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Scalextric C467 “XP Parcels” Tyrrell - A car that never was?
#1

Cast your minds back to the French GP of 1989 and the first race of a certain Jean Alesi - 16th on the grid to 4th at the finish in a Tyrrell 018. This was a sensation at the time, bearing in mind that the team was grossly underfunded, the Cosworth powered 018 was up against the full might of the factory teams and probably had about 50bhp less to play with than the winning McLaren/Honda of Alain Prost. Sadly, Alesi’s career failed to live up to that early promise as he spent most of it in Ferraris that really weren’t up to his talents and ended his GP career with just one victory to his name.
That season did, however, give rise to one of those occasional “car that never was” stories as Scalextric, with a long record of producing Tyrrell F1 cars, decided to release the 018 and it was shown in the #31 catalogue of 1990.
The real car sported an attractive blue and yellow livery, sponsored by Camel cigarettes, XP Parcels Express (a Dutch parcels carrier which still exists) and Kidland shoes (long defunct). Scalextric were a bit iffy about ciggy liveried cars even then so they chose to base the car on the one that ran in the German GP - the only race to restrict tobacco advertising at that time. Thus a picture of a camel appeared on the model rather than the terrible word “Camel!”
The 018 continued into the 1990 season with a change of sponsor, colour scheme and tyre supplier so, by the time the model was released, the advertised car had been junked and it actually appeared in blue/white “Epson” livery with Pirelli tyres instead of Goodyear; a pity really as the original was much more attractive than its replacement. It is difficult to ascertain if Scalextric were bang up-to-date here or whether they belatedly realised that the blue hump backed things on the XP version were actually cigarette logos and changed the car to avoid controversy. At any rate they even went to the trouble of printing Pirelli on the tyres which were unique to this model at the time.

Catalogue mock up:                                                                                                                         Actual production car:      
         
No XP cars ever made it to production and the mock up pictured in the catalogue has never surfaced so that should have been the end of the matter. In 1991 some part sets of XP decals were made and a couple of dealers sold repaints of the Epson car - something to be aware of if you ever see a “mega-rare production car” for sale. The obvious giveaway with these is that the “Kidland Shoes” logo was not produced and is missing from the rear wing sideplates. Apart from the much later release of 002 in the legends series the Epson 018 was the last ever Tyrrell produced by Scalextric as, by now, the once great team were on the slippery slope to extinction - such a shame that the final model carried such a lacklustre colour scheme. A pre-production example of the XP car, differing slightly from the original catalogue picture, was made though and is currently in the possession of an (anonymous!) collector. It is a complete moulded, tampo printed, working slot car - not a hand-built mock-up and it is pictured below.
                                                                          

While rummaging through my collection a few years ago I came across a spare example of the Epson version and, as I had always wanted one of the XP types, decided to get it repainted. I have absolutely no talent in this department so I needed to find a man who has! I had noticed the excellent relivery work of ‘Graymalkin’ (real name, Richard Bennett) on Slotforum so I got in touch to see if he would be interested in the project. Fortunately the idea appealed to him and he agreed to carry out the work; I provided the car, replacement Goodyear slicks, a set of the 1991 decals and all the photos I could find of the real car. 

He stripped the car down to its component parts and primed it in white and grey. Next came the blue coat followed by the yellow one.
                                                                                   
The decals were then added, including home-made Kidland ones and, as a nice extra touch, Mr Alesi’s helmet was detailed. The original one dated from the “Mr Blobby head” era and looked terribly out of scale when finished so a smaller replacement was sourced from a later car. Richard also added a few extra decals, such as Alesi’s name on the cockpit sides, which didn’t appear on the original prototype. The whole thing was then lacquered to protect the paintwork.
                                                                                 
To say I was very pleased with the finished job would be an understatement - it is absolutely superb and I cannot praise Richard’s efforts highly enough. The price was very reasonable as well. If you should ever want a “special” livery on a car I can definitely recommend his services although I am not totally sure he is still in business. His website is severely out of date and I haven't heard from him for some while but www.graymalkin.co.uk  is well worth a visit for further examples of his work.
[+] 3 members Like CMOTD's post
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#2

Very nice Brian , very nice indeed
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#3

Yes, very nice. Thumbup
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#4

Cheers Brian, an interesting story and very nice car to have. Richard Bennett was the man for bespoke jobs, but not been active for a few years now.

Leo

Forum Precepts:  Don't hijack or divert topics - create a new one.   Don't feed the Troll.    http://www.scuderiaturini.com
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