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Amalgam launches the Lotus 49B

NEWS STORY
12/03/2013

Amalgam Fine Model Cars has launched the latest addition to its range, a 1:8 scale model of the 1968 Monaco-winning Gold Leaf Team Lotus type 49B.

The model was first unveiled last month at Race Retro, at a reception hosted by Clive Chapman, son of the legendary founder of the Lotus marque, and Classic Team Lotus.

The exceptional model, which has been developed by the dedicated model making team at Amalgam in conjunction with Chapman of Classic Team Lotus, holds a special place in Formula One motor racing history.

In 1967 Colin Chapman was on the look-out for a new Formula 1 engine for the upcoming season. He contacted his old friends Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth, founders of the Cosworth Engineering company. They were most definitely interested, but they did not have the resources to produce an engine to Formula 1 specifications. Having just won the Indy 500 with Ford, Chapman used his influence to convince one of the company's executives to fund the operation; a lengthy relationship between Ford and Cosworth was born. Using a Ford four cylinder as a base, the Cosworth team first developed a 16-valve 1600 cc FVA engine for Formula 2. It would form the basis for the three litre V8 readied for the 1967 season.

Dubbed the DFV (Double Four Valve), the new engine was cast completely from aluminium in the Cosworth factory. It used dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Using a Lucas supplied Fuel Injection system, the compact engine was good for a very competitive 400 bhp at 9,000 rpm. Like the BRM H16, the new Cosworth DFV was exceptionally rigid and Chapman used this to the fullest when he designed the Lotus 49. The racer used an aluminium monocoque chassis that stretched no further than the bulkhead behind the driver. The V8 was bolted directly onto this chassis and took all of the rear suspension load, which was a much stronger, lighter and cleaner solution than using a rear subframe.

In 1968 Team Lotus revolutionised F1 yet again, this time by replacing its traditional British Racing Green livery with the red, white and gold of the Gold Leaf tobacco company.

Graham Hill scored a famous victory in the type 49 at the Spanish GP. Chapman had even more up his sleeve and at the next race - Monaco - the 'B' specification of the dominant type 49 was introduced. It used a slightly longer wheelbase and a new Hewland gearbox, plus it was equipped with aerodynamic front trim tabs and an elegantly sculpted rear bodywork. It was the start of a season that would see a wide variety of aerodynamic aids being tried with the suspension mounted high wings becoming the most extreme examples.

The debut win for the 49B at Monaco was also Hill's fourth win around the streets of the world famous principality, earning him the undisputed title of 'Mr Monaco'. Then he had to wait until the final round in Mexico for another win. This was sufficient for the driver's title for Hill and the constructor's title for Lotus. The Cosworth engine had won all but one race that season and it would go on to dominate F1 for many years to come. Its availability made F1 more accessible to privateer teams.

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