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Motorart Volvo XC90 Ocean Race VFL90459

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Motorart / Model of Volvo XC90 Ocean Race 4x4 car

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      30.12.2010 02:09
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      A collectors special edition Volvo 4x4 worth keeping - but only just!

      When the Swedish automotive and transport group Volvo took to sponsoring sporting events, they haven't done things by half. Known for their golf tournament sponsorships and tennis than sailing, Volvo took over the Whitbread sailing event that occurs every year known as the Volvo Ocean Race in 1998. As a result, the company have launched special branded merchandise to popularise the event and even go as far to producing special model versions of their cars, buses and trucks with special white on blue "Ocean Race" livery. You can even buy a real Volvo car with the likewise special edition livery too!


      As cars go in reality, the Volvo XC90 marked a new change for the Swedish company, even if the actual car had been launched under Ford ownership, it was a design that had been on Volvo's minds since the 1990's when Volvo were more or less independent thanks to the Swedish government who kept Volvo in business. The XC90 marked a new change in terms of delivering a car that Volvo buyers wanted, moving away from the large boxy saloons or practical estates, to something in between like a practical, roomy four wheel drive "part time" vehicle rather than a true Land Rover rival, even though in later years the XC90 would use Land Rover technology under the ownership of Ford who owned many companies under their platform sharing "PAG" Premier Auto Group subsidiary. The model 1/43 scale XC90 is made by Motorart although many of the models you see on EBAY and other stockists are all made in China and carry other "copy/imitation" companies like Hongwell or Cararama. Motorart are however a licensed company who produce small-scale models of trucks, construction models, buses and Volvo cars aswell as some SAAB models too. They are usually on view at most UK dealerships of the real cars and cost between £20 and £25 depending on the model. Some dealers however mark the prices down to £12 and below to shift the scale models out of the showroom. Online Motorart models usually command a price of £20 to £30 and this model known by its catalogue number, "VFL90459," is a very rare model that is usually sought after. Mine cost an unbelievable £6-95 but it took a lot of shopping and looking around! It was released in 2005 to 2006 alongside an equally rare Volvo XC70 estate model car and Volvo V70 estate. Those models are still available online.


      The Motorart Ocean Race XC90 is slightly different to the models sold by Minichamps and Motorart on the basis that on this model, marking the special edition event, there are two opening doors on the XC90 that reveal a cream plastic interior, fair detailing for the price of the product and even dashboard clocks/speedometer like the real car. There's even a clear sunroof you can view the dashboard through if you don't fancy opening the doors and they open well with good durability. Sadly, neither the bonnet nor the hatch open on this model, but otherwise it is different to the latter models that have no moving parts except the wheels. However there is a little bit more to this model car than meets the eye. For a start, it's not a toy; it carries a warning that small parts could choke children of 3 years of age. Both the opening doors have fragile door mirrors that have silver reflective markings to act as pretend mirrors, hence the possible choking part if they snap off. Secondly the car comes in a smart plastic acrylic display case and is bolted to the base by two tiny crosshead screws. Once they are undone and the car is free and it is relatively easy to free wheel like a toy car, but it isn't something I would suggest to do long term. There is some suspension detail evident from the way the car can be pushed either on its rear wheels or front wheels easily.


      Where details are concerned, and compared to a lot of other Motorart models I own, the Ocean Race XC90 is a very rare model that is either loved or loathed by Volvo collectors. This is simply because that whilst the model name on the back of the car is clear to see, Motorart haven't been as thorough with details like they have been with other models they produce. Although the XC90 is dark blue in colour and has the white livery showing on the bonnet, there is a silver roof rack on the top matched by silver rubbing strips and a silver kick plate either side of the car. Those kinds of details are spot on from the real XC90 Ocean Race. However, finer details of the model XC90 are let down where the A pillar (front opening door) has too much of a curve making the front windscreen look crushed from the side and the beige interior plastic showing through from the rear wheels through the rear arches. Other disappointments then come to light when the vehicle is viewed from a distance; the wheels are actually too small for this so-called SUV/4x4 vehicle even if Motorart have been spot on with the alloy wheel design that matches Volvo's own alloy styles perfectly. The front headlights are also clear jewelled and have orange indicators that perfectly match the real car complete with built in fog lights and a silver kick plate underneath the front apron of the black bumper.


      I have had my model now for about two years and the paintwork still shines and gleams as if it was brand new. The key to keeping these models looking shiny isn't to attack them with a standard duster. I only use a dry paintbrush every couple of months to keep the collection looking good and the models are rarely lifted out of their display boxes. Having two opening doors however means the interior can be kept quite clean using cotton buds or even the micro set from my Miele vacuum cleaner, which is apt for the job of getting into the tinniest of collectors models.


      In terms of appearance though, the Motorart Volvo XC90 Ocean Race just about cuts it in terms of looking like a replica. You can tell it's a Volvo not just from the bonnet livery thanks to the egg crate grille with the familiar masculine Volvo arrow and silver surround and the smaller silver lettering on the livery shows the date 2005 to 2006 which clearly shows the date of when this model was released. On the underside of the car you'll also get replica details of the floor pan and suspension mounts, whilst at the back, the same identical bumper of the real Volvo and another silver kick plate under the apron of the car. Is it worth collecting though?


      On the basis that the only box that this car comes in is a silver default Motorart box with only a date of release, the Ocean Race Volvo XC90 is worth considering as a collector's item. It is however not as well executed in its detail against Minichamps models, or indeed other "non-livery" Volvo XC90 models made by Motorart. For that reason alone, it is still worth considering but it isn't a major coup compared to the other well-designed models that Motorart sell. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2010


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