The revival of Indycar…models
Part one, 1/43rd scale
The last time anyone produced 1/43 scale Indy car models in any number was in the 90s. CART models made by Minichamps/Action were pretty good, while models by Onyx were not so good. The fortunes of Indy cars at the track waned over the years, spurred on by the ruinous war between the IRL and CART/ChampCar. Fading with the full scale cars were the fortunes of Indy in the model world as well. Sure, there were a few decent models from Brumm out there (Brumm Ferrari and Minichamps Reynard, left). There have been a few notably nice others, like the Carousel 1/Hobby Horse Marmon Wasp and Watson Roadsters (right), wonderful in their diecast weightiness and good detail. While you can still find these online, and you should, that was really it for the selection of Indy car models in 1/43rd scale.
I am very happy to say that the situation is changing for the better, and rather quickly too! While the full scale Indycar series is still working to rebuild their audience that was eroded badly during “The Split”, 1/43 model car collectors are going to be very happy now and in the future!
Here in the USA, Replicarz is rapidly developing a nice line of 1/43 and 1/18th Indy cars, mostly winning cars. Spark and Norev have also joined the show with announcements of their own.
Replicarz started the ball rolling with their release of the 1970/1971 PJ Colts that Al Unser took to consecutive Indy wins (the 1970 car, middle top). They are superb models; they even picked up on the subtle color difference in blue between the years. A bonus model is the yellow Samsonite version Joe Leonard drove in 1971 to the USAC championship. Since then, they have released many other great models; among them is the Danny Sullivan “spin and win” Indy winner (top, far right).
Harder to find are the series of Millers that Replicarz released some months back; recent releases have been older front engined beauties: several Blue Crown Specials, a few Belonds and a Hoover. I’m particularly happy to see the latest release of 3 Dan Gurney Eagles (the 1974 winner, top, second from right). Some Eagles have been available as handbuilts in the past, but this is the first appearance as large-production models. They are very good. More about the Eagles.
Spark, prodigious maker of 1/43rd resincast models, has taken the Indy route too, with quite a few Indy winners and non-winners alike, as well as some notable other cars from USAC history. Already produced are Mark Donohue’s Penske McLaren, the Chaparral 2K, Mario Andretti’s STP Hawk (top, second from left), Jimmy Clark’s Lotus STP 2nd place finisher and Lotus winner (top, far left). Bobby Unser’s first Eagle winner, AJ Foyt’s Coyote, Graham Hill’s Lola, a bunch of Dan Gurney’s early Eagle entries, and glorious failures STP Lotus and Paxton turbines. Don’t forget the pair of factory McLarens that Johnny Rutherford won Indy with in 1974 and 1976. Just out is Mario Andretti’s 1966 Brawner Hawk. Wonderful cars, beautifully modeled.
Norev, the French-centric model maker has produced the Peugeot 3L from the 1920 Indy 500. A basic model that will fill early Indy history needs.
Part two: Great kits
Update: Replicarz Boyle Special
Update: Replicarz Lor Schell Special and Elgin Piston Pin Special