As a kid growing up in Singapore, having a fascination for cars wasn’t the most popular activity amongst my schoolmates. “You’re too young to drive”, “You can’t even afford a car”, “Why bother” were words casually thrown around whenever they saw me looking at posters of Lamborghinis and Ferraris instead of Manchester Pool and Liver United, and I would always reply that it not being able to afford something didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate it. A simple belief I guess I’ve held onto even today. But, “today” is not what I’d like to talk about. What I’d like to do is turn back the clock a little over 20 years ago, back to when I was still that young kid in school teased for liking a moving hunk of metal. Back to when one of my favourite places to visit was a small hobby store chock full of plastic model kits.
I can still remember the smell of that store and how quiet it was even when there were other customers browsing around. Perhaps, that’s the nature of most hobbyist, preferring to shuffle about deep in their thoughts before picking up a box of unassembled wonder. I always headed for the car section even for just a look at the box art.
This wasn’t a cheap hobby and being a pretty average student with pretty average pocket money back then, model kits were slightly out of reach. What WAS really out of reach for me though was a collection of 1/43 cars enclosed in a long glass cabinet filled with beautiful Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris. And within that collection of miniature Italian stallions was this, a black 348tb with a turquoise interior and matching wheels. For some reason, this car just stood out and spoke to me. It had the most ridiculous interior colour and I loved it. For the next couple of years, I kept returning to the store just to look at it. I could never afford it, but I sure as heck loved it nonetheless. At this point, I wish I could indulge you readers with a happy tale of saving up pocket money and finally being able to buy it, or someone gifting it to me as a present. But no, none of that happened, I just grew up and one day stopped returning to this hobby store which eventually closed down like most hobby stores do nowadays.
This car became one of many, parked within the confines of my memories until one day I saw a listing for one of these on the online classifieds. I immediately knew what car it was and strangely enough, the numerical value of its price remained pretty much the same as when I first saw it as a young adolescent. It was time to finally buy my Ferrari and here it is, in all its black and turquoise glory.
While the World of models and diecast have definitely moved on with ever-increasing detail, I do think that this Ferrari isn’t too bad for something released over 20 years ago. The best part of this model besides the turquoise interior and wheels?
Everything can be opened up. The bonnet, doors and engine cover, even with their minute shutlines, can be opened. When even 1/18s are going fully sealed nowadays, having a 1/43 with opening details is truly refreshing.
Engine details might be basic, but they have the essential bits done right. Even the vents under the engine cover are replicated decently (for a 1/43 at least).
If I had a 348tb in real life, this is exactly how I want it specced. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 20 years to realise THAT dream.
I don’t exactly have many 1/43 cars in my collection as my preferred scale is 1/18s, which means that all the cars I have in this scale have to be either gifts or cars that are special to me. This over 20-year-old Ferrari though is one of the most special I have now. Not because of its build quality, not because of its detailing and not even because of its subject matter.
This model is special because even though life has moved on, looking at this car brings me back to those days I spent as a 12-year old, in a quiet hobby kit store, just browsing around because even though I couldn’t afford those kits, I learned to appreciate them.