Combined with the new Elgin Piston Pin Special,
the revival of Indy Car models goes on
The mavens at Replicarz continue the modeling history of the Indy 500 with their two latest 1:43 scale
releases. Both the Replicarz Lor Schell Special from 1940 and the 1941 Elgin Piston Pin Special cars are again Maserati 8CTFs. Due to a rules change for 1938, the Indy 500 was being run to international rules and allowed in pure Formula One cars. Maserati was already running in the F1 championship in 1938 with chassis 3030 and chassis 3031. The supercharged cars didn’t have a great finishing record. Blown engines were the chief culprit.
Maserati wished to race in the Indy 500 for 1938, but the cars weren’t ready in time. Chassis 3032 was purchased and entered by Mike Boyle (reportedly a gangster) for 1939 and driven by Wilber Shaw. The engine was detuned slightly and reliability ensued. Shaw won the 500 in his “Boyle Special” by more than 2 minutes. It was the first win by a car from Europe since 1919.
Entered again for 1940, Shaw repeated his winning feat of the year before in his dark red Boyle Special. This time he won by a full lap!
For 1940, chassis’ 3030 and 3031 were acquired and brought to America by the French team owned by Lucy O’Reilly Schell. The ex-F1 cars were entered for René Dreyfus and René Le Bégue. They were painted French blue with crossed French and American flags on the hood. While practicing in Le Bégue’s car, Dreyfus had blown the motor. With no spare engine, Le Bégue obtained the engine from Dreyfus’ car and they shared the car in the 500. Le Bégue started the race. In the end they finished a mediocre 10th in the Lor Schell Special while Wilbur Shaw won in his Maserati.
1941 saw Duke Nalon entered in a singleton French Maserati, this time sponsored by the Elgin Piston Pin Company. He finished 15th, 27 laps down. A silent color film from the 1941 Indy 500 includes the fire that toasted the garages and a few cars right before the race.
Replicarz based their Boyle Special Maserati Indy cars on chassis 3032, displayed in the Indianapolis Speedway Museum. The 1940 Lor Schell Special and 1941 Elgin Piston Pin Special cars pick up the same details presented on the Boyle cars. That’s a very good thing.
Presented in a heavy protective outer box, the cars sit on black bases protected by a fitted acrylic cover. A descriptive silver plaque sits at the foot of each model car with year/car/driver details and the model edition number.
The 1940 French blue #49 car has those crossed French and American flags. Look closely in the cockpit and you’ll see the car’s magnesium frame rails, shifter and pedals. The steering wheel does a great impression of the wheels of the era. If you look through the wheel spokes, the metal dash with tiny guages appears. This is another model where a magnifying device serves up all kinds of wonderfully small details. Chassis bolts are picked out in silver. The photoetched window frame holds an impressively thin and clear windscreen. The hood straps have nice etched buckles.
Look to the inside of the huge drum brakes and you’ll see the thinnest of copper ribbons poking its way out. Scale brake lines wend their way up into the chassis at the front. A fine photoetched front grill features a hole for the starting crank and a nice radiator sits behind it. The delicate wire wheels with knockoffs are well done. Peer at the tires very closely. There is something written to the inside of Firestone. Get out that magnifying device again. It actually does say “Deluxe Champion”. Really. Ready for those new glasses? Me too.
The 1941 car is the #17 Elgin Piston Pin Special. Replicarz actually created this exclusively for the Elgin Piston Pin Company, which still exists. Elgin has been gracious enough to allow Replicarz to let collectors share the model wealth. Still French blue, it has that distinctive orange nose cone. No hood straps this time. Every other detail from the 1940 car otherwise appears on this car. You can see a great photo of it here.
The Maserati/Indy story doesn’t end in 1941
There were no Indy 500s for the years 1942-1945 due to World War II. The Maserati cars would be entered from 1946 until 1951, with some success but no more wins. That’s a story for another day and possibly a few more Replicarz models. Let’s hope so.