Our car experts choose every product we feature. We may earn money from the links on this page.
Maybe you can’t afford a race team of your own, but you can get a GT40 for less than a grand at 1/18th scale.
In case you lost track of it when you finally dozed off last Saturday night, Les Vingt Quatre Heures du Mans is over. It finished Sunday morning our time and Toyota won. Ferrari was tops in GTE Pro, followed by Corvette, Ferrari, and then the Porsches. The race remains one of the epic spectacles in all of motorsports, pitting the greatest sports cars in the world against each other flat-out twice around the clock.
It would sure be something to enter that race someday. But buying an LMH car of your own—a competitive LMH car like you saw from Toyota this year—is well into the millions. And is this modern era really the experience you’re after? If your tastes go back a generation or three, here’s a handy, money-saving suggestion: Buy a 1/8th-scale racer from Amalgam.
Amalgam is that company in the UK that makes meticulously accurate scale models of the greatest cars ever made, then puts them in glass cases and offers them for sale. Just in time for this year’s Vingt Quatre they came out with “The Amalgam Collection: 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Amalgam Collection has partnered with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), and “…this new cooperation with the ACO paves the way for exciting future collaborations.” For our purposes that means Amalgam will now be making cool models of great race cars from the storied history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
There are some beautiful cars here, ranging from 1:18 scale to 1:8 scale and larger. Pricing may not be cheap, but it’s a lot less than the real thing. You can get a number of 1:18 scale cars for just under $1000, while larger, more detailed cars are closer to 20 grand. Here are some favorites.
Model: 1971 Le Mans winner (Martini livery, race weathered)
No collection of Le Mans greats would be complete without some Porsches, and if you have Porsches, you need to have a 917. There were so many of them, 14 of which we saw at Pebble Beach last week. What you see is car #22, driven to victory by Dutch driver Gijs van Lennep and Austrian racer Helmut Marko at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971. This car is presented in its late-race condition, with the road grime and body damage as seen in a photograph by shooter Rainier Schlegelmilch Giclee, whose print you get along with the car. This model is 20 grand because it’s at 1:8 scale, but a 1:18 scale version is “in development.” And, Amalgam points out, you can break up that $19,952 sticker price into four handy installments of just $4,988.
Model: 1969 Le Mans winner
The 1969 race winner driven to victory by Jackie Oliver and Jacky Ickx was the last GT40 to win at Le Mans. To make this model, Amalgam says it did two years of “deep research and intense development work,” with help from both Ford and Gulf Oil. The model is based on the real chassis #1075 exactly as it was when Ickx drove it over the finish line at La Sarthe. It is 1:8 scale, so it’s about 20 inches long, with a sticker of over 15 large. But be honest, you’re never going to afford the real thing, and even if you can afford the real thing, you’ll want this model to go with it.
Model: 1937 Le Mans winner
“Only three Type 57 Tanks were ever produced,” Amalgam reminds us, “the first of which disappeared shortly after its introduction at the Paris Auto Salon in 1936, never to be seen again. This model is based upon the second, the famous 57S-based 57G Tank, that would go on to win the French Grand Prix later that year, piloted by Jean-Pierre Wimille and Raymond Sommer. They completed the 80-lap, 1000-km race in 7:58:52.7, emerging the victors by 50.6 seconds. More success followed the next year when, driven by Wimille and Robert Benoist, the 57G was victorious in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after completing 243 laps. This was seven more than their closest rivals in second place. Wimille would proceed to win the race again in 1939 in the third Tank, the Type 57C.”
And on your desk if you buy one of these.
BUGATTI TYPE 57G “TANK”
Model: 1963 Le Mans (race weathered)
Jag was certainly an early success story at Le Mans, winning many races with its mighty D-Types. What you see here is a Lightweight E-Type, which competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 driven by Americans Briggs Cunningham and Bob Grossman. Jaguar never intended that the E-Type be raced, Amalgam says, but it fit perfectly into the FIA’s GT category for production cars, so off went Cunningham and Grossman. The car was lightened up with aluminum body panels and an aluminum engine block, but brake failure and a subsequent crash meant the pair only finished second in class and ninth overall.
JAGUAR LIGHTWEIGHT E-TYPE (LWE)
Model: 1962 Le Mans class winner
Amalgam reminds us in its catalog that just 36 250 GTOs were produced from 1962 to 1964 and these cars are perhaps the most coveted classics of all time. None of the 36 cars were identical. The bodies were all hand-beaten in aluminum over a wooden frame at Scaglietti’s workshop, but that is where the similarity stopped. This model is of car number 19, the 24 Heures Du Le Mans 1962 GT class winner, as driven by Pierre Noblet and Jean Guichet. The pair won the class comfortably and finished on the overall podium to boot. Ferrari continued this winning streak throughout every subsequent round, resulting in Ferrari winning the championship that year with a maximum score of 45 points.
FERRARI 250 GTO 3705GT
Model: 1995 Le Mans 3rd place
Le Mans wasn’t all Fords and Ferraris. In the mid-’90s things took a slightly different tack, with cars closer to their production cousins. And while production of the McLaren F1 was limited to just 106 cars, it was still, technically, like the car you could drive on the street. While a McLaren F1 did finish first in 1995, this is a 1:8 scale replica of the third-place finisher, driven by Andy Wallace, Derek Bell, and Justin Bell.
MCLAREN F1 GTR HARRODS
Model: 1967 Le Mans 2nd place (class winner)
You may recall seeing something like this flying through the air in Ford v Ferrari. The 330 P4 is surely one of the most beautiful shapes ever made, on or off four wheels. This was the car sent to do battle with Ford’s mighty GT40s in 1967. It didn’t win, but did get second-place. And it looked stunning doing it. This one, driven by Ludovico Scarfiotti and Mike Parkes, finished four laps down to Gurney and Foyt’s Ford.
FERRARI 330 P4