The 2021 Formula 1 season is about to begin, in which some tiny sports car manufacturers (Aston Martin, Alpine, McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari) will fight over second place behind Mercedes-AMG.
Of course for three of the five teams above, it’s literally just the brand name stuck on the side of the car, which the team itself has nothing whatsoever to do with. Which might be part of the problem.
We’d go back to the more interesting (and sponsorship free) old days, where manufacturers built the cars they raced and the rules were lax enough to allow them to make what they were good at.
Regular bloggee Tim Henderson is enabling the time travel, and there’s more to see of his ‘Vintage Formula 1’ creation via the album of the same name by clicking here.
‘Scuderia Ferrari’ have been around longer than you might think…
Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, Scuderia Ferrari were winning races decades before their own cars would wear the famous prancing horse shield. The young Italian began his career driving for Alfa Romeo in 1920, winning the Coppa Acerbo in 1924. By 1929 Enzo took a step back from racing himself to manage the Alfa Romeo team, which became known as Scuderia Ferrari and wore the crest of Enzo’s friend Count Francesco Baracca, a logo which has now become synonymous with Ferrari cars.
Enzo’s partnership with Alfa Romeo gave his team access to the best racing car of the era, the glorious eight-cylinder supercharged P3, and they translated this into a string of victories. However by 1938 Alfa Romeo wanted to race under their own name, and an unhappy Enzo decided to leave to build his own cars. Mussolini had other ideas though, and racing was duly halted during the kerfuffle whilst Enzo’s factory was converted to build military tooling.
After the war ended Enzo Ferrari finally got the chance to build and race his own car under his own name, and… Alfa Romeo won absolutely everything – in 1950 Enzo’s Italian rivals won all eleven races. However in 1951 the unbelievable happened; the ex-driver-turned-manager beat his old team, winning the 1951 British Grand Prix and becoming the first team to break Alfa Romeo’s dominance in over a year.
Ferrari would compete in every Formula 1 Championship thereafter, making them the only team in the sport’s history to do so, whilst the once mighty Alfa Romeo exited Formula 1 just a year later.
This wonderful diorama containing one of Scuderia Ferrari’s first race-winning cars (even though it’s not actually a Ferrari) comes from previous bloggee and TLCB regular PixelJunkie, whose stunning recreation of the Alfa Romeo P3 – complete with Scuderia Ferrari crest – is one of the finest mini-figure scale vintage racing cars we’ve seen. There’s more to see of this Ferrari-before-Ferrari on Flickr at Pixel’s photostream – head back to the early 1930s via the link above.
Mercedes-Benz have been the dominant team in Formula 1 since the introduction of the latest ultra-high-tech but also ultra-restrictive technical regulations. Jump back over sixty years and it was again Mercedes-Benz dominating the sport in time when – perhaps surprisingly – the technical regulations were also massively restrictive.
Limiting engines to just 2.5 litres naturally-aspirated or 0.75 (yes, under a litre!) supercharged, Mercedes-Benz decided to drop their supercharging for the ’54 season and built a 2.5 litre Straight-8 with a world-first direct injection for their new W196 racing car.
The resultant design took Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss to nine wins out of twelve race entries and back-to-back world championships. In 1955 the W196 won every single race bar Monaco.
The W196’s dominance was cut short however, when one of Mercedes-Benz’s 300 SLR endurance racers powered by the same engine crashed at the ’55 Le Mans 24 Hour race, cartwheeling through the crowd killing 84 and injuring another 180. It was the deadliest moment in sporting history, yet the race didn’t even stop. Mercedes-Benz pulled out of all motorsport activity, and didn’t return for another thirty-four years.
This gorgeous Lego recreation of the championship-winning Mercedes-Benz W196 from ’54-’55 comes from Flickr’s Pixel Junkie, part of a wider classic racing build featured here previously, and there’s more to see of his stunning silver model via the link above.
Monaco might be thoroughly unsuited to modern Formula 1 cars, with F1 bosses only keeping today’s slow procession on the calendar for nostalgia, but there was a time when the winding street circuit was the greatest place to race on earth.
Flickr’s Pixeljunkie takes us right back to the very first Grand Prix race held in the principality with this wonderful scene depicting the 1929 event. Navigating the Station Hairpin (as it was then known) are several superb vintage racing cars, including Pixel’s previously featured Bugatti Type 37A, whilst a series of bystanders take a very 1920s approach to Health & Safety. Join the race at Pixeljunkie’s photostream.
Matra may not a be a manufacturer familiar to many of you, but if so they’re one of the greatest companies you’ve never heard of.
Founded in the 1960s Matra have made everything from sports cars to air-to-air missiles, including probably the world’s first crossover and the world’s first MPV (albeit for Renault). However it’s their racing subsidiary, Equipe Matra Sports, that we’re most interested in here.
Equipe Matra Sports produced racing cars for an almost immeasurable number of categories, winning Le Mans three times, five Formula 2 Championships, and both the Drivers and Constructors Formula 1 World Championships in 1969, making them the only team besides Ferrari to win the Championship with a car not built in Britain.
This is that car, the gorgeous Matra MS80, powered by the ubiquitous Ford-Cosworth DFV V8 and run by Ken Tyrrell before he started his own team. In the hands of Jackie Stewart the MS80 won five of the ten races it entered in the ’69 season, winning the Championship by a huge margin, despite the fact that every other race winner that year used the same engine.
This fabulous Model Team replica of the Matra MS80 comes from classic racer extraordinaire Luca Rusconi aka RoscoPC, with a superbly-replicated Cosworth DFV engine, working steering and suspension, and some ace period-correct decals. There’s more to see of Luca’s brilliant Matra MS80 on Flickr via the link above, plus you can read our interview with the builder as part of the Master MOCers Series by clicking here.
The UK and US have a long and successful racing history. The AC Cobra, the Ford GT40, Lola, Chevrolet-McLaren and many more all prove that Anglo-American collaboration can produce an incredible racing car. The Anglo-American Racing Eagle Weslake Mk1 however, did not.
Built by American Formula 1 driver Dan Gurney the Eagle Weslake Mk1 wowed crowds when it debuted at the start of the 1966 season. The car initially raced with Dan at the wheel powered by a Coventry-Climax four-cylinder engine, until it’s purpose-built Gurney-Westlake V12 was ready for the ’67 season.
Often cited as the most beautiful Formula 1 car ever built, if the newly-engined V12-powered Mk1 went as well as it looked it would be a championship winner.
Despite obvious speed allowing the Mk1 to qualify at or near the front of the grid almost all season, chronic fragility of the Gurney-Weslake V12 engine meant the car retired from every race bar two. The two races in which it did finish were both podiums though, proving the speed was there and making Dan Gurney one of only three drivers ever to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a car of their own making.
However the Eagle-Weslake’s statistics don’t make for great reading. Of the 26 races the Mk1 started the car finished just six, and in three of those it was powered by the old Coventry-Climax engine. By the end of 1968 Anglo-American Racing closed its doors and Gurney returned to the ‘states under the All American Racing banner to continue competing in domestic championships.
Nevertheless the Gurney-Weslake Mk1 was a race-winner and thus deserves its place in the Formula 1 Hall of Fame. TLCB Master MOCer Luca Rusconi (aka RoscoPC) has recreated the Mk1 in spectacular detail, as he continues to upload his huge back-catalogue of historic racing cars to Flickr.
First built in 2013 (when it appeared here) Luca’s model has been beautifully re-photgraphed, and it features working suspension, functioning steering, and an accurate replica of the unreliable Gurney-Weslake V12 engine. A whole host of stunning images are available to view at Luca’s Eagle-Weslake Flickr album – click here to take a look.
It’s every petrolhead’s dream to unearth an amazing classic car, unknown to the world for decades, hidden away in an unopened garage, workshop or barn.
It’s TLCB Master MOCerAndrea Lattanzio aka Norton74‘s dream too, so he’s decided to build his very own barn find, depicting the moment a farmer reveals the old Bugatti racing car that’s been sleeping untouched for half a century beside his hay.
This particular barn find would be sure to raise some global interest, with Bugatti Type 35 Grand Prix’s fetching around $1.5million at auction. Do you think he’ll sell it? Head over to Andrea’s photostream to ask the farmer really nicely.
This TLCB writer wasn’t alive in the 1970s, but it seemed like a very bleak time. Everyone was on strike and everything was either brown or beige. Apart from Formula 1.
F1 in the 1970s was something of a golden age, filled with colour, danger, and some of the coolest looking racing cars ever to take part in the sport. This top-notch generic 1970s Formula 1 car transports us back to that time, it’s been built by GiantAmbushBeetle of Eurobricks, and there’s more to see via the link above.
This is the Williams FW14, designed by the legendary Adrian Newey and powered by Renault’s formidable 3.5litre V10, it won more than half of the Formula 1 races that it ever entered.
Launched in 1991 the FW14 was a technical masterpiece, and one that many thought too complicated to work. With active suspension, a semi-automatic transmission, traction control and incredible aerodynamics, they were initially right, and teething troubles meant a string of retirements throughout the 1991 season.
Despite the breakdowns Williams still managed to secure seven race wins and second place in the Constructor’s Championship, behind the slower but more reliable McLaren, and they set to work ironing out the reliability issues for the 1992 season.
The following year Williams returned with the upgraded FW14B and it proved utterly dominant, winning ten of the sixteen races and qualifying 2-3 seconds faster than anyone else. Williams took the Constructors’ World Championship in 1992, with Nigel Mansell becoming World Champion just a year after he considered retiring from the sport.
Williams replaced the FW14B with the FW15C for 1993, further the developing the active suspension, traction control and semi-automatic gearbox debuted on the FW14. The car took the team to another Driver’s and Constructor’s World Championship, before the FIA outlawed electronic driver aids in 1994, making the FW14 and FW15 possibly the most advanced Formula 1 cars that have ever been built.
This incredible recreation of the 1992 Championship-winning FW14B comes from previous bloggee and Master MOCer Luca Rosconi aka RoscoPC, who continues to upload his amazing back-catalogue of historic Grand Prix cars to Flickr. With a working V10 engine, pushrod suspension and functioning steering Luca’s beautiful build is as accurate underneath us it is on the outside.
There’s much more to see at the FW14B Flickr album, and you can read our interview with Luca as part of the Master MOCers series to find out how he builds creations like this one by clicking here.
We’re starting to think that Formula 1 is becoming a bit, well… boring. You can thank Bernie Ecclestone’s enormous rulebook for the current state of affairs, but back in the ’50s the racing was gloriously exciting, due in most part to the fact that the rulebook could probably fit in a small pamphlet.
This exquisite 1957 Maserati 250F Tipo takes us back to a time when things actually happened on an F1 racetrack, when the Argentinian legend Juan Manuel Fangio overcame a 51 second deficit to win the German Grand Prix (and then the championship). Noah_L (aka Lego Builders) is the builder and there’s more to see of his beautifully photographed creation on both MOCpages and Flickr.
Fiat might only make small shopping cars these days, but their history is much more exciting. This lovely Lego pre-war Fiat racer was found on Flickr, built by TLCB debutants Omar + Kazumi Ovalle. There’s more to see at the link above, but before you do we highly recommend seeing what a vintage race car like this can do – turn your volume up…
Carl Greatrix makes his second appearance in as many days here at TLCB with another unbelievable classic Formula 1 car. This time the prancing horse is Carl’s subject matter, and he’s recreated their gorgeous 1979 312T4 beautifully.
Underneath the perfect bodywork lives a chassis of jaw-dropping detail, including the famous flat 12 Ferrari engine, the last before Scuderia Ferrari finally got with the times and built a turbocharged unit to challenge Renault.
Although the 312 was still a race winner in its ‘T4’ configuration in 1979, by the following year its outdated flat 12 engine relegated it to very un-Ferrari like positions. An entirely new car was conceived for 1981 which had half the cylinders, but it also had a turbo… and by 1982 Ferrari were the Formula 1 constructors champions again.
Carl’s Ferrari 312T4 is pictured here alongside his previously featured Renault RE20, and it’s one of our favourite photos of 2014. It also makes us wish that modern Formula 1 allowed some innovation and a variety of engineering approaches, as was the case until the modern era. We think it’d be much more exciting to watch cars as different as these two racing against one another. If only TLCB ran Formula 1…
To see more of this historic Ferrari – and Carl’s other incredible creations – take a trip to Flickr by clicking here.
This superb photograph of the Circuit de Catalunya pit-lane exit, complete with 2013 Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 car, was discovered on Brickshelf rather brilliantly just after the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix. It was built and photographed by lluisgib, and when we say photographed we mean it – there’s no photoshop trickery here! See how he did it at the link above.
Eagle Weslake Mk1. Just one win. Still, more than HRT.
This stunning blue racing car comes from one of the best motorsport builders around, RoscoPC*. Found on Brickshelf, this 1967 Eagle Weslake V12 features working suspension, engine and steering. The real deal won just a single race, in the hands of Dan Gurney at the notoriously dangerous Spa circuit. After 26 races the car was retired as the team focussed their efforts outside of Grand Prix racing, but nevertheless it earned fame simply by being one the most beautiful Grand Prix racing cars ever made. See more of Rosco’s Lego version at his Brickshelf page via the link above.