MPH Models: The first thirteen years

by  Almo Stabaldi



"I always knew you were mad" was the retort from his good friend John Simons, of Marsh Models. The telephone conversation had drifted round to the subject of Tim Dyke's latest project, the Cunningham C-4R, and John had been foolish enough to ask how Tim had handled the problem of 24 rivets on each side of the steering wheel.  

MPH Logo.jpg (14741 bytes)



"Well, we produced artwork for the photo-etch with the rivets perforating the rim, masked off the spokes,  built up the rim thickness with 20 coats of sprayed primer, leaving a very faint trace of the rivet positions, emphasised these by pin mark, giving an aiming point of the 0.3mm drill, and each rivet was individually drilled out, revealing the white primer, under the top coat of satin brown.Simple, really."

That Steering Wheel.jpg (114616 bytes)


This is how it has got him, thirteen years on. At first Tim saw a market for well assembled kits, seeing the potential in the less well covered, early post war, Le Mans period. Resin was just past its infancy, and he was much taken with the benefits this material gave over the previously ubiquitous white metal, which had always seemed so crude to him, and still does! Photo-etching was adding a new dimension to delicate parts, and the possibilities of incorporating a level of detail he had previously fitted in to his beloved 1/32 scale appealed greatly.


At first the policy was to build to a good standard, looking for potential improvements by utilising add-on parts available in the market. If you cast your eyes over his checklist, you will see that what started off as better steering wheel here, painted wheel spokes there, a more delicate gear lever, an open window or two, graduated into a mammoth undertaking, where meticulous research would lead to the incorporation of every visible detail, but with the doors and bonnet tight shut ! Tim leaves that to his good friend Steve Barnett !!

Photoetch From Talbot.jpg (41866 bytes)


Photoetch from Talbot


Starting out under the misapprehension that perfectionism was a virtue, Tim has found out the hard way that it isn't. It is a particularly difficult virus to shift, and is likely to prove incurable. Great for job satisfaction, and probably fatal to the business of trying to earn a crust!


MPH Models are produced by Tim Dyke, a 60 year old Chartered Accountant and former Company Director. A long time motoring enthusiast, having competed in most forms of motor sport, Tim has been making models for his own collection and satisfaction for over 45 years, and 13 years ago gave up a senior position in industry to pursue a long held ambition to make models for a living. The opportunity occurred after examining the market for model cars in depth, and building up products from various manufacturers of kits, in various materials, to evaluate each against the others.

Tim.jpg (33555 bytes)

Mr. Tim Dyke


Why MPH Models?

Tim owned, until a few years ago, one of the most delectable sports cars of the thirties, a Riley MPH. The wrench of parting with this greatly treasured friend has been softened by commemorating it in the name of his firm. When I visited the MPH studio, photographs of the Riley at Prescott and other venues fought for wall-space with Gordon Crosby prints and display cabinets full of a small proportion of the Dyke output of all those years, from the early "Merit" range of racing cars in 1/24 scale of the fifties, through some lovely 1/32 scale, and highly under-rated, vintage models from Airfix and Matchbox, via the Tamiya period of unbelievably accurate and complex 1/12 scale Formula One offerings, to the last few years output, which has concentrated on 1/43 scale. This size has now become the International collectors standard, for one very good reason. No matter how much more detail one can incorporate in the larger scales, anyone seeking to build a worthwhile collection will very rapidly run out of display space in anything less than a castle, stately home or mansion, unless they chose 1/43.


The policy of MPH Models is to seek out the finest available kits, to incorporate improvements and modification where necessary (and possible!), and to construct to a very high standard a limited batch of 25 of each subject. In fact, Tim tells me that his greatest problem, from a commercial point of view, is not going "over the top" with his improvements and extra details.


Peter Radcliffe remembers his first meeting with Tim Dyke
I first met Tim at Modelex in October 1994, he had a stand at the show exhibiting some of his models. I am amongst other things a great fan of the Marque Maserati and I am coming close to a complete collection of Le Mans cars. On the stand was the last of the Costin bodied Maserati 450S from Le Mans in 1957, perhaps my all time favourite Le Mans Maserati. At the time I did not buy built models and certainly not at the roughly 200 pounds this model was going to cost. However I failed hopelessly to find the Nestor kit on which it was based and after several more visits just before the show closed I bought my first MPH model. Tim and I have become good friends since and several more MPH creations grace my cabinet.

The list of MPH models below shows the number of special features or modifications. In the early days Tim bought 20 or 25 kits and painstakingly modified each kit the first being perhaps no more than a better steering wheel and perhaps a few changes to panel lines. However as the features became more numerous and more drastic he realised that it was simpler to modify one kit to form new masters and then have 25 duplicates produced from these masters. This has lead on to the models today which have so many changes that the origins of the subject can hardly be seen and where new artwork is prepared for photoetch parts and decals. These are indeed Miniature Masterpieces. Even the MPH photographs reflect this perfection as can be seen from these examples.
After 13 years MPH comes a full circle, the first model was a D Type Jaguar. Currently the Talbot Maserati is being built and the 1954 D Type is being mastered, it goes without saying that there will be more than seven special features.


MPH Models list
Editions of 20 




Jaguar D Type LM winner 7 Aston Martin DB3S Coupe LM54 123
Jaguar C Type LM winner  5 Porsche 718RSK LM58 110
Jaguar C Type LM winner 53  5 Aston Martin DBR1 Winner LM59 186
Jaguar E Type LM 63 Cunningham Lightweight 5 Jaguar XK120 LM50 145
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato LM61 8 DB Panhard LM61 87
Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Road car  9 Mercedes 300SLR LM55  207
Alfa Romeo 6c 3000CM LM53 11 Rover BRM LM65 121
Bristol 450 Coupe LM54 10 Porsche 904 GTS LM65 98
Ferrari Breadvan LM62  19 Elva BMW GT 1600 LM65 MPH original n/a
Jaguar C Type Long nose LM 52 12 Maserati 450S Costin Zagato Coupe LM57 114
Jaguar D Type LM winner 56 14 Aston Martin DB2 LM51 139
Lister Jaguar Costin Coupe LM63 19 Bentley "Embiricos"LM49 MPH original n/a
Lotus Eleven Index Winner LM57 14 Ferrari TR60 winner LM60 102
AC Ace Bristol LM59 32 Bentley "Embiricos" Road France MPH original n/a
Bristol 450 Spider LM55 18 Alfa Romeo 2900 Coupe LM38 143
Editions of 25   Lola MK6 GT LM63 122
Jaguar E Type Lightweight Linder LM64 33 Lotus Elite LM63 188
Aston Martin DB3 LM52 20 Ferrari 275P winner LM64 178
Alfa Romeo GTZ2 LM65 34 Aston Martin P215 LM63 194
Alfa Romeo GTZ2 Targa Florio 66 34 Maserati 450S LM57 188
Aston Martin DB5 Coupe 64 43 Cunningham C4R LM54 195
Alfa Romeo 6c 3000CM MM53 11  AC Cobra LM63 166
Aston Martin DB3S LM53 51 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage LM60 225
Ferrari 375 Plus winner LM54 (first remastered model) 54 Talbot Lago winner LM50 224
Jaguar D Type LM winner 55 32 Allard J2 LM50 271
Ferrari 166MM winner LM49  71 Ferrari TRI 330 winner LM62 251
Mercedes 300SL Winner LM52 46 Talbot Lago LM52 250
Cunningham C4RK Coupe LM53 111 Talbot Maserati LM57  
Iso Grifo A3C LM64 109 Jaguar D Type LM54  
Ferrari TR61 winner LM61 102    


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Aston Martin Project 215 LM63.jpg (93412 bytes) Aston_Martin_DB2_LM52.jpg (65479 bytes) Aston_Martin_DB3S_LM53.jpg (75987 bytes)
AC Cobra LM63 Aston Martin Project 215 Aston Martin DB2 LM52 Aston Martin DB3S LM53
Aston_Martin_DB3S_LM53_1.jpg (127266 bytes) 08.jpg (58672 bytes) Bentley Road.jpg (54632 bytes) Cunningham C4R LM54.jpg (45561 bytes)
Aston Martin DB3S LM53 Bentley Embiricos LM49 Bentley road Cunningham C4R LM54
Cunningham C4RK Coupe LM53.jpg (71191 bytes) DB_Panhard_LM61.jpg (79772 bytes) Elva_Road_Car.jpg (52810 bytes) Ferrari 375plus LM54.jpg (71664 bytes)
Cunningham C4RK Coupe LM53 DB Panhard LM61 Elva road Ferrari 375 Plus winner LM54
Ferrari 375plus LM54_1.jpg (86027 bytes) Jaguar D Type LM56.jpg (80244 bytes) Lotus Elite LM63.jpg (49944 bytes) Lotus Elite LM63_1.jpg (35887 bytes)
Ferrari 375 Plus winner LM54 Jaguar D type LM56 Lotus Elite LM63 Lotus Elite LM63
Allard_J2_LM1950.jpg (70128 bytes) Rover BRM Lm65.jpg (72010 bytes) 22.jpg (73831 bytes) Cunningham C4R LM54_1.jpg (40362 bytes)
Allard J2 LM Rover BRM LM65 Porsche 718RSK  Cunningham C4R LM54