This is the Exoto 1/18 scale replica of the Tyrrell 003 Ford-Cosworth that helped Jackie Stewart become Formula 1 World Champion in 1971. The Exoto reference for this model is 97020, and it corresponds to the Germany GP winner, with the “regular” nose (i.e. full front fairing) and dry (slick) tyres. This front wing was used in the high speed / low downforce circuits (such as Nürburgring), while the “shark nose” version was used in low speed / high downforce circuits (such as Monte-Carlo).

The Car

The 003 was the third unit in the lineage of Formula 1 cars founded and run by Ken Tyrrell from the late 60’s. The Scotsman raced other cars (like Matra) before, but on 1970 he presented the first car under his name, the 001, designed by his Chief Designer, Derek Gardner, and powered by a Ford Cosworth V8 engine.

The 002 and 003, also designed by Gardner, were used in the 1971 and 1972 Formula 1 seasons. These cars were unique, one-off models, their type number also serving as chassis number. François Cevert drove the 002, while Jackie Stewart raced with the 003. They were essentially the same car as the 001, with a redesigned nose section, longer wheelbase (to accommodate François, who was taller than Jackie…) and a narrower monocoque.

The Tyrrell 003, proudly displayed at the National Museum of Scotland, in Edinburgh
DesignerDerek Gardner
ChassisAluminium monocoque
Front SuspensionDouble wishbones, coil springs
Rear SuspensionDouble wishbones, coil springs
EngineFord Cosworth DFV – 90º V8 – 2.993cc
Naturally Aspirated
Central-longitudinal mounted
GearboxHewland 5-speed manual
Tyrell 003 – Ford Cosworth specs

The Season

1971 was a very successful season for the young British team: out of a total 11 GP, Stewart won 6 (Spain, Monaco, France, Great Britain, Germany and Canada) and his second World Championship, while Cevert won the last race in the USA with the 002, finishing third in the Championship behind Ronnie Peterson, who drive a March-Ford. Tyrrell also won the Constructor’s trophy with a total 73 points, with BRM second (36 p.) and Ferrari third (33 p.)

Stewart in action on the 003, at the German Grand Prix in Nürburgring, August 1st 1971

The successes continued at the first half of the 1972 season, with Stewart winning the first event in Argentina and the fifth round in France, but by then the car was no match to the Lotus 72D of Emerson Fittipaldi. Stewart managed to win two more races that year with the new Tyrrell 005, but he could only finish second in the Championship, 16 points adrift the Brazilian.

Sir Jackie Stewart, F1 World Champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973

The Model

This is one of the early models presented by the American brand Exoto, around the late 90’s / early 00’s. From a quality standpoint, it’s obviously no match to the more recent series, but the first Exoto F1 cars such as this one, the Lotus 49 / 49B and the Lotus 72D were still well ahead the competition in terms of quality.

The model shows an excellent level of detail, specially in the engine / transmission front, with a perfectly reproduced Ford Cosworth V8 attached to the Hewland gearbox. The two oil radiators at the back and the water radiator hidden inside the nose are also very realistic. All relevant cables and pipes are there, including the engine’s but also brake lines. To round-up the package, the paint and decals are excellent, won’t lose quality or detach over time.

In general, the model shows a solid construction, with a good balance of metal and plastic pieces. Some of the parts (e.g. the rearview mirrors) are very small and delicate, so the model needs to be handled with care. There are many chrome parts, they look excellent and won’t lose shine over time. Tyres have been always one of Exoto’s strongest points, and the ones in this model won’t disappoint: great reproduction of the period’s F1 slicks, including the tiny grooves typical of the era, and made of a high quality rubber that won’t lose consistency, color or form over time (although it’s always a good idea to display these models with a base that elevates the wheels slightly above the ground).

Wheels turn, and the steering and suspension work, but I have never seen the point on that as these are collection items, not toys, so it’s better not to operate them, to avoid breaking a piece. All early Exoto F1 models share a common weakness: suspensions arms and links are made of plastic and can be easily broken (it was not uncommon to receive your unit already broken from the factory…)

This table shows the list of Tyrrell 003 versions made by Exoto. Please note that, even if listed as 003, the François Cevert versions are technically 002, as that was his chassis number. Exoto did not publish the total number of units built, but the models are serialized and their unique number is engraved in the front part of the bottom of the chassis. The one shown here is unit #2,168. All the versions have been out of production for a long time, the model doesn’t even show in Exoto’s web page at the time of writing this post.

There are also a couple of versions made by Minichamps, but they are one step below the products of the American firm in terms of quality. Several of the models in this table are in the Formula 1 Collection, links to their pages will be updated over time:

970201971 Jackie Stewart #2
GP Germany winner
970211971 François Cevert #9
GP USA winner
97022Tyrrell 004
1973 Eddie Keizan #26 – Lucky Strike
GP South Africa (NC)
970231971 Françoise Cevert #12
GP Canada (6th) – rain tyres
970241971 Jackie Stewart / François Cevert #11
Test version – pilot getting out of cockpit
970271971 François Cevert #12
GP Monaco (ret.) – “Shark nose”
970291971 Jackie Stewart #11
“Shark nose”, rain tyres
#9 François Cevert
#2 Jackie Stewart
1/18 scale versions of the Tyrrell 002 / 003 / 004