THE AVGAS SERIES - Formula 2

I never really set out to run a series of races for 1958 F.2 cars. It just grew out of the F.1 races. The big catalyst was the Cooper T.45 because casting them in resin was so quick and easy to do I just found myself making more and more and eventually I realised I had enough to set about a proper F.2 series of races. I won't go into detail as to which is which in this picture, although I expect to real anoraks the front row is self-evident, as are some of the others.

As the season wound down one or two of the cars were re-painted. The two New Zealand, black and silver cars in the back row ended the season as a white one (Wolfgang Seidel's car) and a second pale green B.R.P. car. There were four New Zealanders in the series from the start. The two Kiwi Equipe cars mentioned above, were driven by Ray Thackwell and Ronnie Moore; Syd Jensen had his own red car and then there was the up and coming youngster, just finding his feet in Europe - Bruce McLaren. Wonder what became of him? Here are the four Kiwis:

As the season progressed I started to add to the set of cars. I had already made five Lotus 12s, the spindly front engined car from Chapman's stable. These were originally made as F.1 cars but as with some of the Coopers, they could equally appear with a smaller engine and thus be eligible for F.2 races.

Eventually Team Lotus began to run the new Lotus 16 as an F.2 car and my races reflected this. Two of the F.2 Lotus 12s were unusual in that their owners, Ivor Bueb and Mike Taylor, fitted high tails to the cars. I built the two in this form. Here is one of them, the Bueb car:

Many of the races run for Formula 2 cars in 1958 had nothing but Coopers and Lotuses in them but happily there were a few exceptions to that rule and it gave me enormous pleasure to make a few rather unusual and possibly never before modelled vehicles. Two such are the Behra Porsche and the remarkable little Fry Climax, both of which appeared occasionally during the 1958 season. Behra drove his own car while the job of handling the odd-looking Fry fell to none other than Mike Parkes, who years after became a major cog in the Ferrari organisation before dying tragically in a road accident in Italy. Here are those two cars. I will leave the reader to work out which is which!

            Did you get it?

Another unusual car to make its debut in 1958 F.2 races was the central seat RSK Porsche. The 1.5 litre engine size suited Porsche very well and initially one or two drivers ran pure sports cars in F.2 races but then the factory modified one to put the driver in the middle and this vehicle was created. I had many problems getting this car (and its sister, built a little later), to run properly as the tyre size I wanted to use fouled the underside of the wheel arches. In the end, smaller tyres solved that problem but at the cost of good handling. I had hoped that the car would be very quick in a straight line and ran it at Reims with great anticipation. Sadly it was extremely difficult to control and crashed out very early in the race. It did have a superb run at Innsbruck, near the end of the season, coming second to the Behra Porsche and beating Stirling Moss into the bargain.

And then there was the OSCA, or in fact, two OSCAs. This remarkable piece of kit really did exist. In truth, not in 1958 although they did try to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix that year with a pure sports car. Eventually they produced an object that was neither fish nor fowl - or indeed both. I just HAD to make these....

The only car that ran in any of my F.2 series races but has not been mentioned above is the Ferrari Dino 156 that Peter Collins drove in the Reims Grand Prix. The car I used was from my F,1 series, of course. Having started 4th on the grid it was a great disappointment when it crashed at the Thillois Hairpin very early in the race.

When I was invited down to the Early Birds slot race event in Wolverhapton at the end of February 2010 I took all the cars that I had at that time, a total of thirty-five cars in the F.2 series, including the Ferrari and several that doubled up as F.1 and F.2 cars. Here is a photo of the full set of F.2 cars, taken by one of the competitors at the Early Birds event:

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