I mentioned yesterday that there were two ’90s Bimmers I have always wanted to own in red. One of them was an E34 5 Series like the real one I spotted and wrote about yesterday. The other, is an E36 3 Series convertible, which I guess you could say I do own, in smaller 1/18 scale form.
This is my 1/18 scale, 1993 BMW 325i model by Maisto. What makes this model so special is that it comes with an actual folding soft convertible top. Now this red one is actually my second of this exact model. The first one was a more unique navy over red interior. I purchased it at Toys R Us when I was about 5 or 6. Needless to say, my car models back then were more of toys than actual collector’s items.
In addition to loosing both twin kidneys of it grille, the latches attaching the convertible top to the windshield broke off, rendering the top unable to stay fully up. It’s not that I was rough with my toys, just normal wear and tear on a delicate item. Despite its flaws, the blue Bimmer remained one of my favorite out of many, many 1/18 scale models I owned. It was always out on display on my bookshelf.
Yet I had the desire to find a new one that I’d keep in even better condition. I knew this model had been discontinued, and I was still a bit young to use eBay or any other shopping website, so chances of finding one were bleak.
Then, around 7th grade or so, I received an invitation to an exclusive warehouse sale at Exoticar, a model gallery (which to this day I believe was a front for some other illegal business) where I purchased some of my more expensive models. Upon wandering the warehouse aisles, I came across a this lone red Bimmer, mint in the box. I had found one!
I didn’t even look at the price and quickly snatched it up. Being a Maisto, it was only about $20-30. Not bad for a rare discontinued model. As I was approaching the checkout, a man caught sight of the Bimmer in my hands and asked me where I found it. I told him it was the only one left, and he offered me double what it was marked as. I politely refused – I really wanted this car!
This model itself is of fairly good quality. Maisto models are usually considerably detailed and well-assembled, without overly intricate details such as carpeted floors and bright interior trim pieces. As you can see from this one, the instrument panel is a decal, though it’s completely accurate of the E36 3 Series interior.
The top neatly folds into its own compartment. The majority of other convertible models simply have removable imitation soft tops made from hard plastic. The top is what truly makes this model unique and highly collectible. So yes, I still hope to own a red Bimmer some day, but at least I can sleep at night knowing I’m 1/18th the way towards my dream!