Tag Archives: Replicarz

Minichamps’ 1972 Porsche 917/10

Donohue-driven Porsche 917/10 a winner …  Minichamps Porsche, Mark Donohue

Porsche, Penske Racing, and Mark Donohue combined efforts in 1972 to take on the all-conquering McLarens in the Can-Am Challenge. No one should have doubted the results this trio would achieve.

McLaren was coming off its fifth straight Can-Am title when this tough trio got together and developed the Porsche 917/10, a spinoff of Porsche’s mighty 917 that raced and won at Le Mans. This version was roofless and featured a turbocharged flat-12 engine capable of making 900 horsepower. Donohue, who won the Indianapolis 500 that same year, helped develop the car, working closely with Porsche engineers. Continue reading Minichamps’ 1972 Porsche 917/10

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1959 Scarab Mk. II racer

Purple Nickey Nouse Scarab a slick winner …Replicarz 1959 Scarab Mk. II

A few years back at Road America, the Midwest’s finest road racing facility, I ran into racer Augie Pabst and his beautiful metallic blue Scarab Mk. II racer.

Pabst, an heir to the brewing fortune, had been a succesful sports car racer in the late 1950s and early 1960s and was running his Meister Brauser Scarab in vintage races.

I’m a racing nut, but I’d never seen a Scarab before, so I was intrigued by the long-nosed front-engine car that looks part futuristic racer and part late 1950s roadster. Now, Replicarz has gone and produced a superb 1/18-scale resin die-cast of one of three Scarab Mk. IIs that were made and raced. This one was driven by another Midwestern sports car expert, Jim Jeffords, and features Nickey Nouse, the Chicago-based Nickey Chevrolet mascot.


The History

Lance Reventlow, son of Woolworth heiress Betty Hutton, was a California-based racer who owned Reventlow Automobiles Inc. He had cash! But had seen how the European automakers only sold year-old racers to outsiders, so decided to have the Scarabs designed and specially built for his team. He was looking for an advantage.Replicarz 1959 Scarab Mk. II

Scarab’s designers were Tom Barnes and Dick Troutman, both well-known race car builders. They created a space-frame chassis weighing 127 lbs. and plopped in a special-built Chevrolet 283 V8 built by Traco Engineering. Its 365 horsepower made the Scarab a beast that was hard to catch. Its first victory came at the 1958 Riverside International Grand Prix in California with noted sports car driver Chuck Daigh at the wheel. Reventlow also raced his Scarab. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1959 Scarab Mk. II racer

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 1920s Duesenberg Indy 500 winners

These Indy 500 winners are real Duesys …

Replicarz 1924 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner
Replicarz 1924 Duesenberg Indy 500 winner: L.L. Corum and Joe Boyer

Indianapolis-based Duesenberg Automobile and Motors Co. was a powerhouse at the Indianapolis 500 in the 1920s, winning three out of four years from 1924-27.

Duesenbergs were known for their strong engines, and the company made marine and aviation engines during World War I. But following the war its founding brothers, August and Frederick Duesenberg, moved the company to Indianapolis. They loved powerful engines and created some of the best of the era for their Indy racers. They also made competitive chassis for Indy racers.

Now Replicarz, which has made 1/43 scale 1920s Miller racers, turns its attention to 1/18 scale resin versions of the Indy-winning Duesenbergs. They’re sharp, as usual.

The History

Duesenberg won its first Indy 500 in 1924, the first car with a supercharger to win Indy. Drivers L. L. Corum and Joe Boyer shared the driving duties and the following year the popular Peter DePaolo, won in a bright yellow Duesy.  After Frank Lockhart won aboard a Miller in the rain-shortened 1926 race, Duesenberg was back in the winner’s circle in 1927 with George Souders at the wheel. It was Duesenberg’s final Indy win.

The outgoing DePaolo, who later authored the autobiography Wall Smacker, is noted for being the first driver, and car, to average more than 100 mph for the entire 500 miles at Indy. His record was 101.127 and lasted until 1932 when Fred Frame averaged more than 104 mph. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1920s Duesenberg Indy 500 winners

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: Looksmart’s 2016 Ferrari SF16-H

Looksmart delivers sharp Vettel Ferrari from 2016 Australian GP …Ferrari SF-16 F1 racer

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari joining forces seems a deal worked in heaven, or at least Maranello, which to the tifosi is one and the same.

Vettel is a four-time world F1 champ and Ferrari has the most wins of any F1 team ever, 227. So when Vettel came aboard three seasons ago the tifosi’s dreams of another F1 title grew quickly.  By 2016 they were expecting wins, if not a title, and the new Ferrari SF16-H looked to be the car to do it.

Looksmart, a fairly new Italian die-cast maker, has just begun making gorgeous 1/18-scale resin models and this version of the SF16-H is as it appeared in its debut race, the 2016 Australian Grand Prix. The review car is a replica of Vettel’s ride that day. He finished third. Replicarz provided the review model.

The History

Scuderia Ferrari, started by Enzo Ferrari in 1929 to be Alfa Romeo’s factory racing team, has been successful in Formula 1 racing since its inception. It’s the only F1 team to compete in each season since F1 was formed in 1950.Ferrari SF16-H F1 racer

Ferrari has won 16 constructors’ championships and its drivers have won 15 driver championships, most recently Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

The SF16-H (SF for Scuderia Ferrari, and H for hybrid) ran the entire 2016 season. Vettel had the best results for the team although the car never won a race. Vettel notched seven podiums including three second-place finishes, while Raikkonen had four podiums and two seconds. The team was third in the constructor’s contest.

However, this car led to the SF70-H which is proving much more successful. It already has won three F1 races as of this writing, putting Vettel atop the F1 driver’s championship. Continue reading Die-cast: Looksmart’s 2016 Ferrari SF16-H

Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard

Replicarz goes bigger, produces winner with Joe Leonard’s championship car … 1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard driver

Joe Leonard was a heck of a racer, on two wheels and four.

He not only won three motorcycle championships, the hard-nosed driver also moved up to Indy cars and won the 1971 USAC championship running virtually the same car as his teammate, Al Unser, who won the Indianapolis 500 in a sister car that year.

Replicarz honors Leonard, who died earlier this year, with its release of a 1/18-scale PJ Colt, a replica of the car Leonard drove to the USAC title decked out in its yellow and blue Samsonite-sponsored livery.  Replicarz had created a limited edition 1/43-scale model of the car previously, along with Unser’s 1970 and 1971 Indy winning Johnny Lightning racers.1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard driver

The History

Leonard won three A.M.A. Grand National Championships between 1954 and 1957 and set a record with 27 wins. By 1961 though, he turned his attention to auto racing and debuted in USAC, then the top-level open-wheel racing series.  In 1964 he reached its top level, racing Champ cars, those that ran in the Indianapolis 500. He won his first race, the Milwaukee 150, in 1965 aboard a Gurney Eagle.

Leonard raced for several teams and had several good results at Indy, finishing third in 1967 and sixth in 1969 when he was wheeling Smokey Yunick’s doctored Gurney Eagle. In between he put Andy Granatelli’s famous wedge turbine on the pole at Indy and was leading with 9 laps to go when a part failed. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1971 PJ Colt, Joe Leonard