BROOKLIN AND THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
Posted by BROOKLIN MODELS
The Indianapolis 500 is held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5 mile (4 km) oval circuit. The track is a rounded rectangle, with four turns of identical dimensions connected by four straightaways: two long straightaways and two short chutes. Drivers race 200 laps, counter-clockwise around the circuit, for a distance of 500 miles (800 km). From its beginning in 1911, the race has always been scheduled on or around Memorial Day. Since 1974, the race has been specifically scheduled for the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. Practice and time trials are held in the two weeks leading up to the race, while miscellaneous preliminary testing is held as early as April. The race is the most prestigious event of the IndyCar calendar and one of the oldest and most important automobile races. It has been reported to be the largest single day sporting event in the world and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway itself is regarded as the world's largest sporting facility in terms of capacity.
The Indianapolis 500 has used a pace car every year since 1911. The pace car is utilized for two primary purposes. At the start of the race the pace car leads the assembled starting grid around the track for a predetermined number of warm-up laps. Then, if the officials consider appropriate, it releases the field at a purposeful speed to start the race. In addition, during yellow flag caution periods, the pace car enters the track and picks up the leader, bunching the field up at a reduced speed. Brooklin made a few models of the Indy Pace Car.
The first one is the 1941 Chrysler Newport which followed the BRK8 as an Indianapolis Pace Car in 1982 and it is identified as BRK8A, although the base says “No 8”. This version does not have the raised Le Baron badge on the front fenders. It comes in white and off white with red interior, blue license plate only on rear and whitewall tyres. A big red decal “Chrysler” is present on the sides and “Official 1941 Pacemaker Indianapolis 500 Miles Sweepstakes” is written in small letters near the back seats. The model was deleted in April 1994.
The second Brooklin special was released in late October 1991. The 1952 Studebaker Starlight Coupe was modified into the Commander convertible configuration and done in baby blue with red interior, black steering wheel and white convertible top boot as an Indy 500 pace car. The license plates are white and appropriately read "BRK17A INDIANA". The Indy 500 pace car decals on the sides are done accurately in black, red, and white and tie the overall color theme together. The baseplate has “1 of 3000” designation.
A factory special of the 1954 Dodge Royal 500 Convertible was released in July 1992, done in cream as the 1954 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car (BRK30X). This is a top down version, 3000 produced, with black tonneau cover and the Indy 500 markings on the doors. The Indy 500 Pace Car is lacking the Royal V-8 designation on the rear fender. These models come with a certificate attesting that this vehicle was chosen to be the official pace car for the Indianapolis 500 mile race held at the famous motor speedway on May 31st 1954.
A limited edition Dodge Royal 500 Indy 500 Pace Car was done as a top down version, totally repainted in yellow with decals accurate to the actual 1954 Pace Car and distributed by Sinclair Auto Miniature. The model has added dashboard detail, glass lenses on the headlights, a chrome aerial and license plate with “54 Indiana” and the serial number. These Code 3’s were done by Dave Ronken for True Dimensions, a model specialist outfit. 100 pieces were made.
The 1950 Mercury Indy 500 Pace Car was released in August 1993 and is probably the best looking Pace Car that the factory has done (BRK15A). It is finished in cream yellow, with red interior and black tonneau cover. The authentic red and black lettering and Indianapolis 500 markings, researched in conjunction with Ron McQueeny (photographer for the Indy 500), complement the model extremely well. The wide whitewall tyres and rear fender skirts complete the picture. Conversion from a 1949 Mercury two-door coupe to a top-down convertible has been accomplished exceptionally well and improvements over the 1949 Mercury Coupe include the addition of silver accent to the dashboard, a chrome hood ornament, chrome stone guards on the front fenders and chrome rocker panels. A total of 3000 pieces were produced.
The first special sponsored by Brooklin Models is the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville sporting appropriate colors and decals of the 1958 Indianapolis 500 Pace Car (BRK25X). With white body, red interior and red decals, distribution of this model was set along the lines of previous year's Tucker specials. Distributors were asked to order in advance and total quantity produced was set by number ordered prior to the deadline, March 1, 1989. In this case orders for 3000 pieces were received and the models were released in September 1989 with “1 of 3000” cast in base.