Update (October 2021): Track Limits are publishing the following photobooks as an on-going project, the first of which has been finished, namely Hesketh 308 (1975). The other earlier titles which were completed by 2015, are still available for order only via Photobox, although they are no longer able to be viewed first – see this post for more details.
MRO F1 Engineering photobooks produced to date:
The First Twenty Years, (completed May 2013) see here (via Photobox)
Volume 1: Hesketh 308, (1975), (completed August 2014) see here (via Track Limits)
Volume 2: McLaren M23, (1974 and 1976), (completed November 2015) see here (via Photobox)
Volume 4: McLaren M19C, (1972), (completed August 2013) see here (via Photobox)
I hope to start on Volume 3: Matra MS 10 and MS11 (1968) in January 2016 and thereafter God-willing, those that will follow are Volumes 5, 6 and 7 which will cover the Brabham BT44/44B which raced in 1974/75, the Gold Leaf sponsored Lotus 49 of 1968 and the 1973 Tyrrell 006 respectively. Matra MS10 and 11 is in ‘slow’ progress (30% complete), casualty of otherwise severe competition from other demands (March 2017).
The photobooks produced via Track Limits especially (and in the past by Photobox) far exceed any images presented here which are merely photographs from a photobook or screenshots from a Mac monitor. I have produced these photobooks in order to ensure my experience working with these cars and on the models themselves, is preserved in hard copy, before it becomes too difficult to access original data or my memory of the details fades. My original intention was to produce a copy of each for my own library, and by making them available through Photobox, share this work with you too.
Introduction: during the latter half of 2013, I produced a 70 page photobook summarising my work making models since the early 1990’s. This book is called ‘MRO F1 Engineering – The First Twenty Years’. Although still available from Photobox, at some point in the future, a new presentation will only be available from Track Limits.
Background: the main subject matter of the book are the 1/12 scale Formula One models I have made, mainly using a limited number of parts from Tamiya models (usually the wheels and tyres, along with the engine block). The rest of the model will have been constructed as scratch-built items and thereby resulting in a model of a car not commercially available or seen before, in 1/12 scale. The period of interest are the late 60’s and 1970’s, although cars outside this era are also represented. No labour has been spared in order to represent all the visible engineering in the real car, for it is this aspect that especially interests me, ie how it works. These museum display models therefore educate and fascinate as they illustrate how the various designers brought together the necessary ingredients in as concise and organised a way as possible, so as to achieve performance at world beating level. The evolution of the Formula One car is evident, as are the trends and variation in design characteristics as seen during the late 60’s and 1970’s in particular. I have managed to maintain authenticity of appearance and technical detail by merit of having spent time researching first-hand, the real cars at Race Preparation workshops. There, I would visit every week or two during a six to twelve month restoration program for example, taking photographs and also drawing and measuring as much of the detail within the car as possible.
The book itself ‘MRO F1 Engineering – The First Twenty Years ‘
Photographs of the front cover and a selection of pages are shown within the following text, whilst at the end of this article, screenshot images of the front covers of the subsequent individual model volumes are shown for completeness.
Overview: this exciting project was achieved using Photobox having looked at other photobook opportunities and found them limiting, particularly re photograph and text placement. Photobox enables me to have essentially Carte Blanche with respect to numbers and positions of photographs and the size and position of text blocks on any one page, thereby maximising the potential for informative and interesting photo’ explanations. The contents are arranged chronologically from 1990 (with references as far back as 1974), until the present day. The flow of the book takes the reader chronologically from 1990 with each numbered page set in historical terms by means of the current year (1990 through to 2013) placed top right on each page. This enables the contents to be framed in time with respect to each other, my age and other activities (work/career, family life and motorsport history) and also for the viewer to have a feel within their own time-frame, as for when the material was gathered and brought together.
Within the 70 pages, I have covered every 1/12 scale Formula One model I have built and necessarily had to limit these to a single photo for the early ones (1990 – 1998), followed by ten major sections, each covering one of the ten significant cars which followed, built between 1998 and 2012. These later presentations between pages 12 and 62 enable more complete descriptions and multiple photographs of the models, mainly represented by studio-type photographs of the completed models, or with parts of the bodywork removed, along with relevant text panels.
Added value: in order to vary the type of content, I have integrated throughout fascinating insights into the parallel worlds of maintaining this hobby alongside the real Formula One world relating to the F1 personalities involved with the cars being modelled in 1/12 scale. This has been centred on the opportunity to spend some time with the folk involved and show them appreciation for their part in Formula One history, which was a great honour and privilege for myself. Many of these great heroes of Formula One were pleased to sign a plaque relating to the cars they had either driven, owned, designed or been a mechanic for. It is the latter groups of people without whose involvement, history wouldn’t have been made and so the unsung heroes (the mechanics in particular), are celebrated. There are about six such special chapters mixed in between the main model sections of the book to bring to life the central theme of the publication concerning the models. Within the articles relating to the cars themselves, there are additional references to other famous personalities such as Lord Hesketh and Gordon Murray, validating further, the models I have made relating to them.
Towards the end are sections illustrating visits I have made to McLaren and to Gordon Murray’s current design studio, rounding off the book with the current work in progress (somewhat slowed down by the research and production for this book and those that are intended to follow).
Future aspirations: I have had a long held desire to produce a similar book for each of the models so far produced, but wasn’t able to go ahead due to lack of a suitable photobook program. Then when I discovered Photobox, I felt I should begin with a less ambitious program, limiting myself to a single project, from which sprang the idea of the current title, as an overview – initially at least (MRO F1 Engineering – The First Twenty Years) finally produced in May 2013.
I have been asked on subsequent occasions ‘how did you make that?’ and so I felt I could now go on to complete my original intention of a more in depth book relating to each model built so far. From this, came the decision to bring to life in book form, the concept and realisation of producing the 1972 McLaren M19C model. I chose this because having seen the first title published in early summer 2013, I had been invited to present models at a couple of McLaren events in the later part of the summer and so felt the M19C was a good choice to start with. Although not the first major subject I had modelled, this car effectively represented ‘Volume 4′ within the new series of books to be worked on – MRO F1 Engineering Volume 4: McLaren M19C, (1972). I had a copy ready to view for the second McLaren event alongside copies of ‘MRO F1 Engineering – The First Twenty Years’. The new book detailing the manufacture of the 1/12 scale McLaren M19C, was successfully received and at present I am gathering photographs of the cars modelled before the M19C for the earlier volumes. Therein lies a problem of modernity, namely the detailed building of the earlier subjects were either photographed partially or entirely with an SLR camera using negative film, early digital photos increasingly making-up the recording of this vital building process. I have now acquired a negative-scanner in order to transfer these former evidences of ‘how it was done’, over to digital.
The new series, starting with that of the 1972 McLaren M19C integrates photographs of the real car in period with those of the model as it was made, including numerous photographs of the real car during restoration, all well supported by explanatory text and references. This first book covers the subject matter in 60 pages and the others in the series are likely to be similar or slightly more (especially as the McLaren M23 book will cover two chassis and that of the Matra MS series, two cars also). The photo quality is bound to improve in the later volumes (volumes 5-7) where digital photography was entirely relied upon. Nonetheless, it is the capture of the stages of each build that matters, giving detail and information about how it was done, for without these even I wouldn’t necessarily recall the results of my problem-solving strategies in every instance.
Each volume is to have a colour coded title, that of the McLaren M19C being orange, the Matra cars a mid blue, the Tyrrell a darker blue title and the 1968 Lotus 49 (GLTL) in red for example. Formats will be standardised with a quality representative photo of the model in question on the front cover, other relevant photograph/s on the back cover, a contents page, with an Introduction specific to each car, photographs of the car in action, plus Materials and Methods (generic description common to each book), then the pages that follow being specific and unique to the title subject.
To purchase a copy – For the Hesketh 308, visit Track Limits. Until publication of the remaining titles comes under the Track Limits remit, it is still possible to purchase copies of all four titles via Photobox. However, due to the 2021 phasing out of Adobe Flash, these copies can no longer be viewed via Photobox before purchase. See the links at the top of this page for these. I have a reasonable stock of each of my four Photobox titles if required. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to purchase directly from myself. I also have copies of the more reasonably priced newer Track Limits version of Hesketh 308 (1975).
Front covers (Photobox version) of the individual volumes
Volume 1: Hesketh 308 (1975)
Volume 2: McLaren M23 (1974 and 1976)
Volume 4: McLaren M19C (1972)