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Exoto 1/18 Ferrari 1961 #38156/65° F1 Sharknose Third Monaco Phil Hill GPC97200

Price: $748.95 $635.00
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Exoto #: GPC97200

Driven by: Phil Hill
Long nose bodywork; 65-degree V6;
Development prototype shown;
Limited Edition of 1961 pieces

A year ago Exoto rocked the diecast world with the release of their Ferrari 156/120 “Sharknose”. The excellence of its execution was such a power of magnitude better than anything before it that Exoto dubbed the level of detail XS. I can’t tell you what the letters stand for (in my case, it seems to be “eXuberant Salivation”). I can tell you the level of model building, from the diversity and nobility of the materials to the way it’s functional parts such as steering and suspension are engineered, is model making of the highest order.

Let me put it this way - the Exoto F1 156/120 was of such a ground breaking level of model making that at DZ we had to divide our model of the year category into two classes; Precision and the upper level Replica class which the Exoto Ferrari 156/120 Sharknose #4 promptly won.

Well, a year has passed and you’d expect other model makers would have caught up and that the level of tech Exoto displayed would have become a little more standardized. Not so - the Exoto Ferrari 156 XS models still stand alone - and gladly, now in plural.

This latest version of the Sharknose models are the 65-degree versions, so named due to the 65-degree angle between the cylinder rows - which was the Formula 2 engine used in 1960. Using this engine essentially enabled Ferrari to test prior to the change in engine regulations in 1961 from 2.5 liters to 1.5 liters that jolted most of the British teams out of step.

To model it correctly means a new engine and to their credit, Exoto didn’t just make cosmetic changes. It's completely rebuilt up to and including machined spark plugs. Just like the 156/120, this engine is rich in metal and mixed media content - not merely plumbed and wired but replicated in depth with a jewelers precision.  

The experimental nature of the Ferrari 156/65 series also leads to a diversity of bodywork; there are two “long nose” cars (Models raced at Monaco GPC97200 - the model under review here as well as GPC98200), and three “regular nose” versions (GPC97201, GPC98201, GPC98202). While the miraculous working suspension is essentially unchanged from the Exoto 156/120 models, the chassis plates are reengineered to support these unique chassis configurations. See the comparison photos below between the two and you’ll notice the change in appearance.

Perhaps the most visible difference on 156/65 model is the chopped sprint windshield, a feature utilized in the Monaco cars only. Other cars feature different windshield configurations as well as different chassis plates and varying engine covers - from delicate honeycomb wire mesh to plexiglass. Notice the 65 degree model has a large teardrop engine cover on the rear bonnet as opposed to the smaller, dual cowl design on the 156/120.  

For all the differences, many things stay the same such as the incredibly liquid paint, the intricate brake detail and the specific L-R knock-offs. Exoto indicates 80% new tooling was required for the creation of the Tipo 156/65 and when you stop to think these models have a mind-boggling 1500+ parts, that means reengineering this model took the effort usually required to do three-four brand new tools.

One other very cool historical factoid regarding these 156/65 versions are the drivers involved; because these were essentially test cars, they were driven by a litany of famous drivers hired to put them through their paces and in harms way on race day. Among them were Richie Ginther, Olivier Gendebien, and Ricardo Rodriguez, Pedro's brilliant younger brother, who qualified his 2nd for the 1961 Italian GP. The most successful driver of this tipo was Giancarlo Baghetti, who took two non-championship F1 race wins in a 65-degree. Tragically, Wolfgang Von Trips would lose his life in a 120-degree car but drove a 65-degree to a fourth place finish at Monaco behind the car you see here.

The #38 was driven by 1961 World Champion Phil Hill - ironically the same driver of the 156/20 #4 I reviewed last year. This car finished a stout third at Monaco. As this car contributed to the making of a champion and, in this country, because he’s the rare successful American GP driver, there’s an emotional connection for US collectors - well for me at any rate. When paired with the #4 156/120 they make fabulous stablemates that can’t be seen in any auto museum in the world - only on your display shelves. On an aesthetic basis, I actually prefer this newer model - I like the exposed engine and even though it had 10 less bhp - to me it looks a tad more brawny.

The XS series continues to amaze...and I get just giggly-giddy knowing that it will only get better. Congratulations are in order for Exoto to setting the bar this high - and congratulations to you and your wallet if you can afford to invest in this level of diecast detail. It is truly art of heirloom quality and you’ll not regret it one minute if you do.








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