The Model Brickyard


I have a secret ambition – to collect as many of the classic Indianapolis Speedway model cars as I can without selling a kidney to do it. So far I have managed two of them due to bargains on the shelf in two model stores.

Collectors will recognise the Carousel 1 models in the pictures – 1:18th scale cars from the great eras of the raceway. They are the best evocations of these cars I have ever seen, but I am still nostalgic for the Aurora model kits of the 50’s and 60’s. I owned a Gilmour Special from this firm and I wish I had it now – as well as some of the other models from this firm. I doubt we will ever see them in cast form.

Of course there were some other plastic models that qualified – Monogram made a superb Indianapolis car kit and I discovered how to do realistic tyre painting when I built one. Again, it has long been given away to the Marines and I have not found a replacement. But back to the Carousel 1 models.

I believe they have shut up shop now – probably flooded the market, or the Chinese firm went bust. I got a Federal Special at $ 149 and a Dowgard Special for $ 99 at separate shops – they were the bargains. I covet the Vukovich car but have not seen it at an affordable price.


One wonderful thing that I discovered was the brick pavement roll that Lemac toys make for their Christmas display villages. I intend to get more if I can this year from Myer. It is as cheap as chips if you want to face a model building  or make the Indianapolis track. I daresay there are structure kits out there as well or at least plans that one could use for a diorama.


Why Indianapolis? Ask any American where the real race track is and they will not mention LeMans or Mount Panorama or Nurburgring. Or Goodwood or Watkins Glen or Monte Carlo. It is Indianapolis on Memorial Day. In the heat and the smell of suntan oil and gasoline. 500 miles on an oval track turning left all the time. Leader gets a bonus for each lap he leads. Prize money at the end. Advertisement money for the rest of it. Colour, graphics, girls, and big engines. Big names. And a new pace car each year to model…


Now that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms to open up. How many kidneys do we have…?

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