Tag Archives: Indy 500

Die-cast: Autoworld 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Speedster

Auto World steps back in time to create a real Duesy …

Growing up in Indianapolis, the early auto world’s hub and home to the Indy 500, I was aware that the Duesenberg name was a big deal.

Even though the company that brothers Augie and Fred Duesenberg had built to fame had already been gone for 20 years or so, the make remained famous in Indiana. As a youngster I saw Duesenbergs at local car shows and I was well aware Duesenberg racers had won the 1922, ’24, ’25 and ’27 Indy 500s.

But long-term it was the luxury and performance of the Duesy road cars that stuck with folks. These were the legitimate supercars of their day, and none more so than the SSJ Speedster that Auto World has turned its considerable skills to reproducing in a high-value 1/18-scale offering. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoworld 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Speedster

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Replicarz creates sharp 1/18 scale Hill ’66 Indy winner …

Graham Hill, a Formula 1 world champion, was the surprise winner of the 1966 Indianapolis 500, just a year after Jim Clark, with the same credentials, had won.

But it was Clark and his STP crew that were surprised by Hill’s win, thinking they had won.

Now Replicarz expands its 1/18 scale Indy winning car lineup with Hill’s beautiful and surprising Lola T90. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1966 Indy 500 winning Lola T90

Die-cast:1986 March 86C, Indy 500 winner

Rahal’s 1986 Bud/Red Roof racer looks a winner in 1/18 scale …

Not to namedrop, but as a young newspaper reporter I was in Bobby Rahal’s garage at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway just after driver Gordon Smiley was killed in a horrific qualification day crash in 1982. It was Rahal’s rookie season and the young driver was moved by the tragedy.

I never forgot that slice of humanity I witnessed and always was a bit of a Rahal fan after that. My son picked up on that and cheered for Rahal as a youngster, even making a Pinewood Derby car with Rahal’s name on it.

So, I’ve been eager to see Replicarz latest 1/18 scale release of an Indianapolis 500 winner, the March 86C that Rahal drove to his lone Indy win in 1986. This is one in an ever-expanding series of Indy 500 winning cars Replicarz has produced. It’s other latest is the 1990 winner that Arie Luyendyk drove. I reviewed that car a couple weeks ago.

The History

Bobby Rahal was a sports car and road-course racer that had been supported in his amateur racing career by former racer and businessman Jim Trueman, who also founded the Red Roof Inns motel chain. In 1982 his Truesports Team entered a car for Rahal in the Indy 500, and Rahal quickly became a contender in the IndyCar series (then CART).

He won two races in his first season, including the Michigan 500, and finished second in the championship. Some rookie!

His success continued, finishing third in the IndyCar championship in 1984 and 1985, winning six more times in that period. Then came his exceptional 1986 season when he won six IndyCar races, including the Indy 500.

With two laps remaining Rahal passed leader Kevin Cogan on a restart and held on to win the 500 in his Cosworth DFX turbocharged V8-powered March. The win was an emotional one for Rahal and the team as Jim Trueman, 51, was dying of cancer, but was in the pits to celebrate the win. Trueman died less than a month after Rahal’s win.

Rahal retired after the 1998 season, his last IndyCar win being at Nazareth Speedway (now closed) in 1992 when he earned his third series championship with four wins. He also was the IndyCar champ in 1987 and finished second at Indy in 1990 and third in 1994 and ’95. He now owns and IndyCar team with his son Graham serving as driver.

The Model

Oh boy is this a good-looking car in its deep bright red Red Roof Inns and Budweiser livery, a white No. 3 on the nose and sides of the engine cover and rear wing.

Ground-effects and aerodynamics were playing a big role in IndyCars by the mid-1980s, but the cars were still relatively clean and the monster wings of the 1970s had been outlawed. Here the air rushes through sidepods and over radiators to escape the pods just behind the cockpit. There are tiny winglets in front of each rear tire to redirect the air over the tires creating more downforce. Each is held by twin adjusting wires. There’s also a modest air scoop at the engine cover’s tail to direct more air into the Cosworth’s turbo.

The tail of the powerplant and transmission extends out the back of the car and is nicely wired and plumbed. Cool too are the shocks on either side of that air scoop.

Wings had been regulated to remain no wider than the inside of the rear wheels and this one juts up on a red support with Bud logos on each side and Budweiser lettering spread across the wing’s top.

The March has thin winglets on the nose with Red Roof’s moto, “Sleep Cheap!” in white atop them. There’s also a small antenna on the car’s nose, black trim around the windscreen’s lower edge and two tiny red mirrors extending off each side of the car’s cockpit wall. The fuel filler outlet is just behind the cockpit to the driver’s left and a thin roll bar extends above the cockpit, tapering into the bodywork.

Suspension work is all solid and painted matte black with tiny screws holding the rear assembly together. Tires are black slicks with Goodyear Eagle labeling on both sides, as on the real racers. Wheels are silver racing wheels, not chrome, with gun metal center locking nuts. And while there are a bevy of sponsor logos on the nose, the key white logos, mostly trimmed in black are Red Roof Inns, Budweiser with Valvoline and Goodyear in a couple spots.

Inside, the cockpit walls are matte black as is the low-slung seat, but there are red cloth shoulder and seatbelts with photo-etched metal clasps. The dash includes a couple dials, the three-spoke racing wheel, pedals and a small silver gearshift lever to the driver’s right.

Once again Replicarz delivers an Indy champion caliber car deserving of a trophy. Snag one before they’re gone.

Vital Stats: 1986 March 86C, Indy 500 winner, Bobby Rahal

Maker: Replicarz
Scale: 1/18
Stock No.: R18030
MSRP: $249.95

Link: Replicarz.com

 

Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 McLaren M16 (Revson)

Revson’s Indy 500 pole car another Replicarz gem …

Peter Revson was a wealthy playboy type, but a talented racer. McLaren was a noted and successful race car maker. Their link-up in 1971 was historic and launched a successful era for both at the Indianapolis 500.

Revson, the heir to the Revlon cosmetics fortune had tried his hand at F1 racing in Europe, but to no success, so returned to the United States. He hooked up with Brabham in 1969 for the Indy 500 and barely made the show, starting last but finishing fifth. He was onto something. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1972 McLaren M16 (Revson)

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 & ’41 Indy 500 Maseratis

Replicarz Maserati

Latest 1/43 scale Maserati racers are a colorful duo …

The late 1930s and early 1940s saw race cars developing quickly into what we would consider modern racers and Wilbur Shaw and his Boyle Special, a Maserati 8CTF, led the way at the Indianapolis 500, but others followed quickly.

In 1939 Shaw won the 500 in his Maserati with its 365-horsepower 3.0-liter straight-8 supercharged engine, and to put an exclamation point on it, repeated the win in 1940 and darned near did it again in 1941, the last 500 before WWII. But it didn’t take his competitors long to figure out Italy’s horsey Maserati grand prix cars with their lightweight aluminum bodies could conquer Indy.

Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 & ’41 Indy 500 Maseratis

Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Pete DePaolo’s Duesenberg is a beauty … Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Last time we laid eyes on Replicarz’s 1/18 scale Indy-winning Duesenbergs they were prototypes. Now comes the real deal, and just in time for next month’s 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500.

Granted Duesenbergs haven’t been ripping up the Speedway recently, but they were a force in the 1920s. And Peter DePaolo may have been the best-known racer of his day, and Duesenberg’s main man too. So this 1925 Indy winner should be the fastest mover of the three winners (also 1924 and 1927) now available. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz 1925 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner

Die-cast: Automodello’s 1981 AAR Gurney Eagles

Automodello’s Gurney Eagles are beauties …

1981 AAR Gurney Eagle
The 1981 Pepsi Challenge (No. 48) driven by Mike Mosley and the blue White Castle entry driven by Chip Mead at the Indy 500.

Dan Gurney stopped racing at the enf 1970, but his influence on open-wheel racing continued for decades afterward. Yet the 1970s and early 1980s were the zenith for his All-American Racers (AAR) Eagles.

Gurney’s Santa Ana, Calif.-based shop turned out highly competitive Eagle chassis for the Indy Car series. Eagles were consistent winners. Even the ultra-successful Team Penske used them for a while as they were outperforming Penske’s own chassis.

Yet in 1981 AAR went a whole new route with its design, making virtually everything behind the driver’s cockpit into a wing that created terrific downforce to increase cornering speeds.

Now, Automodello joins Replicarz in creating high-quality 1/43 scale resin historic Indy racers with its model of the AAR 1981 Eagle that sat on the front row for the Indy 500 and won a race in Milwaukee. It also makes a second Eagle that was entered in the 1981 race.

The History1981 AAR Gurney Eagle

The radical Eagle design with its broad, flat rear side pods and extension behind the rear wheels, plus a small wing atop what was essentially a lower wing, caught everyone at the 500 by surprise. Mike Mosley, a speedy Indy veteran with tough luck, was the driver of Gurney’s famous No. 48.

In addition to its design, including two large air scoops hanging off the engine cover to feed air to its fragile Chevrolet V8, the Eagle was painted a bright yellow and white and labeled the Pepsi Challenger. Continue reading Die-cast: Automodello’s 1981 AAR Gurney Eagles

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 Boyle Special, Indy winner

Wilbur Shaw’s 1940 Indy winning Maserati a beauty … Replicarz 1940 Indy 500 winner

If you are collecting all the Indy 500 winning cars then Replicarz has another beautiful model to park in your Victory Lane – the 1940 Boyle Special.

This is the same car that Wilbur Shaw won the 1939 Memorial Day classic in, but wearing the No. 1 that he earned by being national champion in 1939. The dark metallic red (maroon really) Boyle Special is a Maserati 8CTF and was financially backed by Mike Boyle, a big Chicago union boss that some say had connections to organized crime – the mafia, not Congress!

The History

Shaw won the Indy 500 three times in four years from 1937 to 1940. He was the first to win Indy in consecutive years.  He darned near won the 1941 Indy 500 too, if not for a freak garage fire before that year’s race. He was leading when he crashed out.

Boyle had bought the Maserati for Shaw after several years of frustration fielding cars at Indianapolis. The Italian-built racer regularly raced the European grand prix circuit and claimed 365 horsepower from its 3.0-liter straight-8 engine that featured two Roots-type superchargers bolted on the engine’s nose. The car weighed roughly 1,700 lbs. and featured an aluminum body. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1940 Boyle Special, Indy winner

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1970s Indy Eagles

Indy 500 Eagles continue to fly, multiply at Replicarz  …Replicarz 1975 Indy 500 Eagle

Dan Gurney remains one of the biggest names in open-wheel racing. His Eagle race cars dominated the Indianapolis 500 and Indycar circuit in the late 1960s through much of the 1970s, but really set the establishment on its ear starting in 1972.

That’s when Bobby Unser debuted the new Eagle with its giant rear spoiler and upped the speed ante to nearly 200 mph by putting his Olsonite Eagle on the pole at 195.8 mph, 3 mph faster than Peter Revson’s McLaren.

Replicarz, which previously released the 1973 STP Team’s Eagles of winner Gordon Johncock and teammate Swede Savage in 1/18 scale, now delivers three new Eagles in 1/43 scale. Back is the Johncock car, with just 200 being made, along with limited runs of 300 for both Unser’s white 1972 pole car and  1975 Indy winner, the blue Jorgensen Eagle..

The History

Bobby Unser won Indy in 1968 in a Gurney Eagle, while Gurney himself was second. Gurney would place second and third the next two years, then retire. Yet his Eagles, made by All-American Racers in Santa Ana, Calif., soared. They won 51 Indycar races.Replicarz 1972 Indy 500 Eagle

The Olsonite Eagle that Bobby Unser put on the pole in 1972 was the tipping point toward Eagles being the top Indycar of the time. That year it led the first 30 laps of the race before an ignition rotor failed sidelining Unser. He finished 30th. But by the next May, 21 of Indy’s 33 starters drove Eagles, including the winner, Johncock.

A McLaren, the other major player at the time, won the following year when 19 Eagles made the field, but Unser was back in the winner’s circle in 1975 with his blue No. 48. Eagles made up roughly half the Indy field. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1970s Indy Eagles

Die-cast: 1974 Coyote, Indy 500 pole car, A.J. Foyt

Replicarz’s latest Foyt Coyote a winner, except at Indy …1974 Indianapolis 500 pole car, Coyote, A.J. Foyt

A.J. Foyt epitomizes the Indianapolis 500. He’s a legend and his cars embody that legendary status too, even those that didn’t carry him to one of his record four Indy wins in 35 tries.

Replicarz continues to expand its impressive 1/18 scale Indy 500 collection with Foyt’s pole-winning Coyote from 1974, back when all the racers looked a bit different as each driver, mechanic and car builder experimented with wings for downforce and radiator positioning for proper engine cooling.

Foyt’s Coyotes of the 1970s all had similar features, but for varied from year to year, the only constant being their glowing orange paint schemes and the Gilmore Racing sponsorship along with A.J.’s traditional No. 14.

1974 Indianapolis 500 pole car, Coyote, A.J. Foyt
Front view of the 1974 Indianapolis 500 pole car emphasizes its wide nose.

The History

Foyt won the Indy pole in 1974 with a speed of 191 mph and had the speed to win on race day. He led 70 laps, second only to winner Johnny Rutherford, and controlled much of the first half of the race. He had just repassed Rutherford about 139 laps into the race when his Coyote started to smoke. Continue reading Die-cast: 1974 Coyote, Indy 500 pole car, A.J. Foyt