MPC 1/25 Gurney 'Olsonite' Eagle
|PRICE:||$14.98 when reissued.|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1995 reissue of a much older kit|
Dan Gurney was the last American to drive an American built car to a Grand Prix win and that was back in 1967. The next year, he expanded his open wheeled car line, the Eagle, to include both Formula 5000 and Indianapolis cars. Both of these designs were very successful, unlike the complex and unreliable Formula One car. These led to a long series of very competitive cars that were driven by scores of drivers and were able to win a very large number of victories in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Even some of his later Eagle designs were winning cars. Naturally, these old racers are highly sought by the dilettante car enthusiasts of today who think nothing of paying tens of thousands of dollars and more into bringing these cars back to the track.
As many of you know, AMT/ERTL purchased MPC way back when before it was purchased by Racing Champions and then recently put to pasture while its molding machines switched from plastic models to baby toys. Anyway, I'm, getting ahead of myself. To those of us who do build car models, we know that MPC car kits were often even more difficult and what we now call 'short run'-like than even mainstream AMT cars. Yet they produced some superbly interesting subjects. Among them was this Gurney Eagle Indy car, back in the late 1960s or early 1970s. That kit, as does this, featured a vinyl seat insert and belts, pneumatic tires and two different engine options. Both are Fords. One has Westlake heads and a standard position intake manifold and exhaust. The other is a dual overhead cam engine where the intakes are between the cams on the head with the exhaust coming out the center of the engine.
Back in the olden days, I built the Bobby Unser Indy winning car. While the dodgy fit was more than my pathetic skills allowed, it did get completed and it did last long enough to provide some enjoyment before being reduced to near component parts, some of which still survive. This 1995 reissue is just like the old kit, even down to the instructions.
One has to start off by deciding on which engine to use. The Dan Gurney driven car, #48, had the Westlake head engine, while #42, driven by Dennis Hulme, had the DOHC version. Aside from that, the construction is identical. The greenish grey plastic is good for nearly 40 year-old molding and there is quite a bit of flash on some of the parts. Ejector pin marks and such were not considered any sort of big deal so you have quite a few of those. There are also a ton of chrome plated bits. A 'serious' builder will be de-chroming these to remove the mold seams and then repainting or paying to have them re-chromed.
The kit provides a very scale and quite flimsy suspension. I can recall this breaking quite a bit, even after nearly 40 years. One will need very careful construction to be sure that all the pieces line up properly so much test fitting is suggested. The only other difference is in the immediate engine cover sections, which are not the same.
Instructions are direct copies of the originals, but with the ERTL address listed. Painting information is not consistent as some items are given this info and some are not. I assume one has to rely on the box art for most of it. Fortunately, there are a number of well done drawings and artwork to help. Markings are for both cars and the decals are very thick. The sheet seems to have aged over the last 13 years or so. I'm not sure how viable they may be, but I've been fooled by old decals before. Testing one not used is highly recommended.
At the same time as this kit was reissued, so was the Lotus turbine car. I built that kit and it was one of the greatest challenges I've had with a kit in a very long time. I expect this one will be no different. However, it is, as far as I know, the only kit available of this important car. Buy with confidence if you find it; build with caution!
Thanks to my stash for this one. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please
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