We were saddened to hear of the death of Gerald Wingrove, who will be well known to model engineers around the world. He was one of the lucky very few that managed to turn his hobby into a successful career. And a most distinguished one at that.

Gerald gave up working on a centre lathe for others in 1967 to start as a freelance model engineer, working for companies like Meccano (Dinky Toys), Mettoy Playcraft (Corgi Toys) and others. He received a commission from Lord Montagu of Bealieu to build a series of fine detailed scale models for the National Motor Museum.

More work followed as collectors became aware of the quality of his work, and he was invited to visit some of the best private car collections in Europe and the USA and set out making miniature versions of vintage and classic cars which continued into ‘retirement’ in Spain with his potter wife, Phyllis. Although he continued to make some cars, his great retirement project was a section of the Falls of Clyde, taking him back to his first love of ship modelling.

But it will be the exquisite, and highly valuable, model cars that he will be remembered for. We highlight some of these below.

In all, he made around 280 automobile models in 1:20 and, mostly, 1:15 scale, many commissioned by the vehicles' owners.

The first sale of his work by a major London Auction House was at Christies on 2 August 1967 with the sale of two models of sailing ships in 1:96 scale and an SE5A aircraft model in brass and silk in 1:20 scale.

In July 2000, Gerald was recognized by the Queen with an MBE for craftsmanship, and "services to Model Engineering". In March 2005 he was awarded Metalworking Craftsman of the Year by The Joe Martin Foundation in the USA.

As well as individual models, he made dioramas, the largest being the 25 square feet model of the village and ship yard of Bucklers Hard, commissioned for the Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum.

Gerald had no secrets about how he worked. He wrote many books on his models and how they were made. Some articles on MEWS have given details of some of his latest techniques, including novel uses of fixtures and special tooling.

Hispano Suiza
Ferrari 250GTO
Duesenberg J489

Bugatti 47
Stutz Blackhawk
Lagonda M45
Alfa Romeo 2.3
Bentley 4.5
Rolls Royce 40/50
Cord s/ch coupe
Bugatti 59
Duesenberg J448
Lotus JPS
Alfa Romeo 2.9
Weinberger Bugatti Royale

Falls of Clyde section and special tooling
Rivet head pressing tool
Completed Falls of Clyde project.

More details of Gerald’s models and how they were made is still available at