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"Carrera Panamericana Mexico"

by  Peter Radcliffe


The Carrera Panamericana lasted just 5 brief years; it was a race to celebrate the Great Mexican Highway, which ran the full length of the country. The race was 2,178 miles in nine legs spread over 5 days and open to 4 classes; Large Sports, Small Sports, Large Stock and Small Stock.

It had many of the characteristics of the Mille Miglia but the roads were harder and the accidents more severe and like the Mille Miglia public outcry at the carnage would bring it to an end.

It brought together the Cream of Europe's sportscars and the traditional US Stock Cars and specials in one great road race. Stories from the race are legion and such is its mystique that like the Mille Miglia there is now a retrospective event every year.


The origins of 1/43 scale are the early dinky toys, which were originally produced as accessories for O gauge model railways which were popular at the time, this was a real "bastardisation" of a scale being 7 mm to 1 foot!

O gauge lost its popularity but by then Dinky was established and the scale stayed as the standard for diecast toys although for some strange reason most commercial vehicles were made in 1/50th.


One of the problems that has long faced model makers and collectors is that
the range of subjects has always been limited. Diecast and plastic kit manufactures are in the main large organizations that produce products at very reasonable prices. 


To do so they have to be subjects, which have a mass appeal otherwise sales, would not recover the expenses of masters and pattern making etc. Thus many of the subjects that appeal to enthusiasts are not modeled and thus the only option was to scratch build or "chop" an existing model.


The earliest white metal kits grew out of this desire for models not produced by the major manufactures. I can remember reading articles by Barry Lester in Model Boats and Cars magazine over thirty years ago about "Chopping Miniatures". Barry went on to establish Auto Replicas, which continues to this day. Many of the early kits were very crude and in many cases it might have been easier to start with a lump of metal however the early Auto Replicas were of a very high standard for the day and soon the rest had to catch up to survive. The early manufactures were first and foremost enthusiasts who worked from the back shed or kitchen table producing a few kits of each model for a small appreciative clientele and this is still the case today. One of my suppliers in Italy has neither Phone nor Fax in his workshop, Fax's are sent to a tobacconist where he buys tobacco once a week!


Like many of my customers I am an enthusiast and my collecting is not just restricted to models but also books, pictures, videos and other memorabilia litter the house. When I seriously started to collect 1/43rd scale about 10 years ago I had little idea of how many models were available in 1/43rd scale. I built Road cars, Formula One cars, Rally Cars, Sports Racing Cars, Cars I had owned or would like to own and more. 

My current Collection

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Porsche by Vroom, Brumm (diecast) and BBR Project 43

1954 Porsche Jacqueline Evans


Ferrari 375plus Western, Top Models and BBR

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Ferrari 375+ Maglioli 1954 Winner Western Models

Ferrari 375+ BBR McAfee


Gordini (Provence Moulage) and Talbot Lago (Heco) 1953

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Gordini (Provence Moulage) and Talbot Lago (Heco) 1953

Lancias B24 (Provence Moulage) and B20 Tecnomodel and FDS

Lancia B24 Fangio winner 1953

Tecnomodels beautiful Lancia B20

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Tecnomodels beautiful Lancia B20

Mercedes (Max Models) Pegasso (Provence Moulage) and Ferrari 250 Monza (BBR)

Pegasso and Ferrari 250 Monza

Lincoln Mercury (Provence Moulage)

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Oldsmobile 88 from 1950 (Tron)

Jaguar (Provence Moulage)

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Jaguar (Provence Moulage)

Ferrari 340 Mexico Coupe (Starter)


Once I realised just how large the range is (probably towards 7,000 different models) it became apparent that I should collect a theme. My love is Sportscars and the greatest race is Le Mans so Le Mans it would be: but I did see the first Group 7 cars run and I used to wait for the Autosport reports of the Can Am races so I would build a few Can am cars and I already had a couple of books and about 6 Carrera Panamerica models so I would collect those as well! (My good intentions of restricting my collections further wilted over the years; F1 is represented by the entire 1967 British Grand Prix grid and I have a collection of cars driven by Jimmy Clark and Jo Siffert.)



I currently have 19 Built models in my collection with about another 10 to build. Most are kits but the odd diecast finds its way into my collections. Over time the diecasts are improved with a few photoetch parts and a little detail painting. The most recent addition to the collection is The Fletcher Aviation Porsche 550 spider as driven to third place overall by Hans Herrmann. The kit is an early kit from Vroom but it is still available. 

It is mainly resin with some nice photoetch parts and rubber type tyres.

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 The kit is very simple to build the only problems I encountered was that the decals were a little frail and two of the photoetch inserts for the wheels were missing but a note to the manufacturer should solve this little problem.

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Main resin parts

Photoetch grills


Exhaust blow hole

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Holes in body opened out for filler

Holes filled ready to smooth

Parts mounted ready to paint

Finished kit in display unit by Heirlooms Crafts

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Finished model

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The resin castings were excellent; there were a few air holes along the lower edges of the body and one where the end of the exhaust should have been. The holes in the body were filled with filler and smoothed and the exhaust replaced with a piece of aluminium tube. The resin parts were primed with "primer for plastic" from my local auto parts store. This is primer for use on the plastic bumpers of today's cars. I also use spray cans from the same supplier for all my topcoats. Where a stock colour is not available they will mix a can for me and I find it quicker and cleaner than all my efforts with airbrushes. I use Humbrol enamels for fine detail.

Painting and assembly can be clearly seen in the photographs and the end result is satisfactory. This is a very simple kit built straight from the box, it has nice features such as the photoetch wheel inserts and grills in the rear body. The only alteration was the use of Meri front light lenses. A kit such as this would be an ideal first resin kit for someone new to 1/43rd scale. There are many packs of accessories for 1/43rd scale models in photoetch or cast.