1/43 Vanguards History

by Karl Schnelle

Bob Neumann of the Illinois Matchbox Collectors Club (USA) just passed this information on to me.  I have some old Corgi Toys and a few Lledo’s in my collection, but I do not follow the modern stuff.  So I had not seen the new Corgi blog!   Their blog or Diecast Diary has come out every month and since it is written by “The Corgi Team” includes new releases and information that Corgi wants their customers to know about.

The last five articles have had a series on the history of Vanguards and how they passed from Lledo to Corgi ownership.  Two of the driving forces (men) behind them are also discussed.  I always enjoy reading about the history of our hobby and the people behind it.  So I thought our MAR Online readers would too!  For a company blog used for sales and marketing, there is a lot of information in this series.

Click on the menu on the right and read all five articles.  The fifth one is this link.  Scroll down the page until you see the Vanguards banner: some fascinating background from the designer as well as photos of some pre-production models are there.

Here is one of the early Vanguards (a small, fit-the-box, 1953 Pontiac) that are mentioned in the blog; my Mother bought it for me many years ago!

The second blog article mentioned that the Lledo factory was “established on Woodhall Road in Enfield”.    Wasting time on the internet, i did find a Woodall Road in Enfield.   The funny thing is that when you zoom in to it on google maps, the label Gilbow Holding shows up on one of the buildings!   I recognized that as the holding company for EFE (recently acquired by Bachmann).  The EFE History page says they moved to Enfield in 2002, and Lledo was bought by Corgi in 1999, when they downsized everyone, and moved all the tools to China (according to these Corgi articles)!   A very ‘small diecast world’!  

Maybe that is common knowledge for UK collectors, but that was interesting news for me!


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