So, the final coat of white paint is on and I’m reasonably happy with the result. The next problem I needed to tackle were the wheels. The ones supplied by Solido just look horrible and I didn’t want to use them unless I had to.
I wanted to wheels to look as much as possible as those of the original. The problem however was that the only picture provided on the box don’t show the wheels clearly at all.
Deep dish for sure, but are they gold or silver? So I tried to find photos of the real thing showing the wheels. And that proved to be surprisingly hard. The only clues I had were the words “Malcolm Gartlan Racing” and “Muir Miles” on the decal sheet. I’d never heard of any of them. As it turned out after a bit of googling, the “Muir” in “Muir Miles” was a certain Brian Muir - from Sydney, Australia! Huh? Why had I never heard of this guy? The story goes something like this:
Brian Muir was born in 1931 right here, raced Holdens locally in the 1960s, and then moved to Britain to compete in the BTCC. coming 2nd in 1968 in a Ford Falcon and 3rd in 1970 in a Camaro Z28. In 1973, he switched to a BMW and ran this car both in the European Touring Cars and the BTCC, coming 2nd and 5th respectively. And this is the car you see here (at Spa):
So now I had a better idea of which wheels to look for. But the BMW ran on 14 inch wheels, pretty small by today’s standards. I couldn’t find anything suitable. Until I happened to come across some items for sale from a customizer in Tasmania. They were originally fitted to a Trax Holden Commodore race car - and I think they fit the bill:
Not exactly the same, but close enough for me. And I can always change them later if I find something better. By the way, in order to take the photo, the car is held together by a few strips of Blu-Tak. It will all fit properly in the end.
But a bit more about Brian Muir. He seems to have been one of the last “Gentleman Drivers”. He didn’t drive for a living as such, but had a “professional association” with BMW-Alpina, perhaps selling them in the UK.
He was also highly regarded by other drivers, as evidenced in his LeMans record. While his four efforts all ended in a DNF, just look at who his co-drivers were:
1966: Graham Hill
1967: Jacky Ickx
1968: Jackie Oliver
1976: Peter Brock
In other races, like the 4 Hours of Monza or the 1000km of Spa, he partnered the likes of Niki Lauda and Hans-Joachim Stuck. And I’m still sitting here and wonder “Why have I never heard of this guy?” Perhaps it is due to his early and unexpected death: In 1983, at the age of 52, he collapsed and died, on his way home after another race. Baffling.
But seeing that I’ve come across this story and this car by complete accident makes my want to get it right even more. So back to the car. A bit more research confirms this to be the way it was raced on September 2, 1973 during the 6 Hours race at Paul Ricard in France. There is a wonderfully evocative collection of footage from that race on YouTube. It is raw, uncut footage by Pathe France - no sound either. And you can “just” catch a few glimpses of the car in there. But if you have 10 minutes to wallow in some racing nostalgia, it is great.
So, all I have to do now is to put on the water slides, give it a glossy clear coat, and then screw it all together. The waterslides will take a while, as I have to put some of top of others - that requires patience in letting them dry overnight before introducing the next ones. All that with brittle old material. Wish me luck!