12 May 2022
A trio that, by pure chance, are all shod with wheels finished in white.
Before looking at another dazzling (yes, with pun intended) array of night lights lined up for scrutiny, let’s take a look at what, at first sight, might seem the odd one out of the trio…
Mitsubishi Lancer EVO III - 1995 (OT382)
Subaru Imprezas have ended up under my spotlight a couple of times fairly recently and so now it’s the turn of Mitsubishi’s Impreza challenger. In the guise of an outwardly unassuming yellow Lancer it carries the EVO III sting in its tail. Like its arch-rival, the Lancer Evolution has gone through successive model iterations many of which (again, like the Impreza) resulted from participation in international rallying with notable success at the hands of drivers like Tommi Mäkinen.
OttOmobile’s release brings us the production ‘street’ version with its turbocharged engine and 4WD, influenced by World Rally Championship experience finished out with full bodykit enhancements that included bumper modifications, side skirts and rear spoiler. The high gloss yellow paintwork leaves no hiding place and enhances the clean casting and shut lines of the complete model. Particularly eye catching are the bonnet venting inserts, the third brake light in the rear spoiler and all of the tail end detailing found below it. It is the front end though that carries the detail that impressed me most with a fine mesh chin grille inset into the bumper, behind which can be seen the aluminium coloured radiator. Above that the matching upper grille carries a perfect miniaturisation of the Mitsubishi logo badge and is flanked by superbly convincing headlights and amber front indicator/side marker light. Being a model of an Evolution version sold in the Japanese home market it is also, of course, another RHD model.
Opel Kadett GSI Gr.A - 1987 (OT915)
Turning the clock backwards from the EVO III by almost a decade to the eighties comes this very welcome model of the 1987 Kadett GSI in Gr.A rally. Here finished in the guise fielded very successfully in the New Zealand Rally leg of the 1988 WRC, as driven by the Austrian Sepp Haider and co-driven by fellow Austrian Ferdi Hinterleitner.
It is difficult for the eyes not to be distracted by the highly colourful and very detailed sponsor-bedecked livery, but a peek at the interior is very rewarding. With black minimalist interior, roll cage and Recaro seating, with contrasting bright red full harness webbing, the whole effect is equally as enthralling as the vibrant exterior.
Another clinching detail for me on this model was Opel’s period-specific wheels that make a refreshing change from the more usual run of alloys seen on many eighties cars. Those eighteen spoke white painted castings with their intermediate slots and holes are particularly well-modelled.
Citroën Xsara ‘Kit Car’ - 1999 (OT920)
Charismatic, dramatic and just downright captivating are immediate thoughts that come to mind when musing over this model of Citroën’s highly-prepared Xsara. Bridging the gap between Citroën’s famous Rallye-Raid program and full blown WRC rallying participation came the Xsara based ‘Kit Car’ series, the success of which, in the late 1990s, proved to be a springboard into WRC participation.
Working from inside out, the stripped interior in alu-silver with full roll cage, harnessing, stowed spare wheel, fire extinguisher and rallying instrumentation screams out for a removable roof section so that it can be better appreciated! Externally the night light pods surely challenge those of Richard Burns’ Impreza featured last month in terms of dramatic appeal.
There is no doubt that the predominately bright red paintwork of Citroën’s livery enhances the line of the widebody arches and general lower body line. That in turn draws the eye to the wheels which when compared with those of the Kadett GSI Gr.A highlight the dramatic increase in size of rally wheels (and the braking systems behind them) within a decade. With such a colourful livery achieved with a mass of well-produced decals over a carefully-detailed and finished base model, this is an awesome display piece. And, like the Kadett, I reckon it also has equal appeal to marque specific and motorsport theme collectors alike.
Against reports of manufacturers being challenged with quality control issues prompted by managing production at arms (well, international video link) length thanks to being precluded from visiting their production bases in the Far East, all these recent OttOmobile releases are reassuring. The quality of all of them remains exactly as we have come to anticipate from the company. The rally models excel in the degree of authentic interior and exterior rally equipment detailing with complex external livery schemes. Stock of all three models has, I understand, sold very quickly as befitting models being eagerly sought by their respective theme followings and OttOmobile’s brand loyalty amongst collectors. The rally cars, of course, are each very visually attractive display pieces, but I wouldn’t underestimate the significance of the yellow EVO III either as a ‘must have’.