Category Archives: Biante

Models 56 by Armco and a Load of Cobras: Part 2 Cobras

By Mick Haven

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs will be found at the end of the article.

As mentioned previously in MAR Online, Gateway Models near Brisbane, which Graeme referred to, is the trader I have dealt with the longest, probably seventeen years or so. I was fortunate enough to pay them a visit while down there in September 2017. From the outside it looks nothing like a model shop. Appearances are deceptive. It takes something special to keep me quiet but I was temporarily speechless there, and I didn’t see all of it. The place is stacked with model cars.

He also mentions the Falcon ‘Cobra’ GT, although I’m not sure that ‘GT’ is the correct title as I believe the correct designation is ‘XC’. The XC followed on from the very successful XA/XBGT ranges, produced from 1973 to 1976. The XC family was introduced in 1976, and would include a GS500 ‘Hardtop’, a large coupe, not dissimilar to the afforementioned Torino. In October 1977, Allan Moffat, partnered by Formula 1 legend, Jacky Ickx, would win the legendary Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst in an XC GS500 Hardtop, in the famous ‘1-2 form finish’ for Team Moffat. By the end of the race his car was virtually brakeless and should have come second, but he was team owner and orders is orders.

By the end of 1977, Ford Australia had built 13 ‘special order’ XC GS500 Hardtops. The modifications on these cars would become the basis for the Cobra XC ‘Option 97’. The company decided to capitalise on the 1977 Bathurst result and wanted to go racing so they needed a suitable car. Four hundred examples of whatever they chose had to have been built to meet CAMS homologation rules. It just so happened they had four hundred XC bodies left over with no buyers when production of the big coupe ceased in April 1978.

Rather than scrap them, Edsel Ford II, who was Ford Australia Managing Director. at the time, suggested they be saved and could be offered to the public as a road going race car. Production began in July of that year. I believe I read some time ago that Carroll Shelby was approached for permission to call the car ‘Cobra’, and to use the familiar Shelby stripes and Cobra badging. By coincidence, the colour scheme was the international colours for American racing cars, as seen on the Le Mans Cunninghams of the 1950s, e.g. Britain had its British Racing Green, Italy was red, France blue and so on.
Four hundred blue and white road going Cobra XCs were built, in two variants, Option 96 and Option 97. Of the four hundred, only 30 were Option 97s. These were numbered from 002 to 0031, and would be known as ‘Bathurst Specials’. The first two hundred would have a 5.8L 351 cu.in. motor, the remainder would have a 4.9L 302 cu. in. Two exceptions were car number 001 which would have the 302 cu. in. motor, and car number 351 which had a motor of that capacity.

There are a number of differences between the two, mainly under the skin, but the most obvious externally is the addition of a ‘power bulge’ on the bonnet of the Option 97 in addition to the two ‘flared nostril’ intakes already in place on the Option 96, and on previous XAs, XBs and XCs, including four door saloon, estate, Ute and van variants. The XC Cobras would also have their own blue and black seats and ‘Globe’ alloy wheels. I’ve got three of these, one in 1:64th scale, one in 43rd scale and one in 1:18th, all by Biante. In model and 1:1 scale, Option 97s are sought after. A genuine full size Option 97 can command big dollars if and when one comes up for sale. Even the Option 96 doesn’t come cheap, but these do get offered from time to time, with prices usually around $100,000 AUD, some more, some less.

Graeme makes mention of its size, citing, ‘some views show it to be a compact’. I’ve referred to it as the ‘big coupe’. So how big were they? They are, or were, easily on a par with the Holden (Vauxhall) Monaro and Audi A5 coupe familiar on UK roads today. For comparison the XAGT coupe was 4808 mm L x 1969 W x 1369 H. The Monaro and A5 are 4789 L x 1841 W x 1397 H and 4673 L x 2029 W x 1371 H respectively, so compact they weren’t. It weighed in at 3500 lbs. I did see one at Ford Fair some years ago and compact it wasn’t. Also, some time ago, I exchanged e mails with a guy who lived in the Oxfordshire countryside and he had an XC Cobra. Negotiating those narrow country lanes with it was interesting to say the least. Attached are the pics he sent me. What I didn’t know at the time was that there were the two variants. Looking at the pics while writing this, I noticed that it’s an Option 97. How much is that worth today? I think he worked for TWR at the time as one picture shows the car outside TWRs premises. I know he emigrated to Australia taking the XC with him. There is much racing footage of them on You Tube. I imagine they were a real handful at racing speeds and they would clock up to 170 mph down Conrod Straight.

From a collecting perspective, the 1:43rd scale is one which I’ve had as long or longer than virtually of all my Australians, for at least fifteen years, possibly more. It almost certainly came from those good ol’ boys at Gateway. The 1:18th scale came next, bought at a Ford dealership near Melbourne, and the 1:64th example by Biante Minicars would eventually follow some years later. Even so, I’ve had that since at least 2011, as it was in a display of Ford models I showed when the club, South Hants Model Auto Club put on a display at Ford fair that year. I also had another one in 1:87 scale by Cooee Road Ragers (Made under contract by Oxford Diecast). The Biante Minicars 1:64 example is my only Option 97 Cobra XC in the familiar white with blue stripes colour scheme, the other two being Option 96s. The total number of Option 97s I have in three scales is eight, of which two are 1:18 scales two are 1:64 scale, and the remainder in 1:43.

One is the Allan Moffat/John Fitzpatrick GS 500 Hardtop ‘Federation’ car number 25 from Bathurst 1979, and I have one of those in 1:43rd scale and one by Biante Minicars. The other 1:18 scale is Biante’s Carter/Lawrence ‘Brian Wood Ford’ from Bathurst 1978, resplendent in its overall dark blue with red and yellow stripes with wide yellow ‘Magnum’ five slot racing wheels with slick tyres. Two of the 1:43rd scales are as raced in 1978 and 1979, by Dick Johnson, the latter a car which he co-drove with ex Formula 1 and Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan at Bathurst. The ‘79 car would be dubbed ‘reverse Cobra’, owing to the body colours being ‘the other way round’ i.e. with white stripes over blue, rather the more familiar blue stripes on a white body. A unique feature about the stripes was in their application and defied the norm. Apparently, rather than take a white body and then apply the blue stripes across the body and along the sides, the blue bits  were applied first, then taped over and the car painted white. Very odd.

Another one is the 1978 Bathurst XC Cobra of once again, Moffat and Ickx, carrying race #1, relating to their win the year before. They couldn’t repeat the heroics of 1977 and the car was a DNF. The other model shown is of the Garry Wilmington/Jeff Barnes 1978 Bathurst runner. This model was produced by Trax in 1993, by whom I have two Falcon road coupes, one of which is an Option 97. Trax also released a Cobra XC Option 96 and a small number of other XBGT and XCs in 1:43 scale, including the # 25 Federation car and the ‘Brian Wood Ford’. They also produced a model of the Jack and Geoff Brabham car from Bathurst 1977. The total number of XA/XB and XC coupes in my collection is twenty seven in three scales, including, aside from the Moffat/Ickx ’77 car, the XAGT Bathurst winners from 1973 and ’74, plus one XBGT saloon by Trax from their Opal range. There are a number of XC Cobra models in other scales by other manufacturers. OzLegends have both Option 96 and 97 in 1:32 scale and these can be found on eBay. Dinkum Classics is another manufacturer of the popular coupe. Models of XA/XB GTs can occasionally be found on eBay, and some via dealers ‘down under’, of which I’m happy to report, there are still a large number. Biante’s XC Cobra in 1:43 scale is rarer, while an Option 96 in 1:18 scale, although slightly less rare, commands good money, see below. Those with deeper pockets may be interested in XA/XB and XCs in 1:18 scale. For example, at the time of writing, Hobby_Link have a Biante Auto Art Moffat/Ickx 1978 Bathurst XC in that scale, for a mere £462.56 plus just £13.11 shipping, or $809.95 + $22.95 AUD if you prefer. Gateway have an Option 96 for just £227.87 + £51.40 shipping, or $489.00 including shipping. Seen on eBay is the Moffat #25 car at £313.46 + £40.68 shipping. This model doesn’t even have the  ‘Camel’ sponsor decals, owing to tough Australian tobacco advertising laws. They can be obtained from other sources. As with all internet buys, prices vary from seller to seller. Then there’s always the added danger of getting stung by Customs and Royal Mail. Ouch! Sometimes I’ve been caught, other times I’ve got lucky and paid nothing. As an owner of more than twenty 1:18th scales by both Biante and Classic Carlectables, I should add that they are superb and worth every penny.

When I first started collecting them all those years ago, I was astonished at the quality and detail to be found on them, and at the time, with a good exchange rate, great value for money too. Many have opening doors boot and bonnet, steerable wheels and fully detailed engines with plug leads etc, and detailed undersides and interiors, despite being well over ten years old. Biante’s FPV GT nee Falcon XR8, even has a carpeted boot mat and a fire extinguisher. Although a tad more expensive these days, they still make great value. The race cars are truly magnificent. Collectors of Scalextric are not ignored either. There are many fine slot car models of Australian race cars which would make great display models. There’s a plethora of them on eBay including the XA/XB XCs and V8 Supercars. Earlier in the year I took delivery of their Dick Johnson Sierra RS500 1989 Bathurst winner and very nice it is too. Shame about the driver figure. Is that really the great man? How fortunate I am that neither my house or my wallet are overly large.

 

Just for the record, for any MAR Online readers who may be interested in exploring the wonderful world of Australian die casts, I can thoroughly recommend the following traders; Biante, Gateway, Motorfocus, Kollectable Kaos, Jays Models, Pit Stop Models, Top Gear aka Trax, Ace Models, Replicars and Automodelli among many others. There’s always eBay of course from where I got many of mine, but beware, many sellers on eBay au, won’t post up here. If they do they’ll be on eBay UK. A model shop, where you can browse to your hearts content, still exists in Australia. In the early days, I was even ordering them from main car dealers, who usually stock a fine selection of models appertaining to the brand of car, e.g. Ford or Holden. DJR race car models can also be ordered directly from DJR/Team Penske. Classic Carlectables, another fine brand, cannot be sourced directly from them, but the XA, XB and XC doesn’t feature in their range. Their excellent web site does list every model they have ever produced, including a picture of each one and the release date. Biante’s web site does list all their releases since 1998 under the heading, ‘customer service’, then ‘view the list here’, but it stops at 2014 and there are no pictures. The coupes were released long before that.

Give the above traders and models, and eBay a look, you won’t be disappointed. Appreciation for some of the above goes to ‘Wiki’ and to Bill Tuckey from his book   ‘True Blue’ 75 Years of Ford in Australia.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

A Brazilian in Australian V8 Supercars

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

I live in Brazil and collect 1:43 scale cars from Brazilian drivers but no “open wheels” like Formula 1 or Indy cars. This makes my collection very specialized and keeps me on the hunt for hard-to-find and special editions, as well as some modified models.

As for the Australian V8 Supercars, Max Wilson raced there from 2002 to 08;  some info his career is here: https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/max-wilson/. Unfortunately,  only the cars from 2002, 03 and 04 seasons were released by Biante. They are also found in 1:64 and 1:18 scale. They are hard to find outside Australia so my search went through Australian eBay and some local shops that would ship the models to Brasil.

The Biante cars are:
  1. Ford AU Falcon Nº 65, 2002 season. Model nº 286 of 2000 released.
  2. Ford BA Falcon Nº 18, 2003 season. Model nº 193 of 2000 released.
  3. Ford BA Falcon Nº 888, 2004 season. Model nº 242 of 1000 released.

The models are very finely done (good details and tampo printing) but were manufactured years ago.  Looking at Biante’s current offerings, they may look even better.  Since there are no more Brazilian drivers racing them, I haven´t bought any of the newer releases.  Maybe one day Biante will release the other Max Wilson cars so I could fill in the gap years: 2005 to 08.

To show some further models, here are two more cars raced by Max Wilson in Brasil.
  1. Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI Nº 19. He raced at Interlagos, São Paulo, in the ITC Championship in 1996.  An easy mod using an HPI model.
  2. Chevrolet Sonic Nº 65 from the Brazilian Stock Car partworks. He raced this car in the 2016 season.

I hope you enjoy these photos!

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

 

A few new Aussies from 2018

By Mick Haven

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. 

Having just read Dave Turner’s Aussie Ford feature, happy to say I’m the proud owner of many of those pictured, and some!

Pictured below are some of the models that I’ve been able to obtain from ‘down under’ over the last year. An interesting mix of racing and street cars.

Biante Minicars Falcon XD and XE

 

 

Dick Johnson’s Mustang

 

 

New Biante Falcon

 

 

Trax Falcon

 

 

Trax Mk II Zephyr Ute

 


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

The Ford in Miniature – Falcon XA, XB and XC 1972-79

By Dave Turner

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Ford Falcon XA

Replacing the US designed Falcon XY in February 1972 the XA was the first Falcon to be completely designed and produced in Australia. While based on the preceding XY and having the same wheelbase, the bulkier and bolder styled body was a couple of inches longer. Five levels in the sedan line started with the basic version, the 500, the Futura, the Fairmont and the GT. 2 door hardtops came as the 700, the Fairmont and the GT. The wagons on a 5 inch longer wheelbase (the same as the contemporary ZF Fairlane) came as the basic version, the 700 and the Fairmont. Then there were the basic and 500 Utility and the van.

Engine choices were a couple of straight sixes in 3.2 and 4.1 litre sizes and a couple of V8s of 4.9 litres and 5.7. The four door sedans featured the ‘coke bottle’ line rather like being a larger version of the Cortina MkIII while the 2 door coupes boasted very deep rear quarters with rather sinister looking rear side windows quite different to the sedans.

As usual various options and specials add to the complexity for example the Grand Sport Rally Pack ‘boy-racered’ up the base, the 500 and the Fairmont while the proposed GT-HO Phase IV was abandoned after just one example. Just 250 of the GT – RPO 83 Falcons were made – 130 sedans and 120 hardtops, and differed only by a few mechanical upgrades with no external changes. Another limited run were the Falcon 500 Superbird RPO – 77 hardtops featuring considerable mechanical upgrades to engine, suspension, instrumentation complete with rear window louvre.

The up-market version of the Falcons were the bigger Fairlanes but these differed from the regular Falcon in size and equipment sufficiently to demand a separate feature – sometime.

Australia seems to have a reasonably healthy model car supply base with several local operations providing miniatures of their home-grown product. For example Top Gear/Trax may be the most familiar on this side of the globe although Classic Carlectibles and Oz Legends have also been imported.

Oz Legends have in fact provided quite a few models of the XA in a variety of 1:32 scale diecast sedans, hardtop and Ute versions. Most of which appear to be limited to 2,500 examples and feature opening doors, hood and trunk. Classic Carlectibles have gone the 1:18 scale route with slight variation on the same subjects.

Back on 1:32 a range on the Signature label (Yatming?) has a few sedans, hardtops and utes and inevitably concentrates on the higher performance end of the line and like the other makes includes a few customised examples. Auto Art offered some Aussie Falcon Hardtops under the Biante name in both 1:18 and 1:43 scales.

Top Gear/Trax seem to have concentrated on 1:43 for most of their vast range of Ford models but the only XA seems to be the 1972 GT Sedans in at least four colours. These came in the relatively expensive Opal Series that featured a vast amount of detail for 1:43. All four doors open as well as bonnet and boot while the interior and engine compartment are detailed to an incredible degree. The door windows are in the lowered position so that the interior can be viewed without opening the doors.

Falcon XA Models

Oz Legends
Ute 150mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT RPO-83 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT  RPO-83 150mm 1:32 diecast
Classic Carlectibles
18268 China Superbird hardtop show car 250mm 1:18 diecast
18448 China Hardtop GT RPO-83 250mm 1:18 diecast
18545 China Sedan GT HO Phase 1V 250mm 1:18 diecast
18615 China Sedan GT RPO-83 250mm 1:18 diecast
18640 China Hardtop GT 250mm 1:18 diecast
Signature
China Hardtop 351GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
China Utility GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
China Utility GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
China 2016 Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art/Biante
72725 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
72726 China Hardtop Superbird 1:18 diecast
72747 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
China Hardtop GT 1:43 diecast
Trax
T005 China 2008 Sedan GT Ltd 2400 112mm 1:42 diecast

Falcon XB

Succeeding the XA in November 1973 the XB was very similar but featured a few subtle changes to the bonnet and grille – the latter having a central divider. The sedans got larger tail lights that featured a wrap-around section at each side. Once again there were some ‘specials’ such as the Sovereign Edition based on the 500 and celebrating Ford Australia’s 50th Anniversary. The John Goss Specials were Hardtop 500s with decals and a GT bonnet named after a local race driver while the McCleod Horn Specials were produced by a Sydney Ford dealership and identified by a large strobe stripe on the body side.

The Australian model suppliers have provided even more of the XB series than of the previous one. The same names crop up again but with the addition of a new one on this subject – Hot Wheels, who offered a XB Coupe in no less than 20 versions, and apart from the unsightly wheels they are reasonably acceptable.

Most of the previously mentioned ranges offered both custom and competition versions of the standard issues while some are detailed to a commendably degree once again. For example the 1:43 Auto Art XB GT 351 Hardtop features a great deal of underside detail – even steerable front wheels while deciding not to bother with opening doors etc, and probably looks neater as a result. The Trax Opal Series XB GT 351 Sedan followed their XA in featuring a mass of detail plus opening parts quite neatly. The Oz Legends range now included a trio of Panel Vans.

Falcon XB Models

Oz Legends
Sedan GT 140mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GT 140mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GS 140mm 1:32 diecast
Panel Van GT 1:32 diecast
Panel Van 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GS 1:32 diecast
Panel Van GS 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GT 1:32 diecast
Classic Carlectibles
Sedan GT 1:18 diecast
18615 Sedan GT RPO-83 1:18 diecast
Hardtop GT John Goss 1:18 diecast
Signature
Hardtop GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Hardtop GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GT 150mm 1:32 diecast
Sedan GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Ute GS 150mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art/Biante
52742 China 2003 Hardtop GT 111mm 1:43 diecast
72742 China Coupe GT 1:18 diecast
72796 China Sedan GT 1:18 diecast
72881 China Hardtop GT 1:18 diecast
72886 China Hardtop GT McCleod Horn 1:18 diecast
Trax
T006 China 2008 Sedan GT 351 112mm 1:43 diecast
Hot Wheels
2010 Malaysia 2009 Hardtop GT 351 75mm 1:64 diecast

 

Falcon XC

A second update brought us to the XC Falcon in July 1976 and this was to carry through to March 1979, late examples can be identified by featuring a Ford oval on the XCs horizontal grille. The front of the XC was given a softer look than the XB while a larger rear door window was provided by the use of the Contemporary ZH Fairlane rear doors effectively losing the ‘coke-bottle’ line. Tail lights were now horizontally divided while the GT was replaced by the GXL and the Fairmont given rectangular headlights. A limited run of 400 Cobra Hardtops were finished in white with blue racing stripes.

Models of the XC are far less well represented than the first two of the series. Oz Legends are present again but so far only the Hardtop Cobra has been recorded while the only Auto Art XC seems to be once again the Cobra but in 1:43 this time. Trax have concentrated on the Hardtop to a greater extent, they again did the Cobra first but followed it with at least six further versions, some of them in competition form as the Hardtops were a favourite with the racing fraternity. Another Cobra they did was a model of the projected Phantom that in reality didn’t go into production and this was followed by another rare subject, the GS Homologation Hardtop of which only 13 real examples were made. Finally a model of the production GS Fairmont 4.9 Hardtop was produced. A sedan Fairmont GXL was a recent issue and while it is a highly detailed resin model, it features a degree of stick-on chrome edging – none of which has peeled off yet it must be said.

Falcon XC Models

 

Oz Legends
Hardtop Cobra 140mm 1:32 diecast
Auto Art
52752 China Hardtop Cobra 111mm 1:43 diecast
Trax
TR10 China 1994 Hardtop Cobra Ltd 7500 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10C China 1998 Hardtop Cobra Phantom 4500 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10F China 2004 Hardtop GS Homologation 3200 111mm 1:43 diecast
TR10G China 2008 Hardtop GS Fairmont 4.9 2800 111mm 1:43 diecast
TRR 36 China 2016 Sedan Fairmont GXL 115mm 1:43 resin

Illustrations Ford Falcon XA, XB and XC

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10G, Hardtop XC GS Fairmont 4.9.

rear of TR10G

Trax 1:43 resin: TRR 36, Fairmont XC GXL

rear of TRR36

 

Hot Wheels 1:64 diecast from Malaysia: 2010, Hardtop XB GT 351 one of at least 20 versions.

 

rear of Hot Wheels

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: T006, XB Sedan GT 351.

 

rear of T006

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China : T005 XA Sedan GT.

 

rear of T005

 

Auto Art 1:43 diecast from China: 52752, XC Hardtop Cobra.

 

rear of 52752

 

Auto Art 1:43 diecast from China: 52742, XB Hardtop GT.

 

rear of 52742

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10F, XC Hardtop GS Homologation

 

rear of TR10F

 

Trax 1:43 diecast from China: TR10C XC Hardtop Cobra Phantom.

 

rear of TR 10C

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

 

More on Bathurst models

By Mick Haven

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

As an avid collector of Australian models, I currently have around 210 across three scales, I read the contribution from Frank Koh/Karl Schnelle about the Trax Holden Commodore with interest. Although I’ve got a reasonable number of Trax models, this is one I haven’t got. I first started collecting them because of a number of trips ‘down under’.

The floodgates opened with 1:43 scales when I started collecting road cars, the first one in 2002. This was Biante’s Holden VT Concept car in blue/black. Its stablemate, the mustard gold example would follow sometime later. These were a real eye opener. They had a fully detailed interior and chassis, and steerable front wheels! At just $55 Australian Dollars they cost me about 25 UK Pounds. Astonishing! I’d never seen anything like them. The real car, a two door coupe based on Holden’s popular Commodore four door saloon, was shown at the 1998 Sydney Motor Show for no other reason than to test public reaction for a production consideration. Reaction was positive to say the least. Production began and it would be released in 2001. It would be known by the resurrected name, Monaro, although Holden‘s designation was CV-8, appertaining to Coupé V8. VT was the designation for the range of Commodore models in production at the time.

The year before, i.e. 2001, in a model shop in a Melbourne suburb I had bought for the measly sum of 59 Australian Dollars a ‘Classic Carlectables‘, 1:18 scale Ford Falcon V8 Supercar. “Classic Carlectables”, I asked myself, “who the devil are they”? I’d never heard of them, neither had I heard of Biante, Trax, Dinkum Classics or any other home grown brands. Although basic by comparison to today’s excellent offerings from Carlectables, they were superb and like nothing I had seen before. They were easily on a par with or better than, the popular brands we were more used to here in the UK at that time. V8 Supercars was something else I knew little about back then. That would change. I kept in touch with the shop, who put by two more for me, at a very reasonable, ‘two for $100’ due to my impending return in 2002. With the exchange rate at around two to the pound, they represented astonishing value. From then onwards, I was trawling the ‘net almost daily for them, getting them from model shops down there, and also from car dealerships, either by visiting them while on holiday or from their web site. many car dealers had a stock of model cars equal to many a hobby shop, although as you would expect they were only relevant to the brand of car, i.e Ford or Holden. To offer models from ‘the opposition’ is treason, a hanging offence, well almost. They would also stock a superb range of clothing and other memorabilia, none of which were or are available here.

In 2011, it was suggested to me that I collect models of all the winners from the Bathurst 500 (miles) as it was from 1963 until 1973, when it would become the ‘1000‘, as in kilometres, which it still is. After my initial reticence had subsided, I set about the task in hand, as I already had some, along with models of cars from the A.T.C.C., the Australian Touring Car Championship. I currently need seven models to complete the set from 1963 to 2017. Unfortunately, the set is unlikely to ever be completed, either because a certain car has not been made, or if one has, because they are rare and consequently too expensive for me to buy even if found. Those wanted are Holden Commodores from 1993 and 1995, the 1997 B.M.W. 320i, Holden Commodores from 2001,2003,2004 and 2017. The 1993 and 1995 winners were produced by Classic Carlectables but only in 1:18 scale. Although they did release a model similar to the winning car, it is not, the winner. The B.M.W. raced to victory by David and Geoff Brabham, sons of the great, Sir Jack, is unlikely to be released, due, apparently, to no manufacturer wanting to take a gamble on the possibility of poor sales. The BMW won at the time of the European touring car invasion in the 1990s, which didn’t sit well with die hard Ford and Holden fans. The winners from 2001, 2003 and 2004 have been released, but are hard to find, are very expensive if they are found, and the seller, usually in Australia, quite often won’t post to the UK. The 2003 car can be found in 1:64 scale but like the 1:18 models, would be out of context in a cabinet full of 1:43 scale models.

I’m not aware of the 2017 winning Holden being released thus far, and I haven’t heard as yet if one will be. I hope so because 2018 is final year in the epic battles between the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore, dating back to 1967, the year which was a victory for ‘The Blue Oval’ with the first ever win for a car with a V8 engine. It will be a tad ironic if the last ever race between the two protagonists is also won by a Falcon, which currently heads the V8 Supercars championship.

 

This year I have added three more winners, all of which were must haves. The first two, which arrived back in May, are the late great Peter Brock‘s 1972 Holden LJ Torana GTR XU-1, and Dick Johnson’s fearsome Sierra RS 500 from 1989.

The third model is another Peter Brock car, his 1982 Holden Commodore VH. This would be his third win out of a record nine times.

The model is the ACE Commodore referred to.

 

The Torana and the Sierra are by the former Apex Models and the Commodore is from Ace Models, a brand written about in a previous MAR by Graeme Ogg. Apex have recently been taken over by Biante, so I expect some interesting models forthcoming from that amalgamation. A word of thanks to Graeme Ogg for introducing me to Ace Models, a name I wasn’t aware of until he wrote about them in MAR. I subsequently ordered one of their superb Falcon BA Utes from Gateway, my favourite Australian dealer.

 

One other Aussie which came this year is a model of Dick Johnson’s 1985 Greens Tuf Bathurst Mustang. Although the car wasn’t a winner, it’s an excellent example of the type. The model was professionally built for me from an Automodelli kit, sourced here in the UK from Grand Prix Models. At the time of writing, I’m waiting on the release of another Automodelli Dick Johnson Mustang, his J.P.S. liveried car from the Wellington 500 in 1986, although no doubt it will be the Greens Tuf casting, with J.P.S. decals added. Can’t wait. So, as for the remaining Bathurst winners, I don’t hold out much hope of ever completing the set. Fortunately, those I have got, along with the A.T.C.C. cars, make a fine collection and have given hours of satisfaction finding and collecting them.


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.