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→
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→
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→
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.
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.
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→
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 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.
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.
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.