Collection Additions & Enhancements

Parcel turned up today with a handful of Spark 43rd scale models to add to the collection, ranging from World Champions & Le Mans winner, to a car that didn’t even get close to qualifying for a race.

Brabham BT48 Alfa Romeo

I’ve been waiting a long time for a decent model of the BT48 Brabham from 1979. The precursor to the highly successful BT49, the BT48 wasn’t a bad car, but it’s big, heavy and thirsty Alfa Romeo V12 engine was unreliable. While it did win a non-championship race for F1 cars at Imola, the Gordon Murray designed machine never earned a Grand Prix podium.

This model by Spark is of Niki Lauda’s 1979 Italian GP machine, where he finished a credible 4th. It was the last race Lauda contested prior to his first retirement from the sport.

The underbody tunnels, sealed to the ground with spring-loaded vertically sliding skirts, produced so much downforce the car rarely needed front wings
The BT48 is all engine and fuel tank, pushing the driver way forward
Niki Lauda was a Marlboro sponsored driver. Spark include the Marlboro visor sticker as a water slide decal, but it has to be applied by the collector.

Coloni C3B Subaru (FC189B)

This is one of the most unsuccessful Formula One race cars of all time. It was such a disaster, it never qualified for a single race! But that fact, plus its uniqueness, makes it a must have for my collection.

It was rather strange that, for 1990, Subaru took a 51% interest in the tiny Italian Coloni team. A new V12 engine was said to be on the way, but in the meantime, a flat-12 cylinder engine had to be shoe-horned into Coloni’s existing car to start the season. Bertrand Gachot was the driver, but with an out-dated car that was massively overweight and under powered, the white, red and green racer never got close to fast enough to qualify (or even pre-qualify!) for a race. In fact, it was such a disaster that Subaru pulled out of the deal mid-season, Coloni re-fitting Ford Cosworth engines to see out the season. Not that it helped…

The model is typical Spark for this era of race car – nice casting, glossy paint and decals, photo-etch suspension & front wing endplates, scuffed tyres etc screwed to a grey base.

Like Lauda in the Brabham-alfa, Gachot was backed by Marlboro. Spark supply but do not apply the ciggie decals for helmet and driver’s race suit.

Mercedes W10 Hybrid

Lewis Hamilton’s World Championship winning Merc from 2019. This is the winner of the 1000th Formula One Grand Prix (Chinese GP) and includes a miniature replica of the trophy. This car, like all the current generation, is so long it barely fits in the case!

With all the aero vanes and halo, the car looks very busy and messy. Bodywork panel lines around the sidepods and engine bay are too thick.

Toyota TS050 Hybrid

The most recent addition to my Le Mans winners collection, this is the 2019 iteration of the Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid. It was the second win in a row for the Fernando Alonso/Sebastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajma driver combination. The TS050 won again in 2020, but without Alonso (Buemi and Nakajima were joined by Kiwi Brendon Hartley).

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