Check out this $4,495 Scale Model of the #32 Jordan 191 Formula One Car
Schumacher’s first F1 car sized perfectly to fit on your coffee tableby Michael Fira, on
What you’re now looking it at is a 1/8 scale display model of one of the prettiest F1 cars ever, the 1991 Jordan-Ford 191. It’s the exact car in which Michael Schumacher made his F1 debut at Spa-Francorchamps 28 years ago, and it will set you back about as much as a running and driving BMW X5 from 2005.
Model cars are the best way to own the cars of your dreams if said cars are million-dollar exotics or rare racing cars. The Jordan 191 is such a car and, while any Schumacher fan would be glad to park one in his or her garage, you’ll need to locate one of the very few chassis built for the ’91 season and then proceed to piece together a full-blown racing team with enough mechanics and engineers onboard to make the thing run again. As such, it’s much cheaper to buy this model car that’s eight times smaller than the original, so you can forget about occupying a whole garage spot with it.
The Model Car Industry is Booming, and this Jordan is the Proof
I’m hearing you questioning the sanity of someone who’d pay $5,000 for something that you proceed to put on a shelf or table and admire.
Well, believe it or not, there's actually a market for these big model cars - usually made out of resin - that sell for ludicrous prices.
ACME, the company behind this model, is releasing it as part of the ’Real Art Replicas’ which, until now, only comprised of 1/18 scale models of some racing Mustangs and the Big Oly Bronco that won the Baja 1,000 driven by Parnelli Jones. You can still pre-order the latter if you have $250 lying around.
So, what do you get for the price of a 1988 Porsche 944? Well, you get a die-cast metal model car at a time when many model car makers shift from zamac alloys to plastic or resin models but, besides that, nothing opens up. You will never see the glorious 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated Ford HBA4 V-8 engine nor the intricate dampers up front. All you get is a view of the interior and, that’s only because we’ve yet to see F1 cars sport roofs.
The model is 24 inches long and 14 inches wide and comes on a plastic base that sports a clear protective cover. ACME says it will only make 99 of these and you can pre-order one now as it will become available this Spring. Of course, the model looks good with its Emerald Green 7 Up-over-TicTac livery and all the elements are there.
The extending rear diffuser with two dome-like tunnels, the sloping nose and the elegant hump over the 670 horsepower engine that would rev up to 13,200 rpm in the real thing.
It’s also not the most expensive 1/8 scale model car money can buy.
In fact, if you glance over the products of Amalgam, probably the best well-known maker of 1/8 scale models, their prices are mind-boggling. You’ll find that most models cost in excess of $11,300, less than $2,000 cheaper than the cheapest new car money can buy in the U.S., the Nissan Versa with its $13,225 base MSRP. Granted, besides the exquisite Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic that faithfully replicates Ralph Lauren’s car, or the gorgeous Alfa-Romeo 8C 2900 Mille Miglia, you can also find more affordable models in Amalgam’s lineup. There’s, for example, the $6,000 Ferrari SF70H F1 car driven by four-time World Driver’s Champion Sebastian Vettel two seasons ago or the even cheaper Honda RA106 F1 car as it ran in the 2006 Hungarian GP.
The Story of Schumacher’s Debut and the Jordan 191
With that being said, none of these cheaper F1 cars from Amalgam are as famous as the Jordan 191 from ACME. The Jordan 191 is the first ever F1 car built by Eddie Jordan’s outfit, one that became famous when its cars turned yellow following the deal with Benson & Hedges. The team’s first victory came in 1998 at the Belgian Grand Prix with Damon Hill surviving the rain and making the best out of the crash between Coulthard and Schumacher.
Jordan's team also finished third in the constructor's standings in 1999 before exiting F1 at the end of the 2005 season.
Schumacher himself debuted for Jordan in 1991, at a time when he was a somewhat unknown German kart champion that’d been drafted in the junior program of Mercedes-Benz that was competing at the time with Sauber-built prototypes in the World’s Sports Prototype Championship known today as the FIA World Endurance Championship. Schumacher, who went on to achieve unprecedented success with Ferrari, was an anonymous racing driver when he arrived at Spa for the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. In fact, Jordan himself straight up asked Willi Webber, Schumacher’s long-time manager, about Schumacher’s track record.
The German was given the opportunity to race for Jordan after one of the team’s full-season drivers, Belgian Bertrand Gachot, was sent to jail for two months because he sprayed CS gas on a taxi driver in London. Schumacher partnered Andrea De Cesaris and out-qualified the experienced Italian right off the bat by setting the seventh fastest lap in qualifying, over 0.7 seconds quicker than De Cesaris who started in 11th. Schumacher’s car had No. 32 on it because Jordan, as a new team, received random numbers and had to go through the pre-qualifying process that was in use at a time when as many as 34 drivers tried to get on the 26 grid slots.
Sadly, Schumacher never even reached the end of the first lap.
Due to his inexperience regarding the start procedure, Michael damaged the clutch at the start and his race was over by the time he reached the Kemmel Straight.
De Cesaris ran as high as second in the race before retiring as well. Schumacher never raced for Jordan again as he was immediately picked up by Flavio Briatore to compete for Benetton, so Jordan was forced to find other drivers to sub for Gachot. Roberto Moreno, who was kicked out of his Benetton seat to clear the path for Schumacher, as well as Alex Zanardi also drove the 191 in its only season of competition.
The 191 was developed throughout 1990, while Eddie Jordan’s team was still active in the F3000 series, by a group of three men: Andrew Green developed the suspension, Mark Smith re-engineered the Hewland-based 6-speed manual transmission and Gary Anderson was tasked with the aerodynamics.
The car was originally supposed to be powered by the Judd EV 3.5-liter V-8 engine but a deal was struck with Ford-Cosworth for the Ford HB V-8 units in the end.
Another thing that changed during the development phase was the car’s name. Jordan initially called it ’911’ referring to the fact that it would race in 1991 and that it was the first F1 car made by Jordan. Porsche dully complained for obvious reasons and the name was changed to 191 with some people also calling it the ’EJ191’. Also, those nice tints of green and blue would never had covered the curves of the 191 if Eddie Jordan could’ve persuaded his main sponsor from F3000, Camel, to join him in F1 too.
The 191 had double-wishbone suspension with pushrod dampers all around and a carbon fiber monocoque. A total of seven chassis were built with one being written off thanks to a crash during the British Grand Prix weekend. Andrea De Cesaris and Bertrand Gachot were named full-season drivers, but only Gachot made the cut for the season-opener at Phoenix, Arizona.
The car competed in 15 other Grand Prix races collecting one fastest lap along the way with its best finish being a couple of fourth places scored by De Cesaris in Canada and Mexico.
Jordan scored a total of 13 points in its debut season, enough to be classified fifth in the constructor’s table at year’s end.