True Scale Miniatures is a relatively new company to the world of scale sports car models, having been founded five years ago in Chino, California. It wasn’t until recently that the company began to venture into making 1:43 and 1:18 scale replicas of sports and racing cars after a few years of producing scale models of Snap-On Tools. Their first attempt is featured here, a 1:18 scale Porsche 935K3 replicated in the Apple Computers-sponsored livery of Dick Barbour Racing circa June 1980.
True Scale Miniatures could not have selected a more incredible car to model as their first entry into the world of 1:18 scale model cars. While Porsche as a marque resonates with all of those racing fans the world over, the 935K3 occupies a special place in many hearts as a car that came to represent a very dominant force from Germany during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Let’s step back for a moment and get some history on the real 935K3 featured here in scale, chassis number 009 00030, before we look into this replica in depth.
The Kremer brothers of Cologne, Germany had made a name for themselves by the mid-1970s for tuning Porsche 911s, 914-6s, and 934s. In 1977, Manfred and Erwin Kremer would receive their first 935 from Wiessach and made the tuning modifications they had come to be known for. The brothers felt that their changes to the car they had procured from Porsche were significant enough to put their name on, and thus the 935K1 was born, “K” for Kremer Racing. As the factory 935s would evolve, so would the Kremer brothers’ models and by 1979 they had arrived at the “K3” designation. Pinning a horsepower figure on any of the twin turbocharged Porsches is relatively hard to do, but it’s safe to say that a credible 700 horsepower was on tap from the 3200cc forced induction flat six engines. A K3 in full race trim would tip the scales around 2100 pounds, so the performance of a K3 was indeed very serious.
The Porsche 935K3 was the most successful variant of the 935 series that Kremer Racing would produce. In all, it is believed that 13 935K3s were produced and put into action across the globe, mainly in Europe and in America’s IMSA GT Challenge Series. Chassis number 009 00030 would go to Dick Barbour Racing in 1979 to be raced in America and at Le Mans where the trio of Newman/Stommelen/Barbour would finish a fine 2nd overall in Hawaiian Tropic livery during the summer of 1979 running of the annual French classic.
The Apple Computers sponsorship would appear on the car for the Sebring 12 Hours in 1980 and the Dick Barbour Racing entry would achieve a 7th place finish in the 12 Hour endurance classic with Rahal, Garretson, and Nierop behind the wheel. The racing white paint and Apple Computer livery would remain throughout 1980, including the team’s run at the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hour Race in June, where 009 00030 did not finish the race due to a piston failure after the Rahal, Garretson, and Moffat trio had completed 134 laps.
Despite the let down at the 1980 Le Mans race, chassis number 009 00030 would return to North America and get a re-spray and new sponsorship by Red Roof Inns just before the 1981 Daytona 24 Hours race that would see Brian Redman, Bob Garretson, and Bobby Rahal pilot the car to an overall win at the annual Florida event.
Today, 30 years after the 1980 Le Mans event, True Scale Miniatures offers a superb model of chassis number 009 00030 in full Apple Computers livery just as the Dick Barbour Racing entry had appeared on the grid that summer in France. It must be said, that in today’s market of high quality replicas available from a variety of manufacturers in 1:18 scale that one must take themselves very seriously and with the fullest confidence to put forth a product in such a highly competitive segment.
True Scale Miniatures first entry is thoroughly impressive from every angle. As with any racing car the sponsor graphics are often the first thing that stands out to most, being noticeable at a simple glance. The graphics on the True Scale Miniatures Porsche 935K3 are made up of very high quality tampo prints and decals used to replicate the real race car’s colorful livery. Black mesh screens are in place over the rear NACA ducts and front air intake. Panel fit is excellent, and the doors open and close quite nicely.
The interior is very well executed on the scale 935K3. The driver’s restraint belts are actual cloth in construction, and the dash is well detailed with decals to represent the gauges and switch gear. One thing that really stands out is the soft rubber-like material that is used to replicate the padding on the roll cage, a very nice touch that gives this scale racer a nice tinge of authenticity.
The front cover removes to reveal a very detailed fuel cell, oil tank, clutch and brake fluid reservoirs, and battery. The fuel system is completely plumbed and the detail is exceptional. The suspension cross bracing is present as well.
However it’s when you remove the tail section and put the scale 935K3 on its roof to examine the detail from the underside that True Scale Miniatures actually takes things up a notch. The twin turbo flat six is modeled in great detail. Each of the spark plugs is individually wired and the larger electrical cables to the starter are even replicated. The exhaust and twin turbo system are both detailed in full; complete with actual steel braided oil lines running to all the points on the turbo system and finished off with red and blue fittings painted to replicate the real anodized pieces. The brakes are more visible from this view and the fronts offer vent hoses routed from the front air intakes to the brakes themselves, as the rears are large cross drilled pieces. Even the air jack system is replicated at each of the four corners.
Back on its four, scale racing slicks, the 1:18 scale 935K3 offers ample detail in the engine compartment. The fan appears to be of authentic color and the manifolds and linkage are quite a detailed assembly of what appear to be injection molded plastic parts. Plug wires are again visible from this angle, as is the detail to the alternator drive assembly.
At a retail price of $170 the True Scale Miniatures 1:18 scale Porsche 935K3 offers an incredible value to the model car collector today. While many models offered by other manufacturers in this price range are in league with True Scale Miniatures, the young firm from Chino, California really scores well with this replica of a very significant Porsche racer. Since the debut of the number 71 K3, True Scale Miniatures has released five more Porsche 935K3s ranging from the 1979 Le Mans winning K3, to the Bob Akin Motor Racing 935K3/80 that ran at Le Mans in 1981. It is with certainty that after reviewing this replica, True Scale Miniatures has firmly established themselves amongst one of the toughest segments in the model car market.
Porsche 935K3 by True Scale Miniatures – Model Car Profile