Tag Archives: F1

Die-cast: Autocult’s Volkswagen T1

VW T1 van
Can you imagine any of today’s pampered F1 drivers riding to a race in one of these?

Unique VW for the racing-oriented collector … 

When I was a kid the only minivans were VW vans. They fit the mini category, maybe even invented it.

But these were simple vehicles that like VW’s Beetle captured many of us Boomers’ imaginations. What may have been forgotten, however, is that there were several iterations and in Germany in particular, the pickup version was a popular commercial vehicle. Continue reading Die-cast: Autocult’s Volkswagen T1

Die-cast: CMC’s 1954-55 Lancia D50

CMC’s latest F1 car a stunning Lancia D50 … CMC Lancia D50

Lancia was a late-comer to Formula 1 racing after World War II, but it had the genius of engineer  Vitorrio Jano as its secret weapon. He had created the successful Alfa Romeo 8C pre-war.

So in late 1954 Lancia’s beautiful and unusual D50 joined the F1 circuit for the last race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix where 2-time world driving champ Alberto Ascari put it on the pole with the fastest time.

While setting a fast pace with a record lap, it wasn’t reliable and lasted only 9 laps. But what had captured the racing public’s interest and other designers’ attention was its design with two outrigged pannier gas tanks, its off-center engine mount and low seating position to better distribute weight.

Now CMC nails the design in 1/18 scale with another hand-built metal die-cast model consisting of 1,598 parts, and no, I didn’t count them all.

The History

Gianni Lancia wanted to be a part of the F1 racing world so had Vano design the radical D50. Unfortunately it basically bankrupted his car manufacturing company by mid-1955 and he handed over the team to Enzo Ferrari. Continue reading Die-cast: CMC’s 1954-55 Lancia D50

Die-cast: Spark’s 1982 Ligier JS19, Monaco GP

Laffite’s Ligier JS19 a blue flying wedge … 1982 Ligier JS 19 

In the early 1980s Formula 1 cars, like open-wheel racers at Indianapolis, were quickly progressing through a series of aerodynamic changes to give them more downforce for faster cornering speeds.

The drivers sat nearer the car’s nose while the engine and tunnels and wings were alongside and behind them. The Ligier team, a French-based and sponsored F1 team had top-shelf drivers and plopped them into these flying wedges with some success.

One of the more interesting looking F1 cars at the time was the Ligier JS19 with its boxy tunnels that extended from the driver rearward to a big boxy wing on the tail. That’s what Spark creates in 1/43 scale and with handsome results.

The History

The JS19 followed the relatively successful JS17 in which French driver Jacques Laffite won two races in 1981 and finished fourth in the F1 standings. As with the 17, the new JS19 was powered by a Talbot-badged Matra V12. Laffite and American Eddie Cheever were the drivers. Continue reading Die-cast: Spark’s 1982 Ligier JS19, Monaco GP

Small scale slot car track with big details

The ultimate experience for F1 fanatics

Slot Mods USA creates what could be considered the holy grail of slot car layouts for racers. I’m in for sure on that. These guys create over the top layouts which are all hand-crafted and museum quality. They create slot car tracks from vintage to modern-day circuits. The layouts guys like me and Mark dream about. Slot Mods crafts each layout utilizing styrofoam and construction-grade lumber, plus materials like marble, leather or exotic hardwoods. The details are amazing and looked after by everyone from fabricators to model artists. Slot Mods seems to keep crafting ones that are better and better each time. Their latest is an F1-commissioned build of the Canadian Grand Prix. Continue reading Small scale slot car track with big details

Die-cast: Autoart Honda RA272 1965 Mexico GP winner

Autoart crafts delicate 1965 Honda F1 beauty …Autoart 1965 Honda RA272

In the glory days of Formula 1 racing new teams joined the ranks of the old standbys, Ferrari, BRM and Lotus to prove they too could build fast open-wheel racers with strong engines. For the fans it was exciting, not the least of which was because all the cars looked different and featured their country’s racing colors, not corporate sponsors.

Into this racing environment came Honda in 1964. The Japanese car maker had only been building road cars for four years and already was set to challenge the established F1 teams, plus it built its own chassis and engine. Few race teams did both at the time.Autoart 1965 Honda RA272

Autoart has created the Honda RA272, Honda’s second F1 racer as it competed in 1965, its first full season on the F1 trail, which was conducted mostly in Europe with European race teams. This 1/18 scale model of the car American Richie Ginther drove to Honda’s first F1 win is a delicate beauty befitting the simplicity of mid-1960s racers. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart Honda RA272 1965 Mexico GP winner

Die-cast: Bburago LaFerrari

Bburago delivers high-value matte black LaFerrari18-16901blk_sm

I can’t explain it, but the youngsters these days are going crazy over matte finishes on cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs. It is different, but looks like primer paint to me.

Still, Bburago gives them what they want with its new matte, or flat, black LaFerrari in 1:18 scale. The model is tucked inside a Styrofoam shell inside a racy red box with foil-like silver lettering on it. This is part of Bburago’s move to more upscale models, somewhat beyond the toy market, but still high in value.

The History

Speed and sexy looks sum up Ferrari’s essence. LaFerrari is the latest mid-engine package that plays off that iconic theme.

LaFerrari was launched at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show and is a hybrid super car with a 6.3-liter V12 and a 161-hp electric motor. This is the first production car with the hybrid HY-KERS, a system that stores and delivers electricity for added power. KERS was developed in F1 racing. Combined, the car has 949 horsepower and 663 ft.-lbs. of torque. Continue reading Die-cast: Bburago LaFerrari

Slot Car: Ninco Formula 1 (Jordan)

Ninco, now being distributed exclusively by Professor Motor in the U.S., is reintroducing a series of five somewhat generic Formula 1 cars to its lineup, a good product for clubs or groups that enjoy racing identical cars.

These racers resemble the former SCX F1 cars in that the front suspension looks real, with A-arms and wheels that are steerable, being controlled by the slot’s movement. The body resembles a Team Jordan F1 car from the late 1990s to early 2000s and in fact is labeled Jordan on the chassis.

Open wheel racers will welcome the new models.NINCO FORMULA 1

Performance:

This racer is sturdy and likely the body will hold up well in heavy use. The nose wing is thick and well attached to the body shell as is the rear wing, which is molded into the bodywork, so less likely to snap off when the car de-slots. Its mirrors are the most likely body part to be lost over time.

That said, as with the former SCX models with steerable front wheels and a more detailed suspension, I suspect the thin suspension parts will snap after several heavy hits into other cars or during a serious de-slot. The good news is the cars will run even with damaged front suspensions, they just won’t look as realistic while on track.

Ninco uses its normally peppy NC-14 Speeder motor that generates 20,600 rpm. Straight line speed should be good, but on my test track the car was more than a full second slower than a similar Scalextric open-wheel car, with silicone tires. Silicones usually will cut a half-second off a lap time.

The standard tires here are a very hard rubber and grip is minimal. They also are quite stiff, so hard to remove from the wheel, but you’ll want to purchase proper silicones to give the car more grip. That helps in turns, but also in putting power to the track in a straight line.

The magnet Ninco uses is small too and sits in front of the inline motor instead of behind it, as in many other slot car chassis. That placement doesn’t help give it good rear tire grip or balance, so likely with slicks the Ninco will still be a hair slower that competitors. Again, if your buddies are all racing the other Ninco F1 cars, that won’t matter.

For gearheads, literally, the Ninco F1 has a 2.48mm axle and 9-tooth pinion and 24-tooth crown gear. The car weighs 73 grams and feels quite solid.

The test car was red with white and black trim on the wings and car’s sides and engine cowling. This is car No. 3, while the other cars in this series are No. 5 in black with slight yellow trim, No. 2 in blue and white, No. 15 in yellow and black, and an all-white model you can decorate yourself.

Bottom line:

Experienced slot car racers will recognize this as a somewhat simplified F1 car, but a good looking car for a newcomer. But you’ll need silicone tires and likely an additional magnet to keep it firmly planted on the track and able to use its power.

FAST Stats

Product: Formula 1 (red)

Maker: Ninco (now available from Professor Motor and hobby stores)

Scale: 1:32

Stock No.: 150697

MSRP: $64.99 (you can usually find this for sale in the $40-45 range)