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ARA Classics Dealership Diorama

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HO (1:87) scale is currently the most popular scale utilized in model railroading. The last decade or so has seen continued improvement in the variety and quality of HO scale model automobiles and trucks and these models can also be used for non-railroad dioramas. ARA has created two dioramas. This diorama depicts a fictional classic car dealership, ARA Classics.

It’s always Christmas season at ARA Classics. A recent snowfall has left a nice coating adding to the cheeriness of the season and has provided the material for the snowman the staff built at the entrance. The dealership is decorated with several of the popular holiday inflatables. Today the staff photographer is updating the website with photographs of the latest additions to inventory; as he photographs a Lamborghini Gallardo, he gets a wave from a happy customer in his 1953 Cadillac El Dorado convertible as a couple departs with the proud new owner of a 2005 Thunderbird convertible at the wheel. The UPS delivery truck has just arrived with a package and Fed Ex has entered the driveway. Specter’s Linen Service is delivering freshly laundered uniforms for the service staff. The latest addition to inventory, a powder blue 1957 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, is being delivered on a rollback. A Dodge Charger police car is pulling into the lot; he’s spotted a violation in the opposing lane and will be making a u-turn.

The ARA Classics showroom features a Ferrari F40, a Ford GT, and a Ferrari Testarossa. A beautiful red 1970 Toyota 2000 GT coupe has recently arrived and is prominently displayed under the ARA Classics signage. An outstanding inventory is currently on display, ranging from a classic Porsche Speedster to contemporary vehicles, including a 2007 Land Rover Discovery 3, two Dodge Viper convertibles, a Chrysler 300C SRT8, two Dodge Chargers, a Ford Mustang GT, a Jeep Wrangler, a Mercedes convertible, a Volkswagen Golf GTI and a Volkswagen Beetle, Chrysler Crossfires in both coupe and convertible, a Mini Cooper, and a Dodge Caliber among others!

The SUV community is represented by a Ford Expedition and Cadillac Escalade and a 1993 Ford Explorer. 1950s through 1980s nostalgia is well represented, including AMC’s Gremlin, Pacer, and Hornet; Ford’s Custom, Escort, Fairmont, Granada, Maverick, Pinto, and Tempo; Mercury’s Bobcat; Honda’s Accord; Plymouth’s 1968 Fury, and Volkswagen’s Karmann Ghia. The service staff is working on the latest addition to the nostalgia inventory, a bronze 1975 Honda Civic. The Bowtie Brigade representation includes a 1950 Chevrolet, Belairs from 1955 and 1957, Impalas from 1958, 1961, and 1978, and a 1995 Caprice. For pony car fans, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS396 convertible and a 1970 Camaro SS coupe. For Thunderbird fans, a classic 1955 coupe and a 1963 coupe. For Jaguar aficionados, a 3.8 sedan and an XK140 roadster. For muscle car fans, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, a 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442, a 2002 Pontiac Firebird convertible. The Corvette inventory includes a selection of three 1957 convertibles, a 1958 convertible, a 1963 “split window” coupe, and a 1985 coupe.

The dealership building is based upon IHC Automobile Showroom kit #814. This kit was designed as a depiction of a two-story BMW dealership. For the purpose of this diorama, the kit was modified by omitting the second story, producing a more prototypical North American small showroom dealership.

The kit was purchased several years ago from an internet hobby store but is now not available; a search on IHC indicates the company may be out of business or may have suspended operations and the only available versions of the kit were on Ebay. Model Power apparently produced a very similar kit but does not list it among their current products; several were for sale on the internet, however.

The model cars are either plastic models or diecast models and are from a wide variety of model manufacturers: Atlas, Atlas Motoring 2000, Atlas Masterpiece, Brekina, Busch, Classic Metal Works, Malibu, Model Power, MotorMax Fresh Cherries, Norscot, Revell Mini Exacts, Ricko, River Point, and Vollmer. ARA will be publishing individual reviews of these HO scale model vehicles in the future.

Busch (a German model product manufacturer) was the source for the colorful green hedge surrounding the dealership as well as the roadway and dealership lot surface. Their “parking area” products can be arranged in a variety of configurations to produce the desired layout. The tree is a Busch product as well, as is the snowman. The photographer is a Preiser figure. The mechanics and their accessories are from Woodland Scenics’ Scenic Accents Service Station Attendants collection #A1948. The “inflatables” are actually Hallmark “mini” decorations (no longer in production; may be available on Ebay or other collectible sites).

The snow is a mixture of equal parts matte medium, titanium white paint and modeling paste and the mixture is applied with a brush.

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