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May 21, 2016

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1967 Paxton (STP) Turbine

by Mark Savage

STP’s 1967 Indy 500 Turbine is a sure winner this time!

Replicarz 1967 Indy 500 Paxton Turbine Indianapolis 500 Parnelli Jones STP Andy Granatelli, Silent Sam

Replicarz nails the iconic STP turbine that Parnelli Jones nearly drove to victory in the 1967 Indy 500.

Say turbine car and Indianapolis 500 and most car lovers and race fans will picture the 1967 STP-sponsored day-glo red racer that Parnelli Jones darned near drove to victory that year.

It was nicknamed Silent Sam and the Whooshmobile for its turbine power that sounded like a jet whooshing by at 160+ mph while all the other Indy racers grumbled and roared with their internal combustion engines. The car set the racing world on edge, threatened the establishment and yet was a fan favorite.

While a plastic model was made of the car almost immediately at the time, Replicarz now is the first diecast car maker to deliver a high-quality detailed 1/18 scale version of the car Jones drove to within 4 laps of an Indy win. It took a while, but the wait was worth it. And the Indy icon appears just as the Indianapolis 500 is set to run its 100th race this May. Timing could hardly be better.

The History

The STP-Paxton turbine was the brainchild of designer Ken Wallis and Andy Granatelli, a former racer and then head of STP, a division of Studebaker Corp. Granatelli had championed the powerful Novi racer for years and always was looking for an advantage to help him win the Indy 500. Replicarz 1967 Indy 500 Paxton Turbine Silent Sam, Parnelli JonesThat led him to buy Ferguson Formula 4-wheel-drive to first team with the Novi engine and for 1967, Wallis’ turbine power, a Pratt & Whitney Canada ST6B-62 turbine. It ran in a space frame chassis with the turbine mounted on the left side of the chassis while the driver’s cockpit was alongside on the right.

Granatelli and his brothers built the turbine in the Paxton company’s California shop to keep it secret until Jones tested it in April of 1967 at Phoenix International Raceway. It met United States Auto Club, the sanctioning body for Indy, specs, but USAC quickly saw it had a problem once Jones and the turbine dominated the 1967 Indy 500, dropping out due to a broken bearing, after leading much of the race. USAC quickly cut the air intake specs to cut its power and virtually outlaw the car.

Yet Granatelli was back with a wedge-shaped turbine in a Lotus chassis for 1968. Three turbines ran with Joe Leonard setting fastest lap and starting on the pole with Graham Hill in a turbine alongside. Again mechanical issues stopped the turbines short of a win as Leonard’s car flamed out taking the green flag with nine laps to go that year.

Replicarz 1967 Indy 500 Paxton Turbine

With the nose off you can see some of the detail Replicarz has included in this fine 1/18 scale model.

The Model

Replicarz creates another Indy icon with the original STP turbine and it couldn’t be more beautiful from the bright and crisply executed resin body to the fine detailing of the turbine engine, the front chassis and suspension and cockpit.

First, the nose and engine cover both are removable and snap off or on easily with small magnets holding them firmly in place. Up front you can see the brake lines, chassis, wiring and cool air scoops to cool the brakes. Under the engine cover is the cylindrical turbine with giant exhaust that protrudes through the cover and features a heat shield to deflect the engine’s massive heat from the driver. There is accurate wiring, various connectors, some of the space frame chassis and accurate STP, Pratt & Whitney and Purolator stickers on the engine.

Body moldings are crisp and accurate with fake silver fasteners along the panels, chrome roll bar, gas cap and push bar on the tail. Two mirrors sit on dual-armed mounts beside the cockpit and the cockpit itself has a black leather look seat with belts, a three-spoke steering wheel and dash gauges with wiring that winds under the windshield and body work, plus the side of the metallic looking frame’s backbone serves as the cockpit’s wall. Note, the rear flap (air brake) is fixed.

Replicarz 1967 Indy 500 Paxton Turbine

Love this overhead shot into the cockpit. Wish PJ’s helmet were laying in there!

All sponsor decals and racer markings and numbers look exactly as they did on the original. Tires are treaded, as they were in 1967, plus feature gold Firestone markings and the right rear hub will be black as on the original, while the others are bare magnesium.

This is another beautiful, premium diecast Indy racer from the only company working in this detail in this scale for historic Indy racers.  Watch for even more from Replicarz soon, both in this and its fine 1/43 scale Indy racers. Next up, we hear, is the 1975 Bobby Unser Indy winner, Dan Gurney’s winged-Eagle.

Vital Stats: 1967 Paxton Turbine, Parnelli Jones

Maker: Replicarz

Scale: 1/18

Stock No.: R18004

MSRP: $249.99

Link: replicarz.com

 

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