MYTHS YOU CAN OWN IN SLOT FORM: “Glorious Group 5: Toyota Celica LB Turbo”

Hello again dear reader. In this article I am going to highlight the didactic aspect that the world of slotcars has for the purposes of automotive history, especially through manufacturers who with their choices, in addition to cultivating us, provide us with an unbeatable context to understand certain sports categories that for whatever reason, some of us haven’t experienced live.

Why do I say this about wise choices and culturing the user (in this case myself)? I was completely unaware of the existence of a Group 5 Toyota Celica LB Turbo. And it stands to reason that Toyota was represented. How could the Japanese miss the group 5 party? My surprise is capital, because it wasn’t familiar with this technically remarkable racecar.

ertl-celica-zolder-1977-01

My fascination with the automobile world began back in 1983. Hundreds of magazines and books from periods prior to that year have passed through my hands, but I was completely unaware of the existence of this specific car. I love these moments in which you think you have read about everything, you think that nothing is going to catch you off guard anymore, and this has been the case with this model. An almost childlike surprise has revived in me.

I am going to share with you what we can know about this Toyota from the material available on the net.

With very little effort I found this entry from 2008 in the well-known spanish SlotAdictos forum, in which one of its users called STGSlot, based on a 1/24 Tamiya, showed his interest in this model. Here you can read this entry, in which they pointed as a data source to a website http://www.racing65.com, which no longer exists. But hey, in this first tasting of query results online, I see that this model has been arousing interest for years.

What kind of car was the Celica LB Turbo?

For starters, this is an example similar to the Ford Capri. Car of a certain sports nature from a general manufacturer, in this case Toyota, and taken to the extreme of the regulation that allows group 5 as an example of technological and marketing showcase.

Unfortunately for Toyota, and according to various sources, this prototype, so charismatic and appreciated by the public, was very fast, but fragile. Even in the capable hands of pilots with the reputation of Harald Ertl and Rolf Stommelen at its command. It occasionally shone with an out-of-championship victory, at the 1977 ADAC Trophy held in Zolder, which boded well for 1978. But only that non-scoring victory, and a 4th place after 3 Porsche 935s at the DRM event at Nurburgring of that same year, are the most outstanding results.

On this entry in the Drivetribe website, a complete approach is made from the conception of the group 5 version, the refinement work of the car in relation to the street model, and its journey in competition. It is worth taking a look to learn in detail the history of this vehicle.

https://drivetribe.com/p/toyota-celica-lb-turbo-RBlVYv9EQDmL5kCYE5pUrg?iid=MshEIo9EQ4q4OCDiSy3TiQ

What about the slot versions? 

To date, the best-known 1/32 scale references of this model come from two different manufacturers, both distinguished by a quality halo worthy of demanding enthusiasts: MRRC and the Sideways star of this article.

For the MRRC model, which I had the pleasure of briefly viewing about a year ago, but not without noticing that it was a group 5, I recall asking myself what was that car? That one surprised me by the power and rage of its engine, which later corroborates this nice entry from a Mexican blog, in which they manage to “civilize” an MRRC:

http://blogdelslot.blogspot.com/2011/03/toyota-celica-turbo-gr-5.html

The Sideways brings AW mechanical layout, with the well-known Flat6 motor from Slot.it, and an 11/28 ratio.

img_0587

Regarding behaviour on track, within my limitations as an amateur, I do not detect any notable defects, being quite manageable with the magnets removed. For those familiar with the Sideways group 5, it reminds me a lot of the reactions of the Lancia Beta.

For this article we can enjoy this example, in blue livery with the main sponsor Rodenstock.

Web Resources

Given the impossibility of getting real footage to see the model measuring itself against its rivals in Group 5, we resorted to this nice Japanese video of a virtual competition, with excellent video quality, which will at least entertain us, and give us some context to imagine ourselves the venerable Celica versus its contemporary rivals.

See you in the next entry, in which we will delight ourselves with a new slot car. Greetings dear reader!

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