In Small-Fry Versions of Luxury Autos, Pampered Preteens Say Leave the Driving to Us
In the past six months Levon Gugasian, head of Beverly Hills's Rodeo Coach corporation sold 160 miniatures that were parked next to the bigger models he sells to well-heeled parents. Pint-size actor Gary Coleman bought a $12,500 red Lamborghini Countach to tool around his Chicago home. Both Rodeo Coach and Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories, the only West Coast outlets, get their foreign models from three European manufacturers, including Agostini Autojunior. In 1982, owner Roberto Agostini, 38, custom-made the first luxury minicar for his daughter, and it was such a hit that he kept making them.
Fred Wagenhals, one of a handful of U.S. minicar makers, started producing domestic models in 1973, mostly for corporations for promotional use. But Wagenhals's F.W. Leisure Company in Tempe, Ariz. also fills personal orders. Farrah Fawcett bought Ryan O'Neal a black International Harvester Scout for $1,000, Sugar Ray Leonard gave his son an $800 red Corvette, and Sly Stallone bought his son a $900 yellow Pennzoil Indy racer.
To date the Beverly Hills police report no crack-ups of minicars, which are banned from public roads. But drinking and driving may yet become a problem. "We can put a phone in one of these," says one dealer, "so the kid could call his mom and ask for a glass of orange juice." Gulp.
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