Category Archives: Essence of the Car

Essence of the Car – New Releases May 2019

By David Roots

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

Editor’s Note: David’s ‘The ‘Essence of the Car’ range are sculptural studies of important vehicles from which a mould is created and resin models produced to 1:43 scale. They are intended to capture the shape, and spirit, of the vehicle rather being a detailed model.

Ginetta G4

The Ginetta G4 was made by Ginetta Cars, a specialist builder of racing and sports cars based in Garforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

The G4 used the new Ford 105E engine and had a glass fibre GT-style body along with suspension updated to coil springing at the front with a Ford live axle at the rear. Whereas the G2 and G3 had been designed for racing, the G4 was usable as an everyday car but was still very competitive in motor sport with numerous successes. In 1963, a coupé variant was introduced alongside the open top variant and a BMC axle replaced the Ford unit at the rear. In road tests, the car attained a top speed of 120 mph with a 1,500 cc engine. The series III version of 1966 added pop-up headlights. Production stopped in 1968 but was revived in 1981 with the Series IV which was two inches wider and three inches longer than the III. Over 500 units were made up to 1969 with a variety of Ford engines.

As every model is made to order, most common colour choices can be accommodated.

Sunbeam Land Speed Record Car

The Sunbeam Motor Car Company found Grand Prix racing too expensive and stopped competing in 1926. Meanwhile Henry Segrave had stopped racing cars completely to focus solely on upon setting land speed records. Sunbeam had previously supplied Segrave’s Land Speed Record cars but these had been modified race cars. Louis Coatalen was the managing director of Sunbeam and understood how speed records would translate into car sales. He knew that a specially-designed LSR car would be able to achieve much higher speeds than the current record. He also knew that such a car could be built fairly inexpensively by utilising many unused parts at the Sunbeam factory. So, he agreed to build a special LSR car for Segrave, and their target was 200 mph (322 km/h).

The new LSR car was designed by John Samuel Irving in 1926 and built by the Sunbeam works in Wolverhampton. Its frame and cross members were made of channel-steel. Two Sunbeam V12 Matabele aircraft engines would be used to push the car to 200 mph. The two engines in the car had actually been salvaged from the four used in the Maple Leaf VII powerboat, which sank during the 1921 Harmsworth Trophy Race on the Detroit River in the United States. Because of its shape, the workers at the factory referred to it as ‘The Slug‘.

On 29 March 1927, Segrave set off to Daytona Beach, determined to get every bit of speed he could out of the ‘Slug’. The first run hit several problems. The car was prepared for its second run: tyres were changed, new brakes were installed, and fuel and water were replenished. A short time later, Segrave ran the Slug with the wind to the south and at the end of the course. Segrave and the Sunbeam 1,000 hp Mystery Slug had set a new LSR of 203.793 mph, an astounding 29.569 mph faster than the previous record (held by Campbell). This was the first time the 200 mph mark had been exceeded. Segrave was the first non-US citizen to make a record attempt at Daytona Beach. Likewise, the 1,000 HP Sunbeam was the first non-US car to make a record attempt at Daytona Beach. The Slug ushered in a new era of large, streamlined machines designed solely to break the LSR.

These models are available direct from the maker only. Prices, contact details, more about the models as well as the ability to order the models are available on the Essence of the Car website at

Essence of the Car September 2018

By Maz Woolley

All text by the Author, photographs are all supplied by the manufacturer.

David Roots, the owner of The Essence Of The Car model range has informed us of two recent releases. David’s models follow a different path to the super detailed models from makers like Matrix or Auto Cult. They are made to 1:43 scale and are meant to capture the essence of the form of the vehicle giving them a sculptural quality.

SAAB Quantum V

The SAAB Quantum V was the last model designed by Walter Kern of Quantum Motor Cars. Quantum cars were made in the United States and the V was made in 1965 and only one was produced. The Quantum V was manufactured using a modified Ginetta fibreglass body.

Walter Kern‘s first Quantum, named the Quantum I/II, was built in 1959. Walter Kern was working at IBM at the time and used his spare time and computer resources to engineer a chassis. He was a nuclear physicist trained at MIT. He had raced several cars but he realised that engine oil starvation on tight turns was responsible for many engine failures, so he was drawn to the Saab two stroke engines. He designed his cars for series production and even approached SAAB in Sweden to see if they would like to make the Quantum III themselves but they declined.

Mercedes-Benz W129 540K with body by Jaray

Here is another model of a car meant to compete in the Berlin-Rome race that never happened due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The race was intended to be run at continuous high speeds on the prestigious new Autobahn and Autoroutes built in Germany and Italy in the 1930s. All makers keen to enter the race had streamlined bodies built to allow them to reach higher speeds than their standard cars.

Here Mercedes-Benz used a standard W129 chassis fitted with a five litre, supercharged, inline straight eight producing c.180hp. But fitted it with a body created by Paul Jaray specifically for the 540 K Streamliner. As well as streamlining a number of weight-saving technologies were used.

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

The Essence of the Car – 2018 plans

By David Roots

All photographs provided by the Author.

The next four models to be released in the Essence of the Car range will be the cars described below. All have distinctive shapes which will suit the simple approach of this range of models made to 1:43 scale.


Mercedes Benz W129 540K.

The body, designed by Paul Jaray originally built for the 540 K Streamliner was designed to allow it to drive at high speeds for long periods of time and as efficiently as possible, and to that end it also incorporated a number of weight-saving technologies.

It was meant to compete in the Berlin-Rome race that never happened — WWII intervened. Powered by a 5-litre inline-eight helped by a supercharger, the car produced an impressive 180 hp.


Quantum V Sports Car.

The Quantum V was the last model designed by Walter Kern of Quantum Motor Cars in the United States 1965 and only one was produced. The Quantum V was manufactured using a modified Ginetta fibreglass body and used Saab mechanical parts.


Volkswagen Type 60K10

Also known as the Type 64, it is considered by many to be the first car from what was to become the Porsche company, and a true design precursor to the post-war production model. The model number comes from the fact that it was built mainly from design drawings for the Type 64 “record car”. Most mechanical parts came from the 1938 prototype series.


Ginetta G4.

Because the Quantum V used a modified Ginetta G4 fibreglass body. The natural progression will be to add this car to the collection.

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

The Essence of the Car

By David Roots

Editor: David recently posted an introduction to his range, The Essence of the Car, on our Facebook page. Interested in this different approach to capturing the visual character of cars we suggested that he introduce his series in more detail here on the website. The article and all photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Essence of the Car is a different concept in the presentation of scale model vehicles. Instead of the high level of detail usually found in the die cast ranges, these models present the vehicles in their basic form. All are made to the standard collector’s scale of 1:43 and each model carries a serial number and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

The idea started because I wanted a model of a special (full size) supercar that I was working on. Having gathered together models of comparable supercars, it became apparent that the scale of my model needed to conform to that of the models of comparative subjects. It quickly became apparent that to try to achieve die cast levels of detail within the limitations of domestic model making would be too time consuming. Therefore the idea of capturing just the raw shape of the car was born.

As the body started to take shape, the wheels were the next problem. Proprietary wheels would not fit with the simplistic approach of the body. So, the wheels and tyres had to follow the same approach. The wheels and tyres should be made as separate parts, the wheel centres being simplified to the swept shape of the wheel while the tyres were reduced to simple rings of an appropriate section.

The Essence Of The Car is basically a hobby. All of the master models are made in house by hand. When those are complete, the necessary moulds are made, again in house, and duplicate copies can be made. All of the models are then finished by hand. A typical mould is an open block into which the resin moulding compound is poured.

Whilst the process has its limitations, it is being continually developed to widen the scope of subjects that can be modelled. Examples developed earlier included thin sections such as tail fins, open pickup truck bodies and separate chassis and axle detail where these are an important part of ‘The Essence Of The Car’. More recent developments have been the inclusion of separate cycle type mudguards made as part of the tyre and the manufacture of full sweep mudguards and running boards which involves laying up fibreglass tissue into a mould. I have now developed a method of producing the basic interior of open top cars and have also developed the system of using wire armatures for slender elements of the cars.

From that modest beginning, I now have a range of 87 models, the latest being Volvo P1900, MG EX127, MG EX135 and Lotus Esprit Turbo. The number of new subjects per year depends on ideas for new ones, but currently, there are more subjects in the pipeline even though most models only get to 2 or 3 off, but I have fun doing them and it is mainly a hobby after all. My range caters for individual one off buyers, private collections and specialist collecting groups. In addition, because of the simplicity of the process, I am able to accept private commissions. I find subjects in various ways. Via the internet, in books and periodicals. When I discover a likely subject, I first try to match it with any of my current client base. I have been known to float the idea on the appropriate Facebook pages. Another way forward is to complete the master and photograph it mocked up with its wheels etc. And offer it that way. I also accept the occasional commission. Classic car clubs tend not to be interested. I do have a quite extensive range of experimental cars.

A recent model, MG EX135, came about because of an e-mail with a client who is interested in such cars. Research for this also found me one of the next models, also an MG.

The main challenge is trying to find suitable 3 View drawings. When this proves to be fruitless, I then have to work with a combination of a good side view photograph, a set of principal dimensions and more photographs taken from as many angles as I can find. The shapes of older cars are not usually a great challenge compared to more modern ones.

The big question is, how long does it take to create the master model. It can take relatively few hours spread over varying time periods. I have never made a record of how long it takes to make the master model. Once I have the mould, the copies can be cast in a few hours with the finishing taking a few hours spread over, sometimes, several days

A recent development has been my collaboration with the German publisher of a yearbook devoted to 1/43 scale vehicles. My models have featured in two editions, the first which was 2016/2017 and the latest 2017/2018. It is titled: Modellauto-Jahrbuch (ModelCar-Yearbook) published by TIM Verlag (   

Pictures of some models from the range are shown below.

Apollo Race Car


Dubonnet Dolphin


Farman Saloon


Lea Francis


Lester MG


MG EX127


MG EX135


Phantom Coupe


Rumpler Tropfenwagen


Saab Formula Junior


Voisin Aerosport v2


Volvo C303


Volvo P1900

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