Current projects, include a 1967 Honda RA300 which is a car of great beauty and amazing engine note, winning its debut Grand Prix at Monza and conferring further honour on its English driver (John Surtees) who later built cars under his own name. The car has a nickname – ‘Hondola’, a hybrid of its Far East origins and its rather more humble birth place in Slough, England. It was built in approximately 30 days (!) from parts of an Indy car, adapting the build as it went ahead to suit the chosen powerplant. After only 20-30 laps at Goodwood ‘testing’ it was shipped onto the continent before the final road journey to the Italian circuit, winning famously. For the moment, unpainted parts photographs will be posted whilst I await the powerplant’s return (resin copying) in order to continue the build. This was started in early 2009, stopped in Oct when the engine was sent away. During the enforced break, a second project (Tyrrell 006/2, 1973) was started and is continuing at the present time (August 2010). Work will be slower than previously, due to use of a lathe for round items which can be made to my own satisfaction from aluminium bar. Completion date, cannot be expected any earlier than summer/autumn 2012.
Honda RA300, summer 2014 update – the model remains in a state of partial build, perhaps 30-50% complete and features in the Work In Progress pages of my first photo book, ‘MRO F1 Engineering – the first twenty years’ also as the subject of some tweets @mrof1models towards the end of 2013. Such is the pressure of time and multiple projects, work and everything else, that this particular model is still at a WIP stage. However, I have the new engine resin casted and there is promise of having new tyres made for this 1967 car, the work for which is already underway in the U.S. John Surtees himself has seen the model (the Henry Surtees Foundation Karting Challenge in July 2014) and adds his considerable enthusiasm to the project, his love of engineering being well satisfied with the approach so far.
The fascinating 1973 Tyrrell 006, was started in approximately November 2009 after having started researching the car by attendance during restoration of 006/2 (Jackie Stewart’s Championship winning car) in August 2009. Regular visits every 2-4 weeks through ’til March 2010 yielded sufficient data until the car itself was shipped to Bahrain for the first Grand Prix of the year where it appeared with others that won Drivers’ World Championships, in the Champion’s Parade. This car competed in World Championship races in 1973/1974 up until the 1974 French Grand Prix at the Dijon Prenois circuit. Having built at least half the 1/12 scale car to date (August 2010) with an expected completion date of one year’s time, I am waiting on a gearbox of my own commissioning from Brian F, who will resin cast the final design to replace the Tamiya offering. Whilst I wait on this, I will perfect the monocoque, bodywork and start super-detailing a DFV. Then later, I can sort out a rear drive train and rather nicely outrigged rear wing of this five time winner, once a gearbox arrives. The prototype car remains in private hands (USA) whilst /2 is in the UK and /3 was sadly destroyed in 1973. I will post photographs of the parts of the car on the home page, until nearer the time of completion.
P.S. The progress of the build was the subject of several tweets each week (@mrof1models) from autumn 2011 until completion in summer/autumn 2012, the large number of images of which, can be viewed if you scroll back far enough. Welcome to the 1973 Tyrrell 006/2, as driven by three times World Champion, Sir Jackie Stewart OBE.
Tyrrell 006, 2013 update – The gearbox having arrived along with several other resin cast parts from patterns of my own making, the model was completed toward the end of 2012 and has been the subject of a Grand Tour around model shows and celebratory dinners, visits to former mechanics, even two visits to the McLaren Technology Centre (Nov 2012, August 2013) and Silverstone’s University Technical College in late 2013. A chapter was closed by visiting Mrs Margaret Gardner with the model towards the end of 2013 and a fitting tribute to Derek was hand inscribed by Margaret in my first photo book ‘ MRO F1 Engineering – The First Twenty Years’ published in mid 2013, in which Tyrrell 006/2 features strongly.
October 2023 update. Whilst projects such as the completed monocoques of the Surtees TS9, Honda RA300, Tyrrells 001, two 007’s (1974 and 1975) remain safely boxed to be further developed, I entered a period of extreme busyness at work since completing the Tyrrell 006 in 2012.
Though retiring from the partnership at the end of 2016, I set-up my own part-time self-employed company supplying veterinary cardiology services and this ran its natural course until I stopped work in late June 2021. However, during this momentously busy period, various elderly family members needed the help of myself and my twin sister Venetia and so we have been even busier keeping their needs met since about 2018 on top of our own commitments and work. Additionally, there was the emergence of the Covid 19 Pandemic and the consequences of Lockdown from March 2020. With Care Home admissions (our elderly uncle), house clearances and sales and with the passing-away of our sadly missed mother in October 2019, we have been completely pre-occupied, our preferences for leisure pursuits being put aside. For long periods, we were in four counties every week (in my case it was Kent, Dorset, Hampshire and Gloucestershire) keeping everyone’s needs met, plus attending our places of work.
Things have settled down a bit in the last year or so with our elderly uncle now safe and content. My wife and I have re-located within the county of Gloucestershire last year, necessitating the immense effort of deconstructing our former home and life of 25 years nearer London. Our twin sons have left university and work in London whilst living just outside west London, largely working remotely from their homes as is usual these days. It is only now, that my collection of models etc has a new home and I see any chance of opportunity to re-engage with my former passion for model building. There are now plenty of other new distractions and commitments though and it remains to be seen whether model making can be factored in and enjoyed once more, I certainly hope so.