The other day we were beside ourselves with joy when we finally saw a first ever 1:18 replica of a Vanwall Formula One car! OK, it may have ‘only’ been a pre-production sample, but that means that the real thing now isn’t that far away! This is the car that Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks famously shared to win the 1957 British Grand Prix at Aintree.
The model manufacturer that has finally heeded the call to produce this iconic 1950s racing machine is SMTS. There’s no maker in the world better positioned to get the detail of this car totally correct.
These guys know the classic F1 scene better than anybody. SMTS’s small workforce, of course, is also comprised of superlative model makers.
The British Grand Prix was the fifth round of the 1957 championship. After Le Mans, Stirling had gone to the south of France for a bit of R&R with his fiancée. A fancy water-skiing move went wrong, and Stirling ended up with a nasty nose infection. He had to miss the French Grand Prix, but made it back for the British Grand Prix in July.
It was clear from qualifying that it was going to be a tough race, with the Maseratis of Fangio and Behra going faster for most of the day. Nevertheless, Moss grabbed pole right at the end of the session.
Moss got away slowly, but regained the lead by the end of the first lap. By the 25th lap, the Vanwall had developed a misfire. Moss came in. An earthing wire was removed, and he rejoined the race, albeit in seventh place. It didn’t solve the misfiring problem, so he pitted again.
Immediately, Brooks, who was still suffering from his Le Mans accident, was called in and his car was passed to Moss. Stirling rejoined the race in ninth, a whole minute behind Behra, who was leading the race.
Stirling gradually worked his way up through the field. Luckily the clutch on Behra’s Maserati disintegrated, whilst Hawthorn got a puncture.
With 20 laps to go, Moss was in a lead that he did not relinquish. It was to be his second Grand Prix victory at Aintree, but his first in a British car, although the points were shared with Brooks.
This Vanwall is SMTS’s first ever 1:18 classic F1 project (and first resin casting as opposed to white metal), and we are pleased to see that they have taken their time getting everything right. The body shape is superb, and the spoked wheels are a match for anyone else on the model-making scene.
SMTS hopes to be in a position to start supplying these 1:18 Vanwalls from next month, but with a team of only three people working on the project, it does not expect to be able to produce more than 50 a month. The problem is that we have already taken pre-orders for three times that number! The earlier you pre-ordered, the closer to the front of the queue you will be. If you haven’t yet got your order in, then act promptly so you don’t have to wait any longer than you need to. It’s taken 61 years for this car to be replicated, though, so another couple of months won’t hurt!
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