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First Peek with Rusty Hurley Edition Date
5-08-05
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GMP 1/18 Tommy Ivo 4 Engine Dragster
GMP 1/24 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 HO
GMP 1/18 1967 Lola T70 Mk.3B

 

GMP 1/18 Tommy Ivo 4 Engine Dragster GMP 1/24 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 HO
 
     
 
Rusty Hurley
Rusty Hurley
 

"Craft" is a word you hear less and less. That's because there's less of it. Craftsmanship requires constancy of purpose and unblinking focus on the details. When you become excellent at your craft you set benchmarks that others aspire too. When you become awesome at your craft, you get even better.

Knowing that, try arguing with this supposition: GMP might be America's greatest model crafting company. They are executing in every major collectable scale. They are producing new tools. They enhance the collectable nature of their models by offering premium packaging and extra goodies, like DVDs. They own certain model makes to the point that no other manufacturers will dare try to make similar models. I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts there will never be an Auto art 1972 GTO. This week, First Peek takes a look at three models from GMP that are Great Models, Period.

 

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  GMP 1/18 Tommy Ivo 4 Engine Dragster

"TV Tommy" Ivo was a leading personality on the drag scene in the 60's and 70's. He ran typical top fuel and funny cars, but is probably best remembered for his exhibition racers. Between his twin engine dragster and jet-powered cars came his most famous effort, the 4-engine dragster better known as "The Showboat". Over the years the Showboat would take many forms, but arguably it's best was the frame rail, the configuration represented in this GMP masterpiece.

There's been an outcry recently in the diecast community about lack of engine detail - or models that are sealed. This car is the antidote to anything like that. The four Buick 454ci "nailhead" V-8 mills are angle mounted on the frame rails - two meshed to each axle. The driveshaft connects a Halibrand quick-change to a double disc Schiefer flywheel (replicated here complete with logo.) Look closely and you'll notice the engines are mounted side by side - one forward and one reverse - this was necessary because mounting them all forward would create so much torque, the car would flip over. And over.

When the Christmas tree flashed green, this hellion would be enveloped in tire smoke and exhaust. The 32 cylinders pumped out 1720 horsepower, powering it in down a quarter mile at 170 mph in 9.14. For the rest of the drag world in 1961, this was as unreal as Darth Vader invading your grade school.

Cars like this were hardly a factory effort. Ivo cobbled together this beast using a front end from a Dodge truck and a steering mechanism, (which is fun to play with) from a 53 Merc. The back end was from a Ford truck. The whole works is supported by four 4 M&H gargantuan slicks. The Halibrand mag wheels are finely detailed and deceptively simple.

The shell is a shade of blood orange painted liquidly smooth. Compared to today's racers, there is very little decaling. The cockpit is wonderfully engineered with a soft to the touch seat and racing belts. You can see where Ivo would have to struggle with the huge rear transaxle assembly just to sit down. Taking a cockpit view forward, you can really appreciate the massive array of pipes and exhaust blowback that confronted Ivo when he engaged the Buick power. This was one reason the car was later shrouded with a funny car body loosely based on the Buick Riviera. On the rear of the cockpit is a smartly replicated Deist chute pack.

One of the great things GMP has done here is provide you with a DVD featuring a lengthy interview with "TV Tommy." It includes archival footage of his television and movie career as well as footage from the glory days of the Showboat. In fact, it explains how TV commitments caused him to hire a substitute driver from his shop to drive the Showboat. You've probably heard of him: Don Prudohmme.

GMP has done an amazing job replicating historical Ivo pieces, and this amazing limited edition model is a faithful tribute to an icon to raw power and showmanship that is uniquely American in character. It is a brilliant jewel for any collection. You can purchase the Tommy Ivo 4 Engine Dragster right now from Legacy Motors.

 

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  GMP 1/24 1972 Pontiac GTO 455 HO

GMP introduced a 1/24 line recently and they are rapidly developing in to a leaders in the scale. They are doing so by replicating their signature 1/18 models - but usually with a twist.

The 1972 Pontiac GTO hardtop is available in 1/18, but for the 1/24 version they turned it out in a dazzling adriatic blue with no spoilers or striping typical of the 1:18s. This metallic blue is a signature Pontiac color, similar to the blue on Lane's 1968 Firebird. My college roommate had an Adriatic blue GTO and the color here, especially in sunlight, is dead on accurate to how that monster gleamed. [Note: I owned a Ford Pinto. So I spent a few more Saturday nights alone in the dorm then he did.]

The 1972 GTO came with three engine choices and, thankfully, GMP chose to install the 455 cid HO V-8, which produced 335 hp in full song. The engine is fully plumbed and faithfully replicated. I like details such as the stickers on top of the radiator guard. I really don't buy my models to ogle engine detail, but this one will remain displayed hood up because even the underside of the hood is rigorously detailed. On second thought, maybe it would look better hood down where I can see the ram air scoops. Oh well, either way, you can't lose.

The headlights are richly done, with nary a mounting post to distract you. The forward parking lights were new on the 1972 model. The inlaid chrome of the recessed front grille is tasty with the silver GTO logo mounted firmly on the black mesh.

Moving to more of a side view, all the chrome is rich with excellent fit and finish. Shutlines are tight. The familiar extractor vents are present. The car's stance sits perfectly, supported by chunky Goodyear Polyglass GT tires surrounding the muscularly hewn wheels. GMP models always have great tire and wheel combinations. Keep the spinteks on ice, this car is all business.

The white interior is contains real vinyl seats with chrome accents, which is all the more striking set of against the dark floor and instrument panel! Such components as seatbelt assemblies and seat adjustment controls have all the right details in the just the right place. Folding seatbacks and movable visors respond to gentle touches. The pedals have metal accents and, oh by the way, before you close the door, notice the sitcker on the inside of the driver side door. I can't make out the font, but I bet the paint code is correct (D24 if you must check).

GMP carries this level of craftsmanship to the rear of the car, with side rear exhaust ("new for 72!"). The trunk opens to find a spare with jack. The trademark rear chrome bumper perfectly framing a 1972 plate from, you guessed it, Georgia. The chassis is nicely tooled, including a suspension that is bad-ass good. The steering linkage works, but as with all diecast models with functional steering, it is best to watch this by moving the tires from side to side, not by using the steering wheel.

Overall, I have not been this impressed with a 1:24 in a long time. The car, with its refined looks and huge power plant, is like an iron fist in a velvet glove. GMP captures both qualities. This limited edition model compares favorably to a typical "mint" model and given the working features might be a better value. In fact, this may be the finest model of an American subject from the 1970s made in 1/24.

You can purchase GMP's '72 GTO 455 HO right now from Legacy Motors.


 

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  GMP 1/18 1967 Lola T70 Mk.3B

It used to be the measure of a driver was not how good they were in one form of racing, but how versatile they were in multiple forms of racing. No one before or since has epitomized this more than Dan Gurney.

In 1967 Gurney had a magical year. Co-driving with A.J. Foyt, Gurney won Lemans in the famed Ford GT 40 bubble top – a model GMP re-created this year in 1/12 that is an absolute stunner. One lucky person (sadly, despite extensive bribery, not yours truly) won a version of this model donated by GMP during the DiecastZone web drive.

That same June, Gurney won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, for which there is a brilliantly done Carousel One model. 1967 also saw Gurney win his first Indy car race at Riverside, CA and the Race of Champions. He even drove a Mercury Cougar at Sebring Trans Am. He was so popular that year, a "Dan Gurney Special" option package was available to Cougar buyers.

Gurney also competed in 1967 Can Am series, piloting a Lola T70 Mk.3B in 1967 with the same organization (Gurney-Weslake) that engineered his F1 effort. Two shared elements between the Spa winner and this model are especially noticeable; the gorgeous pearlescent midnight blue paint and the fat #36 meatballs.

Opening the rear bonnet, the massive Ford V-8 engine with Weber carbs is plumbed and looks race-ready (if you only had a 1/18 Gurney to fire it up). The valve covers are stamped with trademark Gurney-Weslake logos. The massive fire breathing exhaust assembly is an amazing construct, supported off the rear chassis by an aluminum frame.

At the top of this article, we said awesome craftsmanship is differentiated not by doing the same thing, but by getting better. And here is where this model shines. Positioning this model side by side with my Donohue Lola T-70 Spyder, GMP has tweaked nearly every part of this car. This is not a remake or a repaint – it is a rebirth.

Changes include better defined headlights, more detailed front bonnet air panels, blue-line Goodyear tired mounted on five point wheels. A totally re-made rear bonnet (whiney note to Carousel One: if GMP can get the rights to "Powered by Ford" markings, why can't you?). The chrome rear spoiler gives this racer a sleek and refined look. The cockpit shows little change at first glance – look again and you notice the steering wheel and instrument clusters have totally unique detailing. Very impressive.

The 1967 Lola T-70 Mk.3B may not be a revolutionary racing platform, but it is certainly evolutionary. That may be one of the reasons this is a limited edition of 1,000. Considering this complements the other brilliant models that pay homage to Mr. Gurney’s magical 1967, it is well worth a spot on your shelves. You can purchase GMP's 1967 Lola T70 Mk.3B right now from Legacy Motors.


Final Thoughts Part of being a craftsman is not just talking about craftsmanship, but actually doing it. GMP is doing it-and getting better.

How To Get your Models Featured in First Peek If you are a representative of a diecast manufacturer and wish to get your products featured in First Peek, please contact me directly at rhurley@mn.rr.com.
 

Next week:

 

A Fantastic Ford!

 
     

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