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1935 Mercedes-Benz W25 GP Monaco (Luigi Fagioli) from CMC

By Mark Savage
Published: October 31, 2012
cmc mercedes4
Product: Before WWII and before Formula 1 racing there was the European Championship, with major European automakers like Alfa Romeo, Auto Union, Maserati, Bugatti and later Ferrari. But in 1934 Mercedes-Benz jumped into the fray with its W25 racer and by 1935, after a year of development, the W25 was dominant.

The silver racer’s inline 8-cylinder engine boasted up to a monstrous, for the time, 430 horsepower and the team featured three top drivers in Rudolf Caracciola, Manfred von  Brauchitsch and Luigi Fagioli. Caracciola won six of the 11 races in 1935 and became European Champion. Fagioli won the lead-off Monaco Grand Prix and two others that season.

This CMC limited edition (2,000) of Fagioli’s No. 4 Monaco winner is another superb example of just how detailed a 1:18 die-cast model can be.

The W25 also is significant, not only for its superb race pedigree, but because it was among the first of Mercedes Silver Arrows racers. Today’s Mercedes F1 team and McLaren, which uses Mercedes engines, continue the tradition of silver cars. The back story is that the Mercedes originally were painted white, but when they were slightly over the weight limit to race, the team manager had the cars stripped of their paint to save weight, leaving just the bare metal car bodies.

It’s also worth noting that Fagioli was quite the Italian racing star of the day, driving for Enzo Ferrari’s team when it ran Alfa-Romeos. Fagioli is also the oldest F1 winner, scoring a victory in the French Grand Prix of 1951, when he was 53, sharing the drive with Juan Manuel Fangio. But Fagioli quit F1 racing after the race, upset at being asked to relinquish his car to Fangio during the race.

Performance: Racecars were simple looking in the 1930s compared with today’s rear-engine winged creatures. But the W25’s body was streamlined and smooth. CMC’s body is a stellar recreation in its silky smooth silver paint job and Fagioli’s bright red No. 4 twice on both sides. The body panels also feature visible bolts that would hold the panels on the real racer.

I love the six nifty C-hooks that attach the one-piece vented hood. These are fully functional to allow owners to display the model as it raced, or with the hood off to reveal the well-detailed but simple-looking inline 8-cylinder engine, complete with wiring.

Detail is what makes any CMC stand out, and here there are the usual highly detailed wire wheels with tiny valve stems. The body has multiple spots with vented grille work, designed to cool the engine and brakes. The front grille is nicely executed and includes the white and blue Mercedes logo and a red No. 4 atop the nose.

Just behind the cockpit is a gas cap cover that opens and below are narrowly treaded Continental Ballon tires.

The W25’s interior is simple. It includes a gray cloth seat with a brown headrest and wood-looking, four-spoke wheel with the Mercedes logo on the hub. This has a metal dash, too, with realistic gauges, a realistic shifter, and other accurate knobs and dials. 

Complementing the dash is Mercedes’ tiny windshield, common in the 1930s, and a small rearview mirror on the car’s left side.

Marketing: CMC models are not for every collector. These are top-end models for the serious collector, the racing history buff and most likely the boomer who has some extra disposable income.

This one, as with many top-shelf models, will serve well as a conversation starter as the centerpiece of an in-case display of racing cars. You can go with a racer theme and include this along with other 1:18 racers, such as the new vintage Indy 500 racers from Replicarz, or other Autoart, Spark or Minichamps racers. Mix the die-cast models with plastic scale models to create a colorful and broad range of racers.

You also could include some 1:32 slot cars in the display. And, if you have a track, encourage test racing to stir the inner racer in all your customers. Teach your customers even more by stocking a few key hardcover and paperback books or magazines on racing. There are many to choose from!

Product: 1935 Mercedes-Benz W25 GP Monaco (Luigi Fagioli)
Maker: CMC
Scale: 1:18
Stock No.: M-104
MSRP: $309.95

• Limited edition
• Awesome detail
• Historical racer