1/12th SCALE MODEL
of the CONNEW FORD F.1 CAR

Here are some other views of the model shown on the Index page.....

....and a few details about its construction.

Well, it all began many years ago (about 15 to be perfectly honest) when I was sitting in my workshop at the school I was teaching in at that time. I had owned a Tamiya model of James Hunt's McLaren Ford M.23 for some time but realised that I was unlikely ever to complete it. I began to think about the old Connew F.1 car and realised that my McLaren model had the same Ford DFV engine and Hewland DG.300 gearbox that we used on the Connew. This gave me the idea of building a model of the unique vehicle that I had helped to produce nearly 20 years earlier.

As a starting point I had the drawing that Peter Connew made when I first became involved with the project. This was a simple side view of the chassis with the nose design drawn onto it. Therefore, making the chassis part was relatively simple. I used the same jelutong wood that I had used to make the pattern for the nose of the real car. Shaping the sides was easy and scooping out the drivers area (it was an open bathtub monocoque) proved to be fairly simple.

It was then a simple matter to mate the chassis to the Tamiya engine and gearbox. Of course, this meant that the rear suspension had to be the McLaren version as I was not in a position to make wishbones, uprights etc. For various reasons, the model was put into a box and lay untouched for years, until around 5 years ago, when I got it out to have another look.

Peter had lent me a front top rocker arm and a front lower wishbone so I was able to make them to scale. I joined them to the McLaren front upright, with some difficulty but the result was just about acceptable to me. The top rockers actually have a hole drilled through them so that a pivot could be inserted into the mounting points on the chassis and the nose - exactly as on the real car.

The nose was made in a similar way to the chassis, using jelutong again. Unfortunately, I took the nose measurement from the drawing mentioned above, but this led to problems later as it was too long; a fact I never discovered until I fitted the front wings and realised that the gap between the wings and the front wheels was much too long. I had Peter measure the real nose for me and set about cutting it shorter. It was at this point that I again gave up on the model for some years.

Here is a picture of the model with the too-long nose....

For the cockpit canopy which needed to be hollow, I made a pattern and vacuum formed it using my home made vacuum forming machine, a description of which you will find on my at slot race website.

Cousin Peter was a great help; he supplied me with dimensions for the wings, airbox and oil cooler ducts (that's those black things either side of the engine), so those parts also are quite true to scale.

This is what it looked like about 2 weeks before completion....

Finally, about Christmas time, 2004, I got the model out again and decided to make a real effort to complete it. It came together quite quickly, with the final touches being making and fitting the rear wing; the mirrors (very difficult to get the 3 support struts in the correct place!); the oil tank (another piece of jelutong); the airbox and finally, the driver had to be fitted with his steering wheel and dashboard.

The red and yellow colour scheme had been sprayed on so the final act was to make the sponsor decals etc. This was always going to be a problem as nothing could be purchased. Fortunately, nowadays there are ways of overcoming the fact that inkjet print, when applied to non-porous transfer paper, is inclined to run and smear. A special paper can now be obtained, along with a lacquer to fix the colours of the decals. Making the decals was not hard although the Capricorn goat / fish logo took a while.

My first attempt at making the logos seemed to be successful but a few days after application, I noticed that the colours had spread, and so all were removed. The problem was overcome by the purchase of a new printer that uses special inks that do not run. The second attempt seems to have been successful.

Of course, basing the model on a McLaren kit means that there are things that are just plain wrong. As mentioned already, the rear suspension is nothing like the Peter Connew design and looking at the view from above, I suspect that the rear track measurement is way too big. Maybe the biggest 'error' is that the tyres say Goodyear, when they should say Firestone!

Nevertheless, there it is.... many, many years in the making but a reasonable result that Peter himself is delighted with. Impossible to say for certain but my suspicion is that you have just looked at the only one of its kind on this planet.

Nice thought, ain't it?

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