Words and Photos courtesy of Mark Pullen
Earlier this year I briefly enjoyed some time with arguably the rarest and most expensive Australian V8 Supercar 1/18 model on the market, Mark Winterbottom’s 2006 GT Ford Performance Racing (FPR) #5 BA Falcon. With only 500 made and prices north of AUD $700, this model is out of reach of most Australian collectors. I thought I’d document my time with one for all to enjoy.
2006 marked a changing of the guard in V8 Supercars. Young gun Rick Kelly won the title that year, and future Champions Jamie Whincup, James Courtney and Mark Winterbottom had their first drives with contending teams in the series. Winterbottom went from 29th in 2005 to 3rd in 2006 with very consistent results.
Classic Carlectables at this time had already invested heavily into detailed V8 Supercar diecast models in three scales. Quality control was high, as was demand from Australian retailers. This particular release was well sort after, with some customers already paying over twice as much as SRP upon release!
The model features plenty of intricate detailing throughout. The engine bay is hugely detailed, including the removable air box lid, and everything underneath you’d expect to see in the 1:1 machine. The trumpets are clearly visible, as are the plug leads. The bonnet fits quite flush on the BA mold, which sadly wasn’t the same with the following BF mold. The dog leg hinges are crude, but get the job done easily.
The suspension and steering are both functional, minus the movement of the steering wheel. One critique I have of this model is that the front wheels aren’t quite centered within the wheel well. This model is prone to broken suspension if packed incorrectly when posted. However, the brake discs and calipers are well done with Brembo detailing, and the A-Tek rims are beautifully replicated. Interestingly, FPR only used these rims at 2 race meetings in 2006, one of which was the New Zealand round which traditionally the models used to be based from. The later 2006 FPR #6 Sandown 500 Winner featured the usual white star pattern rims. The tyres are well replicated too.
Underneath, the model features an accurate exhaust and drivetrain. You can see the fuel tank behind the rear wheels, which is now further forward in the current cars for safety reasons, as well as the undertray for the front spoiler. The air jacks are also visible which are used during pit stops.
The interior features everything you’d inspect to find in a BA Falcon Supercar, including air vents, roll cage, wiring and drink bottle. The seat is nicely detailed, with all the cockpit controls ready to use. There are also some decals which the in car cameras would pick up during the race broadcast. The net in the driver’s window is also included to reduce the movement of the driver’s head during collisions. This model features both side mirrors, as teams have the option to run 1 or 2 in various rounds of the Championship. The sister FPR #6 Caterpillar model driven by Jason Bright only features a driver’s side mirror, which was not how the car raced in New Zealand.
The boot includes the fuel lines and tank below. Interestingly, Carlectables used to replicate the fuel line based on the circuit the model was raced at. For the Bathurst 1000 race, the fuel filler is on the passenger side of the car as the race runs in an anti-clockwise direction. The NZ round at Pukekohe ran in a clockwise direction, so the filler is on the driver side. Pumps and other components are nicely displayed inside.
The outer body of the car features the aerials required for radio communication on the roof, and the ventilation port for the driver. Clips and pins are detailed and not decaled on the bonnet and boot, with the rear wing also receiving this treatment. Rain light decals appear either side of the Blue Oval on the boot lid, and the required front windscreen wiper is also ready to use. The front splitter shows the inter-cooler and brake ducts, with a good use of mesh for the grille. Both front and rear lights are well detailed.
The livery on this model is fantastic. The iconic GT logo looks great, while the Bird of Prey (representing the Falcon) spreads both its wings onto the roof, and its tail onto the boot. This was the last season that FPR used the whole Falcon as the graphic, resorting to just a head in following seasons. Blue, white and red usually make for a strong colour combination and this model is no exception. My favourite touch is the lime green BP Ultimate headlight decals and spoiler decal, which give the model an aggressive look.
I’ve included some comparison shots with the current (and final) Ford Falcon FG-X V8 Supercar, made by Apex Replicas. Take a look at the difference in rear spoiler design, the lack of a jimmy bar on the windscreen, the shorter front end and the higher rear splitter. This FG-X is a model of the car that Winterbottom drove to finally win the title in 2015, after 9 seasons of top 5 finishes starting in 2006. A nice combo I think this pair of models make; the rookie and the pro. Sadly this FG-X of mine doesn’t feature opening detail, but in good news for collectors the recent DJR/Penske FG-X release from Biante does.
I hope you enjoy these photos, it was a pleasure to finally see one of these models up close!