Die-cast: 1935 Mercedes-Benz W25 racer
W25 dominates die-cast like real racer did the track
Before WWII and before Formula 1 racing there was the European Championship with major European automakers like Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, Maserati, Bugatti and later Ferrari. But in 1934 Mercedes-Benz jumped into the fray with its W25 racer and by 1935, after a year of development, the W25 was dominant.
The silver racer’s inline 8-cylinder engine boasted up to a monstrous, for the time, 430 horsepower and the team featured three top drivers, Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von Brauchitsch and Luigi Fagioli. Caracciola would win six of the 11 races in 1935 and become European Champion. Fagioli won the lead-off Monaco Grand Prix and two others that season.
This CMC limited edition (2,000) of Fagioli’s No. 4 Monaco winner is another superb example of just how detailed a 1:18 die-cast model can be. Plus it’s body is beautifully shaped and executed.
The W25 also is significant, not only for its superb race pedigree, but because it was among the first of Mercedes Silver Arrows racers. Today’s Mercedes F1 team and McLaren, which uses Mercedes engines, continue the tradition of silver racers. The back story is that the Mercedes originally were painted white, but when they were slightly over the weight limit to race, the team manager had the cars stripped of their paint to save weight, leaving just the bare metal car bodies. … hence the Silver Arrows.
It’s also worth noting that Fagioli was quite the Italian racing star of the day, driving for Enzo Ferrari’s team when it ran Alfa-Romeos. Fagioli also is the oldest F1 winner, scoring a victory in the French Grand Prix of 1951, when he was 53, sharing the drive with Juan Manuel Fangio, but Fagioli quit F1 racing after the race, upset at being asked to relinquish his car to Fangio during the race.
Performance: Racecars were simple looking in the 1930s compared with today’s multi-winged rear-engine creatures. But the W25’s body was streamlined and smooth. CMC’s body is a stellar recreation in its silky smooth silver paint job and Fagioli’s bright red No. 4 twice on both sides. The body panels also feature visible bolts that would hold the panels on the real racer.
I love the 6 nifty C-hooks that attach the 1-piece vented hood. These are fully functional to allow owners to display the model as it raced, or with the hood off to reveal the well detailed, but simple looking inline 8-cylinder engine, complete with wiring.
Detail is what makes any CMC stand out and here there are the usual highly detailed wire wheels with tiny valve stems. Plus the body has multiple vented grille work designed to cool the engine and brakes. The front grille is nicely executed too and includes the white and blue Mercedes logo and a red No. 4 atop the nose.
More detail? Just behind the cockpit is a gas cap cover that opens. While under the racer are narrow treaded Continental Ballon (its spelling) tires.
The W25’s interior is simple, but includes a gray cloth seat with brown headrest and wood-look 4-spoke wheel with the Mercedes logo atop its hub. This racer has a metal dash too with realistic gauges, shifter and other accurate knobs and dials.
CMC models are not for every collector. These are top-end models for the serious collector, the racing history buff and most likely the boomer who has some extra disposable income. But this is another winner and reminds us how beautiful simplicity can be.
Fast Stats:1935 Mercedes-Benz W25 GP Monaco
(driven by Luigi Fagioli)
Stock No.: M-104
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5