Motor Racing, H:O Scale Slot Cars, Classic Cars, the building of my slot car circuit

Les courses automobiles francaises et voitures classiques

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tyco HO Scale Can-Am McLaren M8 Slot Cars

For those who have been complaining under the trade description act that my blog contains nothing yet about HO Scale slot cars, you can stop moaning!
Tyco Pro McLaren M6B being overtaken by Tyco McLaren M8F

Here is the first of a series of posts on some of my favourite slot cars.  Where to start was difficult, especially as all my slot cars are currently packed away awaiting yet another house move.  So these were picked almost at random.
Vintage Tyco McLaren HO Slot Cars

Both are the usual very approximate 1/64th scale and are made for home racing rather than the display shelf.  Although, relatively common in the USA, they did have a little rarity value in the UK.  For those interested in such things the photos were taken on some old Faller track bordered by fake turf from the garden centre.
McLaren M6B leads the McLaren M8F

The No 4 car seen here is a McLaren M8B but was originally sold as just a Group 7 GT due to royalty reasons as it came out in the early seventies just as the F1 teams were seeking new revenues under the tutelage of Bernie Ecclestone.  This is not one of the early white cars which were made not to look like a McLaren but a slightly later model but still on its original  Tyco Pro chassis.   The number 4 was of course carried by Bruce McLaren himself when racing in the Can-Am series.   The McLaren M6B took  Bruce to his second and final Can-Am championship in 1969 with wins at Mosport, Watkins Glen, Elkhart Lake, Michigan, Laguna Seca and Texas.  1969 was the year when every race that season was won by Bruce or his team mate Denny Hulme in their McLaren M6B-Chevrolet cars.  Sadly Bruce was killed testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood in 1970.
Tyco Can Am McLaren race cars

By the time the No.5 car came out a few years later, it would appear that Tyco and McLaren had come to some sort of agreement.  This is the McLaren M8F that was raced in 1971.  It was the final year that McLaren won the championship, this time with Peter Revson driving the top car.  The No.5 car was raced by Denny Hulme to second place in the championship with wins at Mosport, Edmonton and Riverside.  This originally came out on a Tyco pro chassis but is seen here on a 440X2 pan chassis to give it higher performance.  The colour scheme is perhaps more reminiscent of a 1972 M20.  Toy HO slot cars never were that worried about accuracy.  Of course 1972 was the year when McLaren were beaten for the first time since 1966 to the Can Am championship, by George Follmer in the Porsche 917/10K .  Denny did come a distant second in the standings winning only at Mosport and Watkins Glen.
Tyco McLaren M8F Chevrolet Can Am Car ahead of the M6B

When I was a serious racer of slot cars in the early nineties I used to sometimes travel with a diorama to show off my Can Am and other slot cars as shown below.
Can Am HO Slot Car Diorama from 20 years ago
Meanwhile the Indy Car crews are practising pitstops in the paddock

Some of the Can-Am tracks were also used as a base for the meetings I organised in Mortlake.  Watkins Glen and Riverside were two such examples and are shown below.  The Riverside esses were rather awesome!
Practice session for the Mortlake GP held on the Watkins Glen track in 1993
Practise on the Riverside circuit for the 1994 Mortlake GP
Tyco Can Am McLarens

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A Bargain Basement Sixties Ferrari V12

If you want to buy a V12 Ferrari from the fifties or sixties, the price tag can often set you back millions, or sometimes, tens of millions of dollars.  Thus this Ferrari that I saw at the Chanteloup-les-Vignes hillclimb recently is really something of a bargain.
The Italian Job!   Two Minis and a rather magnificent Ferrari, both fit the description
It was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 Coupe with bodywork by Pininfarina.   It has a 3 litre Ferrari V12 engine developing 240 bhp and yet recently sold for just €235,200.   Quite a bargain for a Ferrari 250 V12!   You could buy this and still, maybe, not be a millionaire.   OK so I personally would need to sell my house to buy one. Unfortunately, even although there are two small seats in the back there is not enough room to live in it.   Perhaps, I need to find a Ferrari 250 camping car conversion!  Sacrilege, I hear you say.   My mind wandered back to seeing the Ferrari Breadvan earlier in the year; could one possibly fit a bed in the back?
Ferrari Camping Van?
Then I remembered that the Ferrari Breadvan is not quite in the same price range. Anyway, there is only room for a few loaves, not for two people, two dogs and a cat!

Enough, of these musings, here is another picture of the bargain Ferrari.  This a real Grand Touring car in the real sense and to be appreciated as such.
A Ferrari built to compete with Aston Martin on the road rather than the race track.
However, the fact that it doesn't have a racing heritage and is a Ferrari of a type that didn't race completely explains its value.  People love Ferraris because of their racing heritage.

Having loved Ferraris for over well over 40 years, I finally got to drive one earlier this year.  My wife gave me the choice of a drive in a Formula Renault, or a Lamborghini or an Aston Martin etc.  It took me a couple of seconds to choose the Ferrari. The Ferrari F430 I drove is also certainly very much a road car, although a 2 seater and with a steering wheel operated sequential gearbox.  It was great fun around the Magny Cours Club circuit.  Nice present Jane and it didn't cost us the house!

Jane's photo of me driving the Ferrari F430 at Magny Cours