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Alfa Romeo 159 (1951)


  • Kit Manufacturer: Revival (Italy)
  • Major Material: Die cast metal, Plastic
  • Model Specifications: 1:20 Scale
  • Work Experience: I have always wanted to build one of these Revival's 1/20 metal kits of famous classic Grand Prix racing cars, and was glad to grabbed this one on time from Modelexpo for a closeout discount price of $56.99, which is a real bargain comparing to the normal sale price of $150. The die-cast metal parts of this kit including the chassis, the body, and major components of the engine housing and the transmission gear box. The body is divided into six parts and all were flawlessly pre-painted into high gloss finish with oven baked enamels, the wire spoked metal wheels were also come fully assembled. The tires, driver's seat, and the fuel tank cover at the back of the cockpit were made of rubber. The rest are injected plastic parts which are of medium quality and need some works to fit well. The wooden display board was scratch built. One thing disappointed me somewhat is that the steering mechanism is not fully functional (the shaft of the steering wheel is connected to the stearing linkage of the front tires through a false gears box part), but this might be an expect too much for a model at this scale. Without the attempt of doing any super detailing, it took me about one and a half weeks to build this kit, on the basis of two to four working hours per day, and most of the time were spent on painting.

Historical Notes: The design of the Type 158, later developed into the Type 159, began in 1938 when Alfa assigned Gioaccino Colombo to handle its development at Scuderia Ferrari. The car was built to the 1500cc "voiturette" class which Alfa was trying to become competitive in as they were getting very strong competition in the Gran Prix three litre class from Mercedes. Interestingly, the block used for this 1500 cc straight eight was that of its three litre brother while using a much shorter stroke. The chassis was, also, a lightened GP design. The Type 158, in the prewar years was secondary to its bigger Gran Prix bretheren and, so, was christened the "Alfetta" (little Alfa). It was by no means a little brother of a performer, however, having a very favorable power to weight ratio. Such was its potential that Alfa was putting more effort into its development than originally planned, eventually raising power from 195hp to 225 by 1939. As these cars were developing and getting a good string of wins, the world was going to war and racing outside of Italy came to a complete halt. Development of a series of promising GP cars was halted and the cars were locked in the racing garages at Monza. When Germany invaded Northern Italy after the fall of Mussolini and they were about to encamp at Monza, the secretay of the Milan Auto club towed them in the dead of night to the safety of an abandoned cheese factory. Effectively, it was these cars that put Alfa back into racing at war's end, because all the developmental cars had been destroyed. Though Alfa's immediate post war budget was limited in the extremeand their stock of racing cars was seven aging 158 Alfettas and two 512 GP cars, they won races and continued to win races in those just postwar years and became the winningest racing team of all time. By mid 1946, however their age began to show and it became evident that an upgrade was in order. Supercharging and suspension changes were the order of the day, giving an increase in horsepower to 275 and in top spead to 167 from 145 previously. Ultimately, the winning 158 Alfettas were producing 350 to 380 hp out of their 1500 ccs! The advent of the final iteration to this car, the 159, came in 1951. The 159 was both a refreshment and , to some extent, a redesign of the 158, with heavy attention to all details including installing needle roller bearings on the cranks and greatly improved breathing and suspensions. By the end of production, the 1500cc straight eight was putting out 450-plus horsepower. The 159s saw an impressive string of wins,including J.M. Fangio taking his first world's championship, but competition from other makes, especially that of it's former team manager, the man who supervised Colombo at its birth, also saw the end of the 158 / 159 story at the end of 1951, ending an unparalleled five year winning spree.  (information gathered by Paul Negyesi from "Viva Alfa Romeo" by David Owen)


More Pictures:  | Top Back View   | Left Front View   | Left Side View   | Right Side View   | Engine Closeup View |
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