... specialising in 1:43 scale model cars (Formula 1, Indy 500, Le Mans, GT and classic road cars)
Archived Updates - 2017
New Additions: December 2017
Welcome to the last update for 2017, yes it's December already and the downside is we have to wait four long months before the start of a next F1 season! Congratulations to Lewis on his 4th championship which is quite an achievement (only 5 drivers have won 4 or more); as well as being the world champion, he now holds the record for pole positions (72) and is steadily creeping up to Schumacher's record of 91 GP wins (he has 62). On the topic of F1, there's a couple of new models I like to mention, the first is the 2017 Force India VJM10 from Minichamps. The Force India's pink livery (the corporate colour of their main sponsor BWT) is the most distinctive of the entire 2017 grid and arguably, the most polarising. The team managed to finish 4th in the 2017 constructor's championship with 187 points, the most the team has scored since the team's debut in 2008.
The second model of interest is the 1967 Cooper Maserati T81B driven by Jochen Rindt. Cooper was a Formula One constructor between 1950 to 1969 and achieved considerable success for its own works team and for its numerous customer teams. The high points being the World Championship in 1959 and 1960 for Jack Brabham. Apart from building successful and revolutionary race cars (the first to mount the engine behind the driver), Cooper had the ability to attract talented drivers, one of those being Jochen Rindt who would go on to become world champion with Lotus. In 1966 and 67, Cooper used the large, heavy and thirsty 3.0L V12 Maserati engine (an updated and enlarged version of the engine last used in 1957) and the T81 chassis was necessarily on the large side to accommodate the bulky engine. The combination was not a success.
I recently received some really great models from Dutch model maker Neo and it was hard to pick one to highlight; eventually however I decided to select the stylish Chrysler 300B in white. This car was released in 1956 as a two-door hard top with a 5.8L (354 cu.i) V8 engine. Buyers had a choice between the 2-speed automatic or the 3-speed manual version. The 300B also had the honour of being the first American car to produce 1 horsepower per cubic inch and 1102 cars were produced.
Well that's it for another year, just one model fair this month; the regular Friday night fair at Granville on 8th December. This will be your chance to buy yourself a really nice Christmas present. Also, please don't forget to cast your vote in the "Greatest F1 Driver" poll; I'll post the results in next month's update. Nothing left but to wish everyone a safe, relaxing and fun-filled festive season. Happy collecting.
Le Mans/Spots Car Racing
After Thoughts: It's probably no co-incidence that Spark have just released the 1:18 scale model of Denny Hulme's 1967 Brabham Repco BT24 as it's 50 years since the New Zealander won the World Drivers Championship. Denny Hulme (18 June 1936 - 4 October 1992) made his F1 debut at the 1965 Monaco GP and his final race was the US GP in 1974; during this time he won eight grand prix races and stood on the podium 33 times.
Denny Hulme at 1967 Dutch GP (Photo: Eric Koch)
Hulme's racing career really started when his performances in an F2 Cooper Climax saw him invited to join the NZ Driver to Europe program in 1960. His results in F2 and Formula Junior across Europe that year were largely ignored by the NZ press who preferred to report on fellow Kiwi, Bruce McLaren. Hulme returned home and prompty won the 1961 NZ Gold Star Championship (NZ's premier championship for open-wheel race cars) and attracted the attention of Ken Tyrrell who invited Hulme to race with his F2 and Formula Junior teams. Back in Europe again, Hulme started to work as a mechanic in Jack Brabham's garage while pursuing his racing career. In 1964 Hulme joined Brabham's F2 team and enjoyed considerable success in partnership with his boss; as a reward he was invited to race in several non-championship F1 races. Finally in 1965 Hulme made his debut in the F1 Championship at Monaco, where he qualified 8th and finished 8th driving the Brabham Climax BT7 (incidentally, it was this race that Australian Paul Hawkins crashed into the harbour, the 2nd person to do so and probably the last). Hulme raced a further 5 races that year scoring a 4th and 5th place for a respectable debut year.
1966 was the first year of the new 3 litre engine formula and the Brabham team used the Repco V8 power plant in the BT19 chassis with Hulme now the full-time number 2 driver after Dan Gurney had left to race for his own team (AAR Eagle). For the record, team boss Jack Brabham won the 1966 championship with Hulme finishing in 4th. In 1967, Lotus unveiled the new Ford Cosworth DFV engine which would become the dominant engine for many years. The V8 Repco in Hulme's Brabham was now outclassed in the power stakes but it was a consistent and reliable power unit which Hulme used to great effect, winning 2 GP wins (Monaco, Germany) and 6 podiums from 11 races. His consistency won him the world championship, with Brabham 2nd (2 wins) and Jim Clark 3rd (4 wins).
For the 1968 season, Hulme joined the McLaren team where he stayed until his retirement from F1 at the end of 1974. His acheivements at McLaren never reached the same heights as his championship year but he won a further 6 races and was placed 3rd in the championship in 1968 and 1972 to complete a memorable F1 career.
Hulme was a prolific racer and typical of the drivers of that era he spent a lot of time racing in other categories, most notably in sports cars, Indy cars and Can-Am cars. His exploits in the Can-Am series are legendary, winning the championship in 1968 and 1970 in the Chevrolet powered McLarens. At Le Mans Hulme achieved a class win in 1961 and 2nd outright in a Ford GT40 in 1966. He also competed twice at the 24 hours of Daytona race in 1966 and 67. Hulme raced 4 times at the Indy 500 and finished in 4th place on two occasions (1967, 68) driving Ford powered Eagles. After his retirement from F1, Hulme spent most of his time as a co-driver in the Australian Touring Car endurance races and on the 4th October 1992 as he was barrelling down "Conrod Straight" at the Bathurst 1000 race, his BMW M3 suddenly veered to the left and rolled to a stop after sliding along the safety fence. When marshalls arrived at his stationary car, they discovered he had suffered a massive and fatal heart attack.
New Additions: November 2017
Welcome to another monthly update which is going to be short and sweet as I've just returned from my holidays. The new additions for November are listed below.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Sports Car Racing
Only one model fair this month - the regular Friday night meeting at Granville on 10th November, I hope to see you there. Until next month, happy collecting.
New Additions: October 2017
Welcome to my October update and thanks to all who dropped by my stand at the Hawkesbury Model and Hobby Show last month. This months new additions is light on "race" cars and is rather heavily skewed towards "road" cars as you can see below. The highight F1 car this month has to be the 2017 McLaren Honda MCL32 from Minichamps. The reason is that it's almost unheard of for Minichamps to release an F1 model in the same year that it actually raced! Also it was recently announced the McLaren-Honda partnership has been terminated after a troubled 3 year association; McLaren will switch to Renault engines for 2018 and Toro Rosso will take on the challenging Honda power plant.
The stunningly beautiful 1957 Eldorado Brougham is arguably the most lavish automobile that Cadillac ever made, as such this model by Neo is my pick of the road cars this month. It was by far the most expensive car made at that time and was built in limited numbers to show that Caddy was the luxury car king. Only the mega-rich and movie stars could afford this car and to give you some idea of its hefty price tag, a regular Cadillac sedan cost $4780, a Chevrolet sedan cost $2048 but the Eldorado would set you back $13075. Only 400 Eldorado Broughams were made in 1957 and Cadillac was rumoured to have lost $10000 on every sale but making a profit was never the intention with this car.
The Hudson Italia was a limited production 2-door compact coupe made by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit in cooperation with Carrozzeria Touring of Italy. The idea behind this car was to create a fast, sporty car and also for competition in the Carrera Panamericana road race. What resulted was a curious mix of Italian flair and American flash. Hudson commissioned Carrozzeria to build about 50 models but despite cheaper labour in Italy, the car was expensive and sales were slow. Then Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator in 1954 to form the American Motor Corporation (AMC) after which customers turned away in droves from Hudson and Nash branded cars. A total of 26 Hudson Italias were built and none was ever raced in the Carrera Panamericana. Neo have faithfully reproduced this stylish car in silver.
Well that's it for another month. Two model fairs this month with the Friday night Sydney Model Car Fair on 13 October at Granville and then the last Collectormania Toy and Hobby Fair for the year at Penrith on 15 October. Just a heads up, later this month I'll be on holidays so I won't be able to produce a full monthly "New Additions" update; most probably it will just be a list of new additions around mid-November. Until then, happy collecting.
Formula One / Transporter
American Race Series
Le Mans / Rally
After Thoughts: Another significant anniversary to occur this year which shouldn't go unheralded relates to the Mille Miglia open-road endurance race held in Italy. In fact the Mille Miglia celebrates a couple of anniversaries; it was 90 years ago (1927) that the first race was run and it was 60 years ago since the last race was held back in 1957.
After the Italian Grand Prix was moved from Brescia to Monza in 1927, a small group of Brescia residents responded by holding a road race starting from Brescia to Rome and return over a figure-eight course and covering 1500km (or 1000 "Roman Miles", hence the name Mille(1000) Miglia (Miles)). To show the drivers where to go along the 1000 mile route, the organisers designed the now famous red arrow with white lettering.
The first race, held on 26 March 1927 received 77 all Italian entries and 51 cars finished the race. The first finisher, fittingly was a 2-Litre OM 665S, a Brescia-made automobile which completed the course in just over 21 hours. During the 24 years of the Mille Miglia, it was dominated by local Italian drivers and marques but three races were won by foreign (German) cars. In 1955 Mercedes entered four 300 SLR cars for J.M. Fangio, Stirling Moss, Karl Kling and Hans Hermann. Moss with motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson as his navigator did 6 reconnaissance laps to allow them to develop pace notes on a scroll of paper measuring 5.4 metres long. After 10 hours 7 minutes, Moss and Jenkinson arrived back in Brescia victorious in the now famous silver #722 car averaging 160kph for the race. Moss' car number related to its starting time of 7:22am as cars were released at one minute intervals. In the Mille Miglia the slower, lower displacement cars were released the night before the faster cars in order to reduce the time the roads had to be closed.
The race was briefly banned by Benito Mussolini after several spectators were killed during the 1938 MM race but reinstated in 1940 where it was renamed the Grand Prix of Brescia. This wartime race was held over a short 100 km course which was lapped 9 times. The MM was stopped for the remainder of the war and racing resumed in 1947. From 1953 to 1957 the MM was also a round of the World Sports Car Championship.
The Mille Miglia was finally banned for good after 2 fatal accidents occurred during the 1957 race. The first accident took the life of Spanish driver Alfonso de Portago and his navigator when their Ferrari 335S crashed into group of spectators. Nine spectators also lost their lives. The second accident took the life of a driver of a Triumph TR3. From 1927 to 1957, the race took the lives of 56 people.
In 1977 a "revival" event called the Mille Miglia Storica commenced and continues today. A road rally held over several days, it retraces much of the original course and is limited to cars of pre-1957 vintage. In Brescia, a superb museum dedicated to the cars of the Mille Miglia is a must-see for racing fans.
New Additions: September 2017
Welcome to another monthly update. Firstly thank you to all who dropped by my stands at the Shannon's Classic Day and at the All British Day last month. I hope you all enjoyed the fine weather and the fine cars. This month I've received a number of new models to whet your collecting appetite. The first model I'd like to highlight is one that's been long awaited by collectors of F1 champions; the 1974 Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren Ford M23. Having clinched the World Championship for Lotus in 1972, Fittipaldi astutely switched to McLaren in 1974 and with three GP wins, he narrowly won the championship from Ferrari driver, Clay Regazzoni. This Spark model depicts his first win with McLaren at his home GP in Brazil.
Another F1 car I'd like to mention is Jolyon Palmer's Renault R.S.16 which he raced in the 2016 Chinese GP. Although he was not particularly successful at this GP (in fact finishing last) it's an interesting model due to the unique Chinese livery adopted for this race. This Minichamps model is not a mainstream release but was specially commissioned and as such, is a limited edition of just 100 very collectible models.
A couple of months ago, I introduced TSM's model of the Ford GT GTE test car in black. TSM have now released a few of the race versions of this gorgeous automobile. The all black test car, I have to say looks fast and menacing but the dark colour tended to obscure some of the finer details of the car. The race version however, with it's bright blue, red and white colour scheme seems to reveal more of the car's sexy aerodynamic curves; if I had to nominate my "model of the year" it would have be the Ford GT.
Minichamps continue to release models under their "Maxichamps" banner at an astonishing rate. A couple that caught my eye this month were the white and silver versions of the BMW 635 CSi. I've always had an affection for this Bimmer ever since I watched Jim Richards racing the black JPS liveried 635 around the race tracks in Australia.
Recently, I mentioned obtaining some genuine Cosworth DFV pistons; the full listing of pistons I have in stock has been added to the Misc Scale stock list. These polished pistons look great. OK, it's a wrap for another month. This month there is the regular 2nd Friday night Model Fair at Granville on 8th September and then the 2-day Hawkesbury Model and Hobby Show at the Hawkesbury Showgrounds on 16th and 17th. This show is part of the huge (and I mean HUGE) Sydney Antique Machinery Club's annual rally, well worth visiting for the diversity of machinery on display. I hope to see you at one or both of these events, until then, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Sports Car Racing
After Thoughts: With the new release by Spark of Frank Gardner's 1965 Brabham BRM BT11, I thought it would be a great opportunity to feature the life and career of this memorable Aussie racing driver.
Frank Gardner (b. 1931 - d. 2009) graduated from technical college with a mechanical engineering degree and when his father died in a car accident, he went to live with his uncle who was a motor racing enthusiast. At the age of seventeen, Gardner was behind the wheel of a MG TA in his first race which he won comfortably. Still only in his early twenties, Gardner started his own garage business and continued racing seriously, most noteably in Jaguars and winning 3 NSW Sports Car Championships. In 1958 with dreams of furthering his motor racing career, Frank headed off to Europe to try his luck. After a stint working as a racing mechanic with Aston Martin and at a driving school, he joined the Brabham team preparing the Brabham FJ car. In 1964 Gardner signed with the John Willment Automobile team, driving Ford saloons, Lotus and Brabham F2 cars and winning a number of races. He also made a brief appearance at the 1964 F1 British GP in Willment's customer Brabham BT10 where he qualified 20th but crashed out on the first lap. The following year, Gardner raced in seven World Championship Grand Prix in John Willment's under-resourced Brabham-BRM with a best result of 8th place in the British GP. He had slighter better results in the non-championship races with a 4th place in the Race of Champions.
By 1966 Gardner was contracted to Ford to drive for Alan Mann Racing where he had a mixed season driving the new GT40 at Le Mans and other endurance events. Gardner was now regarded as a fine all-rounder and was oftened called up by teams who wanted a good, reliable driver. Three British Saloon Car Championship titles didn't hurt his reputation and his driving prospects!
Frank regularly returned to Australia during the European winters to race in the Tasman Series with some success against the likes of Stewart, Clark and Hill. Gardner finally decided to retire from European racing in 1975 and he returned to Australia permanently but racing was still in his blood, taking out the 1977 Australian Sports Sedan Championship with a Chevrolet Corvair. After this championship win, Gardner concentrated his talents in team management roles, most notably winning the Australian Touring Car Championships in 1985 and 1987 with Jim Richards. Gardner, who had raced during an era when safety wasn't a big concern and where many of his fellow drivers were killed in accidents, had always maintained that he didn't care if he wasn't the fastest driver, he just wanted to be the oldest. He died on 29 August 2009, aged 78.
New Additions: August 2017
Welcome to another monthly update, I can't believe the year has gone so quickly. This month there aren't alot of new race cars but perhaps the most significant would be the 2016 Mercedes W07 of Nico Rosberg where he finished 2nd at Abu Dhabi but 1st in the championship. There have already been a number of models released of Rosberg's 2016 car but this one from Spark depicts the tyre marks left behind after his on track celebrations, the pit board announcing his title and Rosberg standing to take the applause of the appreciative crowd.
Spark: Rosberg's 2016 Mercedes Abu Dhabi
In January 2009, race car designer Ben Bowlby created a potential new Indy Car Series design for the 2012 Indy car season. With financial backing from Chip Ganassi, the prototype was unveiled in 2010 however the Indy car officials chose a Dallara design for the new 2012 one-make series. The design of Bowlby's was the DeltaWing. Unperturbed by being overlooked, Bowlby instead approached the Automobile Club de l'ouest, organisers of the 24 hours of Le Mans who accepted his entry to the 2012 race as a "Garage 56" entry, a category reserved for experimental vehicles. The radical design of the DeltaWing was aimed at reducing aerodynamic drag, thus allowing faster straight and cornering speeds compared to the existing Dallara design used at that time by the Indy car teams. It had the added advantage of achieving this with just half the weight, engine power and fuel consumption. As the name suggests it has a delta wing shape with an unusually narrow 0.6m front track with a more traditional rear track of 1.7m and has no front or rear wings, downforce being generated from the underbody. After Le Mans, where it retired after 75 laps, the car was then entered in the American racing series where it continues to seek its first win.
The Citroen DS19 was a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car manufactured from 1955 to 1975. Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertone and French aeronautical engineer Andre Lefebvre styled and engineered the car. Noted for its aerodynamic, futurist body design and innovative technology, the DS19 set new standards in ride quality, handling and braking and was the first production car to be equipped with disc brakes. The DS placed 3rd in the 1999 "Car of the Century" poll recognising the world's most influential automobile design; surpassed only by the Ford Model T and the Mini. Citroen sold over 1.4 million DS examples.
Well, its a wrap for another month. August will be a busy one with the regular 2nd Friday evening swap meet at Granville on 11th August, then on the weekend I'll be at the Shannons Sydney Classic at the Sydney Motorsport Park Eastern Creek on 12th-13th. Two weeks later I'll be attending the All British Day on 27th August at the Kings School, North Parramatta. I hope to you see you at these events, until then, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Rally Cars
After Thoughts: While Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer continue to struggle with the Renault R.S.17 this year, Renault proudly celebrates its 40th anniversary of their involvement in Formula 1. Renault have been associated with F1 as both a constructor and engine supplier for various periods since 1977. In1977 Renault made the bold move into F1 as a constructor but going against the established trend, they eschewed the use of a naturally aspirated 3.0 litre engine in favour of a 1.5 litre turbo-charged unit to power their RS01 chassis. The Renault-Gordini V6 1.5 litre turbo was the first regularly used turbo in F1 history. Renault entered the last 5 races of the 1977 season with Jean-Pierre Jabouille as its sole driver but the car and its engine proved highly unreliable and became something of a joke and failed to finish any of its races despite being extremely powerful.
However Renault persisted and in the following year, although still plagued with engine reliabilty issues Jabouille managed to score the team's first points, 4th at Watkins Glen. By 1979, no one was laughing anymore, Jabouille and new team mate, Rene Arnoux scored six pole positions and fittingly at the French GP, Jabouille scored the team's first GP win in the RS10. Renault continued to score pole positions and GP wins and nearly won the driver's championship with Alain Prost in 1983. Renault had proven the worth of the turbo engines and in 1981 Ferrari and Toleman (Hart) debuted their new 1.5 L engines and eventually turbos usurped the 3.0 litre engines. By 1985 Renault was not as competitive, with other teams doing a better job with their turbo engines and with the parent company facing financial difficulties, the F1 team withdrew from racing. For 1986 Renault continued as an engine supplier for just a year before pulling out of F1 completely.
In 2000, Renault returned to F1 by purchasing the Benetton team and continued to use the Benetton name for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. In 2002 the team officially changed to the Renault name believing they were finally in a position to win races and to reap the marketing benefits, but it wasn't until 2003 that Fernando Alonso won the Hungarian GP. In 2005, Renault won 8 Grand Prix with Alonso claiming 7 of those victories and Alonso was duly crowned World Champion. In 2006, in almost a carbon-copy performance of the previous year, Renault won the Constructor's and Driver's Championships with Alonso becoming a dual Champion.
The team's glory days faded after 2006 but the team hit the headlines in 2008 for all the wrong reasons. At the 2008 Singapore GP, Renault was found guilty of "race-fixing" when Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crashed to allow team mate Alonso a winning advantage. In 2010 Renault sold a majority stake in the team to Genii Capital but retained a 25% share and continued as an engine supplier. However in 2011, Renault sold its remaining share to Lotus with the team being renamed Lotus Renault GP but Renault continued as an engine supplier to other teams, most notably Red Bull.
Late in 2015, Renault signed an agreement to take over the Lotus team in 2016 to re-enter F1 as constructor. In 2016 they unveiled the Renault R.S.16 and their two drivers scored a total of 8 points for the season. Now half way through the 2017 season, the team is still struggling but have so far scored 26 points. History shows that Renault can not be underestimated; as a constructor they have won 35 Grand Prix and as an engine supplier, have provided over 130 F1 victories for its customers.
New Additions: July 2017
Welcome to my July update (sorry for its lateness), firstly thank you to all who stopped by my stand at the Collectormania Fair on 2 July. I hope you enjoyed the day. This month sees just a handful of interesting new releases. For F1 fans, Spark has released the 1978 Hesketh Ford driven by Eddie Cheever, the American driver who started in 132 races during his career spanning 11 years. Cheever made his F1 debut in 1978 at the age of 20 years, driving for Theodore Racing but failed to qualify in the first two races of the season. He then switched to the Hesketh team for a single race where he qualified 25th in a field of 26 at the South African GP. Unfortunately it was an inauspicious start to his F1 career, an oil leak ended his race after 8 laps of the Kyalami circuit. He never was able to win a GP during his 11 year career but managed a total of nine podium positions driving for teams such as Ligier, Renault and Arrows.
On the 50th anniversary of Ford winning the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race in a GT40 in 1966, Ford returned to Le Mans in 2016 with their new GT race car. The GT was powered by a 3.5 litre twin turbo V6 engine producing 647 HP. At Le Mans, one of the four factory-supported Ford GT's run by the Chip Ganassi Racing team won the GTE Pro class. TSM who have the exclusive Ford licence to produce the GT models have released the strikingly beautiful test car version in black.
The Hupmobile was a car manufactured by the Hupp Motor Car Company from 1909 to 1939. The founder, Robert Hupp was a former employee of Oldsmobile and Ford but after falling out with his investors in 1911, he was bought out and left the company. Hupp Motors continued to grow after its founder left and the company competed strongly against Ford and Chevrolet; in 1928 its sales had reached over 65.000 units. However sales and production began to decline even before the depression in 1930. The company had made a strategic mistake in attempting to enter the lucrative high end market and offered too many different models. With Hupmobile's low production capacity, the result was that no model could be produced in sufficient quantity to achieve economy of scale. Realising their mistake and desperate to return to market strength, the company bought the production dies for the Cord 810 hoping to produce a lower priced conventional car which they called the Skylark. Unfortunately production delays soured support for the Skylark. Finally in 1939 deliveries of the Skylark began but due to many cancelled orders only 319 were produced and Hupp Motors closed shortly after. Although not a new release, this Brooklin Models version of the Skylark is an excellent and hefty example of this ill-fated automobile.
Apart from the Collectormania Fair held on 2 July, the only other event this month is the regular Friday night swapmeet at Granville on 14 July. Just a reminder, next month will be the annual Shannons Classic Day at Eastern Creek (13 Aug) and the All British Day (27 Aug) as well as the Granville swapmeet (11 Aug). Until next month, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Sports Car Racing
After Thoughts: Fifty years ago on June 4th 1967, surrounded by the sand dunes of the Dutch Zandvoort circuit Colin Chapman unveiled his revolutionary new F1 car, the Lotus 49. Powering the Lotus and also making its race debut was the Ford Cosworth DFV 3L V8 engine. The 49 was an advanced design because of its chassis configuration; the specially designed Cosworth engine became a stress-bearing structural member bolted to the monocoque at one end and the suspension and gearbox at the other. History tells us it was a fairy-tale debut for both car and engine with Graham Hill taking pole and Jim Clark taking the chequered flag.
The Cosworth DFV (Double Four Valve) engine came about when the FIA announced the introduction of a 3 litre capacity engine to replace the 1.5 litre engines for the 1966 season. Chapman approached Keith Duckworth, a former employee at Lotus who was now running his fledgling Cosworth company with Mike Costin, to develop a 3L engine. Chapman then developed a business plan and presented it to Ford UK for a V8 engine which was approved. The agreement between Ford, Cosworth and Lotus gave Lotus exclusive use of the engine and initially Ford had no intention of selling or hiring the DFV to other teams, however Ford soon realised there was no worthy competition for their new engine. Ford believed their name could be tarnished if the Lotus continued to win against only lesser opposition. At the end of 1967, Ford executives politely informed Colin Chapman that his team no longer enjoyed a monopoly use of the DFV and the powerplant was now available for sale, via Cosworth to racing teams all around the world.
The first sale was made to the French Matra team headed by Ken Tyrrell with Jackie Stewart as its star driver. What followed was a golden era where teams small and large could buy an engine which was competitive, light, compact, easy to work with and relatively cheap. The DFV became the dominant F1 engine for over a decade. From its debut in 1967 to it last race win in the 1983 Detroit GP, the engine won 155 races (from 262 races) and powered 12 of the 15 world champions in that period. The DFV also powered home two Le Mans winning cars in 1975 and 1980. The onset of the turbo era in the early 1980's saw the beginning of the end for the venerable engine, even with modifications and upgrades the 15-year-old engine could not keep pace with the powerful 1.5L turbo engines. The last ever F1 race for the DFV was the 1985 Austrian GP, powering a Tyrrell driven by Martin Brundle.
I have recently acquired a number of geniune Cosworth DFV V8 pistons (complete with certificates of authenticity from Cosworth) which would make a great display beside your collection of Cosworth powered F1 models. I will have these on display and for sale ($250 each) at the forthcoming Shannons Classic at Eastern Creek on 13 August.
New Additions: June 2017
Welcome to another month's update. I'm running a little late this month so let's get straight down to the highlights. The Brabham Racing Organisation made its F1 debut in 1962, entering one car for Jack Brabham in three races late in the season. Then in 1964, American driver Dan Gurney scored the marque's first championship win at the French GP and he also won the Mexican GP later that year. Incidently, Gurney has the distinction of winning the first GPs for Porsche and Eagle as well as for Brabham.
Also in 1962, French automaker Panhard asked aerodynamicist and engineer Charles Deutsche (CD) to design a car for the 1962 Le Mans 24 hour endurance race. Work began on the CD Dyna coupe at the end of January 1962 and five cars were built powered by Panhard's air-cooled boxer twins with a capacity of 702 cc. Three CD Dyna Coupes raced at Le Mans in the prototype class with engines up to 805 cc, unfortunately car 54 crashed out after 73 laps but the sister car, number 53 finished 16th overall. The racing career of the CD Dyna did not extend beyond 1962.
The Fiat X1/9 two-seater mid-engined sports car was designed by Bertone and manufactured by Fiat from 1972 to 1982. The X1/9 was noted for its balanced handling, retractable headlights and its lightweight removable hard top. The early versions (1972-78) were powered by 1300 cc engines mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox and were considered under-powered compared with its rivals such as the Triumph TR7. Later versions (1979 - 82) addressed this problem with a larger engine (1500 cc) and a 5-speed gearbox. Leisurely acceleration is generally acknowledged as its greatest flaw but what the X1/9 does have in abundance is poise. Minichamps has released three colour versions of the X1/9 under its Maxichamps brand.
OK that's it for another month, there are two events in June; the regular fair at Granville on Friday 9th June and the Collectormania Fair at Hornsby on Sunday 11 June. Unfortunately I will not be attending the Hornsby event this year, and just a reminder the Penrith Collectormania Fair will be held on 2nd July. Until next month, happy collecting.
American Race Series
After Thoughts: This year marks the 40th anniversary of the final Targa Florio race which was held in 1977 on the challenging 72 kilometre road course in Sicily. Founded in 1906 by wealthy pioneer race driver, Vincenzo Florio this open road endurance race in the mountains of Sicily was part of the World Sportscar Championship from 1955 to 1973. The Targa was finally discontinued in 1977 due to safety concerns. There have been a few different versions of the course over it's long history; initially the race was a complete tour of the island but in the last decades of the race it was held over the 72 km of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie which was lapped 11 times.
The 72 km Targa Florio course 1951 -77 (By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36740148)
Alexandro Cagno, driving an Itala won the 1906 Targa Florio (By Unknown - book, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7393100)
The counter-clockwise course started and ended in the town of Cerda and took the competitors through mountainous sections with elevation changes up to 600 metres and then back to sea level where cars raced along a 6 kilometre coastal straight. In one lap, competitors had to negotiate over 700 corners and it was impossible to "learn" the track with any degree of confidence. By the 1920's the Targa had become the most important event in the European motor racing calender (Le Mans and Mille Miglia were just getting established) and all major sports car manufacturers were soon entering their newest, fastest models. A great rivalry between Mercedes, Maserati, Ferrari, Jaguar, Porsche and other illustrious marques were played out along the twisting, narrow roads of the Targa.
The record shows the Targa Florio was held 57 times in 67 years until its international demise in 1977. Over this period 9 people (including spectators) died which was a relatively small number given the lack of safety measures. This small number was attributed to the twisting nature of the mountain roads which kept lap speeds down. After 1977 it has been run as a rally. After winning the race several times, Porsche named the hard-top convertible version of the 911 after the Targa.
News Update: 13 May 2017
I've been informed the Hornsby Collectormania Fair is now scheduled for June 11th and not May 28th due to venue booking issues.
New Additions: May 2017
Welcome to my May update. Quite a few interesting models have arrived this month, some new and some older models to restock my inventory (and to add to your collection). So let's review a few of my "pick of the month" models. When I started collecting models car (sometime last century), Brumm provided quite a few of my models as the Italian model manufacturer produced a good range of classic Formula One cars. This company continues to release well made, affordable models 100% made in Italy, perhaps not to the same standard as Minichamps or Spark but desirable models nevertheless that fill many gaps in people's collection. Two fairly recent releases from Brumm are the1965 World Championship winning cars of Jim Clark. One is without the driver figure and the other has a reasonable representation of the Scottish champion behind the wheel of his Climax powered Lotus 33.
American model maker, True Scale Miniatures (TSM) has established a reputation for high quality models and it's easy to see why when they produce such excellent models like the Alfa Romeo 8C, Buick Roadmaster and the Cadillac Series 90 V16 Town Car. All of these models are from their top of the range "Collection d'Elegance" series and come with plenty of photo-etched parts and are mounted on stitched soft leather bases. These premium models come with a matching premium price but if quality is a paramount consideration then these won't disappoint.
Another model from TSM, or more correctly 3 models is a long sold out set of BRE Datsun 510's from the 1972 2.5 TransAm series. These Datsuns were prepared by Peter Brock's Brock Racing Enterprises (not the Aussie PB) and won two straight under 2.5 litre TransAm championships in 1971 and 72 against opposition from BMW's and Alfa's. Such was the dominance of the BRE Datsun 510's the opposition decided not to compete in the '73 season and the 2.5 TransAm series was canned leading to BRE being disbanded as well. This beautiful set of cars contain the #46 of John Morton (Champion), #85 driven by Bobby Alison and #68 by Bob Sharp. The set is a limited release of 750 and is signed by Peter Brock.
Okay, it's a wrap for another month. The regular Sydney Model Auto Club's swap meet will be held on 12th May at Granville and I've been told by the organiser of the Collectormania Fairs there will be a fair at Hornsby on May 28th. Don't forget to vote in the greatest F1 driver poll; 4-way tie at the moment between Senna, Prost, Fangio and Stewart. Until next time, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Land Speed Record
After Thoughts: In 1954 the Autodromo Nazionale Monza was redeveloped and work on the circuit also included the rebuilding of the oval section of the track which had been abandoned during World War 2. Then in 1956, the chairman of the Monza circuit met with one of the directors of USAC and they decided an oval race held in Europe would be popular and could attract the top F1 and USAC teams to an international competition. And so the 500 Miglia di Monza was born and was to become more commonly known as Monzanapolis (conjunction of Monza/Indianapolis) or "The Race of Two Worlds".
Monza Oval, raced anticlockwise. (By Rumbin - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4274750)
The race was envisaged to be a contest between the ten of the best from the "old world" against ten from the "new world". The first race was scheduled for June 1957 based on the Indy 500 race rules with 2.8 litre supercharged and 4.2 litre unsupercharged engine restrictions, rolling starts and three 63 lap races with an hour break between races for repairs making a total race distance of 500 miles. The overall race winner would be the driver who completed all three heats with the highest average speed. The Americans, naturally, were most comfortable racing on the bumpy 4.25 km Monza oval and took out the first three placings in 1957. The following year the Europeans were keen to stop the Americans from claiming the quite substantial prize money with Ferrari entering three cars while Maserati had a special Indy-type racer built for Stirling Moss called the Eldorado Special. Jaguar also had a custom-built car made by Lister Cars fitted with an engine from the D-type. The body was made from aluminium and stayed unpainted for the event and was raced by Jack Fairman.
Jimmy Bryan, fresh from his Indy 500 win returned to defend his 1957 title with his Belond Special Salih-Offy roadster. Other Americans included Jim Rathman, Rodger Ward and Troy Ruttman (all past and future Indy 500 winners) with their Offy powered roadsters.
Replicarz: Jimmy Bryan's 1958 Indy 500 car
Despite the improved efforts of the European entrants, the Americans were again too good on the oval with Jim Rathman winning all three heats in his Watson-Offy and Jimmy Bryan in second. The final heat was an exciting one for Stirling Moss as his steering sheared at more than 160 mph and all Moss could do was ride his uncontrollable car as it shed parts while it tore along the retaining wall which thankfully held to allow Moss to walk away uninjured. Unfortunately the organisers of the event were unable to make it profitable and it never returned in 1959. The banked oval remained part of the full F1 circuit until 1961 and ceased to be used for any motorsports in 1969. It has since been abandoned and left to decay.
New Additions: April 2017
Welcome to another monthly update but firstly thank you to all those who stopped by my stand at the Collectormania Toy and Hobby Fair last month. Despite the torrential rain, a large happy crowd attended the first show for 2017, the next one will be on 2nd July so mark that date on your calendar. The much-heralded flood of new models after the Chinese New Year hasn't really eventuated, at least not for classic F1 and Le Mans cars. But one that did come through was Larry Perkins' 1976 Boro-Ford; this was Larry's 2nd GP race (having previously run some practice laps in an Amon-Ford in 1974). His 8th place finish in the Boro-Ford at the Belgian GP was to be his best result in his short F1 career. The Boro was an F1 team from The Netherlands and the car was built by Ensign (an N175) but renamed after a legal dispute with Ensign's owner, Mo Nunn. Boro entered 8 GPs between 1976 to 1977 with Perkins' 8th place the best finish and the team went the way of all small, under-funded teams, a footnote in F1's history.
The heart-break story of the 2016 Le Mans 24 hour endurance race had to be the number 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid which led the race in the final laps, with the no. 2 Porsche running a minute behind. Nakajima, driving the no. 5 Toyota, had just started his final lap when unexpectedly the Toyota ground to a halt. Neel Jani's Porsche passed the ailing Toyota to claim victory while Nakajima limped the Toyota home but cruelly wasn't even classified as a finisher because he took too long to finish the last lap. Spark has produced this model, perhaps fittingly even before releasing the winning Porsche 919.
Kyosho has always produced high quality, affordable 1:43 die cast models often with opening features and their range of Porsche road cars is no exception. What is even more impressive is these are resin cast models.
Okay, that's it for another month. There is only one model fair this month, the usual Friday night event at Granville on 7th April. Please note this event has been brought forward one week to avoid the Good Friday holiday. Until next month, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Rally
After Thoughts: Last month saw the loss of another great F1 champion; Sir John Surtees passed away on 10 March at the age of 83. The son of a motorcycle dealer, Surtees entered his first motorcycle race at the age of 15 and after promising rides with the Norton racing team he was offered a place in the MV Agusta factory team. In 1956 Surtees won the 500cc World Championship for MV Agusta; he then went on to win the Championship 3 more times, in 1958, 1959 and 1960 for the same team. He also won the 350cc World Championship in 1958, 1959 and 1960, and the senior TT at the Isle of Man TT 3 years in succession.
In 1960 Surtees switched to four-wheeled racing full-time making his Formula 1 debut in the non-championship 1960 BRDC International Trophy race where he retired his Lotus-Climax. In only his second Championship race he finished a creditable 2nd. He then drove a Cooper the following year and a Lola in 1962 before joining Ferrari for the '63 season and winning the F1 World Championship in 1964. As was the norm for F1 drivers of that era, Surtees raced in other championships, including Can-Am cars and sportcars at Le Mans and it was while driving a Lola T70 at Mosport in 1965 that he suffered a life-threatening accident which left one side of his body an inch shorter than the other. However he went on to win the 1966 Can-Am series. Early in the '66 F1 season, he split with Ferrari after a disagreement regarding his participation at Le Mans and he joined the Cooper team where he finished 2nd in the Championship. Surtees then signed with Honda for 1967 and '68, winning his last of 6 race wins in '67.
In 1970 Surtees formed his own race team, the Surtees Race Organisation and the team spent nine years competing in Formula 5000, F2 and F1 as a constructor. He retired from competitive racing in 1972 and he remains as the only person to win world titles on 2 and 4 wheels.
New Additions: March 2017
Wow, it's already March, time is really going quickly; so welcome to another monthly update. The Chinese New Year holiday is well and truly over and loads of new models have been shipped out of the factories, however I wasn't able to secure any in time for this update but expect to see a few new and interesting models next month. So lets get to this month's highlights. American model manufacturer Replicarz continues to serve the Indy 500 collectors market with their fine range of detailed, classic 1:43 and 1:18 Indy 500 winners. Just released is the 1975 winner of Bobby Unser with his Jorgensen Eagle Offenhauser. With three former winners (Unser, Rutherford and Foyt) all on the lead lap, torrential rain hit the circuit when 174 laps had been completed and the red and the chequered flags were waved together. The win was Bobby Unser's second of three victories at the famous brickyard.
Replicarz: Eagle-Offy 1975 Indy 500 winner
It started as a bet between two men in 1936 as to who could build the fastest long distance race car; the race was to be staged between Berlin and Rome and the two men were Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The race never eventuated but the engine and aerodynamic development that occurred was implemented in the Hanomag Airstream car. In 1939 the Hanomag driven by Karl Haerberle broke the world record for small diesel engined cars with a speed of 165 kph. The car was destroyed during the second world war but a project to rebuild it to its original specifications using as many original parts as possible has begun and is still in progress. Meanwhile, collectors can own a replica produced by Schuco.
The Stutz Blackhawk was an American luxury car made from 1971 and when production stopped in 1987, approximately 600 had been produced. The Blackhawk design incorporated a spare tyre that protruded through the boot lid, a massive front grille and free standing headlamps. The Blackhawk was prototyped by Ghia in Italy and it made its debut in 1970. The very first Blackhawk was purchased by Elvis Presley and can be seen at the Graceland Museum in Memphis. PremiumX, an IXO brand has produced several variants of this luxury automobile in 1:43 scale.
Okay, its a wrap for another month. There are two model fairs month; the regular monthly fair at Granville on Friday 10th and the first Collectormania Fair for the year on 19th. Don't forget the Australian GP on 26th and also the F1 Greatest Driver poll. Until next month, happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / Rally / Speed Record
After Thoughts: The month of March heralds a new season of F1 racing and this year sees one of the biggest regulation overhauls since the introduction of hybrid turbo power units in 2014. This time the changes are centred around bodywork and tyres with both getting wider to boost downforce and grip for the purpose of making the cars faster and physically more difficult to drive. Expect lap times to fall by 3 to 5 seconds according to the teams. So what are the major changes ...
Tyres: Tyre widths have increased with rears going from 325 to 405mm and fronts from 245 to 305mm. This will mean inceased mechanical grip which will translate into faster cornering speeds and faster lap times.
Body and Wings: Front wing span will increase from 1650 to 1800mm. Also the basic shape of the front wing has been defined and must be used by all team. The height of the rear wing has been lowered and the diffuser is more powerful (wider and higher). The barge boards will be much longer this year which will significantly increase aerodynamic downforce.
Engine: A number of changes have been introduced aimed at reducing power unit costs, guaranteeing supply for customer teams and closing the performance gap between engines.
Teams: Manor Racing won't be racing this year as the team went into administration earlier in the year and a buyer was not able to be found.
Drivers: Only one rookie driver this year, Canadian Lance Stroll joins the Williams Team who was to replace the retiring Filipe Massa but ended up replacing Bottas who replaced Rosberg at Mercedes. Massa was enticed out of retirement to return to Williams. Stoffel Vandoorne gets a full time drive to replace Button at McLaren. The other driver changes involved a round of musical chairs with drivers moving to fill places vacated by other moving drivers. Those to miss out this year are Esteban Gutierrez (ex Hass), Rio Haryanto (ex Manor) and Filipe Nasr (ex Sauber) to join retiring Jensen Button and Nico Rosberg.
Engine Supply: The only change is Toro Rosso using Renault engines after using year-old Ferrari engines in 2016.
The pre-season testing at the Barcelona circuit in February had Ferrari and Mecedes topping the lap times with Red Bull and Renault not too far behind. It came as no surprise that Mercedes and Ferrari also completed the most test laps to reflect their superior reliability. Disappointingly, McLaren and Toro Rosso finished with the fewest laps over four days. The fastest cars through the speed traps were surprisingly the Ferrari powered customer teams. It appears the gap between Mercedes and the rest of the field has decreased with Ferrari leading the charge but it's hard to see Mercedes not winning the championship again.
News Update: 12 February 2017
The first Penrith Collectormania Toy and Hobby Fair for the year has been confirmed for 19th March. Great news, it doesn't clash with the Australian GP this year.
New Additions: February 2017
Welcome to the February update and happy Chinese New Year. There aren't too many new releases at this time of year as the Chinese factories close for their annual holidays but expect that to all change once they return to work. So what are this month highlights? The major players in the 1:43 F1 market, Spark and Minichamps have been working overtime to get Nico Rosberg's 2016 Championship winning Mercedes AMG W07 out to the market and it seems Minichamps have won this race, but don't expect to wait too long for the Spark releases. This 2016 Rosberg car is from his last race at Abu Dhabi where he finished second behind Hamilton but it was enough to secure the championship by 5 points.
Minichamps have recently introduced a new brand onto the market called "Maxichamps" which are packaged in distinctive orange cardboard boxes. These are all diecast road cars in 1:43 and are priced below the normal Minichamps model range. The quality also appears to be lower as well so these will appeal to the budget collector and the subject matter is quite broad with a mix of cars from the 1950s through to modern cars. The one below is the 1969 Ford Capri RS.
Not to be out-done, Spark have also recently introduced a new series of models. Interestingly, these are metal diecast models which is a radical move by this renowned resin model maker. The packaging is most interesting; instead of the usual acrylic cover over a wooden base, these models come inside a plastic "shipping container" with a clear plastic front and the containers are stackable. The model itself is screwed to a plastic plinth and it takes a bit of effort to extract the model from the container. You need to press down on a flexible plastic latch and then try to slide the plinth from the shipping container. Pricing for these cars, which are all road cars is about half the price of their resin cars.
I just received an email last week from the Hawkesbury Model and Hobby Show's organising committee and they have decided to call it quits, so no more HM&H Shows ever. Last year the show was part of the Sydney Antique Machinery Club's Clarendon Rally, while the Rally will continue this year the HM&HS will not. The HM&HS was a great show and will be missed. Only one model fair this month, the usual Friday night fair at Granville on 10th February. Don't forget to vote for F1's Greatest Driver, the poll will run until the end of the year and Aryton Senna is in the lead (just). Thanks for casting your vote. Until next month, happy collecting.
Formula One / Transporter
American Race Series
After Thoughts: "Tales of the Race Truck". Once thought of as redundant scrap, classic racing car transporters are now among the world's most desirable vehicles, according to Martin Buckley in his on-line article for "The Telegraph". I've reproduced parts of his article (without permission but I'm happy to remove it should it be an issue) that was first published in 2005. The full article can be found at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/2739051/Tales-of-the-race-truck.html
"Modern Formula One drivers and mechanics travel separately to events and reside in vast motorhomes that offer the luxury of a five-star hotel. But the life of a racing driver in the 1950s and 1960s was much more austere. He'd slum it in a local bed-and-breakfast if he was lucky or, if the budget didn't run to that, cuddle up with the cars and mechanics in a rudimentary transporter that doubled as a mobile workshop.
Post-war, in the years before big-money sponsorship such vehicles were often based on the chassis of old buses and war-surplus American army trucks with the backs hacked off. However, a few of the better-funded teams could afford purpose-designed transporters, and over the past decade these have become much more widely appreciated as evocative pieces of pit-lane history. The Ecurie Ecosse transporter, built in 1959, is now almost as well-known as the million-pound Jaguar C-types and D-types that it carried. It was the first of the classic transporters to be restored, raising awareness of a vehicle genre that had for the most part been forgotten. Designed by an aeronautical engineer, its sleek and shapely body was an entirely bespoke design fashioned in lightweight aluminium -alloy. It was the first of the high-speed transporters, progenitor of the machines you'll find at today's F1 events. Indeed it seemed so fresh and futuristic 40 years ago that Corgi made a model of it. [Phil - Spark have also made a 1:43 model - S0285] Cruising at 50mph, this transporter could go 1,000 miles across Europe on its 60-gallon diesel tanks, ideal for a long-haul back from a continental circuit carrying tired cars, tired mechanics and perhaps even one or two of the junior drivers.
Sadly, for every classic transporter that has been saved and restored, many others have been lost. Lancia built a beautiful, six-wheeled mobile workshop to service its D50 racers, but it ended up as a horse trailer before being scrapped in the 1970s. Even the 1954 Mercedes transporter, probably the best known of the classic works vehicles, didn't escape the cutting torch. It only served as a race transporter for about 18 months - Mercedes pulled out of competition in 1955 after the Le Mans disaster - but gave faithful service as a test rig until 1967, when it was cruelly scrapped because it was too heavy for the factory museum floor. It wasn't just a re-bodied bus but a specially designed, high-speed, low-slung, single-car transporter with the same engine and front-end styling as the flagship sportcar, the 300SL Gullwing. While other race team transporters plodded across Europe at 45mph, the Mercedes could reach more than 100. It was such a striking vehicle that it often caused more of a stir than the SLR racers it carried and the mechanics grew so tired of the inevitable questions that they painted "max speed 105mph" on the rear wing.
Enzo Ferrari commissioned a purpose-built transporter in 1957, but it was rather less scientific. An elegant, Bertolli-designed Fiat, it would otherwise have led a dismal existence as an Italian dustbin wagon but ended up delivering F1, F2 and sports racing cars to events across Europe before being put out to grass in 1969.
Having been rescued from obscurity, the most evocative of the classic transporters are welcomed as special guests at all the most up-market classic car events. Once they were regarded as little more than scrap. Now, to own a genuine period racing car transporter is one of the ultimate status symbols in the world of historic motorsport."
New Additions: January 2017
Welcome to the first update for the new year and I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing break. Over the holiday period I was able to add some interesting models to kick-start your collection for the new year. Okay, let's get straight into this month's featured models. After making his name taming the Porsche 917 sports car, Rolf Stommelen entered Formula One with Brabham in 1970 as team mate to Jack Brabham. With sponsorship from the motoring magazine "Auto Motor und Sport" Stommelen achieved a fine third place in the Austrian GP in his rookie year. He participated in 63 F1 Grand Prix in a career spanning 8 years, achieving one podium and 14 championship points. In 1975 while driving an Embassy Hill-Ford, the rear wing broke sending him over the barrier and 5 spectators were killed by Stommelen's flying car. Stommelen also won the 24 Hours of Daytona 4 times in addition to winning the 1977 German DRM in a Porsche 935. Tragically Stommelen was killed during an IMSA Camel GT event at Riverside in April 1983 driving a Porsche 935. The Spark model of his Brabham is from his French GP where he finished seventh.
The BMW M1 Procar Championship was a one-make racing series that pitted professional drivers from the F1 Championship, World Sportscar Championship, European Touring Car Championship and other international series against one another using identically modified BMW M1 sports cars. The Procar series was held for just two years from 1979 to 1980 and served as support races for various rounds of European rounds of the F1 Championship. The Minichamps model depicts the strikingly liveried 1980 BASF M1 of Hans-Joachim Stuck who won two rounds but ended 3rd in the final standings.
In 1956 Buick unveiled the Centurion concept car; it was a 2-door 4-passenger coupe made of fibreglass. It was powered by a 325 HP V8 engine and featured a long hood sloping towards the front and an all glass top. Minichamps have superbly replicated this car in 1:43 and is a limited edition of 999 pieces.
Okay, that's it for the first month of the year. There is only one event this month which is the Granville Model Fair on 13th January. Please check my Swap Meets link regularly as I will be updating dates for future events as they are confimed. Lastly please cast your vote in my F1's Greatest Driver poll and happy collecting.
American Race Series
Le Mans / GT Racing / Rally cars
After Thoughts: The Rally Monte Carlo is the most prestigious rally in the world; every driver wants to win here at least once in their career. First held in 1911, the 85th running of the rally on 20th January 2017 marks the start of the 13 round World Rally Championship. The original idea behind the Monte Carlo Rally had absolutely nothing to do with car racing but everything to do with tourism. The Principality wanted to attract visitors to the Cote d'Azur during the cold months of winter and so Prince Albert I gave his approval in 1911 for a rally that started in many different European nations and converged on the city state on the Mediterranean. Twenty-three cars set off in 1911 from 11 different locations; the winning car of Henri Rougier in a 25HP Turcat-Mery was one of 9 that left from Paris to cover the 1020 kilometre course. The rally comprised both driving and (somewhat arbitrary) judging based on the elegance of the car, passenger comfort and the condition in which it arrived in the principality.
Henri Rougier with his rally winning Turcat-Mery
In 1932, a most farcical event occurred; after travelling the length or breadth of Europe as quickly a possible through snow and ice, competitors found that the entire rally would be decided by a crazy final test. They had to drive as slowly as possible over a distance of 100 yards with their wheels moving at all times! A Frenchman, M. Vaselle driving a 3.5 litre Hotchkiss salon covered the distance in 2 minutes 35.51 seconds at a speed of 1.5 mph to win the most coveted prize in rallying. The go-slow test was unceremoniously dumped the following year.
Further controversy engulfed the Monte Carlo Rally in 1966 when the first 3 cars (Mini Coopers) and the fourth place Ford Lotus Cortina were disqualified for using non-dipping halogen headlights which the organisers declared to be against the rules and the victory went to the Citroen team. In 1997 a tradition that had lasted more than 70 years ended. For the last time the Monte Carlo Rally began with cars settting off for Monte Carlo from multiple (equidistance) locations within Europe.
The Monte Carlo Rally also features one of the most famous special stages in the world. This 31 km stage is run over a steep and tight mountain road with numerous hairpin turns and it passes over the Col de Turini, a mountain pass which normally has ice and snow on certain sections. It is common for spectators to liven up the action by shovelling new snow onto the route just before competitors arrive and who often end up skidding all over the place to the delight of the fans. It's all part of the Rally Monte Carlo.
Statistically, Sebastien Loeb is the most successful driver winning seven times, but Walter Rohrl achieved the unparalleled feat of winning the rally 4 times with 4 different marques; in 1980 with a Fiat 131 Abarth, in 1982 with an Opel Ascona 400, one year later with a Lancia Rally 037 and the season after with an Audi Quattro A2.
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