Sandy Copeman wants to make you a Ferrari, or an Aston, a McLaren or a Mercedes, that you can park neatly in your living room. His company, Amalgam collection, started out in the 1980s as an architectural partnership, but has gained traction as the go-to source for scale versions of road, race, and luxury classic cars. It’s no surprise, then, that the brand’s founder and director spent his teenage years hand-building chassis for slot cars while growing up in the UK, but his professional model making was first geared towards making reproductions for design and architectural giants, such as James Dyson and Norman Foster. In the late 1990s, when some Amalgam employees suggested making replica Formula 1 cars, however, he had a revelation. “My interest in F1 cars was dormant,” he says, “and suddenly it was like I had woken the beast.”
Fast forward 20 years, Copeman and his team have shifted their small-world manufacturing to big-world locations: Bristol, England; Hungary and China, where specialist crews build mini-versions of cars, yachts and private jets. The price of finished products ranges from $1,000 for a 1:18 iteration to $100,000 to $200,000 for a 1:4 scale model of a custom project. The company’s latest example is the Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ Performance F1 car, which was just released in December.
At first, Amalgam made replicas for car brands themselves as display or promotional tools, but now consumers have become customers as well. Watchmaker Richard Mille ordered a cutaway scale version of his Airbus A320neo jet in which the entire interior was duplicated, complete with porcelain crockery and overhead lighting. Mille loved it so much he ordered more, many of which are on display in his boutiques around the world, Copeman says.
Although the models made by Amalgam do not have working engines, their exterior appearance is indistinguishable from the real car. “Aesthetics are important to us. That’s why we get along so well with the Italians,” he laughs. The painstaking process of developing and machining a new model can take between 2,500 and 5,000 hours. The final product will have thousands of parts. Each of them is designed from scratch. And Copeman’s version will look as sharp in your big room as the real thing will in your driveway or on the trail.