Twincam, twincam, little star
Review: Mr.M, photos: Doug
The Cortina was introduced by the Ford Motor Company in 1962. They were already working with Colin Chapman to produce performance upgrades for their “Kent” range of engines and it was decided that the Cortina would make the ideal recipient for the new Lotus designed modifications. A twin overhead cam cylinder head, A-frame rear suspension and light alloy body panels were the major differences from the standard car. The Ford Cortina-Lotus – Ford’s preferred title for the vehicle- quickly became a great success in the motorsport world, both in rallying and circuit racing.
This slot car version, brought to us by Scalextric, represents the car used by the great Scot, Jim Clark to dominate its class in the 1964 British Saloon Car Championship. This actual car - BJH 417B - changed hands at auction in 2003 for £83,000!
The shape and livery are captured very well in this model and it has nice detail touches like the two separate windscreen wiper mouldings, the familiar CND-style rear lights, the correct Consul bonnet emblem and the tiny round yellow badges on the rear wings. Even more remarkable is that, when viewed with a magnifier, the word Lotus can be read on these small yellow dots. The interior is nearly a full one, which is unusual for a car with an inline mid-mounted motor setup, including an almost complete Jim figure in period overalls and crash helmet. I say almost complete, as the unfortunate miniature driver has had to sacrifice his feet in the interests of modern technology, i.e. space for the digital chip. A gear stick, very accurate dash layout and pretend wood rim steering wheel complete the cabin. I did have a couple of slight niggles. The driver is seated a little too far forward and the steering column is too horizontal, but that is getting really picky.
The bodyshell is separated from the chassis by removing six screws - four into the shell and two into the interior moulding . Well, most of it is, as the front quarter bumpers together with the lower valance, and their equivalents at the rear, stay with the chassis underpan. There we find the FF slimline motor, Hornby’s latest circular guide system, usual inline gearing and small circuit boards fore and aft for the lights. There is also a hatch in the underpan between the front axle and motor held in place by a single screw that allows fitting of the DPR digital chip in little more than a matter of seconds. I think analogue luddites like myself will actually reap the benefit of the design of this car being influenced by the needs of digital racers. A couple of years ago Hornby may have considered releasing this car with the motor at the front, reflecting the real cars mechanical layout and allowing for a full interior.
Onto the track, the car sits well with the upper section of the rear tyre hidden
by the rear wheel arch. There is little play in the axle mounts front and rear,
the guide has a good amount of it’s blade in the slot and the nicely treaded
tyres are soft and grippy. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were going to have
a real blast chucking this car around with great heaps off oversteer. But no,
Hornby, in their wisdom, have deigned to equip a car of a modest, by today’s
standards, 105 bhp (less power than the average plumbers van nowadays) with an
800bhp F1 engine and magnetic downforce to match! Run it with the magnet in it’s
only position of just forward of the rear axle line and watch it hurtle round
with no sign of the sliding and three-wheeling of the original or remove the
“artificial downforce” and be constantly dabbing lightly on the throttle for
fear of flying into the scenery. Overpowered is an understatement!
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 18th June 2013 - 22:36|