Tag Archives: Roger Penske

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)

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Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1926, 1929 Indy 500 winning Millers

Small scale Indy-winning Millers simply beautiful

The 1926 Indy 500-winning Miller
The 1926 Indy 500-winning Miller.

Back before hearing the word “Miller” made us think of beer, the name meant winning at the Indianapolis 500, and elsewhere on the nation’s numerous board tracks. That’s right, they used to make race track surfaces out of wood!

Millers were simple yet sleek racers that the best drivers, or their sponsors, bought to race at the highest levels throughout North America. Indy was, and is, the crown jewel, and Miller racers were the cars to beat in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Now, Replicarz has produced two Indy 500 winners in 1:43 scale and in the limited quantities of just 250 each. Due to be released shortly are the 1926 Miller Special driven by Frank Lockhart, and the 1929 Simplex Miller driven to victory by Ray Keech. Replicarz’s earlier gold Miller driven by three-time winner Louis Meyer, sold out. So snagging one of these early probably would be wise, as only 250 of each are to be made.

The 1929 Indianapolis 500-winning Miller.
The 1929 Indianapolis 500-winning Miller.

The History

Harry Miller was a noted engine maker and race car designer. Cars he designed won the Indy 500 nine times and three more times cars that were using his engines won the race. I’d say “think Roger Penske” as far as success, but Penske never designed cars or engines himself.

Millers, which were front-wheel-drive, were so dominant that they made up 83% of the Indianapolis fields from 1923 through 1928. Miller’s won 73 of 92 major U.S. auto races from 1922-29 and in 1929, 27 of the 33 racers in the Indy 500 were Millers.

After working with Ransom Olds (remember Oldsmobile?) early on and creating the first aluminum pistons and then the aluminum alloys used in engines, Miller became wealthy from a carburetor business he started. Continue reading Die-cast: Replicarz’s 1926, 1929 Indy 500 winning Millers

Cool car guys I’ve met

Up close and personal

TV 11, WLUK, green bay, wi., road america, indy 500, race drivers

My days as a TV sports reporter in Green Bay provided me with opportunities others dream about. Almost all of them came because I spent lots of time at my favorite place, Road America, located about an hour south of Green Bay. I loved when there was a race coming up because it meant I’d be down there a bunch of times that weekend. Nobody else in the Green Bay television market covered motorsports like I did. I loved it. I got to interview some cool car guys. While some people might be intimidated by their names, I’d just walked up to them, videographer in tow, and asked them if I could chat with them. Hey they put their pants on the same way I do, one leg at a time. The only one who turned me down was Bobby Rahal who was having a crappy practice day at Road America. So here are the ones that did talk to me and I still remember to this day. Continue reading Cool car guys I’ve met

The 60’s: Big hair, cheap gas, and colorful cars

promotional model cars, automotive history, savageonwheels.comWin on Sunday, Sell on Monday

While that isn’t true so much anymore, it was huge in the 60’s as all the manufacturers were into racing, mostly the Trans Am series, even tiny American Motors. The Javelin had just been introduced in ’68 as AMC’s entry into the pony car category. The colors were red, white, and blue, the company’s corporate colors. AMC entered a pair of Javelins and were successful enough to unseat Ford’s Mustangs from second place in the championship, a remarkable feat given that it was AMC’s first season. This was big for the company because the pony car market was hot and they were tardy to the party with the Mustang, Camero, and Barracuda coming out about four years ahead of AMC

Promotions galore

AMC needed to get its dealer’s involved and hosted a dealer event in Denver. I remember this because my dad had talked about it when he worked there. They gave the dealers this base white ’68 Javelin and added red and blue similar to the cars that were racing. If you look closely, they didn’t spend a lot of time in the masking department. Like the real deal, these promo models now are had to find, especially in good condition. I found this one on eBay recently sold for $177. The price due at least partially to the paint rubbed off. I have seen these go for $250 at swap meets.

RWB_javelin_front_Promo_model_cars  RWB_Javelin-side_promo_model_carsRWB_Javelin_promo_model_cars

Enter Roger Penske

Back to the real deal. For 1968 to get a red, white, and blue Jav you would order a white one and the dealer would take care of painting the red and blue. These are hard to find and if you do stumble upon one, most likely they are a clone as it was easy to do. While ’68 was a great year for the Javelins in the Trans-Am series, ’69 kind of stunk and AMC didn’t like that. So they went to Roger Penske with pretty much a blank check and said make us win. Penske wasn’t really getting paid anything from Chevy so this was a great deal and the winning would come, due mostly to the driving of Mark Donahue.

javelin_70-TA_ad1970 AMC Javelin Promo Model, promotional model carsSo on to 1970 with Penske/Donahue. This limited edition Trans-Am Javelin was introduced in time to promote the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am Season. Only 100 limited edition units were manufactured at AMC’s Kenosha plant, pulled from the standard production line and painted in factory Red, White & Blue to replicate the Javelin Racing team colors. They featured a high-performance 390 with factory ram-air induction, along with other fast stuff. It also included a custom Trans-Am homologated front cow-catcher and a rear adjustable “air-foil” style spoiler. Only 30+ of the original 100 cars have been discovered and are currently registered through the Trans-Am Javelin Registry. Johan did produce a 1970 Javelin, like this one I have but to my knowledge only the ’68 was done in red, white, and blue.

1970_AMC_Javelin_TransAm_rwbOK, yup I’m an AMC guy but this era was one of the best in racing history and while the read deal, according to Hagerty, will cost you about 25 grand, and good luck getting the owner to part with it. This replica pops up on eBay and you can get it for a whole lot less.