In post-war U.S. open wheel racing the Blue Crown Spark Plug Specials were as dominant as the New York Yankees were in baseball for years. The Blue Crowns’ reign was shorter, but everyone knew their name, like Ruth, Guhrig or Dimaggio.
Replicarz recognizes that and ups its assault on historic Indianapolis 500 race winning cars with 1/18 scale models of the Blue Crowns, a nice complement to the beautiful 1/43 scale models it released last year.
As a refresher on the Blue Crowns’ history, consider that Lou Moore had been a successful Indy Car driver in the late 1920s and ‘30s, finishing second in the Memorial Day classic in 1928. His cars won Indy twice prior to World War II and during the war he hooked up with Leo Goosen to create front-drive cars with 270-horse Offenhauser engines that he was convinced would rule Indy. He was right.
They dominated the 1947, ’48 and ’49 races with Mauri Rose winning the first two years with teammate Bill Holland second, and in 1949 Holland turned the tables on Rose, a 3-time winner. Oh, and a third team car with George Connor driving finished third in 1949. Even today’s Roger Penske would be proud.
These were beautifully prepared cars with immaculate light blue paint schemes to reflect the Blue Crown sponsorship. Because they were front-drive the Blue Crowns also were more efficient and needed just one pit stop for fuel, allowing them to build and maintain big leads over the other racers. But by 1950 Frank Kurtis roadsters were starting to dominate Indy Car racing and the Blue Crowns’ reign was over.
While the 1/43 Blue Crowns that Replicarz created earlier are sharp, moving up to the larger scale allows even more detail and one unique new feature.
These Blue Crown bodies are cast resin, but the hoods are metal and open to reveal a silver 4-cylinder Offy. Unique though are the three leather straps that secure the hood. The buckle is magnetic and secures the straps to the car’s body. A tiny tweezer that’s included with the model allows the owner to easily lift the straps to raise the hood.
Under the louvered hood is a small thread to keep the hood from opening too wide on its two delicate looking hinges. Unlike in the smaller scale racers, the louvers here are real, so you can see light through the hood when it’s opened.
The Offy motor is wired and plumbed with four black wires to its spark plugs, plus cooling hoses and attachments up front and copper coil coming from under the cockpit cowl into the engine. A long chrome exhaust pipe runs down the right side of the racer’s body and there are several metal fasteners on the tail and hood.
Steering arms and suspension are more detailed here with chrome and other metal parts, plus big rear disc brakes and calipers. The red wire wheels are impressive and of course the treaded tires are appropriately labeled Firestone.
This cockpit is simple, but realistic with a flat brown ribbed seat and leather-like cockpit surround complete with what look like silver snaps. The wood-look wheel features three chrome spokes and there’s a chrome gas cap behind the driver’s head. The cockpit is simple with only a couple dash gauges , but you can read the faces and the models will feature glass coverings on the gauges. Markings are reflective of how the car looked on race day and the paint scheme is realistic too.
Note that the only real difference between the 1947 and ’48 race winners was the number on the car. Replicarz also is preparing the 1949 winner driven by Bill Holland, runner-up to Rose the previous two years. It features a darker metallic blue finish.
Vital Stats Product: 1947/48 Indy 500 Blue Crown Specials
Stock No.: R18010 (1947) R18012 (1948)
MSRP: $249.99 each
Photos: Courtesy of Replicarz