Nep­tune mod­els

Australian Muscle Car - - Muscle Maniac -

Reader Ge­off Chawner of Ipswich sent in some pho­tos of his 1960s model of a Lo­tus Cortina in the fa­mous blue and white colours of the Nep­tune Rac­ing Team. The #3 Cortina was driven by Jim McKe­own in the Im­proved Pro­duc­tion cat­e­gory.

Ge­off picked up this model about 15 years and it’s now a high­light of his model car col­lec­tion. He says it’s based on a fric­tion-drive plas­tic model made in Hong Kong, not made to any par­tic­u­lar scale. He thinks it was a pro­mo­tional give­away, pos­si­bly avail­able from Nep­tune petrol sta­tions in the mid-1960s. We’ve never seen one be­fore.

The Nep­tune team’s race colours are sup­pos­edly the re­verse of the Shelby Ford de­sign used on Co­bras and Mus­tangs.

He’s seen a sim­i­lar model of the Nep­tune Team Mini Cooper S, as driven by Peter Man­ton, which makes you won­der if there was also one of the third car in the team, Norm Beechey’s Ford Mus­tang?

Beechey ini­tially drove a Holden EH S4 in Team Nep­tune colours be­fore up­grad­ing to the more mem­o­rable Mus­tang, win­ner of the 1965 Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship.

Nep­tune was a lo­cal brand of petrol, bought out by Shell, which con­tin­ued to op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently un­til 1969. Their logo was King Nep­tune hold­ing a tri­dent, so in an era when cor­po­rate spon­sor­ship wasn’t al­lowed they stretched the rules and ran as Team Tri­dent. Red and white Tri­dent bumper stick­ers were given away at Nep­tune petrol sta­tions and were of­ten seen seen stuck on road cars or, in my case, on my skate­board.

Those who like this car can also buy the more re­cent die-cast model made in 1:18 scale by Biante. The Biante web­site says they have sold out of the Cortina although they turn up some­times on eBay, priced at around the $200 mark. Die-cast mod­els of the Beechey Mus­tang and EH Holden have also been pro­duced.

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