Lotus 88 ‘Twin Chassis’

article updated Jan 2012

Minichamps released two versions of the ‘twin chassis’ Lotus 88 Formula One racer recently; the blue and red Essex version presented here, plus a black and gold Courage/Essex version. Both feature extensive use of mirror-like chrome.

Minichamps 400 810011, 1981 Lotus 88 , de Angelis

Minichamps 400 810011, 1981 Lotus 88 , de Angelis

First impression is the model looks excellent; rich metallic blue paint with chrome and red.

This is the version of the car as run in a practice session at the 1981 Long Beach Grand Prix by Elio de Angelis. Famously, it never actually competed in a race due to being deemed illegal with it’s movable ‘second’ chassis.

Thankfully, Minichamps used a chrome effect for the shiny parts of the model and not just a silver-grey decal.

Thankfully, Minichamps used a chrome effect for the shiny parts of the model and not just a silver-grey decal.

While initially giving this model a big Thumbs Up, I noticed one glaring and major error – it’s fitted with Goodyear tyres! It should have Michelin rubber. At first I thought my example was just a one-off error, but this is how Minichamps themselves have it photographed in all their PR material.

Minichamps got the tyres wrong, despite the correct Michelin markings on the front wings. The body colour is fantastic for a metallic paint in this scale.

Minichamps got the tyres wrong, despite the correct Michelin markings on the front wings. The body colour is fantastic for a metallic paint in this scale.

To fix the error, I guess I could rub off the Goodyear print (update: mission complete, see bottom pic!), but the tyres themselves (mostly the rear) aren’t quite right anyway as the Michelins of 1981 had a squarer sidewall.

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Above & Below: Apart from tyres, the outlets for the radiators are also incorrect. They should have the ducts extending outside the sidepod as per the picture below, not flush.
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Above & Below: Front and rear view

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Minichamps have even modelled the small spings that the outer chassis used when under aerodynamic load

Minichamps have even modelled the small spings that the outer chassis used when under aerodynamic load

 

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Above & Below: Unlike other ground effect cars, the Lotus 88 did not exploit the full width allowed by the rules and was very narrow to enable a straight, unclutted full length underbody venturi.lotus88_2102

Minichamps have quite a bit of driver detail for 1:43 scale

Minichamps have quite a bit of driver detail for 1:43 scale

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There’s no real engine detail, but there are fuel injection trumpets, exhaust pipes (which should be metallic colour, not black), fuel tank detail on top of the monocoque and the correct body-colour rear brake ducts.

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Tyre logos removed!

Now corrected with the tyre logos removed!

wixy500 rating

  • Collectability – 4.2 (2,016pcs worldwide)
  • Finish – 4.5
  • Accuracy – 3.2 (4.2 if not for tyre error)
  • Value – 3.8
  • Overall – 3.9
Racing magazines of the time illustrated the 'twin chassis' concept.

Racing magazines of the time illustrated the ‘twin chassis’ concept.

A 'presentation' version of the '88 was a little different to the car that fronted at Long Beach, such as semi-blanked off radiator outlets, twin periscope engine intakes and no front wings - and no tyre branding.

A ‘presentation’ version of the ’88 was a little different to the car that fronted at Long Beach, such as semi-blanked off radiator outlets, twin periscope engine intakes and no front wings – and no tyre branding.

de Angelis practicing the car at Long Beach, 1981.

de Angelis practicing the car at Long Beach, 1981.






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