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J_D's 1/43rds: Spark 1970 Gurney McLaren GP - 2/24/18


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#1 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 03:03 PM

1966 was to be the year that Ford finally won Le Mans and beat Ferrari for the World Sports-Prototypes Championship. To that end, the Ford factory teams focused on Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans (which it would eventually sweep), but there were  seven races for the Over-2-Liter division that the GT40 Mk. IIs competed in and to ignore the rest would deprive them of a shot at the season title (though Le Mans was definitely the crown jewel).

Monza, the Targa Florio, Spa and the Nürburgring constituted the rest of the series. Monza was Ferrari’s home ground and the Mk. II’s were ill-suited to either the Targa or the undulating Nürburgring so the factory Fords skipped all three. But the high-speed Spa circuit could be a competitive venue so, though hampered by the fact that Spa was the same day as the Monaco Grand Prix so all Ford’s F1 drivers were unavailable, Alan Mann Racing entered the Mk. II that Dan Gurney and Jerry Grant had driven to 2nd place in the season-opening Daytona 24-Hour race for their drivers Sir John Whitmore and Frank Gardner.

Mikes Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti would drive the sole factory Ferrari 330P3 to pole and a one-lap victory over the AMR Mk. II but the Ford’s second place would provide the margin that allowed Ford to clinch the 1966 Over-2-Liter  International Manufacturers Championship with their win at Le Mans the following month.

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Left: Starting grid for the 1966 Spa 1000 Km.: #1 Parkes/Scarfiotti Ferrari 330P3, #4 Whitmore Gardner Ford GT40 Mk. II and #42 (hidden) Scott/Revson Ford GT40 Mk. I. Right: Whitmore/Gardner on their way to finish in 2nd place

Interesting note: often overlooked in the triumph of the Mk. IIs was that during this same season, Essex Wire Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, having entered auto racing in 1965 sponsoring a Cobra, ran a pair of GT40 Mk. Is in the Over-2-Liter Sports class (for Group 4 cars of which at least 50 had been produced). Team manager and lead driver was Skip Scott who recruited Peter Revson, Dr. Dick Thompson (“The Racing Dentist”), Ed Lowther, Masten Gregory, Augie Pabst, Whitmore, David Hobbs, Jochen Neerpasch and Jackie Ickx to drive when available in six of the seven events (skipping the Targa) for the class. They won their class at Sebring (3rd overall), Monza (2nd overall to a Ferrari 330P3), Spa (3rd overall) and with class wins in the other races by other teams’ GT40s (though none as high in the overall standings), helped win Ford the Over-2-Liter  International Sportscar Championship the same year.

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Scott/Revson on their way to 3rd overall and 1st in the O2L Sports class

As anyone who has viewed my collection will know, I’ve tried to collect all the Mk. IIs available in 1/18th diecast. But the Spa version is one of several that has never been released by anyone, so when I saw Diecast Select offered the 1/43rd Minichamps version of this car for under $35, I decided to break my rule and buy the little imp (with two others), the first 1/43rds I’ve owned since some years ago when I bought another car unlikely to be released in my chosen scale, the Penske Sunoco Ferrari 512M (since sold).

One of the appeals of this model is that it’s still in diecast and has the added touch of having an opening rear deck with a detailed engine compartment, something I did not expect in this scale, particularly at this price. The execution of the model is outstanding, the details very good when compared to my Exoto 1/18th versions, and the simple livery (white with a matte black front deck - sorry for not brushing it off before photographing!) is done properly. It even has the lettering on the thin ribbon below the doors: "ALAN MANN RACING LTD. BYFLEET ENGLAND".

The hooks on the nose for the tire-lifting mechanism are a beautiful touch (though the left one is slightly tilted at the bottom) as is the detailed interior. On the rear deck it correctly has the twin brake scoops that were added to the Mk. IIs after Daytona, though the center rectangular scoop between them has exaggeratedly high side walls compared to the 1:1:

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I love the mesh grate on the rear but that’s also where my major criticism is leveled, as the grate isn’t properly fitted – it looks like it was not correctly formed and sized to fit the body indents where it goes.

And under the clear covers, the headlights are a bit wonky, not level, and they appear to be dual headlights, which according to the one pic I have of the 1:1 should be rectangular SINGLE lenses, as demonstrated on the Exoto versions:

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Still, it’s a little beauty and for the price, easily a steal.

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Edited by Jersey_Devil, 25 February 2018 - 04:43 AM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

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#2 OFFLINE   Dave7872

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 03:33 PM

Congrats on the new 1/43 mate. Looks great, Be careful though Red. 43's are a very slippery slope indeed.
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#3 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 15 August 2016 - 03:44 PM

I hear that, Dave. I've already started looking for cars not covered in the larger scales, particularly driven by my man Dan Gurney, when previously my fingers would automatically cramp up when attempting to type "1/43" in the search box  :rolleyes:.

But fear not - I am holding them to a higher standard (and lower prices) than most 1/43rds I see so unless I run into the right cars on sale (like the Diecast Select going-out-of-business sale that enticed me into this triple purchase), they will still be few and far between in my collection!

Next up: Dan Gurney's 1967 Riverside Rex Mays 300-winning Eagle-Offy!
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#4 OFFLINE   simondc07

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 06:52 AM

I am a Ferrari Fanboy first and foremost and hate that Ford killed Ferrari's dominance at Le Mans. But the GT40 is exceptional in so many ways that it is hard not to like (many have sneaked their way into my collection). The shape, the bellowing V8s and their durability once developed made for an all time endurance classic.

Not sure about dipping a toe in the 1/43 pond, I have seen the water is very deep and has lost many a 1/18 collector. But then again as you have stated there are many obscure vehicles that have only been modeled in 1/43 scale. Good luck fighting future addiction

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#5 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 06:33 PM

LOL! Thank you, Simon - with friends like you in my support group, I should be able to withstand the temptation - to a point. I mean, how could I resist three of my more desired models for less than $35 USD each? Since their usual going rates are in the $70-80 range, i won't have too much trouble staying 1/18th strong, despite the relative lack of new diecasts in my chosen category - POWER TO THE SCALE :eusa_clap:!
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#6 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 09:49 PM

In late 1964 Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby, with financial backing from Goodyear, established All American Racers. Although Gurney negotiated the right to design and manufacture F1 cars – his true love – it was always Goodyear’s intent that AAR would be a producer of Indy cars after they were embarrassed in 1964 when the night before the 500 all the Goodyear cars in the race changed to Firestone after the Firestones had been proven to be faster, leading to some overnight “backroom negotiations”. This way, Goodyear controlled the team creating the cars so no such shenanigans could occur.

Dan could be considered the man behind Lotus’ campaign at Indy, having bought Colin Chapman an airline ticket to view the 500 in 1962 and talking Ford into supplying the engines for their campaign of built-for-Indy Lotus 29 chassis. He became Jim Clark’s teammate at Lotus in 1963 when the Scot almost won the 500 in his and the team’s rookie year (and probably should have since race leader Parnelli Jones’ roadster was leaking oil late in the race and officials had made it clear that would result in a black flag – but, after heated discussions, didn’t wave it despite cars crashing on the oil. Home cooking, anyone?); Gurney finished 7th after extra stops for tires.  

In August, Clark and Gurney qualified 1-2 and finished 1st (leading every lap) and 3rd (after being slowed by a misfire) in the Milwaukee 200, the first-ever victory for a rear-engined car in the Championship Car series. In September, the duo qualified 1-2 again for the Trenton 200; Clark led the first 49 laps until a broken oil line put him out and Gurney led the next 97 until the same malady parked him.

In the horrific 1964 Indy 500, Clark took pole with record-setting speeds and Gurney in the 2nd Lotus 34-Ford was 6th, but Chapman stubbornly ignored suggestions to use the favored Firestone tires in lieu of Dunlops. Clark ran away and hid at the start but, as predicted, the Dunlops were not up to the stress and they came apart, damaging Clark’s suspension and putting him out. Gurney’s car would be withdrawn later for safety reasons after the same tire chunking occurred to his Dunlops.

Len Terry designed the dominant Lotus 38 that Jim Clark led 190 of the 200 laps in the 1965 500 on his way to victory. That year, the fledgling AAR organization received a new 38 as well (both cars beautifully rendered in 1/18th diecast by Carousel 1) and Gurney qualified on the front row, 3rd fastest behind Clark and polesitter A.J. Foyt.  Gurney ran 3rd in the race until he was put out on lap 42 with timing gear issues.

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Carousel 1 Lotus 38-Ford driven by Jim Clark to win the 1965 Indy 500

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My Carousel 1 AAR Lotus 38-Ford driven by Dan Gurney in the 1965 Indy 500

In August, Gurney would qualify and finish 3rd in the Milwaukee 150; the race was won by Joe Leonard in an AAR-owned Halibrand Shrike with two other AAR Shrikes finishing 5th (Roger McCluskey) and 9th (Lloyd Ruby) (AAR was campaigning the Shrikes for the three drivers nearly full-time in 1965 and Leonard would finish the season 6th in the USAC Champ Car standings, McCluskey 7th and Ruby 13th driving half the season for AAR). Two weeks later at the same track, Gurney qualified the AAR Lotus 38 2nd and lead 28 laps but DNF'd in the Milwaukee 200 while Ruby, McCluskey and Leonard's AAR Shrikes would finish 3rd through 5th.

The first AAR Eagles were designed by Terry (who had parted with Lotus to join AAR before his 38 won the 500); the Mark 1 Eagles were the Formula One cars, the Mark 2 was the 1966 Indy car and the Mark 3 the 1967 Indy car. The first Indy Eagle to race was Lloyd Ruby’s in April’s Trenton 150; he qualified 2nd and led until engine failure at quarter distance.

At Indy in May, 1966, five Eagles were entered and all qualified. The three AAR cars were driven by Gurney, Ruby (both released by Carousel 1 in 1/18th diecast) and Joe Leonard, while the others went to frequent Gurney co-driver Jerry Grant and Roger McCluskey. Gurney's #31 was one of the victims of the infamous first-lap crash that took out 11 cars:

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while Leonard, Grant and McCluskey were classified in 9th, 10th and 13th at race end. Ruby, however, began the string of incidents that made him possibly the unluckiest driver in Indy history, leading 68 laps and dominating until his car lost its oil and the engine failed only 30 laps from the end.

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Left: Carousel 1 AAR Eagle Mk. 2-Ford driven by Dan Gurney in the 1966 Indy 500; Right: Carousel 1 AAR Eagle Mk. 2-Ford driven by Lloyd Ruby in the 1966 Indy 500 nearly to victory

But on August 7, 1966, McCluskey drove his G.C. Murphy Stores Special Eagle Mk. 2-Ford to victory in the Langhorne 150, his and the Eagle’s first victory.

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Don Branson's dirt car is on pole (!) next to Roger McCluskey's Lindsey Hopkins Eagle-Ford as they line up for the start of the 1966 Langhorne 150. McCluskey would go on to take the first win ever for an Eagle in this race.

1967 saw six new Mk. 3 Eagles entered in the 500: AAR had three for Gurney (also well-done by Carousel 1):
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My Carousel 1 AAR Wagner-Lockheed Eagle Mk. 3-Ford as driven by Gurney in the 1967 Indy 500

Grant and future F1 World Champion Jochen Rindt, two for Bobby Unser and McCluskey and Smokey Yunick entered one for 1967 F1 World Champ-to-be Denny Hulme. Gurney qualified 2nd to Mario Andretti and ran in that position behind Parnelli Jones’s controversial STP Paxton turbine until problems with his fuel tank selector put him back in the standings and he went out at lap 160 with a dropped valve. The only finishers were Rookie of the Year Hulme, 4th in his Eagle with typical Yunick flourishes, such as aerodynamically smoothing wheel covers:

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and Unser in 9th.

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Left: Carousel 1 Eagle Mk. 3-Ford driven by Bobby Unser in the 1967 Indy 500 and to 3rd in the 1967 USAC Championship Car standings; Right: Unser in the 1:1 finishing 2nd in the 1967 Riverside Rex Mays 300

Gurney’s only other foray into Indy cars in 1967 was the season-ending and championship-deciding inaugural Rex Mays 300 at what most considered Dan’s home track, Riverside. This time, the typical dual-overhead-cam Ford engine was replaced by a stock block Ford engine with Gurney-Weslake heads, similar to, but a larger displacement than the one that failed in Rindt’s car at Indy. Other mods included aerodynamic aids such as nose tabs and a “brace” that stabilized the exhausts but also served as a rudimentary rear spoiler.

This event drew in more than the usual USAC Championship crowd with noteworthy "road-ringers" former World Driving Champions Jim Clark and John Surtees, Jerry Grant, sportcar and Trans-Am drivers Jerry Titus and George Follmer, former Honda F1 and factory Ford driver Ronnie Bucknum and Can-Am driver Lothar Motschenbacher.

Not surprisingly, Gurney took pole and, though pressed early by fellow front row-sitter Clark in a Vollstedt-Ford until Clark’s engine broke a lap after taking the lead, led at will and, after a flat tire took him out of the lead, battled back to take the lead with two laps left and win ahead of Bobby Unser's Rislone Eagle-Ford.

https://www.flickr.c...tream/lightbox/

Photo of Clark having just taken the lead from Gurney, blowing up (link is to Flickr album full of never-before-seen photos of the race!)

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Left: Gurney on his way to victory in the Rex Mays 300; Right: Gurney (front) and Jim Clark (rear) in the Vollstedt-Ford forming the front row for the start at Riverside - this would be Clark's last Indy car race as he was killed the following April, 1968

Spark’s 1/43rd rendition of the Rex Mays-winning Eagle is superb, as one might expect, with incredible detail, down to the decals and labeling on the headers. Failings are: the nose fins are the wrong color, needing to be the same blue as the livery instead of bare aluminum grey; the rear exhaust connector/spoiler is shorter than it should be and the knock-off nuts are too small. It has no opening or moving parts but offers an otherwise excellent static representation of this victorious car (though I still prefer my Carousel 1 1/18th Indy version).  

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Next: 1968 Chaparral 2G!

Edited by Jersey_Devil, 17 January 2018 - 03:48 PM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#7 OFFLINE   Scalainj

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 03:58 AM

You are on the slippery slope mate. And it seems you have just donned your margarine trousers
Welcome to 1/43. I started with 2 to complement the 1/18s.
Fine choices on the above two.
When you have nothing good to say, best say nothing.

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#8 OFFLINE   Dave7872

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 04:20 AM

Congrats on another 43 mate. Looks like theres plenty of detail there.

@ Andy, Love it, Margarine trousers.  :giggle:
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" If one does not fail at times, Then one has not challenged himself "

Ferdinand Porsche.


My Showcase Pictures.... Click here

#9 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 11:17 AM

It's all right, Andy - since my theme is limited to racing cars and I want the features (opening doors, hatches, etc.), there are only so many 1/43rds that I will "tolerate" in my collection that lack them - I've already sampled and rejected adding a significant number of resins to my 1/18th inventory for that reason.

So that margarine will be on my toast, not my pants :nice:...
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#10 OFFLINE   Dave7872

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 03:49 PM

I went through a stage of trying to get a 43 to match up with my 18's. Trouble is, With 43's, There's just so many little beauties to choose from.
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" If one does not fail at times, Then one has not challenged himself "

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My Showcase Pictures.... Click here

#11 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 09:56 PM

As the 1968 Canadian-American Challenge Cup series start date approached, Jim Hall’s Chaparral Cars was hard at work on the radical 2H “coupe”. Unfortunately, during testing on the Monday before the first race, the car suffered a major suspension failure that led them to classify it as a design flaw which delayed the appearance of the redesigned car for another year.

So when Hall showed up at Road America for the Can-Am opener, it was with the 2G from 1967, updated with huge “truck” fenders on the rear for wider rear tires and a scoop on top of the engine injectors. However, race day was rainy and, forced to start on skinny rain tires, the car was a handful and Hall spun twice on his way to fifth place.

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Hall's 2G during the rainy 1968 Road America Can-Am. Note the undersized tires that caused race-long handling problems.

Bridgehampton was bright and sunny and this time on an increasingly oily track, the 2G on its Firestone tires was a match for the all-conquering Goodyear-shod McLarens. Hall took the lead and was consolidating it when his injector check valve stuck and the engine lost power. By the time the problem resolved itself, a third of the race had passed, too late to make up lost ground; Hall finished 2nd behind Mark Donohue after the factory McLarens dropped out.

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Hall after passing Bruce McLaren and now setting out after Denny Hulme's M8A in the Bridgehampton Can-Am before engine troubles slowed him

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Hall leading Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren's M8As in the Bridgehampton Can-Am before engine troubles slowed him

At Edmonton, Alberta, the 2G, now with an even wider wing and larger nose “mustaches”, had survived being dropped off its trailer on the drive up from New York to qualify 3rd, only 0.4 seconds behind Bruce and Denny (who’d both done the same time for the front row). When the race started, he battled McLaren for 2nd place, taking the position from Bruce only to have a rear brake caliper crack and force him to the pits for fifteen laps. He came back out, far behind the pack, but tied McLaren for the fastest lap of the race, 0.7 seconds FASTER than the pole time to finish a distant 11th after making up a lap.

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(Left) Jim Hall's Chaparral 2G leading Bruce McLaren and Mark Donohue during the 1968 Edmonton Can-Am. (Right) Jim Hall's Chaparral 2G lapping Gary Wilson's McLaren M1B-Chevy during the 1968 Edmonton Can-Am. Note the packed stands for this first race at the new track!

The Laguna Seca Can-Am held promise as Hall qualified the 2G 2nd (holding pole until a late lap by McLaren edged him by less than one-tenth of a second). But his effort was wasted as before the pace lap, the Chaparral’s Chevy engine backfired, jamming the starter and putting the car out before the race began.

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Hall's 2G and Charlie Hayes' McKee Mk. 10-Turbo Olds being pushed aside, both unable to start their engines, after the rest of the field has left on the pace lap for the 1968 Laguna Seca Can-Am

The Riverside Los Angeles Times Grand Prix Can-Am saw the 2G start 4th but a recurrence of the Edmonton brake problem led to Hall deciding not to pit but to continue with front brakes only, ending up a lapped 3rd overall.

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Jim Hall in the 2G at Riverside during the L.A. Times GP Can-Am

The Can-Am season-ending Las Vegas Stardust Grand Prix was a disaster for Jim Hall and the Chaparral 2G as, after qualifying 3rd behind Bruce and Denny, Mario Andretti’s overzealous attack on McLaren at the first turn resulted in yet another of Stardust’s famous multi-car trips into the desert, deranging the 2G’s left front fender. After pitting for repairs, he had to stop again for more tape and a wheel replacement due to tire rub. In his drive to make up ground, he rammed a suddenly slowing Lothar Motschenbacher and the 2G was sent tumbling into the desert, causing injuries that effectively ended Hall’s driving career (though in 1970 he would drive a few Trans-Am races in his Camaro until he confirmed more recovery and treatment would be necessary to return to form).

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(Left) Jim Hall in the 2G at Las Vegas, probably during practice since the body is still intact. (Right) Hall's 2G going airborne after running into Lothar Motschenbacher (#11)

The TrueScale Miniatures 1/43rd model replicates the Riverside version of the 1968 2G and beautifully encapsulates what made this mean-looking car a challenger to the dominating McLarens with its huge fenders covering large rear wheels, the wide overhead wing (non-functioning) and the engine intake scoop. The plain white livery with the few decals is a match for the real car and a joy to view. Criticisms: the front fenders are a little too rivet-happy, unlike the smooth fenders on the 1:1, the nose tabs are too horizontal and don't merge smoothly into the front fenders as on the real car and the vertical wing supports are angled slightly where on the 1:1 they are perfectly straight. Also, the rear tires are not wide enough for the fenders, implying this is a adaptation of a model of the 1967 2G which lacked the add-on fenders and had smaller wheel/tire combinations.

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Edited by Jersey_Devil, 15 January 2018 - 07:59 AM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#12 OFFLINE   StratosWRC

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 10:22 PM

Holy cow, I have to sit down and read this thread at some point. Great adds, and don't you go getting lost in the 1/43 galaxy.

I was going to get the Chaparral 2J in 1:43 but I think TSM cancelled it. Very sad. No one made it to this day except some crappy old models.
I mod stuff

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#13 OFFLINE   CreepyVanMan

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 10:51 PM

Ahh love Chaparral and all their funky models. Shame exoto got sued because those are some of my favorite models. Great write up as usual man with lots of classic pics! Thanks for taking the time to do these beautiful history lessons!
"I used to play sports. Then I realized you can buy trophies. Now I am good at everything." -Demetri Martin

#14 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 11:39 PM

Thanks - writing these histories satisfies my need to talk to humans while studying :giggle:!

I have always been a HUGE Chaparral fan - my intro to them was a Cox 1/32 slot car when I was still just a young'n. I still remember the Cox decal on the 1:1s and the ad with Jim Hall intently studying the slot car:

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If only Exoto understood the concept of fair business practices, they might have been able to release all the Chaparrals they previewed on their Facebook page. I still keep their pics of the prototypes for multiple versions of the 2D and the 2J just to torment myself with what might have been :gaah: ....Here's my post of them all - browse 'em and weep:

http://www.diecastxc...00#entry3221258
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#15 OFFLINE   Dave7872

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 04:00 AM

Another added so soon my friend, Haha Margarine in full effect. Looks great to be honest Red. Great history lesson also. :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap: :eusa_clap:
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" If one does not fail at times, Then one has not challenged himself "

Ferdinand Porsche.


My Showcase Pictures.... Click here

#16 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 10:52 AM

Don't fear for me - I got all three in one buy from the fire sale at Diecast Select (along with the 1/18 Minichamps Interserie Porsche 917/10), each for less than $35 USD! Until I find bargains close to that, the only margarine I'll be touching for a while will be on my food :nice:....
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#17 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:18 PM

Dan Gurney was not the winningest American driver ever but he was possibly the most talented and certainly the most versatile. And the 6-foot-3 Californian with winning smile and movie-star looks was most at home on the Riverside International Raceway, a purpose-built road racing facility in southern California that hosted races for virtually every class of race car (including, in 1960, Formula One in the 2nd annual United States Grand Prix before it found its home at Watkins Glen for the next twenty years).

1968 started as four out of the previous five years had for Gurney, with a win in the NASCAR Motor Trend 500 race at Riverside as Dan took pole at record speed in his Woods Brothers 1968 Ford Torino and, despite heavy pressure from David Pearson and defending winner Parnelli Jones, led 124 of the 186 laps, even coming back from a nearly two-minute pitstop to remove the carcass of a deflating tire wrapped around his rear axle to run down Jones and take his fifth win in the six years this race had been run.


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David Pearson, Parnelli Jones and Dan Gurney battle for the lead early in the 1968 Motor Trend 500 at Riverside

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Gurney on his way to victory in the 1968 Motor Trend 500

The Can-Am series continued to be the Dead Zone most Ford drivers had found it in the previous two years as Gurney DNF’d in the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside in his new AAR Lola T160-Ford:

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In contrast to his Can-Am disappointment, Gurney had a banner year on the USAC Championship Car circuit in 1968. He started four races, won three poles (all road races), finished 2nd in the Indy 500 and had two wins going into the season finale in the Rex Mays 300 at Riverside. As defending Rex Mays 300 winner, Gurney was the favorite and qualifying backed that up with his 4th pole of the season in his Eagle Mk. 4-Gurney Weslake Ford. Starting on the front row with Gurney was Mario Andretti, in the midst of a championship-deciding battle with Bobby Unser.

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Dan Gurney and Mario Andretti leading the field on the pace lap of the 1968 Rex Mays 300 at Riverside

Race day would see Gurney lead the first four laps until slowing for SCCA Formula A Champion Dr. Lou Sell’s serious accident in his Smothers Brothers Eagle-Ford, Andretti jumped him to lead the next four laps. Gurney would retake the lead from Andretti on lap 9  and, though pressured by Mark Donohue’s Penske Sunoco Eagle-Chevy until broke its suspension, would lead the next 108 laps to the checkered flag.

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Mark Donohue's Sunoco Eagle-Chevy would contend for the lead until his suspension broke from hitting too many buried tire corner markers.

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Gurney on his way to victory at Riverside

The Spark 1/43rd has the usual superb detail – it’s amazing how they can replicate all the detailed decals from the 1:1 on such a tiny model. It’s truly well-done and suits my Dan Gurney shrine perfectly :nice:.

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Edited by Jersey_Devil, 15 January 2018 - 08:03 AM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#18 OFFLINE   Dark Side

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:25 PM

I, personally, rank Dan Gurney as the biggest American motorsport personality of all times and surely one of the greatest generally speaking - I'd have other bids for the greatest ever one of whom being the (also) sadly missed John Surtees but there would be others as well I think. The body of Gurney's work, on and off track is astonishing and I do hope the autobiagrophy that he's been working on for the better part of a decade will come out sooner rather than later!
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#19 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 09:43 AM

Good points, Dark Side, but don't forget Gurney's 1978 "white paper" issued to all the United States Auto Club (USAC) Championship series team owners which was the genesis of the break-off Championship Auto Racing Teams series (CART - he even coined the name in the paper) in which he bemoaned the unresponsiveness of USAC to the needs of Indy car team owners and race promoters. Dan suggested an evaluation of the state of affairs of the Indy car series and used the recently-created Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA, which he mistakenly calls FICA) and its leader, Bernie Ecclestone, as an example of a more cooperative approach to managing the series.

He couldn't have foreseen Bernie's eventual ascension to godhood - he points out that he heard Bernie only received a 2% commission (!) - or the egos of team owners that eventually were CART's downfall, though only after several years as the best racing series on the planet to the point that the FIA saw it as a threat to F1. His white paper still changed the racing landscape - another of Gurney's unique contributions to the sport.
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#20 OFFLINE   Dark Side

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:14 AM

I read about it when writing a tribute article after the news of his passing reached me. Since then, I've been trying to find someone who could stand next to him in achievements alone - beyond his demeanour as a person and his always joyous spirit - and I still can't find someone. Sure, Surtees did manage to win both the F1 WDC and a number of titles in a number of two wheeled-racing divisions as well as being highly versatile and racing saloon cars and GTs and prototypes and he also had a team but that team wasn't as big, nor did it have much success and he was never an innovator off the track or a true voice for the sport. A great man sure, which is obvious even by his nickname of `Big John`, but not the greatest motorsport personality. Then there are big team owners like Roger Penske who was a great driver in his own right, highly versatile, but not as succesful, as far as I'm aware, behind the wheel as Dan was. That's why I believe Dan was always, I reckon, underrated during his life and I hope this will be addressed in the future.
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#21 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 06:55 PM

Actually, if you compare wins, Roger Penske was more successful as a driver and probably his equal as an innovator. I loved Dan Gurney, but he was often his own worst enemy, tending to tinker a bit too much with his cars and, as a result, they sometimes didn't perform as well as when they were set up by his mechanics. It's legendary that between him and A.J. Foyt fiddling, they so bollixed up the handling of their Ford Mk. IV at Le Mans in 1967 that they were shooed away and the car was reset to its base settings, with which they went on to win the 24 Hours (Carroll Shelby, "Shelby GT40" by Dave Friedman).  

When he joined McLaren in 1970 after Bruce's passing, Gurney won two of the first three Can-Am races (note that Denny Hulme was hampered by hands he had burned the month before the series started during practice for the Indy 500), but left supposedly because McLaren was sponsored by Gulf and Gurney was a long-time Castrol man. But I read a quote from Dan saying he actually left the most dominant team in series history, on its way to its fourth consecutive whitewash of the championship, because the team wouldn't let him work on his car, expecting him to just "show up and drive". Sorry, but to me that's ego talking. and some of his choices as a driver reflected that.

As for Penske's driving successes, I documented in another DX forum thread (http://www.diecastxc...6/#entry3255226), in 1962 Roger Penske took an old Cooper T53 F1 chassis that Walt Hansgen crashed in the 1961 U.S Grand Prix and applying his eventually legendary creative thinking, converted it into a sports car and dominated that years fall sprint races (that eventually would form the basis of the Can-Am series):

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After being forced to convert the "Xerex Special" to a more conventional configuration the following year, Roger continued to do well, although the newer King Cobras had become the cars to beat. And in 1964, his last year as a wheelman, Penske served as Chaparral's 2nd driver supporting Jim Hall's winning effort in the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC), and himself winning the Laguna Seca Monterey GP and two of the three races he entered in Chaparrals in the Nassau Speed Weeks, including the main, the Nassau Trophy.

Now, I'm not comparing them as drivers - I think it's Gurney hands-down in the skill department - just wins as a driver. Dan may not have actually been a car-breaker, but he had a lot of DNFs.

Edited by Jersey_Devil, 08 February 2018 - 06:57 PM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#22 OFFLINE   Dark Side

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 07:09 AM

I'm well aware of Roger's prowess behind the wheel which is, again in my opinion, very much forgotten nowadays since he ended his driving career over 50 years ago but he was quick in just about anything and against very stout opposition. Then again, Jim Clark's father famously told Gurney at Jim's funeral that the Scot only feared Dan. If that's true, you can't get any bigger praise than that.

Now, on the topic of Dan being rough on his equipment, you gotta look at his team-mates for the closest comparison - as in who had more DNFs over a season. Also, you gotta consider the nature of the car, for example Clark had many DNFs in the 1967 season because the 49 was so damn fragile and not because of the driver himself, who was known to be more gentle than anyone. I'd say the F1 Eagles suffered more from underfunding and the hit-and-miss reliability of the Weslake engine than Gurney fiddling with them too much. The Zerex Special was genius in that the driver's seat was in the middle in what was a two-seater formula and that's what angered the opposition. After all, Mark and Roger coined the `unfair advantage` phrase, not Dan :)

Anyway, it's always great to talk about motorsport history and learn more about it along the way!
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#23 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 04:47 AM

Preachin' to the choir, D.S. In my 1/18th collection thread you will find plenty of details about the F1 Eagle race-by-race (http://www.diecastxc...00#entry3327817) and it's being let down by the poor quality control and slow production of Harry Weslake's factory - I never implied Dan was a car-breaker and in 1967 it definitely was not his fault the Eagle failed to finish so much. His smooth driving style was envied by many; it was usually his unfortunate choices in teams which prevented him from winning as much as his talent demonstrated he was capable of. And no one in his right mind would ever charge Jim Clark with being hard on his cars; the truth was more that Lotuses (Loti?) were notoriously fragile, particularly due to Colin Chapman's drive for weight-saving to the point that there were drivers who refused to drive Lotus F1 cars fearing for their safety. Proof is the debacle that was the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix when Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill's 49Bs showed up with the largest wings ever seen on an F1 car but with spindly struts that Chapman refused to reinforce more than superficially. During the race they both suffered high-speed wing failures that caused both cars to wreck and led to the ban of high wings on all classes of cars at the Monaco GP two weeks later (but issued only AFTER they had completed first practice!).

I was simply pointing out a difference between Penske and Gurney as car-preparers when they were still drivers: that Roger appeared to go about it more methodically and organized while Gurney, according to famed Road&Track racing correspondent Henry N. Manney III, would change one thing after another and lose track of what had been changed and what hadn't (Manney was known for his humorous writing style but I have read the same observation elsewhere). These two approaches definitely can contribute to impacting one's reliability record in the expected directions.

Doesn't matter - for all that he was, Dan was still THE MAN.
I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#24 OFFLINE   Jersey_Devil

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 07:14 PM

1970 was a year of tragedy and transition for McLaren Cars. The previous year the decision was made to begin producing cars for the Indianapolis 500 with the ultimate goal to be, as with their Can-Am cars, to produce customer vehicles that would be used to contend the entire USAC Championship Trail. This meant that the burgeoning business would be manufacturing and racing cars – initially for the factory team only – for Formula One, Can-Am, USAC and the burgeoning international Formula 5000 class.

But the death of founder Bruce McLaren in June testing the Can-Am M8D meant there was a very large hole in the team to fill. Though no one could really replace him as team lead, there were still cars to be driven and races to be run.

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McLaren chief engineer Robin Herd (later the "H" in March Engineering), Bruce McLaren and Tim Mayer looking at a model of the fuselage of an early McLaren F1 car. After McLaren's death in 1970, Mayer took over the reigns of the company

Longtime friend and fellow team leader Dan Gurney, lacking a full-time GP ride since the F1 Eagle effort had fizzled out in 1968, was selected. While Gurney's efforts in the Can-Am series would produce two wins in the three races he contested, the F1 season would find McLaren behind the eight-ball facing the technological leap that was the Lotus 72 (once its bugs were ironed out) and the power of V-12s from Ferrari, BRM and Matra. Engine supplier Cosworth was overwhelmed by the sheer number of customers it suddenly found itself burdened with, especially with the addition of the new March marque’s multiple teams, so McLaren had to deal with a severe decline in the reliability (and often lack of availability) of engines for the M14A GP car. On top of all THAT, McLaren was fielding a third car, first an M7D and later an M14D, for Andrea de Adamich on behalf of Autodelta, the Alfa Romeo racing arm, with an Alfa Romeo engine from the 33/3 sports car.

Talk about being stretched thin….

Gurney’s first appearance for the team in F1 was at the Dutch Grand Prix; Denny Hulme was not able to drive the 2nd team car because his hands were burned by an incident during practice for the Indy 500, so McLaren F5000 pilot Peter Gethin was getting his Grand Prix baptism, while De Adamich was upgraded from the M7D to the M14D. The race was a complete wash for the team as Gurney qualified next-to-last, suffering mechanical issues all through practice, and was out after only two laps. Gethin, starting a more respectable 11th in Hulme’s car, suffered an accident and was out after 18 laps while de Adamich failed to qualify.

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(Left) New McLaren principal Teddy Mayer speaking to Dan Gurney before the Dutch Grand Prix where Gurney would DNF. (Right) Andrea de adamich failed to qualify the McLaren M14D-Alfa Romeo in the same race

The next race was the French Grand Prix at the scenic Clermont-Ferrand circuit (labeled by many a “mini-Nürburgring”). Hulme was back but since Gethin had wrecked his car at Zandvoort, the M14D was converted back to Cosworth power, with which he grabbed a sterling 7th starting spot. Gurney continued to struggle, qualifying 17th out of 20, and de Adamich made the field in the old M7D Alfa Romeo-engined car in 15th.

Race day was more positive for the team, with Hulme staying in the 2nd group of Cosworth-engines cars while the V-12s of Ferrari’s Jacky Ickx and Matra’s Jean-Pierre Beltoise, ran away at the front. After the two non-Cosworth leaders were each felled by mechanical issues and Jochen Rindt took a somewhat fortunate 2nd consecutive win in the Lotus 72C, Hulme, protecting his still-sensitive hands, finished a distant-but-commendable 4th while Gurney worked his way up to 6th, missing 5th by less than a quarter of a second. De Adamich lost nine laps with a detached water pipe and though he finished the race, was not classified.

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Dan Gurney on his way to 6th place in the 1970 French Grand Prix (on the same circuit in the same event he won the race twice before, in 1962 and 1964)

The British GP at Brands Hatch saw the team’s fortunes continue at the same level; Hulme, still nursing his hands, qualified 5th, Gurney 11th and de Adamich 18th. A leaking fuel tank prevented the Alfa-engined car from starting while Hulme would continue his recuperation while staying close to the main gaggle of Cosworth-engined cars behind front-row starters Ickx’ Ferrari, Rindt’s Lotus and Brabham’s Brabham BT33 long enough to finish 3rd. Gurney went out with engine troubles at 3/4s distance in his last drive for the team and of his F1 career.

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Dan Gurney in the 1970 British Grand Prix on his way to a DNF in his final F1 appearance

This model of Gurney's McLaren as it appeared in the French GP is a typical Spark resin model, with outstanding attention to details.

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Edited by Jersey_Devil, 25 February 2018 - 04:39 AM.

I just want someone whose baggage goes with mine [from "Rent"]...
- Red

My 1/18th collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...16/#entry557038

My 1/43rd collection thread: http://www.diecastxc...d-riverside-300

#25 OFFLINE   Dark Side

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 08:17 PM

Didn't he win at Rouen Les Essarts in 62-64? Clermont Ferrand (Charade) was a completely different animal and a much more dangerous track with all those volcanic stones as Helmut Marko can attest.
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