One of my favorite race cars, and that of many other youngsters in the 1970s was the PJ Colt that Al Unser drove to back-to-back Indianapolis 500 wins in 1970 and ’71.
It was colorful and with its lightning bolts on the nose and tail the car looked fast and, well, cool!
Replicarz knows that and created beautiful versions of both the 1970 and ’71 cars in 1/43 scale a couple years back. Now it turns its considerable attention to the more detailed 1/18 scale model of the original 1970 racer. This takes the detailing on the Colt to a much finer level and creates a stunning desktop display car.
Al Unser teamed up with former racer Parnelli Jones’ race team for 1970, driving its Ford V8-powered PJ Colt chassis to win the national driving title and the Indy 500 that year. Sponsorship, and the beautiful car livery, came courtesy of sponsor Johnny Lightning, a toy die-cast car maker (Topper Toys) competing with the likes of Matchbox and Mattel’s Hot Wheels brands.
By 1971 Al Unser was no longer just Bobby Unser’s younger brother, he was a 2-time Indianapolis 500 winner, while Bobby had won just once.
The decidedly quieter, more humble Al had wisely hooked up with Parnelli Jones’ team and had the dominant PJ Colt chassis and a Ford V8 engine behind him. That helped Al lead 190 of the 200 laps after winning the pole position as fastest qualifier in 1970. He would not only win Indy that and the following year, but the Indy Car National Championship in 1970.
Unser and the team also were lucky to have the colorful sponsorship of Johnny Lightning, a then new die-cast toy car maker that was challenging the likes of Hot Wheels and Matchbox. The result was a colorful bright blue racer with yellow lightning bolts in 1970 and a darker blue version with those same electric bolts for 1971. Every kid in America knew this car and its color scheme.
1970-71 Al Unser cars coming soon, plus Blue Crown Specials
I recently got a chance to see some pre-production photos of Replicarz’s latest Indy 500 die-cast models, these in 1:43 scale. So thought I’d share them with my die-hard die-cast fans.
Replicarz, the Vermont-based die-cast model distributor has been cranking out beautiful 1:18 scale IndyCar models for several years now and more are on the way. But next out, by late fall to early winter, are the firm’s first 1:43 Indy racers.
Brian Fothergill of Replicarz says the company will offer the 1970 and 1971 Indianapolis 500 winners, both driven by Al Unser, available in 1:43 scale at $89.99. The cars are both PJ Colt designs, the PJ in this case standing for Parnelli Jones, one of the team owners for Unser’s first two Indy wins. Continue reading NEWS: Replicarz plans 1:43 Indy winners→