Corgi F1 Cars
|I'm certainly not one of
those who thinks modern
Formula 1 is boring, appreciating the skill of the drivers,
designers, engineers and mechanics whose efforts combine to produce one of the
most thrilling spectacles in motor sport.
Having said that, the F1 cars of today are so good that it is often difficult for the casual observer to see just how hard the drivers and cars are working. There is certainly something to be said for the events of yesteryear in which cars can be seen sliding around the corners on their cross-ply tyres and bouncing around on their springy suspension with the drivers sawing away at the steering wheel whilst maintaining an almost balletic four-wheel drift! I very much enjoyed watching Grand Prix in the 1970's and having spotted these old Corgi Toys models on eBay I couldn't resist buying them!
This page originally contained only the Corgi F1 models issued in the 1970's but I've now added the older Formula 1 Grand Prix Corgis from the 1950's and 60's. As before, rather than a simple gallery, I've tried to provide some fact bites on the real-life racing cars that inspired these models, the people who made them and the drivers that raced them.
Click on the thumbnails to see the big pictures.
- Vanwall (Issued 1957)
It's impossible to pinpoint the precise inspiration for this model as Vanwall appear to have not given their cars specific model/version designations so the cars can only be identified by their individual chassis numbers. In 1956 Vanwall built four cars using chassis re-designed by Colin Chapman and bodywork designed by Frank Costin. These four cars (VW1/56, VW2/56, VW3/56 and VW4/56) were retained for the 1957 Grand Prix Season during which a further six chassis were potentially available, although no more than four chassis were ever fully assembled at any one time. Stirling Moss won the International Trophy at Silverstone in 1956 driving VW2/56. In 1957, Tony Brooks won the British Grand Prix at Aintree at the wheel of VW4 whilst Stirling Moss recorded two more wins at the Pescara and Italian Grand Prix driving VW5. 1958 would be Vanwall's best year, winning the inaugural Constructors Cup, beating Ferrari by eight points. Corgi model 150S differs from 150 by having spring suspension.
Rob Walker Team Surtees TS9 (Issued
This model depicts racing legend John Surtees' car which he raced during the 1971 World Championship. Having won seven World Motorcycle Championships in the 1950's and early 1960's he turned his attention to racing cars and won the Formula 1 World Championship in 1964.
|151 - Yardley
Team McLaren M19A (Issued
As raced in the 1972 World Championship by Denny Hulme, Peter Revson and Brian Redman before the introduction of the M19C, the McLaren M19A was a beautiful looking car and fully embraced the relatively new trend of being liveried in the colours and emblems of its chief sponsor, Yardley of London, rather than traditional national racing colours. It was quick and reliable too, assisting Hulme to finish third in that year's World Championship.
B.R.M. Type 25 (Issued 1958):
This model depicts what I suspect is the British Racing Motors "Type 25" that made its Grand Prix debut at Monaco in 1956. The Type 25 differed from the earlier, unsuccessful 1.5 litre, V16-powered B.R.M's of the late 40's/early 50's by being fitted with a new twin-cam, 2.5 litre, 4 cylinder power plant. After several years of development to combat handling and reliability problems the Type 25 scored its first Grand Prix win at Zandvoort in 1959 with Joakim Bonnier (Owen Racing Organisation) behind the wheel, finishing just 14 seconds ahead of Jack Brabham's Cooper Climax T51 after 75 laps. Unfortunately, the Type 25's new found success was short-lived as, by then, a new era had dawned in the form of superior mid-engined designs from the likes of both Cooper and Lotus. Corgi model 152S differs from 152 by having spring suspension. The pictured model is part of a reproduction of what was the concept for the original Corgi Gift Set GS17 scheduled for release in 1961. This set never made it into production although a similar GS17 set was released in 1963 with the Ferrari 156 "Sharknose" (see below) in place of the B.R.M.
|152 - Scuderia
Ferrari 312 B2 (Issued 1973):
Depicted here in its more unusual wide-nosed guise, this 1972 312 B2 was raced by Jacky Ickx, Mario Andretti, Clay Regazzoni and Arturo Merzario. Introduced at a time when Ferrari was struggling to stay abreast with the latest technological developments in aerodynamic chassis design, the 312 B2 relied heavily on its 12 cylinder boxer engine to keep up with the Cosworth V8 powered opposition.
|153 - Ceramica
Pagnossin Surtees TS9B (Issued 1973):
As raced by Andrea de Adamich during the 1972 World Championship in which he achieved his best finish to date by coming 4th. at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jarama. Andrea's driving career was ended prematurely when he was injured in the mass pile up at the start of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1973. He subsequently made his name as a respected T.V. commentator and motor sports journalist.
- Ferrari 156 "Sharknose" (Issued 1966):
Whist it's tricky identifying the real life cars on which some of these earlier Corgi models are based, there's little doubt about this one. This is clearly a Ferrari 156 "Sharknose", developed by Carlo Chiti. By virtue of its powerful V6 engine the Ferrari 156 dominated the 1961 Grand Prix season following rule changes to limit engine capacity to 1.5 litres, winning all but three rounds of the entire season. Despite easily winning both the Constructors Cup and Drivers Championship, Ferrari's season was overshadowed by the tragic death of driver Wolfgang Von Tripps and 14 spectators on the first lap of the Monza Grand Prix, following a collision with Jim Clark's Lotus whilst Von Tripps attempted to defend a poor start from pole position. Von Tripps' team mate, Phil Hill, went on to clinch the drivers title by one point.
|154 - John
Player Special Lotus 72D (Issued 1973):
A Corgi favourite, this JPS Lotus depicts Ronnie Peterson's car which he raced in the first three rounds of the 1973 World Championship before the introduction of the 72E. Eagle-eyed viewers may spot that the car number should really be "2" as "1" was actually Emerson Fittipaldi's car, but remember, these models were originally intended as children's toys and not as super-accurate adult collectors' models. The 72D was also the car in which Fittipaldi raced to become 1972 World Champion!
|155 - Lotus
25 - Climax (Issued 1964):
First used in earnest in Formula 1 by Jim Clark at the opening round of the 1962 Grand Prix season at Zandvoort, the groundbreaking design by Colin Chapman and Frank Costin sparked something of a revolution in Grand Prix car design and was clearly a glimpse of even greater things to come. Despite a poor start to the 1963 season at Monaco by being involved in an accident after 78/100 laps, Jim Clark won the next four races in succession, finished second at round 5 in Germany (Nurburgring), third at round 7 in U.S.A (Watkins Glen) and scored three further victories during the season allowing both Clark and the Lotus-Climax team to dominate and win their respective championship titles. Just compare the design of this car to the likes of the B.R.M. and Vanwall (above) from only a few short years earlier to appreciate the radical design changes being introduced at this time.
|155 - UOP
Shadow Racing Team, Shadow DN1 (Issued 1973):
Jackie Oliver's Shadow DN1 which he raced for the 1973 World Championship season and in which he earned a podium place in the Canadian Grand Prix by finishing third. Jackie Oliver went on to become Managing Director of the Arrows team. UOP (Universal Oil Products of America) sponsored Shadow as a means of advertising their R&D services to the petroleum industry and to particularly show that lead-free fuel was suitable for high performance cars.
Cooper Car Company, Cooper
T81 - Maserati (Issued 1966):
This monocoque design by Derek Gardner was utilised by several teams during the 1966 F1 Championship including Guy Ligier, Anglo-Suisse Racing and the Rob Walker Racing Team. Whilst driver, John Surtees, won the Mexican Grand Prix at the final round of the 1966 season for the Cooper Car Co. team and Pedro Rodriguez repeated that performance at the opening round of the 1967 season at Kyalami, South Africa, the car was unsuccessful overall by virtue of its relatively high weight.
|156 - Embassy
Racing Shadow DN1 (Issued 1973):
Motor racing legend Graham Hill's Shadow DN1 which he raced for the 1973 World Championship season. Graham Hill was the first (and at that time only) driver to win the Triple Crown of motor racing - the Formula 1 World Championship (twice actually), the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
158 - Lotus
49/49B - Climax (Issued 1969):
In terms of accuracy I think this model poses a bit of a problem. It's obviously based on Corgi 155 (Lotus 25 - Climax) with the addition of driver-controlled steering (rocking the driver left/right turns the front wheels) and front/rear wings but, by the time that this model was issued, Lotus were no longer using Climax engines. Taking the livery into consideration, I'd infer that this model might be more accurately described as a Ford Cosworth powered Gold Leaf Team Lotus 49 that made its Formula 1 debut at the 1968 Spanish Grand Prix. Graham Hill took first place at this event and repeated his performance at the Monaco Grand Prix a fortnight later at the wheel of the Lotus 49B variant and again at the season finale in Mexico, winning the Drivers Championship from Matra's Jackie Stewart by 12 points. The team (which included drivers Jackie Oliver, Mario Andretti, Bill Brack and Moises Solana) won the Constructors title from McLaren Ford by 13 points.
|158 - Elf Team
Tyrrell 006 (Issued 1974):
Depicting the car in which Jackie Stewart won the 1973 World Championship (and thus his third world title in his final year as a Formula 1 driver) F1 experts may notice that this model should really bear the number "5". But I like to think that the Corgi designers chose to celebrate Jackie's outstanding career by giving their model the number "1" :-)
- Cooper T81B/T86 - Maserati (Issued 1967):
It's difficult to identify a real life machine that this model might accurately represent as the design is a little ambiguous and I don't recognise the livery. Clearly the model is based on Corgi 156 (Cooper T81 - Maserati) with the addition of driver-controlled steering (rocking the driver left/right turns the front wheels) and front/rear wings. Issued in 1967, this could be a Cooper-Maserati T81B (which was a lighter version of the T81) but I've never seen one with a rear wing. Or, it could be a T86 which I have seen with a rear wing but which was actually slightly narrower than the earlier T81; still, I think we could forgive Corgi for not casting a whole new body just for this particular model! Neither of these 3.0 litre Cooper-Maserati variants was particularly successful. During the 1967 season Jochen Rindt managed 4th. place in a T81B at the Belgian Grand Prix and 4th. place at the Italian Grand Prix driving a T86. Whilst Richard Attwood, Jacky Ickx and Pedro Rodriguez also managed to complete races there were no less than six retirements due to various engine/mechanical failures.
|160 - Hesketh
Racing, Hesketh 308 (Issued 1975):
This model depicts the 1975 Hesketh 308 as raced by rising star James Hunt who finished 4th. in the World Championship behind Brabham's Carlos Ruetemann, McLaren's Emerson Fittipaldi and that year's champion, Ferrari's Niki Lauda. 1976 would be Hunt's year when, racing for the Marlboro McLaren team, he would become World Champion himself, beating Ferrari's Niki Lauda by one point after the Austrian driver was forced to miss two races following his terrifying, fiery crash at the old Nurburgring.
|161 - Elf Team
Tyrrell P34 (Issued 1976):
Patrick Depailler's Tyrrell Project 34 six-wheeler which was introduced to bemused onlookers for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jarama in 1976. Derek Gardner's bold design proved to be no gimmick with Depailler and team mate Jody Scheckter finishing 4th. and 3rd. respectively in that year's World Championship and claiming a one-two finish in the Swedish Grand Prix at Anderstorp.
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