The Arnott is a particularly interesting subject as Daphne Arnott who had manufactured a series of 500cc F3 cars and small sports cars managed the company. She was perhaps the only Female Racing car manufacturer in history. They had some success but the costs of developing a record car that crashed in the attempt sent the company on a downward path. Another crash and non-start in practice at Le Mans in 1955 was really the last straw and the 57 attempt was very much the last roll of the dice. The car had a very interesting suspension system and was running well when the normally reliable Coventry Climax engine failed after 6 hours. Soon after the Le Mans race the company closed its race shop and the Carburettor side of the business was sold. Until at least a few years ago Daphne Arnott ran a Guesthouse in North Devon and still had one of her original Sports Cars. The Le Mans car still survives today.
The actual castings were quite good but the cast on windscreen wiper, filler cap, taillights and race number lights were very poor. The tyres with the kit had welded themselves together over the years and the wire wheels were rather crude cast metal wheels. The headlight covers were part of the metal casting and my initial thoughts of cutting out the lights and making acetate covers were removed when I found that my Le Mans picture showed the car with crude covers taped over the lights. I decided to build the kit largely as per original but as the tyres and decals had to be replaced I decided to make a few other small changes.
The taillights, number lights and windscreen wiper were removed from the body casting otherwise it was just prepared by removing the slight casting lines and minor flash. When this was completed the body was polished with wire wool. I did consider filling the panel lines and starting again as these are very much not up to today's standards. It appears they were cut with a blunt kitchen knife! I decided however that filling and cutting new lines in white metal did not appeal. Had the kit been resin I probably would have done so but also I felt that the rest of the kit did not justify this effort and I wanted to retain the period charm of the original.
As I was replacing the tyres it seemed sensible to replace the wheels so a set of BBR photoetche wheels were used or rather a set and a quarter as I needed a spare for the rear shelf. Once all the parts were cleaned up they were primed and painted. The assembly was fairly simple the only complication being that the positions marked on the chassis base for the axles was rather asymmetric and several trial fits were made before a satisfactory fit under the arches was achieved. The original Vacform was a surprisingly good fit and very clear and thin for the period and the cast steering wheel better than many found in today's kits. Photoetche Wiper and new lights and filler cap completed the model and the decals came from my spares box. The final model is shown on a base from Heirlooms Crafts and is a fair representation of an unusual Le Mans car. The width is probably a little narrow and the bonnet a little long but never the less a worthwhile addition to my collection.