Miniatures news, December 1977

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I particularly like the Targa Florio P2 Alfa Romeo, No.60 in Grand Prix Models’ Classic Cars series, and their J2 MG Midget with the original fixed-cycle-type mudguards (No.58). The former has the flat-radiator and the spare wheel correctly let into the tail of this modified Alfa Romeo P2 in which Acchille Varzi won the Targa Florio in 1930. It is very detailed, even to the external fuel-piping from the petrol tank in the tail and the engine, and has the correct badge and racing number, etc. This little miniature admirably captures the spirit of Alfa Romeo racing at this period. Incidentally, I did Grand Prix Models an injustice in saying their J2 MG presumably had a second windscreen-wiper blade as a Concession to DoE testing! I find that this MG was supplied as a new car with dual-wipers. Moreover, I should have known that bonnet-straps were not essential at Le Mans by 1962 and therefore the GP Models’ Le Mans Morgan is correct without them; Chris Lawrence says he sat in the real car for a long time at Le Mans that week-end and the model is correct. Which just goes to show how accurate these particular miniatures are!

This raises a nice point made by a reader who owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom II limousine and who assembles models from the better kits, as a hobby, lie says that having made-up a 1907 Bianchi he felt that there was a familiarity about the engine and chassis and comparing them with a 1907 Pekin-Paris Itala he had constructed, found them identical. Was there a connection, he asks, between the real Itala and Bianchi companies, or has the Japanese maker of these kits cheated, by using, one chassis for two different models? Although it is true that the successful 7.4-litre Itala was copied, by BSA and Weigel in England, the explanation of the similarity of these two model-kits probably lies in the cost of production. As GP Models have pointed out, perfect castings for a tiny model would be possible but the cost would be at least £13,000 per model, so small casting holes; which can be easily filled-in with plastic. have to be accepted. In the same way, cost was no doubt behind the doubling-up of the Japanese Itala/Bianchi chassis, although this is not to be condoned. Meanwhile, we look forward to GP Models’ miniature of the ex-Johnnie Lurani 1935 Ulster Aston Martin, now owned by Nick Mason. W.B.

Conservative Transport Policy

The Conservative Party says that it rejects anti-motorist policies and would review traffic laws including the “totting-up” process of dish qualification and the importance of such laws on the relation between the police and the public. It has come out strongly, and quite rightly, on the side of better pay for the police. A paper on Conservative Transport Policy by Norman Fowler MP has been published in book form, under the title “The Right Track”. It is available from the Conservative Political Centre, for 60p.

Thruxton School

Thruxton circuit has a new racing drivers’ school, operating on the 2.35 mile Hampshire track every Wednesday and Thursday. Scorpion Racing Drivers School is operated by Michael Eastick, an Essex farmer who has branched out after for very successful seasons running Scorpion Race Hire.

Nine Formula Ford Royales, three FF 2000s (a Royale, a Hawke and a Merlin), two Escort Mexicos and an RS 2000 are available and tutors include Kenny Gray, Derek Daly, Brian Sims and Rob Wilson. Eastiek can claim that unlike some of the cars used by other schools, his are competitive: in the last 18 months they have had over 50 wins in national FF 1600 and FF2000 races to their credit and Willy T. Ribbs recently won the Star of Tomorrow Championship in one.

The full course includes eight lessons, each comprised of a one hour classroom lecture, two hours on the track and a 1/2 hour de-briefing. Further details front Michael Eastick or Richard Tyzack at The Clays, Church Lane, Hempstead, Nr. Saffron Walden, Essex (Radwinter 337).

BMW not BRM

To those readers who were puzzled by the second reference to BRM, made in last month’s Editorial when we were expressing regret at Jaguar abandoning racing, it should be explained that BMW was intended in other words, we must ask ourselves why Jaguar cannot do, after long experience of motor racing, what BMW do repeatedly, which is to win races; so that, as J.W. has remarked, the British concessionaires would be justified in re-instating the arrogant slogan “Unbeatable BMW’. Hardly BRM, who although they were once successful in F1 racing, have for a long time as D.S.J. and A.H. have emphasised, been at as low an ebb in F1 as Jaguar in sports/car racing. W.B.

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