The French Doorstop: Rebuild/compilation of a Matchbox Renault R5 "LeCar" (Part 1 of ???)
Mixing and matching parts, detailing, scratchbuilding, and the whole nine yards, to build a nice diecast of a legit oddball car- a factory special edition at that.
The Renault LeCar was one of the first European cars I discovered as a small child. A few doors down from my late war-hero grandfather, whom I've spoken about on this site several times before, there were two chartreuse 4-door LeCars, one parts car and one project, in a driveway. We went on walks and I would never get why he would say the LeCars were crap (he actually used an unpublishable profanity that I will not repeat), and I grew ever more fascinated with weird European vehicles, with Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Eastern Bloc cars quickly captivating my mind later, before I ended up the stark raving mad enthusiast of #crapcars and #shitboxes that I am today.
The special-edition silver & red version of the Renault 5 "LeCar" that I am striving to recreate with old Lesney donors and some good old fashioned creativity. Lesney got the graphics a little too large, but the graphics are such a huge part of a 1/1 USDM LeCar that I can't complain.
The body of the antique mall find diecast I started with wasn't in the greatest of condition, with distressed graphics, and I ruined the base trying to get the rear axle out. So I practice-painted the hard trim/lights and body line detail and decided to take up a collection among other collectors on a forum I frequent & get me a donor car.
Behold the donor:
Through a collector whom I won't name to protect his privacy, I was tipped off to this MUCH nicer casting of the same car and release. I will have to wait a while for it to get here, but there is plenty of other work to do, this one needs just a tiny bit of barely noticeable touch-up along with the usual detail work (and a tow hitch removal & wheel swap)
These Hot Wheels Real Riders were the closest thing I had to stock 1/1 special edition USDM LeCar rolling stock, and were also a perfect fit in the damaged wreck of the original chassis.
Department of the Interior:
The casting already had a phenomenal interior for a Margaret Thatcher-era Lesney toy. It offers the factory contours of the dashboard & seat cushions, a suitably sized LHD steering wheel, a handbrake, and a good place to cut and bend a straight pin to suit, poke a hole in it with a hot needle, and glue in a stock R5/LeCar style gearshift. Next up, this section of the casting will be painted Tamiya Color Dull Red with as much accurate detail as I can work into it, and the tow hitch excised since no American in the history of Renaults in the US tows with a LeCar, or ever did for that matter.
First off, gotta wait for the interior to dry & my donor to get here. Then gotta charge up the trusty old DeWalt and drill 'er out & use more care in removing the axles from the base. Then I will have a good Malaise Era French building sesh, along with hopefully something nice to blow some minds on DriveTribe and the #liveandletdiecast tribe especially.