Buying a genuine Formula 1 car is an expensive exercise, particularly if you want something with the history of Niki Lauda’s 1977 championship-winning Ferrari 312T2.
However, it turns out buying a half-size replica isn’t cheap either, with a go-kart based replica selling earlier this month on auction site Bring A Trailer (BaT) recently for as much as a current brand-new hot hatch.
The vehicle in question is a 1977 L Ferrarina 77, which is a rare 43-year old replica from a company called Italycar that bears a striking resemblance (if about half the size) to the Ferrari 312T2 that Niki Lauda campaigned during his legendary battle with James Hunt in ’76, and championship victory in ‘77.
The final sale price was US$33,600 (A$51,403 under current conversion rates). That’s almost exactly the same amount as a new Honda Civic Type R.
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When the first Italycar replica was shown at the ’77 Bologna motor show it was reported that Lauda was so impressed he ordered one for his son.
To get the look just right, Italycar commissioned many of the replica’s parts from Ferrari suppliers, including the bespoke Goodyear tyres.
Measuring in at 2705mm long, 1295mm wide, and 679mm wide, the La Ferrarina 77 would be a tight fit for a full-size adult.
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The specific go-kart that went for sale is chassis #5 from Italycar. The listing claims Italycar’s plan was to build 100 of the miniature racers, but only ever completed 12.
While the listing claims the car is a replica of Lauda’s 1976 ride, it wears the livery and number of his ’77 campaign.
The fibreglass body is draped over a tubular space-frame, with power coming from a Chrysler Marine Power Bee single-cylinder engine two-stroke (replacing the original 60cc unit), which is mated to a two-speed gearbox.
Disc brakes take care of stopping the kart, while Veglia instruments keep the driver informed of vital info. Oh, and the fully-independent suspension has adjustable sway bars and rear coil overs if you want to pretend to be a mini F1 engineer as well as driver.
The car underwent a 71-hour restoration in 2019 costing US$6435 (A$9850), before the current owner/seller acquired it earlier this year.
The winning bidder, who goes by the name Timegrinder, said in the comments of the online auction that he currently owns Italycar chassis #3.
At least you can drive this pint-sized replica. Amalgam makes a 1:8 scale model of the 312T2, which has an incredible level of detail, but also costs a cool US$9495 (A$14,533).
If you are wondering where you would use half-size F1 car this, all you need is a two week lease of a exhibition building with 354,000 square feet of column-free floor space.
We’ll let BaT user Jimmy3sticks - who claims his father once bought chassis #3 and #5 for he and his younger brother in the ‘70s - explain.
“The best place was the IPE Expo building in Tulsa. It is one of the largest freespan buildings in the world covering 10 acres of perfect concrete,” he commented on BaT.
“My family has conducted an annual Collector Car Auction there in June since 1972. It is a three-day sale, but the lease was always for two weeks. So, my brother and I basically had the place to ourselves before setup and after takedown.
“Sometimes our friends with karts would join us. We set up a track and just went at it. The surface was fairly slick so it made for a lot of fun.”
We’ll take your word for it Jimmy3sticks, because that sounds rad as hell.