Tag Archives: Lotus

Die-cast: GP Replicas Ferrari 312 B3

Lauda’s 1974 F1 car a spectacular 1:43 model …

Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars of the 1960s and 1970s were beautiful and less complex looking than today’s multi-winged wonders that seem to have stretched to limousine proportions.

Niki Lauda’s sassy Ferrari 312 B3 of 1974 is a standout example of this with a simple solid nose wing and another on the tail. The fact both were chromed to go with the blazing red bodywork made them all the more attractive and exciting.

I landed a GP Replicas 1:43 scale version and was pleasantly surprised at the detail for basically $70. Also, this was the best packed die-cast car I’ve ever received with a multi-layer box within a box. See the photos below!

The History

Lauda, the three-time World Champ from Austria, needs no introduction. He was an F1 master that took Ferrari to new heights in the 1970s, was almost killed in a 1976 crash, and continued on for years after his miraculous recovery. Winning an F1 title with Ferrari (his second) and later for McLaren.

Sharp case and label on the black base here.

But in 1974 he and Clay Regazzoni, a talented Swiss driver, scored three wins with the B3 version of the stout 312 racer, Lauda winning twice. In fact, the duo set fastest qualifying laps in 10 of the F1 races that season, outpacing their Lotus and McLaren counterparts. Ultimately Lauda finished fourth in the standings and Regazzoni second due to more consistent finishes and fewer DNFs.

Yet the B3-74 and its 490-horsepower flat 12-cylinder engine were not as dependable as Ferrari had hoped, allowing Ferrari to finish only second in the F1 constructors championship. So the B3 was reworked as Ferrari mastered the aerodynamics of the time and morphed into the stellar 312T that won the F1 title with Lauda at the wheel in 1975. The 312T debuted in the third race that season.

The Model

               I like everything about this model starting with that stout packaging to ensure it arrives in one piece, a real plus as sometimes wings, wheels or windscreens are knocked loose in transit.

               The B3’s body shape and Ferrari Red paint job are stellar. Its wings are well-shaped and the chrome finish is fine as are all the decals/logos, mainly Goodyear and Agip at the time as cars weren’t rolling billboards just yet.

Check out the yellow air ducts for the front brakes!

               Front and rear suspensions look realistic and there are yellow brake air ducts in front of the front axles, a particularly nice touch. Goodyear slicks are well labeled and the racing wheels are matte gold.

               Beyond the suspension detail is the snazzy looking engine bay with battery, low tailpipes and again brake air ducts in the exposed engine area beyond the car’s body. The Ferrari’s white wing strut looks substantial too and there’s a rear red light embedded in that, used during rainy races and on warmup laps to alert drivers of the car ahead. There’s even some wiring on the engine, pretty rare in this scale.

               Cool too are the silver screens over the rear radiator ducts, the tall air intake behind the cockpit and a delicate windscreen that blends smoothly into the cockpit’s sides. Niki Lauda’s name is in white script below the cockpit, which is black and includes a steering wheel and realistic looking blue shoulder and lap belts.

               For the record, the numbers are black on white rounded-corner squares and of course the No. 12 that Lauda carried.

               The car rests in a nice acrylic case that features a black base with a nameplate featuring the car’s make and Lauda’s name. This is a limited edition, just 500 being made.      

And this just in. I’ve heard from a large retailer that the Ferrari models from GP Replicas were not licensed properly with Ferrari for the U.S. market and that is costing some retailers money for having sold them. So, it appears these may appear mostly on the overseas digital market sites. Too bad, as this is one of the finest 1:43 scale F1 cars I’ve seen.

My advice, stick with Spark and Ixo brands for good quality 1:43 scale racing models. Or Replicarz is strong on vintage Indycars and Greenlight for current year Indycars.

Blue belts are the highlight of the cockpit.

Vital Stats: 1974 Ferrari 312 B3-74 (Niki Lauda)

Maker: GP Replicas
Scale: 1/43
Stock No.: GP-43-01A
MSRP: $70-110 (various websites)

Check out the boxes the car is packed in for protection. Pretty impressive!

Die-cast: Autoart F1 Porsche 804

Autoart’s rare F1 Porsche ‘simply’ beautiful

How rare is Autoart’s new silver F1 Porsche 804?porsche1

Well, consider that you probably didn’t know that Porsche ever raced Formula 1, and won. Consider too that only four of these cars were ever made.

Thanks to Autoart, that number is now growing, of course these are 1:18 scale diecast, so not quite as fast, or as dangerous as the originals.

A little background
In the early 1960s, the racing world, led by Formula 1 in Europe, was transitioning from front-engine to rear-engine cars. Porsche joined Ferrari, Lotus and others in developing new chassis and engines to show off their design capabilities.

Porsche was only in it for a short time, with moderate success in 1961 with its 718 and 787 models. But in 1962 Porsche created the slim 804 racer that won Porsche its one and only F1 race, the French Grand Prix at Rouen. American Dan Gurney drove the car, beating Tony Maggs’ Cooper by a lap. Gurney also won the non-points Solitude Grand Prix shortly thereafter.

porsche 4This is Autoart’s version of that racer’s sister car, as driven by Joakin (Jo) Bonnier at Germany’s Nurburgring later that summer. The Gurney car also is available from Autoart, and both models also are available with driver figures. Continue reading Die-cast: Autoart F1 Porsche 804

Die-cast: New Indy Eagles, ’84 March by Replicarz

Two Johncock racers, Swede Savage Eagle are latest releases

While some of us old-timers remember front-engine roadsters at Indy, many more of us remember the variety of 1960s, ’70s and ’80s rear-engine racers, the Eagle, March, Foyt and Lotus chassis that won the Indianapolis 500 from 1965 forward.

Swede Savage's No. 40 STP Eagle from 1973 is stunning.
Swede Savage’s No. 40 STP Eagle from 1973 is stunning.

Drivers like A.J. Foyt, Gordon Johncock, Mario Andretti and Rick Mears piloted these big-winged racers that took aerodynamics to a whole new level, and speeds along with them. Well, Replicarz now brings back some of these colorful Indy Cars, including two new versions that hadn’t been done previously. All are 1:18 scale and use molds that previously served to create the fine Carousel 1 models.Being released in May or early June are the STP team cars that Johncock and Swede Savage drove in the 1973 Indy 500 and the March that Johncock piloted in 1984.

I’ve got to admit that I’m a sucker for Indy cars, and already own a Carousel 1 version of Johncock’s 1973 Indy winner. But these raise the bar from those already well detailed models.

Here’s what I noticed different on the new Replicarz version of the ’73 Eagle. Continue reading Die-cast: New Indy Eagles, ’84 March by Replicarz