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Amalgam to release Jim Clark's Indy 500 winner

NEWS STORY
12/12/2012

Amalgam is to release a 1:8 scale model of the Lotus 38 as driven to victory in the 1965 Indy 500 by Jim Clark, the first mid-engined car to win the classic race.

Designed by Colin Chapman and Len Terry, the Lotus 38 was an evolution of the Lotus 29 and Lotus 34 Indy designs, but with a full tubular monocoque, powered by the same Ford V8 fuel injected engine as used in the 34, giving out around 500 bhp.

The engine was mid-mounted, thereby improving weight distribution and giving good handling, and while the 38 was significantly larger than Formula One cars of the time it was dwarfed by the American roadsters.

The 38 was specially designed with an "offset" suspension, with the car body situated asymmetrically between the wheels, offset to the left using suspension arms of unequal length. Although in theory this was better suited for the ovals, for example by evening out tyre wear between the two sides, in practise the handling was sufficiently idiosyncratic that the concept never caught on widely.

Clark qualified on the first row, and race was essentially a walkover as he led all but 10 laps and won with only four other cars on the lead lap, and the rest all at least 2 laps behind. Many felt the win was payback for losing the race in 1963, when the Scot felt that Parnelli Jones' car should have been black flagged for dumping oil on the track.

Lotus returned with the 38 in 1966, when it conceded victory to Graham Hill in a Lola, Clark retiring early with a blown engine.

The 38 proved that mid-engined cars could make the grade at the Brickyard, and the days of the front-engined roadsters were effectively over. Design elements in the 38 were eventually worked into the design of the legendary Lotus 49 formula One car.

Missing the Monaco Grand Prix in order that he could compete at Indianapolis, Clark also made history by becoming the only driver to date to win both that race and the F1 title in the same year.

The Amalgam model, which will come in a strictly limited edition, and is built to the company's usual breathtaking standard, can be pre-ordered via the company's website.

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