Open Wheelers

Amalgam fine model racing cars and replicas

by Peter Radcliffe

The 1957 Maserati 250F Lightweight T2 at 1/8th scale

Chassis Number 2529



An unexpected phone call lead to a trip to Bristol in early December. Often a visit to see a model car finds me in a small workshop or factory often a one-man show. Arrival at Amalgam was the first surprise because this was a large building with several staff and not a model car to be seen. Amalgam manufactures prototype castings for all sorts of industrial clients and also has a long history of architectural models for several of the better known companies in the UK.

The first motor sport items I saw were some beautifully crafted replica Williams BMW steering wheels. These are full size replicas Ralf Schumacher’s being slightly smaller than Montoya’s. The buttons have little micro-switches, which give them an authentic feel.

Amalgam also showed me some quarter scale modern Ferrari F1 cars and their more regular 1/8th scale Ferrari F2003 cars. The models are all produced with the full support of the Ferrari factory and to my untrained eye look to be fine models of the modern cigarette packets we see on the television every few weeks.

What I had come to see however was a proper racing car and perhaps one of the cars that shares a place in legends much as the driver who drove it. That car is the spectacularly beautiful (in my eyes anyway) Maserati 250F as driven by Fangio in his epic race on the Nurburgring in 1957. In this unforgettable race Fangio drove it to victory in the German Grand Prix. That Grand Prix, at the Nurburgring, was probably Fangio's greatest race, he lost a full 56 seconds and the lead in a pit stop, but still went on to win after a most spectacular pursuit of Mike Hawthorn, having overtaken Peter Collins, finally passing Hawthorn to take the final two laps as leader. In so doing Fangio broke the track record for the Nordeschlifer, or North Ring, by an amazing 12 seconds on three consecutive laps. He went into the Record Books that year with his fifth World Championship.



Amalgam used as physical reference Chassis 2528, now in the most original condition of the three Lightweights built, along with many contemporary photographs of Chassis 2529 taken at the Nurburgring, Amalgam have meticulously created full working drawings so as to come as close as humanly possible to recreating the car exactly as it raced on that magical day in August 1957. Amalgam's craftsmen were able to study and reproduce every detail and nuance of the finished racing machine so that, for example, not only is each and every rivet shown, but differences in their relative size and type are also faithfully reproduced. Each model in this Limited Edition of just 50 is made from the highest quality prototyping resin and white-metal castings with many components individually machined. Amalgam's craftsmen spent more that twenty man-weeks to make the drawings, produce the master model components and then cast the pieces. Each model then takes some fifty hours to construct. The spoked wheels are works of art in their own right. Normally, even on larger scale models, spoked wheels show minimal detailing, but on this model even the domes where the spokes join to the wheel rims are shown in scale, and each wheel is properly laced with the full 72 spokes to replicate exactly the original wheels in all their complex and beautiful detail. Enormous attention has been given to the surface textures of the materials used and the unique handmade quality of the original car so that they, too, are sensitively rendered in the scale reproduction.

Perhaps what impressed me most was the extent of resin used in the construction, all the space frame chassis and much of the other mechanical detail is cast in resin. The quality of the in house resin castings are superb and much thought has gone into making the masters easy to cast and also easy to assemble. So many limited production models are mastered with little thought of how it will all go together. At Amalgam the model builders have had an input into the early design and mastering stages. Of course I can only speak from what I saw and was told during my visit but if those nice people at Amalgam would send me a set of parts I could of course confirm this first hand!