Road Signature (Yat Ming)
|Overall Panel Fit:||9/10|
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This Presidential Parade Vehicle, dubbed X-100 by the U.S. Secret Service, began life as a stock 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door Model 74A convertible. Painted a special midnight blue, the X-100 featured two-way radio telephones, retractable steps for Secret Service agents, and a hand-built 430-cubic-inch V-8 engine. The car also featured a unique system of removable steel and transparent roof panels that could provide the President with everything from enclosed privacy to completely open visibility. To accommodate all of the modifications, the car was lengthened from 17 feet to 21 feet, and its overall weight increased from 5215 to 7800 pounds.
This is the Yat Ming-branded version of the small box. The size is the same, and quite a few of the individual elements are the same, but they've been rearranged. The window is a simpler rectangle, with the sticker identifying the car moved up and to the right so that it is now in a gold frame that partially overlaps the window. Inside is a similar printed background showing the White House, but it has now been lightened and desaturated to allow the car to stand out better, and is accented with photos of the model and the original Lincoln with JFK and his staff. A blister holding the two bumper flags and a short data sheet is on the backdrop ahead of the car. The car itself is held to a plastic tray by two screws, with plastic bands holding the doors, hood, and trunk closed.
As automotive styling advances from the 1950s to the 1960s, Road Signature had to make adjustments to how the limo was assembled. The body is still nicely cast metal, and the majority of the trim is still separate chrome plastic bits, but there are a few more paint apps helping now: door locks, fender badges, and wheel arches are all done in silver. The headlights, spotlights, and windows are clear plastic, the bumper lights and tail lights are transparent red, and the trunk handles and spare tire cover are opaque plastic painted a not-quite-matching blue. The rear badge is another printed element. The two flags are printed material mounted to metal poles that fit into holes on the front fenders, and the license plates are vintage D.C. "GG-300" stickers.
The engine is a nicely done replica of Ford's MEL 430 V8. With separate elements including the air cleaner, battery, and master cylinder, plus myriad paint apps picking out details like the headers, expansion tank, and battery caps, about the only thing it lacks is ignition wiring. The chassis has the usual separate driveshaft, rear axle/suspension, and exhaust pipes, but looks even better than previous cars thanks to the bright silver transmission and dual exhausts adding a little extra interest. The tires are hard vinyl with whitewall inserts and chrome caps.
The interior is cast in dark blue plastic with light silver-blue accents and woodgrain details. A combination of separate chrome-plated plastic and silver paint is used to recreate the Lincoln's brightwork, and the dashboard is further detailed with a printed gauge cluster. The Presidential Seal is printed on both rear door panels, and the panels on either side of the seat have fully molded and painted radio equipment. The floor and trunk liner are flocked in dark blue.
All four doors, the hood, and the trunk open and close smoothly, though the hood hinges don't always hold the hood in place and there is a raised right rear corner when the hood is closed. Steering is functional and tied to the steering wheel. Two jump seats can be unfolded from the floor and cowl just ahead of the rear seat. Each of the two flags mentioned above can be inserted into either of the holes in the front fenders, though all the photos I've seen have the American flag on the right and the Presidential flag on the left.
This is an excellent replica with only one major gaffe: Ford didn't switch to blue engines until the mid-1960s. Other than that, the detail work is the typical high quality and Yat Ming proves to have the better flags regardless of packaging. Scaling is a near-perfect 1/24.
The "Kennedy Limo" has a unique place in history, and arguably is the one to get even if you had no interest in the rest of the series. It's another beautiful job by Road Signature, and will not disappoint whether it's the only one you get or as part of the complete series.
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