Another Look at RAMI

by David Holcombe

Editor’s note:  Model Auto Review published an article on the diecast old timers and classic cars by RAMI many years ago.  It was recently republished by MAR Online here.  However, many of the models were missing their photos, so this article will fill in those gaps!


Thank you, David, for taking the photos and writing this article.  David’s recollections about the start of his RAMI passion and his photos are below.

My favorite childhood activity in the early 1950’s was the building of plastic models, especially the Highway Pioneers of Revell. (Several years ago I refinished my desk from those years and sanded off the remains of glue, paint, and burn scars from those efforts; a grandson has his computer on it now). My older brother matured into a collector/dealer in American Flyer trains, and that led him into collecting Dinky cars. He retired, moved nearby, and joined with another collector/dealer to start The Carolina Toy Collectors.  I joined, even though all I had was interest. I bought a few locally available new models.

And then I found my first RAMI ( an acronym for “les Rétrospectives Automobiles Miniatures”) by J.M.K. ( another acronym that stood for the three founding members of the company: M. Jarry,  Henri Malartre, and M. Koch.) Though the models were often known simply as RAMI, the full name of the company was RAMI by J.M.K. All this was twenty-five years ago, and I’m still hooked. My collection and the toy club still continue, even though my brother is no longer with me.

All of the RAMI models were based on actual automobiles in the collection of Henry Malartre in his castle, the Automobile Museum Malartre of Rochetaillée sur Saône in eastern France. I regret that I never visited the museum, and it was taken over by the city of Lyon several years ago.  Thirty nine models were produced between 1958 and 1969, and they compose a fine mixture of the earliest years of automobile experimentation and production. Most are French, but other countries are also represented.

I had purchased in my first collecting venture modern manufactured models, including those by ERTL, Solido, Lesney Yesteryears, and the like, but to find twenty-year-old models at about the same prices caught my attention. I was initially put off by the simplified wheels and clumsy production techniques, but then noted the detailing and the historical background of many of these models. The failure of a standardized scale of 1:43 was easily ignored because of what I had been collecting. Such variations in interpreting scale, even though to a lesser extent, still exist today.

And so they grew in number, from toy shows, a few toy stores, and then through the growing business center called eBay. Today they reside behind glass and out of direct sunlight in permanent display, alongside others. Just recently I replaced one that was showing evidence of decay (the only instance of the dreaded “die cast metal failure” among them), and I keep an open eye for a variation or two of which I am aware. I’m sure there are others out there, just enough to keep me looking.

The simple early cardboard boxes were stamped with the contents, and varied in size because of those contents.

In later years a plastic box was used, sometimes including a cardboard scenic background. (The figure is a later addition.)
The beautifully photographed biography of Henri Malartre.

Pins from the castle.


The catalog of the latter years, a mixture of pictures of the models and the actual cars.


Photos of the models not pictured in the previous article are below.  David’s photos  of the rear as well as baseplates are included for all the RAMIs at

1. 1907 Renault cab Taxi de la Marne
2 first. 1900 de Dion Bouton Vis-a-vis
2 second. 1902 Motobloc Tonneau
4. 1924 Citroën 5cv
6. Bugatti T35C 1928
8. 1906 Sizaire & Naudin
9. 1895 Rochet Schneider
10. 1934 Hispano Suiza
11. Gobron Brillié
14. 1898 Peugeot Coupe
16. 1907 Ford Model T
17. 1908 Panhard & Levassor
18. 1899 Panhard & Levassor
21. 1902 Georges Richard Tonneau
 (driver added by author)
22. 1892 Scotte Steam Carriage
23. 1900 Renault Tonneau
24. 1911 Lorraine Dietrich
25. 1895 Panhard & Levassor Tonneau
27. 1898 Audibert & Lavirotte
29. 1912 SPA
32. 1908 Brazier
35. 1902 De Dion Bouton Course
36. 1898 Lacroix de Laville

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Autocult Ford 400E

By Maz Woolley


Autocult are well know for their 1:43 scale resin models made for them in China. They specialise in rare vehicles which have generally never been modelled before so I was rather taken aback to see a Ford 400E truck in their latest set of releases. Whilst the Van and Minibus versions are freely available in 1:43 scale from Oxford Diecast this is the first 1:43 scale model of the cab and chassis combination.

When I asked why AutoCult had chosen to model what I thought a rather ordinary vehicle Thomas Roschman of Auto Cult said

“I think that with its story the Ford Thames is not an ‘ordinary’ vehicle.  AutoCult chooses models after studying their history and takes no consideration of the numbers built. We only avoid those which have already been made before.  We want to show the world wide development of vehicles and particularly those whose development was important for the local car industry. I think the story of the British-Danish co production of this vehicle  was important and that the Ford Thames is a sympathetic vehicle as well.

An example of our approach was the Steyr truck already made. This is also an ‘ordinary’ truck but it was the most important for the Austrian Truck industry. A story worth  telling…. That is the AutoCult philosophy.”


In 1957 Ford replaced the very outdated Fordson E83W with the Thames 400E. The small truck series was mainly produced at Dagenham by the Thames but it was also produced in the Danish Ford plant in Copenhagen.

The Ford Thames 400E was launched as a Van and this was followed by a Minibus and from 1961 as a cab and chassis. The vehicle modelled is a dropside truck where the planked sides could be folded down.

The Thames 400E was powered by a 1,703 cc four-stroke engine from the Ford Consul and production in the UK and Denmark reached 187.000.


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News from the Continent February 2016: Herpa

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Here are some of my photographs and comments on some Herpa releases of the  fourth quarter of  2015.
028561/038560  Audi A4 Limousine  brilliant black / argus brown metallic
Herpa Audi A4 Limousine (3)
This is the latest version of the A4 recently launched. This 1:87 scale miniature has now been released by Herpa. The model was developed with the co-operation of the Audi design department.
745314  IFA L 60 Pick up truck with canvas cover “NVA fire service”
IFA L 60 Pick up truck with canvas cover NVA fire service
The well used moulding of the IFA truck appears now in the typical finish of the DDR fire service.
091879  Mercedes-Benz Atego 2010 DLK L32A
Mercedes-Benz Atego 2010 DLK L32A (2)
This a turntable laddered fire a based upon the Mercedes-Benz Atego Chassis. It is liveried for fire brigade of Frankfurt/Main in white and daylight red. This model is highly detailed and is fully movable. A number of small accessories are included in the box.

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News From the Continent February 2016: Schuco

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Here are the announcements made by Schuco late in 2015


18014 Schuco 450161400


450161400  Hanomag ST100 Heavy duty tractor “Christmas Edition 2015”

Edition PRO.R43

18015 Schuco 450898500 18016 Schuco 450898600

450898500   Mini Cooper S “Steve´s Mini”
450898600   Mini Cooper S “Peter´s Mini”


18017 Schuco 450767800

450767800  John Deere 3120 tractor with front loader


18018 Schuco 450028200 18019 Schuco 450014200

18020 Schuco 450027800
450028200   Volkswagen T1 Samba Bus beige/turquoise
450014200   Mercedes-Benz Unimog 401 with soft top
450027800   Volkswagen T1 Bus loaded with “Kleinschnittger micro cars”


18021 Schuco 450007900

450007900   Hymermobil 581 BS


18022 Schuco 452623300

# 18022  452623300   Lanz Bulldog „Agritechnica fair model 2015“ without roof

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Thunderbirds are 50!

By Robin Godwin

Thunderbirds offical Anniversary Poster

The first episode of Thunderbirds was shown on British Television on 30th September 1965. Given the number of times it appears on television even today it is amazing that only 32 episodes were made. Three classic style episodes are being developed for the anniversary year, though sadly Gerry Anderson is no longer with us to share this anniversary.

To celebrate the anniversary various models are planned. Perhaps the most interesting are from DeAgostini Japan which has launched a partwork which looks like it will feature vehicles to a constant 1:144 scale including quite a few of the special vehicles like the “Mole”. Promotional artwork for this series is shown below. It will be interesting to see what these models are like when the series gets under way and we start seeing them on the secondary market. (Editor: If any reader is collecting these models we would love to see pictures of them)

DeAgostini Thunderbirds Japan

First thoughts were that Tomica might be making this series for DeAgostini but this is probably not the case since Tomica has launched its own Thunderbirds models all in “fit to box” format so they are not to a constant scale. Promotional artwork for these models is shown below with FAB1 presumably being the version in the recent animated series:


Tomica THunderbirds Range

Finally Corgi are re-issuing their Thunderbirds models for the Anniversary too as shown in the Corgi artwork below:

Corgi Thunderbirds 1 and 3 Corgi Thunderbirds 2 and 4 Corgi FAB1

So on their 50th Aniversary Thunderbirds are definitely GO!

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ASAM Leyland Marathon 2

By John Quilter

All photographs by the author.

1980 Leyland Marathon brochure

ASAM models, which used to be A Smith Models, produces a huge range of European and British truck all in white metal kit form.   Sometime in the past they produced a few American trucks such as the Ford LTL 9000 highway tractor.  Now their range includes such items as vintage AEC, Bedford, Foden, Dennison, MAN, Scammel, Thorneycroft, and some military items such as tanks and tank carriers all in 1:48th scale, a common collecting scale for large commercial vehicles.   Their range is quite astounding but they seem to be sort of in the background and not commonly featured, at least in MAR.  A browse through their website will show the extensive offerings and provides pricing and ordering information.

Since I enjoy building the occasional kit and love to replicate anything British Leyland, and other interesting British vehicles, passenger, commercial and heavy commercial, the ASAM kits are a great hobby.   The kits come with a parts listing, photo pages showing the parts laid out and assembled.   Step by step instructions such as would be provided with a Revell or AMT plastic kit are not included.  Therefore, there is a bit more knowledge and skill needed for assembly.   As with any white metal kit there is some fine filing and finishing needed for some of the parts.  Trial fitting is essential before final assembly.  I find that painting many of the items before final assembly is useful.    There are decals in the kit such as the LEYLAND letters for the front and with this kit there was  livery decal “British Road Services UK-Iran”.   I chose to make the final color more generic without the livery.   Google images will provide many, many idea on color schemes.   I also chose not to fit the livery board at the top of the cab or the “tropical” raised roof but did use the air-conditioning unit.   In fact for some reason there were duplicate parts supplied in the parts bags for some reason but that is better than missing parts.

This truck was known as the  Leyland Marathon 2 and was available as a two or three axle truck with a day cab or a sleeper cab.  Engines were Leyland TL12, Leyland 11 of 200 BHP  or Cummins in 10 and 14 litres up to 330 BHP.  The cab was a raised and modified version of the Ergomatic cab launched in 1965.  Production began in 1973 and continued until 1977 when the Marathon 2 was launched and produced until the still newer Leyland T45 Roadtrain was in production.  ASAM also makes kits of various versions of this truck as well.

The trailer in the photos is a separate item from my collection and not part of the ASAM kit.

1980 Leyland Marathon side (2) 1980 Leyland Marathon kit painted #2 1980 Leyland Marathon front 1980 Leyland Marathon and trailer LH

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Bosch Volkswagen Transporter T2

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by the Author.

Bosch Advertising Character

At Retromobile 2016 there was a nice Volkswagen Transporter pickup as shown in the photographs below. On the Bosch stall a 1:43 scale replica made by Welly in the Bosch livery was on sale. Photographs of the model are shown below.

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Norev Mercedes-Benz Promotional Models

By Fabrizio Panico

Here are some recent Mercedes-Benz Promotional models made to 1:18 scale by Norev.  The photographs are by the author.

The models shown above are:

B6 696 0351 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake (X117) in mountain grey
B6 696 0362 Mercedes-Benz GLC-klasse (X253) in designo diamond white bright
B6 696 0359 Mercedes-Benz GLE coupé (C292) in citrine brown
B6 696 0354 Mercedes-Benz S-klasse cabriolet (A217) in magnetite black metallic

Mercedes-Benz are now following in the path of Porsche making some limited edition promotional models of AMG vehicles in resin with no opening parts. I prefer the diecast models despite their steadily increasing prices since they have opening features and are significantly cheaper than resin models which don’t.

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Auto Review News: February 2016

By Rod Ward

Auto Review is a series of compact, concise, affordable monographs on subjects related to transport, collecting and popular culture.

Auto Review Update

Our printers, Duffields, were wiped out by the floods in Yorkshire over Christmas. They were in Kirkstall Road, Leeds, next to the River Aire, which flooded the entire printing works, destroying all the machinery and paper stock. it was insured, but there was no chance of getting insurance in future. Martyn Duffield, who got us started with MAR back in 1981, is now in his sixties and didn’t fancy starting again from scratch in new premises elsewhere, so he sold up to a printing company in South Yorkshire, too far away for us. We therefore had to go through the process of finding other printers, getting quotes, assessing their abilities, and finally we chose a York company called Wood Richardson. They have just delivered the first two new Auto Review titles for 2016 (see below), and we look forward to a good relationship with them in future.

The latest two Auto Review titles, now available, are 117 Cord Corporation and 118 Borgward Album. You can read more about these new publications below. You can order any Auto Review book direct from us by email telephone or snail mail (payments by Paypal to – add £1.00 p&p per title in UK, £2.00 EU, £3.00 elsewhere. Or you can order online via Oxford Diecast online at our new link: From April 2016 we hope to have a new and updated presence at:

Auto Review 2016 titles

117 Cord Corporation:

AR 117 cord cover

Obviously Cord-Auburn-Duesenberg, but also Checker cab, Stinson aircraft, Vultee, American Airlines and much more, all owned by E L Cord at one time or another..

Available now

118 Borgward Album

AR 118 borgward cover

Including Pionier, Borgward, Hansa, Lloyd, Goliath, etc

Available now

119 Seddon and Atkinson: lorries and buses, including Seddon-Atkinson etc.

for publication in April 2016

120 A car less ordinary: Retro, repro & pastiche cars, plus novelty vehicles

for publication in April 2016

121 Spanish cars: Hispano-Suiza, Pegaso, Seat, Voisin, David and others

for publication in June 2016

122 Dennis Album: including cars, buses, trucks, fire appliances etc

for publication in June 2016

123 Tiny Wheels: micro cars, city cars, bubble cars, Aixam, Ligier, Keicars, Smart etc

for publication in August 2016

124 Volvo Album : All cars, trucks, buses etc

for publication in August 2016

125 Gloster Aircraft: Including Nieuport etc, and Gloster-Saro

for publication in October 2016

126 Optare, plus Charles Roe, East Lancs, etc

for publication in October 2016

Latest Releases

Auto Review 117 Cord Corporation

by Rod Ward

Errett Lobban Cord, born in 1894 in Missouri, was a super-salesman brought in to rescue the ailing Auburn car company. He soon took control of the firm, then he acquired Duesenberg, the top US luxury car maker of the period. He also took over Lycoming, who made the engines, plus coachbuilders and makers of other car components from axles to springs. EL Cord seems to have been very personable; not only did potential buyers find his approach irresistible, his employees were loyal, though he paid poor wages. He recognised his own lack of specialist expertise, always choosing to employ the best person for the job: managers, designers or engineers.

This publication moves from one personality to another, among the many gifted people to whom Cord chose to give his support. He launched a car marque under his own Cord name, took over the firm which made and operated Checker cabs, and diversified into aircraft manufacture with Stinson, Vultee and Avco, then into airlines when he created American Airlines. Not satisfied with cars and aviation, EL Cord also acquired a major shipbuilding firm and became a principal shareholder in a railway company. At one time or another, Cord was said to have controlled over 150 companies, but we don’t go into detail about them all here, only those of most interest to Auto Review readers. When his original empire collapsed in the late 1930s, EL Cord went on to own radio and television stations, and to invest in property, coal mines and even livestock.

Opinion was divided as to Cord’s character; a visionary, a charlatan, a financial genius, a stock manipulator? During the Great Depression Cord lost interest in his transport-related empire, which was subject to restrictions by the US authorities, so it was dismantled in 1937.

He never believed in looking back, always forward, and he went on to build another fortune and to become a respected legislator as a State Senator in Nevada. EL’s principal legacies in the 21st century are the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Automobile Museum, located in his old art deco headquarters in Auburn, Michigan, and the hundreds of Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg cars lovingly preserved around the world.

ISBN 978-1-85482-116-7 £5.95

Auto Review 118 Borgward Album

by Rod Ward

Carl Borgward is one of those characters who fascinate automotive historians. He was, like so many entrepreneurs, single-minded, autocratic and often disagreeable. His only interest was in his cars, not in the details of running a business, especially where money was concerned, and that blind-spot would ultimately spell his downfall. Carl Borgward’s achievements, and his lost opportunities, are described in this publication.

Borgward owners attested to the high standard of design, construction and materials used in their cars; much higher than one could expect for the price, especially in the case of the Isabella.

In fact the standard was too high for the prices charged, so it would always be hard for Borgward to make a profit. Owners were very loyal to the Borgward brand, keeping their cars much longer than those made by competitors. Little things like fully-adjustable seats, counterweighted bonnet and boot lids, reversing lights and selectable parking lights may be standard issue in the 21st century, but in the 1950s they were exceptionally rare in a middle-priced car.

My strongest personal memory of a Borgward was when I was a student of architecture. One of my tutors owned a white Isabella, which seemed to be an impossibly exotic car to own in early 1960s Yorkshire. I think that Trevor, who was a talented musician as well as an architect, must have developed his taste for Borgwards while playing with bands in Germany.

I have never owned a Borgward, but I now own a Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate car, which was built at the Sebaldsbrück plant in Bremen, the factory originally erected by Carl Borgward in 1938. I don’t think of the Mercedes-Benz as a Borgward, but I am aware that in a minor way it continues Carl Borgward’s legacy.

ISBN 978-1-85482-117-4 £5.99

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News from the Continent: BBR January 2016

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

BBR are hand made models designed in Italy with many made there too.  They are resin models made in 1:18 and 1:43 scale.

BBR 1803 The Ferrari 330 TRI LM – winner Le Mans 1962

1:18 scale edition of 400.

The 330 TR was a unique racing car produced by Ferrari in 1962. It is also known by two other names the 330 TRI/LM and the 330 TRI.
The most important victory won by the model was in the race for which it was designed and built, the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1962.  Driven by Phil Hill and Oliver Gendebien. The TR 330 was the last front-engined Ferrari to win the famous French race.

BBRC165SR Ferrari 488 GTB

1:43 scale edition of 50.
Painted in soft matt red

BBRC173MB/MW  Ferrari 488 Spider

Scale 1:43 – Limited edition of 32 pieces
Painted in matt black with red interior or matt white with red interior.

BLM1809 Ferrari 340/375 MM

1:18 scale edition of 150.
Phil Hill and Richie Ginther came home in second place at the 5th Carrera Panamericana in 1954. For this event the car was modified by Allen Guiberson, who had repainted it in white and had added a headrest and an aerodynamic fin. In 1955 this 340 MM was used successfully by Carroll Shelby in the Torrey Pines Race.

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