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December 19, 2015

Die-cast: Automodello’s Ford 3.0-liter V8

by Mark Savage

The engine is 1/12 scale!

Automodello creates the engine, and Lotus 49

Few engines have the pedigree of Ford’s 3.0-liter twin cam V8, nor can boast the overwhelming success. But calling it a Ford is a bit of a stretch.

Most folks refer to the engine as the Cosworth DFV (double four valve) because Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin of Cosworth designed and created the cast-aluminum engine. Ford bankrolled it after Colin Chapman of Lotus fame enlisted the help of Ford Britain’s Walter Hayes. Arm twisting ensued and Ford forked over the money.

Ultimately the engine became the go-to powerplant for Formula 1 cars for more than 10 years and also powered Indy Cars for much of the 1970s and ‘80s. In fairy tale fashion the engine won its first race, the Dutch Grand Prix, in June of 1967.


The V8 was a stressed member of the Lotus 49 chassis.

Automodello now releases its 1:12 resin version of the iconic racing engine. Just 499 are being made.

The History

After Chapman snagged Cosworth the money, the small racing engine company developed the lightweight DFV over a couple years, setting its debut for the 1967 F1 season.

F1’s sanctioning body had upped the maximum engine displacement for the series from 1500cc to 3000cc in 1966 and put Lotus at a disadvantage. The English team had used light and torquey British Coventry Climax engines that now were overpowered by the likes of Ferrari. Guess who was influencing the sanctioning body back then?

So Chapman kept his Lotus 49 light by making the new, extremely rigid Cosworth engine a stressed member of the chassis. There were some timing gear problems early on though and while Graham Hill won the pole for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort in the car’s initial race, he dropped out after leading the first 10 laps, a victim of a broken gear in the camshaft drive.


The beautiful Lotus 49 as driven by Jim Clark in 1967.

Jim Clark, Hill’s teammate and two-time F1 champion, went on to win the GP, giving Ford and Cosworth a win in its first race. It was one of many. Clark won 3 more races in 1967 and Hill won the F1 World Championship with the engine in 1968. DFV engines powered seven F1 champions in a row and 12 overall. In addition to Hill, F1 champs using the engine included Jackie Stewart, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, James Hunt, Mario Andretti, Alan Jones, Nelson Piquet and Keke Rosberg.

A turbocharged version of the engine, the DFX, won the Indianapolis 500 from 1978 through 1987.

The Model:

This Automodello model is up to the firm’s usual fine standards with beautifully sculpted headers with rounded copper-colored mesh covers. There are visible bolts attaching the engine covers and yes, the Ford name is photo-etched on the black covers in chrome.

Wiring connects from the distributor to all eight sparkplugs with red caps that attach to each and there’s the starter motor and big snake-like white exhaust pipes coming out each side of the motor, which sits on two brushed chrome spindles. Chrome pipes go from 2 to 1 and extend rearward, while up front are the supports (blunt-ended here) where the engine is bolted into the chassis to hold the racer’s rear-end together. More than 100 pieces are used to create the hand-built engine.


For $899 you can have the 1/12th Lotus and its stellar V8.

As usual this comes in a snazzy acrylic box with black base with proper labeling noting that this is the winning engine from the 1967 Dutch Grand Prix.

Note too that this is the same engine Automodello uses in its highly detailed new 1/12 scale Lotus 49 that depicts the winner of the same race, Clark’s No. 5 racer. While we haven’t had the chance to see the newly released Lotus in person, it looks to be up to Automodello’s usual standards of finely cast resin models. There are brake lines, a great looking suspension, tires with the correct tread pattern and a beautiful interior with proper instrumentation.

The Lotus 49 costs $899.95 and just 499 are being made.

New product update: Automodello usually is releasing something new every quarter. Look for a new 1:43 scale TVR Taimar in several colors and highly limited quantities and a racy Noble M 600 in the next few months, followed by a Kaiser Darrin!

Vital Stats: Ford 3.0-liter Twin Cam V8 (1967 Dutch GP winner)

Maker: Automodello

Scale: 1/12

Stock No.: AM12-FOR-3L

MSRP: $149.95




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