Lotus launches Evora replica at the British International Motor Show
The British International Motorshow, London is the backdrop for two Lotus launches this year. The Evora, the eagerly anticipated 2+2 performance car and its 1:64 Matchbox® twin. Lotus and Mattel, Inc. have been planning the launch of the scale Matchbox® die-cast model Evora to coincide with the unveiling of the real-life Evora for nine months, and the occasion is the summit of a complex process executed by Mattel.
The designers at Lotus Design and Matchbox® worked closely to accurately recreate the stunning new Lotus. The result of this close partnership is an accurately produced die-cast Matchbox® model that has enough detail to satisfy even the most ardent Lotus fans.
When designing the die-cast Lotus vehicles, the Matchbox® team started with the CAD surface data that Lotus produced to develop its iconic sports cars. In the case of the Evora, this top secret data was shared with Matchbox® in January and April 2008 so that the creation of the die-cast model could begin its journey in California whilst the real-life Evora was built in Lotus' Hethel production facility in Norfolk.
Russell Carr, Head of Lotus Design comments, "We have worked with Mattel for more than 10 years and the development of a Matchbox version of the Evora 1:64 model unfolded at the same time as our first Evora was being built so there was a lot of excitement and synergy around the two projects. The dramatic plan shape and the distinctive graphical detailing of the real car are perfect for a scale model. All the design team grew up with Matchbox so it was tremendously exciting to work with the company that is, in part, responsible for inspiring our interest in car design."
The first step in capturing the Lotus Evora's dynamic lines and form in a diecast model was to photograph the real car. Detailed pictures of the Evora in development and in its final form were shared with Matchbox® designers to ensure that an accurate model could be made. This included pictures of the interior and exterior, close-ups of the vehicle's details, and both overhead and full-length views. Detailed dimensions such as height, wheelbase and engine compartment were also taken, which Matchbox® utilized to convert the original CAD data into surface files, along with the photographs to model the rest of the car.
"We have a close, long-standing relationship with Lotus, and partnering with them to create a Matchbox version of the new Evora in advance of its introduction was a unique and exciting opportunity for our designers," said Geoff Walker, vice president, Wheels and Games Marketing, Mattel Brands. "The Matchbox team was among a handful of people who were privy to the new car's final design. Our team approached this project with our passion for all things automotive, along with a deep understanding of the ethos behind the Lotus design."
The last stage of the design process involved creating a 1:64 scale digital model of the real car using state of the art software that combined the photographic references and Lotus CAD files. After the model was reviewed, proportions were tweaked and details were enhanced to capture the essence and spirit of the real car. A process called tooling follows where a raw steel tool was developed for creating "first shots," which are samples of totally machine made parts that ensure that all pieces correctly fit together and function properly.
For the final stage, Matchbox® designers decorated the car in different levels of detail, ranging from body paint, interior, wheel selection, and chassis colours, as well as windshield tint and graphics (headlamps, badging, body detailing), which were then reviewed by the designers using photos of the real vehicle as a reference.
The Lotus Evora 1:64 is available in Quartz Silver, the same shade as the real-life car unveiled at the British Motorshow adding to the accuracy of the comparison. The silver body colour used on the Matchbox® die-cast model is duplicated directly from a colour sample provided by Lotus' Licensing team ahead of the London launch. The silver paint is applied and the hood vents and rear roof section are masked and painted a flat matte black reflecting the graphical elements of the actual car. Realistic looking headlamps and hood badging were also added using a process similar to silk-screen printing. The Lotus Evora will be available in the UK in spring 2009, but in the meantime fans of the new vehicle can pick-up an authentic Matchbox® Evora to treasure!