About Grand Prix Models
Whether its models, accessories, books or motor racing
DVDs that you are looking for, Grand Prix Models is the only place to
shop! Grand Prix Models is one of the world's
best-known model car specialists and has been at the forefront of the business
for over 40 years, but few realise that we were one of the industry's pioneers.
“I think we were the first specialist model racing car
shop in Europe,” says co-founder Brian Harvey. With his wife Rachael, they
first opened the doors of what was then a shop, in Hertfordshire's pretty
Radlett village in 1972.
“It all started when I took a year off from motoring
journalism,” said Brian, who had been Managing Editor of Cars and Car
Conversions magazine. “I'd been building plastic kits for review and came to
the conclusion that no-one was offering selected high quality scale models of
great cars direct to motoring enthusiasts. Rachael and I were both racing -
Lotus Cortina, Unipower GT, Ginetta G12 Lotus, Allard Ford, works Hillman Imp
etc- and we found that among fellow race drivers there was a lack of knowledge
of good scale models. To cut a long story very short, we opened Radlett as a
dual-purpose business; the intention was to start a motoring magazine from the
rear and sell model cars from the front. From day one we were inundated with
enthusiasts looking for just the kind of models we'd located. From there on it
was self-generating but driven by our own enthusiasm to scour the world and
find the best new models. At first we had to deal in ready-made die-cast models
- there was little else. Then the first specialist metal kits came along and we
began to be able to offer things like Jaguar Cs and Ds but still no-one would
make many of the models we felt needed to be made.”
From that conclusion it was only a short step for GPM -
as it became known - to start making its own models.
Within a few years GPM had four ranges of models and over
200 kits available.
“It was a means to an end,” says Brian, “we wanted to
encourage others to make obscure subjects like the J2 Allard Cadillac Le Mans,
famous rally cars like those of Roger Clark, the Brooklands Chitty Bang Bang
and the first Corvette - but at first they were reluctant. Soon however, many
others followed our lead and from those small beginnings emerged the industry
we know today. As worthwhile new model makers arrived we gave up kit making to
concentrate on what we thought we were best at: discovering and supplying
enthusiasts with the best exact scale high detail model cars from every source
we could locate.”
After 20 years in Radlett, GPM moved the short distance
to St Albans, where the same service to customers all over the world continued.
Although no longer manufacturing, GPM was able to use its significant influence
to ensure that models that needed to be made were. Brian and Rachael took
well-earned retirement but the business remained in the family with daughter
Justina and son-in-law André taking the driving seat.
As 2007 began, so did another chapter in the GPM story as
the doors opened on our new home in the North Oxfordshire town of Banbury, the
Gateway to the Cotswolds. Today GPM goes from strength to strength. The same
basic principles drive the services we provide: a desire to provide enthusiasts
with the very best in accurate scale modelling and to spread the word that good
models are being made. The market has changed over the years and in many ways
things have gone full circle as more and more of the new models produced are
ready-made die-cast and ‘resincast’ production. Kits and hand built models are
still hugely important to us though and alongside the well-known brands we have
available to us a most comprehensive range of rare (often unique) artisan model
cars from around the world.
Unlike many stores, we don’t just sell what we have on
the shelf, we will also offer a back-order service on out of stock items and
take pre-orders for those that are to come. In fact, with many model
manufacturers being ever more precise in their production numbers, pre-ordering
is actively encouraged so that you don’t miss out and we offer a discount on
all pre-orders placed through our website.
To keep track of all of the new releases, GPM produces FSW Weekly, a PDF format review highlighting all of the very latest arrivals and reviews of
as many as we’ve managed to get through in the previous 7 days! We also blog all news as we receive it on our website, Twiiter and Facebook feeds.
Our friendly and knowledgeable team (left to right Jason,
Mark & André) have over 70 years of model car business between us (and many
more besides as petrolheads!) and are on hand Monday-Friday to answer your
queries by phone or email.
Although GPM is predominantly a mail-order company, we do also have a showroom. Weekday (9 - 5) visits are welcome, preferably by appointment as we can be very busy and occasionally have days off to do full sized motorsport!
We are right in the heart of the motor sport industry
with Prodrive, Haas F1 and Arden Motorsport within walking distance and several
other F1 teams, the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon and Silverstone Circuit all
within a 20-mile radius. We are easily accessible by road from the M40 (J11)
and also by rail from London or Birmingham.