Beyond Ray Harroun’s 1911 Marmon Wasp that won the first Indianapolis 500, the Miller racers of the 1920s and 1930s may be the most recognizable early Indy cars.
Most famous, and recognizable, of those Millers is the gold No. 14 that Louis Meyer drove to victory in 1928, his first of three Indy wins.
Lucky for us Replicarz has created a 1/18 scale diecast model that ups the detail and artistry of the fine 1/43 scale version of Meyer’s racer that it created about a year ago. That one was beautiful, but limited in its detail by its size. This one rocks, with a full metal grille and frame!
Briefly, because I recounted the Miller racers’ history in my review of the 1/43-scale Millers, Harry Miller designed the simple front-drive single-seat racer and straight-8 engine that bear his name.
Miller-designed cars won the Indy 500 nine times and dominated the Indy field for years in the 1920s and early 1930s. Millers won 73 of 92 major U.S. races between 1922 and 1929.
While Miller was a success, he ultimately went bankrupt and Fred Offenhauser bought his engine design. His Offy went on to become the dominant Indy engine for years.
Even if you’re not an Indy fan you’ll love the simple, yet detailed, look of the 1928 Miller for its elegantly streamlined body and massive straight-8 engine.
Replicarz has meticulously recreated the body with rivets along the body’s lower edge and black frame. The gold paint scheme is flawless and the black No. 14 on the tail and sides of the nose perfectly matches the original. Thankfully the body’s lean lines are not spoiled by any sponsor logos.
There are big black balloon tires with the Firestone logo printed on them and the black wire wheels with silver winged spinners look realistic. Up in front of that silver etched metal grille is a hand crank, which is how they fired these beasts at the time, plus chrome-plated suspension and steering arms. Replicarz puts a photo-etched grille just in front of the cockpit atop the racer’s body and the silvered windscreen appropriately wraps in front of the steering wheel and down the car’s left side to the edge of its matte black leather-look seat, which itself has silver button snaps trimming its edge.
Rear suspension pieces are chrome too and there’s a chrome gas cap just behind the driver’s seat, but atop the car’s tail.
Our pre-production model had printed leather hood straps, but these will be real leather on the production model, just as Replicarz has on its Blue Crown Specials released late last year.
The left side hood panel comes off to reveal the powerful straight-eight that Miller designed. There are spark plug wires and distributor, and a supercharger to create more torque for the racer. Exhaust is out the car’s right side with a chrome pipe that runs from hood to tail.
The cockpit is realistically sparse in finish with a metal-look dash face featuring four gauges and a ¾-steering wheel that’s white with four red notches where the 4 spokes of the steering wheel attach to it. The giant gear shift lever and exposed transmission rests between where the driver’s feet would sit and you can see the underside of the steering column too.
Again, Replicarz creates an Indy gem, and just in time for the 100th running of the 500 this May.
Vital Stats: 1928 Miller, Winner 1928 Indy 500, Louis Meyer
Stock No.: R18011