A very important car in the Chaparral saga
Upon opening the box that contained the 1/18th Replicarz Lola T500 Indy winner, my immediate reaction was “Wow, that’s nice!”.
The Chaparral Lola was driven to victory in entrant Jim Hall’s first attempt at the Memorial Day classic. It was driver Al Unser Sr’s third win in the 500, which is quite an achievement in itself. That the Jim Hall-led team was able to coax reliability out of the maligned Lola chassis while building their own reliable Ford DFX engines in-house was remarkable. This was an era when race car reliability wasn’t all that guaranteed because metallurgy wasn’t then what it is now.
What makes the Chaparral Lola T500 utterly fantastic was that the Hall and Unser combination would be the only ones to ever win the Indy “Triple Crown”. After winning the Indy 500, the team would also win the Pocono 500 and the California 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway. The rest of the season didn’t go that great. But if you are going to have an indifferent season then win the three big races with the good prize payouts!
The Replicarz Lola T500 Indy winner model
It’s easy to see why so many model car enthusiasts love 1/18 scale. Details come full-force to the front in the larger scale that are tiny in 1/43. The Replicarz Lola is a closed model with no opening features. While that’s a bit disappointing, this model really doesn’t need that luxury to stand out. There’s great details throughout to be admired.
The paint colors and finish are spot-on. All the markings on the car are perfect and well researched. One look at the rear of the car is all you need to realize that Replicarz spent time getting this model right.
That giant turbo is quite imposing jutting out from the left side of the engine cover. Complicated suspension wends its way through the rear end with all the linkages, oil lines and coil springs all complicating the view. Such was the accepted setup of the era.
While ground-effects were in their infancy on race cars, aerodynamics were no stranger to the innovative Jim Hall. A set of full-length skirts run along the bottom of the car from the front suspension to the side radiators. The svelte shape of the Lola must have cut a smooth swath through the air enhanced by those skirts. Straightline speed was obviously crucial as the car’s handling was reportedly compared favorably to a truck.
The details keep coming
The cockpit sports cloth-like seatbelts with photetched buckles. The steering wheel looks accurate in front of a nice array of guages. A stubby shift and its linkage can be found in the depths of the cockpit. A molded windscreen is properly thin and the attached mirrors have nice reflective lenses. The simple rollbar looks very metallic.
Look about the chassis and you’ll notice tiny photoetched Dzus fasteners are cleanly placed where required. There’s a ton of rivet detail for the aluminum tub. Look really closely and you’ll see the plug wires on the distressed-finish valve covers along with Cosworth nomenclature.
At the front there’s a clean rocker-arm suspension with inboard shocks. Right behind the suspension is the nicest antenna for cockpit communication. The rubber tires have perfect logo stenciling and the wheels are realistic Lola examples. There are brake calipers buried on the inside of the wheels too. Front wings have photoetched trim tabs properly placed.
Heck, the underside looks great too!
Do you already have the 1/18 Replicarz Chaparral 2K model?
Then you will want this car too. Jim Hall has given permission for Replicarz to model all his race cars. The fantastic Replicarz Chaparral 2J along with the coming Can-Am 2H and Lola T333 cars will tell a mighty fine story of one of the most innovative teams in the history of motor racing.
Note that the Replicarz Lola T500 Indy winner model is the only one available. Also note that there is a possibility that Replicarz could make the Pennzoil version it ran with in the early part of the 1979 season. That yellow paint scheme would look even better on the coming (beautiful) Chaparral 2K.
So act fast, like all other Replicarz models, this one’s a limited edition too.
Read more about the Chaparral Lola T500’s exploits here.
You can order one here.