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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a thread for oldies (the cars, that is), so here's a little puzzle on old shells for great minds.
These two vac-formed bodies would be from around 1970.
The one on the right, with a rectangular nose and wide belly, has two ranks of four pipes on top, but they're not exhausts, or at least not exactly freeflow manifolds. From the body shape, it's just possibly an early (1973) front-radiator 12cyl Ferrari 312B3, though without fins, fairing, wing and exhausts. It doesn't match any shown in my books (the midriff contour, the air vents atop the nose), but the B3 did run in a variety of guises. This one has an oil tank on the rear right of the engine, which is a location mentioned in several accounts of changes to the B3 during 1973.
The other shell may be a McLaren M7, but the engine is not typically Cosworth. Would it be fanciful to think it's the Alfa V8, which McLaren fitted to an M7 (and an M14) in 1970? The usual two rows of cam covers on each side of a DFV are missing. Instead there's just what is perhaps an ignition bank on each side. Strangely, there seem to be six exhaust manifold pipes low on each side. Is it just a sloppy moulding?
I vaguely remember matching this with a photo of the Alfa engine but I can't find that again.
I like to think I used to know that period's F1 cars from A-Z, or at least B-T, but then I had to make room in the memory banks for other matters. What have I forgotten here?
Rob J

 

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Thanks, guys. The one on the right is the M15.
Have just done a search on the Net and found some pics, and even the source of the shell - Betta.
I wasn't thinking of Indy cars.
So, laurels to foyt54. Just maybe an Indy enthusiast.
Still not sure about the other shell. Bodywork is M7-like, but the engine not accurately Cosworth.
The 4WD M9A had a single air outlet behind the nose - and a DFV too.
Rob J
 

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Yeh the first one does look like an M7 - I don't know what make - is there any lettering on the flash?
The maker may well have made the engine a bit over width to make room for the motor / chassis

Doesn't look like a Betta M9A or M14



The only M7 I can see on the Betta list is the sidetank version
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi
I would definately suggest that the top car is an M7A but probably not a Betta one (there were a few blob body makers at the time as well as GT and Betta)
I can find no evidence that the alfa engine was ever used in the M7 but it certainly was in the M14
The m14 wasn,t totally dissimilar to the M7 ( certainly within the limits of 1960s Blob bodies ) additionally the Alfa engine wasn,t totally dissimilar to to the DFV (again within the limits of 60,s vac form)
So you could probably take your choice, unless you can identify the manufacturer of the body

Cheers tony
 

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Hi Tony
I agree the shell at the top looks like a M7.

According to Doug Nye's "History of the Grand Prix Car" one M7 was converted to take an Alfa Romeo engine, and was known as the M7D.
As far as I can establish from other books Andrea de Adamich used this car in qualifying for the 1970 Spanish and Monaco GPs, and failed to qualify for either. He then switched to an Alfa powered M14 for the Dutch GP and again DNQ then reverted to the M7 for the French GP finishing 9 laps down on the leader.
http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr190.html

This is a photo of de Adamich in the French GP - don't think I can tell if its a M7 or a M14

Chris
 

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Thanks, all. Some good comments to read on a wintry Saturday morning.
I've found one photo of the Alfa V8 and there's not a great difference. Nye described it as "like an untidy DFV". As Tony said, it's probably a matter here of "take your choice".
The car in Chris F's photo of de Adamich is the M7D. He didn't use the M14D at the 1970 French GP, even in practice, according to one of my books.
Gone Racin': No; there's no lettering on the flash to show the maker. The rectangular base is a little unusual and may ring a bell for someone. It still has three staples and was apparently originally on a card. Riko Competition kits were sold like that, but the cars were all sports and GTs with enough room inside for all the parts. I didn't buy this shell new, just in a batch of various items a long time ago.
One peculiarity I notice today is that the lower sides are fluted. The top ridge is a water pipe but there are two more below (on each side).

Having the other shell identified as an Indy car cleared my F1 tunnel vision and I wondered briefly if the slimmer one might be an F5000 M10A, but I think a better job would have been done on the prominent exhausts and intake trumpets that most had. Also, the engines were carried on "horns" with bodywork sweeping back low on each side.

As Slots-o-Fun says, the M15 engine was the Offy turbo, which explains the piping on top. It was a 4cyl and I suppose the exhausts are on the left.
These M15 shells still seem to be available from Betta and Classic, including a fibreglass version in the Classic range. I can't find a built example on SlotForum, but they would make great models - in glorious McLaren orange.
Rob J
 

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The Riko competition kits usually had Taylormade Vac formed bodies, but as far as I can remember they were all sports or saloon cars - the chassis was too wide for an F1.
Looking through an old "Model Cars" magazine from 1969, both GT Models and Wonderland both offer vac formed '68 Mclaren F1s, but Taylor don't.
GT usually had GT Models moulded into the flash Wonder's copies of GT shells didn't. A little later Wonder had to withdraw a lot of their range after legal action from GT.

Don't suppose anybody knows what the GT or Wonderland one looks like.
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi Chris
My maclaren book only lists those maclarens that started Gps which is why I didn,t pick up on the M7D since it would appear that it never started a GP hence my comment
However I still dont think a 60s VAC form would differentiate between a DFV and a Alfa romeo unless the engine architecture was different ie centre exhausts or some such

Cheers tony
 

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I don't think thats a Mclaren M7-the screen looks wrong.It reminds me of a Cooper Alfa I saw at Oulton a couple of years back,athough I don't think it had the nose vents...I'm sure in the back of my mind I know this one....fascinating thread - can't wait 'till someone gets it!
TED....

HPSCC-scale racing in the North-West
 

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Tony Condon
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Hi
just spotted that the "M7A" has staples though the flash which means that it was marketed stapled to a card ,who sold vac forms like that ?
havn,t done extensive resaerch joel,but did titan actaully make a maclaren M7a they may have
Taylor made actually advertised one as part of their officially authorised range ,and i must admit I have feeling they were marketed stapled on cards
Gt models certainly wern,t and my memory of the gt models car was that it was tiny.
I wonder!

Cheers tony
 

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There still seems some doubt over whether the slim one is a McLaren M7A but, going with that for the moment, another brand that made it was SP. I see it in a 1972 Nordic Models pricelist. The price: 12p. Yes; 12 pence. Shells of most other brands were probably 28-30p.
I'm not suggesting the mystery shell is an SP. I have several of the SP sports and GT shells and they're in a lighter plastic, have fewer details, and didn't come on cards. I just mention SP as another brand from way back.
As you folks have said above, the GT Models name was moulded in the flash and their shells didn't come on cards. Nor did Wonderland's.
That seems to put Titan and Taylormade at the front of the grid (if it's an M7).

You never know quite what you'll get as an M7A. In 1968 the works cars sometimes carried an auxiliary fuel tank on one or both sides. (David Lawson built a beauty of the dual pannier-tank car.) Then for 1969 one car, M7A/3, had wider side-tanks faired into the bodywork and became known as the M7B. Confusingly, it was still sometimes recorded as an M7A.
Bruce McLaren raced it twice and then it was sold to Colin Crabbe for Vic Elford to drive in Crabbe's Antique Automobiles colours. The Betta "M7A" that Tony showed has two side tanks integral with the body. I have one, still in its 1970s plastic bag. It looks more like what I think of as the B than any A I've seen.
I have another shell that's definitely the 1969 M7B with the faired-in tanks. The driver figure is part of the moulding. Very wide body. I don't remember the brand. Fairly light plastic. Possibly Wonderland, but there's no M7 in a 1973 pricelist. It's not exactly the same as any I've found on Slotforum.
Here's a photo of it, propped on a temporary chassis, with the mystery body too. I'm not sure if it's worth finishing. Besides the wide body, the old paint is too orangey. I might do better with the Betta (sorry!).


The Alfa-engined M7D probably doesn't show up in some GP records because, though it did start and sort of finished the 1970 French GP, it wasn't classified as a finisher. A water pipe broke, it had to make more than one pit-stop and, as Chris F said, it finished nine laps down.
A great book for these details is The Grand Prix Who's Who by Steve Small (Guinness Publishing, 1994 and 1996). It covers every driver from 1950, with car model, race number, etc for every race.
Rob J
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great, Joel. That could be it. One or two tiny differences in the photo, and no base flash, but basically that's it.
Is your photo of the two Titans, and did they come on a card?
Mine is 1/32. Is the 1/32 Super Shells the same with a flash base and card?
And do they describe the cars as M7As or something else?

Interesting that there seem to be few if any "standard" slimline M7As on SlotForum. Trying to be a good forum member, I did search, but all I found were cars with side-tanks. The shell-makers seem to have had the same approach, deciding that the side-tank car stood out and was more likely to sell.
Rob J
 
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