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Jimmy Bryan and Bobby Marshman cars from Replicarz

By Mark Savage
Published: November 14, 2012
MOD-PL1212_Replicarz
Pictured are Bobby Marshman's 1961 Hoover Motor Express rookie car and Jimmy Bryan's 1958 Belond Special Indy winner.

Product: One racer dominated the Indy Car scene on pavement and dirt during the 1950s. He was a three-time Indy Car champ and 1958 winner of the Indy 500. His name? Jimmy Bryan.

Sadly, by 1961 Bryan was dead from an odd dirt-track accident. Taking his place in the racing scene was a young group of hard chargers, including Bobby Marshman, who made his mark by finishing seventh in the ’61 Indy 500, winning top rookie honors with Parnelli Jones.

Replicarz has created Bryan’s 1958 Indy winner and Marshman’s flamboyant orange and chrome 1961 racer in 1:18 scale. Both are laydown roadsters, originally designed by George Salih, with his car winning the 1957 and ’58 Indy races.

Previously, Carousel 1 had created a version of Sam Hanks’ 1957 Indy winner. These two racers are created off the same mold, which Replicarz purchased from Carousel 1 after it ceased production. But these are not simply cars with new paint jobs and decals — upgrades have been made.

The Phoenix-born Bryan was the star for most of the 1950s, a cowboy-type personality, chomping on his trademark cigar after every race. He won the 1953, ’54 and ’56 USAC Indy Car championships and was second in 1955.

His revolutionary laydown roadster has the engine on its side and the transmission shifted to the car’s left side. Salih came up with the idea as a way to lower the car’s profile, shift weight to the left side and make the racer faster through Indy’s turns. Other car builders soon followed suit. 

Marshman made his impressive Indy debut in 1961. He was a front-row starter in 1962 and ’64 and led the ’64 race early before bottoming his car out, creating an oil and water leak that put him out of the race. Sadly, his career was also cut short in a fatal tire-testing accident later that year. Many think Marshman would have gone on to be among the best Indy racers.

Performance:
If your customers liked the Carousel 1 laydown roadsters, these will be equally as popular, if not more so.

First, the Bryan car, which is identical to the 1957 Indy winning car of Sam Hanks, has some improvements. This model features a chrome roll bar and chrome elbow protection cage that keeps the driver’s elbow from touching the right rear tire. Both were improvements made by chief mechanic George Salih for the 1958 race. Replicarz also toned down the interior shine that earlier Carousel 1 models had. The red driver’s seat features a matte finish that looks more realistic.

The Bryan car is in the Belond Special yellow paint scheme, with some chrome suspension pieces and a chrome gas cap, plus matte gold wheels with silver wheel nuts. There’s a slightly larger windshield that’s unique to the Bryan car, plus all the appropriate sponsor decals, including Mobil Oil’s Pegasus on the car’s fin. Bryan’s name and Salih’s are on the car’s side.

Marshman’s Hoover Motor Express racer is a gorgeous orange with a chrome tail fin and a small Pegasus decal close to its black roll bar. The interior is flat black, and there’s one more air scoop (chromed) on its side than on Bryan’s car. Both cars feature the same wheels and branded Firestone tires, but the Marshman car includes a chrome push bar on the tail and a smaller one in front. There’s a giant chrome oil tank on the left side that gives it a unique look too.

Both feature the same interior lap belt and gauges, and the same Offy engine under the split louvered hood.

Marketing:
Indy enthusiasts will welcome back these laydown roadsters. Plus, Replicarz is not making many of either model — just 1,000 of the Bryan car and 750 of the Marshman racer. That should ensure they retain their value for buyers.

Create an open-wheel racer display at your store. If Indy is more popular in your area keep that theme, but there are a lot of F1 cars available in various scales too (and slot cars), plus modern open-wheel Indy cars. With a checkered flag beneath them in a window display or showcase, and a few Indy programs (old or new), you can create an eye-catching display.

Remember that Replicarz will be bringing along some 1984 Marches, 1972 and ’75 McLarens, ’73 Eagles and A.J. Foyt’s 1977 Coyote in the near future. Plus there’s talk of some 1:43 Indy racers and a 1:18 Marmon Wasp, the first Indy winner. A Mario Andretti 1969 Indy winner already is available, too.

VITAL STATS
Product: 1958 Indy Winner Jimmy Bryan, 1961 Hoover Motor Express (Bobby Marshman rookie car
Maker: Replicarz
Scale: 1:18
Stock number: R185052 (Bryan) and R185061 (Marshman)
MSRP: $149.99 (each)
Availability: Replicarz

BOTTOM LINE
• Good detail for price
• Unique, popular Indy racers
• Chrome fin on Marshman car