I’m not much into auto racing, especially that hillbilly left-turn league, but growing up in the 1970’s every kid in my grade-school loved Mario Andretti and Formula 1 racing. The cars were amazing and seemed to my young eyes to have more in common with starships than automobiles. Seeing Szalab Idihnab’s take on the iconic Lotus 72D brought me back to the only F1 race I’ve ever seen in person, the 1977 Long Beach Grand Prix. There is nothing in the world like the howl generated by those engines, so loud that it made my rib cage vibrate like a double bass. The 72D was designed in 1970 by Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe for Lotus and it went on to be one of the most remarkable and successful designs in F1 history before it was retired for the 1976 season. Although Andretti never drove one in competition (Emerson Fittipaldi was the king of the 72D), he would no doubt approve of this stunning model.
I’ve included a shot of the real Lotus 72D for comparison, I think you’ll agree that the Szalab nailed the design, from the front flaps to the pin striping to the Rear attenuator. I kind of wish he had included some decals for that true racing vibe, but it is far from a deal-breaker. Normally I’d nitpick the color of the wheels, but I doubt they are available in tan and the gray makes a fine substitute. If you like what you see, make sure you check out the Ford-Cosworth V8 engine detail, it is good enough to be a stand-alone model. My only real complaint is that I wish the photos were larger so I could zoom in on the fine SNOT work involved in the pin striping and elsewhere. It’s also worth complementing the photography, black is the most difficult color to photograph and the builder has done a fine job documenting this masterpiece.
Szalab has a strange photo-stream that contains exactly 5 immaculate F1 cars and nothing else. It’s as if the builder sprung fully formed into the hobby in 2015 like a Greek god, with no modest or awkward early efforts. All of the models have a criminally small number of views and favorites, so throw him a bone if you have the time because I hope we see more of these stunning rides in the future and a little encouragement might help.