1967 Ford GT40 Camera Car – “Le Mans”
Schuco – 450899600 (resin)
I’m a huge Le Mans fan. And I mean HUGE – I started this collecting madness because of Le Mans. The interesting part is that I can say exactly when I started to like the race. It all began in 1977, when an uncle gave me as a present a Gulf-blue 1:43 917K from Matchbox. Right around that time, I saw the film “Le Mans” for the first time. From that moment on started my love for Porsche and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Last year I scored Steve McQueen’s 911S from Schuco, that appears in the first minutes of the film. And now I got my hands on this GT40, one of the camera cars in the film.
The car was born as a Mirage M1. It was built by John Wyer Racing in 1967 based on a GT40. As a Mirage M1 it even raced at La Sarthe that year. But in 1968 a rule change made the M1 illegal, so JWR rebuilt the car back as a GT40 (chassis #P/1074). It raced again in Le Mans in 1968 but had to abandon, while sister car P/1075 finished first. In 1969 it raced around Europe, but a new rule change made it obsolete so John Wyer sold it.
By then Steve McQueen was already working on his magnum opus and wanted “total realism”. Since he wanted to shoot race scenes at race speeds, he needed a race car. So Solar Productions, McQueen’s filming company, leased chassis P/1074 to be a camera car. They chopped off the roof and mounted a huge Arriflex camera on the rear deck.The camera was gyroscopically-stabilized and operated by compressed air, controlled by the cameraman in the passenger seat.
During the filming, the car also had two other different setups for the cameras. Cameras were also mounted on the front, in the spare wheel well, and over the passenger’s door. According to the sequence needed, one of the three setups was used. Schuco recreated in scale the Airflex version, used for pure racing scenes. In model form the car looks grand, with very nice attention to detail. The model is from Schuco’s “Pro.R 32” range, and rule of thumb these models are VERY nice. Definitively only for the hardcore Le Mans fan, but a top-notch model.