MG Models -1-

 
Photo: view from left rear of Mikansue MGB LeMans modelPhoto: view from right front of MGB LeMans model

An MGB at scale 1:43
As seen at LeMans, 1964

Click the picture or this text
to see a large version.

Another view
Made in England by Mikansue
Click the picture or this text
to see a large version.

In my quest to find a 1:43 model of each car I've owned or driven, or had either a real or fantasy relationship with, I came across this example. As I said to the people I bought it from, "It's ugly, but a member of the family, so what can you do ... ?"

The models I was looking for are a 1967 roadster, medium blue like the one here, and a 1967 GT, Grampian Grey like the one here. This model is pretty far off the mark and not a very true-to-life one even relative to the one it emulates, I think: proportions are just a little off (not easy to tell in these too-wide-angle photos, but visible in the real thing); something wrong with the window treatment; door handles below the trim; trim too low; things like that. Maybe they built the original car that way. (Not so: photos in Graham Robson's book show the original is neatly and delightfully a standard-shaped and -appointed MGB Tourer with an aerodynamic nose grafted on, and with numerous ingenious endurance-racing modifications worked in.)

I see a Web site for MG Mecca listed and sold a "1976 Roadster. Fitted with Sebring front and rear panels and finished in nightfire red with wire wheels and tan hood. Full tan leather and walnut interior trim. All work carried out by MG Mecca.6,995 SOLD *Similar cars built to order*" Would that be cool or what? Just the name of the paint conjures up streaking lights and high-rev engine noises.

I knew nothing about the effort that resulted in this model's being constructed, but assumed there was a genuine MGB that raced in these colors and with this number at LeMans. Thanks to James Bilsland and others, I learned something about it:

According to Graham Robson's The MGA, MGB And MGC: A Collector's Guide, "BMO 541B" was built for the 1964 Le Mans race, one of three cars that raced there in 1963, 1964, and 1965. Each of the three used the same nose. This version was driven by Paddy Hopkirk and Andrew Hedges to an average of 99.9 MPH for the 24 hours, and made a fast lap of 105 MPH, finishing 19th overall. The 1963 car (7 DBL) finished 12th overall at Le Mans, in spite of being stuck in the sand at Mulsanne for 90 minutes from lap 12, while driver Alan Hutcheson dug it out. The other driver was Paddy Hopkirk. Hedges and Hopkirk drove DRX 255C to 11th in 1965.

I have found some information about "Mikansue." They were Mike and Sue Richardson, and they married after a model-car courtship. It wasn't enough that they were eminent model car collectors, experts, and respected authors, they had to make models, too. You had to pick up their releases, it was said, so you could read the designation on the bottom to find out what they were supposed to be.

If you can direct me to other information about this LeMans effort, or the models, I'd like to know it. I'd particularly like to see photos of the "BMO" car in action. Feel free to email me.

Other -centric pages on this site:
MGB on Riverside International Raceway, 1968
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