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French SCALEXTRIC REF C103 / 153

(Click on pics to enlarge)

Dr Helmut MARKO at the wheel

The Alfa Romeo TT3 model produced by Scalextrix France is certainly not among the collectors" favorites, at least if we refer to moderate prices at which you can find them on eBay. We have to recognize it's a rather unattractive model, largely simplified (no roll bar, cockpit really poorly treated), and suffering of the absence of a decent decoration. But its general lines and proportions are relatively faithful, so that it may be worth some work to make it more appealing and evocative. Remember, we do not have the pretention to come up with precision models, but simply to enhance our existing vintage cars and give them a second life, with decoration schemes that would suit them nicely.

The Scalextric C.103 model "reproduces" the 1972 TT3 spider, with the two vertical stabilizers such as seen for example at the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours. Personally, I find they disgracious, making the car still more clumsy (purely a question of personal taste) and I rather wanted to reproduce a version without those stabilizers, such as used on slow circuits. The archetype of slow circuits is the "circuito delle Madonie" in Sicilia, incredibly tortuous, used for the famous Targa Florio race. For the 1972 edition, the race Autodelta S.p.A. entered no less than four TT3 spiders, with different nose colours as usual to distinguish them, as follows :

Racing number 1 Nino VACCARELLA (the local heroe) / Rolf STOMMELEN - red nose
Racing number 2 Vic ELFORD / Guys Van LENNEP - green nose
Racing number 4 Toine HEZEMANS / Andrea de ADAMICH - white nose
Racing number 5 Nanni GALLI / Dr Helmut MARKO - yellow nose

And what about number 3 ? It was attributed to the only one Ferrari 312 PB entered, driven by Arturo MERZARIO / Sandro MUNARI, the main adversary of the Alfa team.

For my restorations, I like to choose cars famous for something particular or remarkable. You may not know it, but on that May, 21 1972, Dr Helmut MARKO, at the wheel of the TT3 #5, signed the exploit of establishing the Targa Florio absolute lap record, at the speed of 128,253 km/h (on the 72 km "piccolo circuito"). Not surprising that he declared to find the race "totally insane"... So, no further discussion, the Alfa #5 is definitely our choice.

A last word on this memorable 1972 edition of the Targa Florio to mention that the race was very tight to the end of the eleventh and last lap and that despite of a superMarko, the car n°5 could only take a brilliant second place behind the winners Arturo MERZARIO / Sandro MUNARI on the Ferrari 312 PB n° 3.

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Helmut MARKO on the way of the Targa Florio absolute lap record

Lets go !

The mandatory modification which must be made is to saw off the two rear vertical stabilizers, the more so as it's really not difficult. A second modification worth doing is to install the rollbar, so much typical on these Alfa Romeo spiders. On my model, I also have enlarged a bit the driver's helmet, glued small alu strips underneath the front part of the body,

As regards the deco, I initially intended to paint the nose in yellow, as the normal way to proceed. Eventually, I preferred an alternative consisting in decaling the whole nose of the car. Of course, those of you with good model painting skills will prefer making the paint job themselves. While on the yellow nose, a difficulty is to represent the front headlights, absolutely necessary on the "circuito delle Madonie" to overtake slower concurrents. I chose to represent the front headlights on, but I recognize that the illusion is not perfect.

An advantage of the nose decaling approach is of course the facility to replicate the different cars of the Autodelta team. It also permits to easily incorporate the minuscule but so characteristic Alfa Romeo grille at the front, an important detail for the aficionados of the Quadrifoglio.

Finally, the most talentuous model builders of you will surely not omit the tripode rear-view mirror, at least if the car is intended for display...

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Overall, a bigger amount of work than initially anticipated, with a few difficulties but nevertheless this Targa Florio version is worth doing to enrich your collection.

Don't hesitate to contact me for any question.