might take a black Sharpie pen to fill in the exhaust pipe.
As I said earlier, I couldn't be happier to have a relatively mundane car in an exciting color. The Mint Green paint really helps the car stand out in my collection compared to the other colors I saw available for it.
Despite it being a model of a 520, this thing looks as stately and dignified as cars like my V126 560SEL and W109 300SEL 6.3. It certainly has a presence to it I can't quite explain.
Little details throughout the car, like the Hoffmeister kink and the black vent on the c-pillar, help give it a certain character that can only be found in older BMWs like this. I just hope cars like the E28 and E34 make their way into the Minichamps/Maxichamps lineup once again in the near future.
I'm a firm believer that BMWs from this era look best with the standard smaller alloys and steel wheels in lieu of larger wheels people like retrofitting. A nice car like an E12 or E23 doesn't need Style 32s to look cool.
As a fun extra, this model has an opening hood that's reverse hinged like the real one. It feels dainty and fragile, so I didn't want to force it open. This was the best picture I could get of the M17, so there you go.
Overall, I absolutely adore this model. You really can't get better than this as far as E12s go, even considering the M535i and 530 MLE. I highly recommend this model to anyone who likes BMWs and even those who just like German cars in general.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to find a W123 230E to accompany this E12 520.