A Large-Scale 1963 Corvette

By Frank Koh

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

This is a story about re-purposed, battery operated 1:12-ish scale 1963 Corvette from New Bright Hong Kong (dated 1986). A little elbow grease and creativity have breathed new life into this really neat plastic piece.

New Bright continues to produce some really cool radio controlled vehicles up to the present time. This very realistic Corvette Sting Ray Coupe originally had a tethered remote and was a slow, clumsy drive, which is probably why its first owner cut the wires that mated the steering and throttle control box to the model. Seeing its potential as a convincing big-scale display piece, I took it apart, painstakingly buffed the black plastic body to a uniform glossy finish, and carefully detail painted the exterior and interior componentry.

The “Sidewinder” pipes below the passenger compartment were a popular option, until the car owner’s girlfriend accidentally received second degree burns when alighting from the car! The trademark “Knock-Off” wheels were also nicely replicated in this big scale car. However, the rear track of the model seemed a bit exaggerated, most likely done on purpose to make the remote control a bit easier to maneuver.

The legendary 1963-only Split Window design of the Corvette Sting Ray coupe makes it a favorite among collectors.

The New Bright Corvette featured retractable headlights that could be illuminated with a flick of the switch on the original control panel.

I replicated the real car’s rosewood steering wheel by tweaking a jar of Tamiya Metallic Copper Acrylic. The gauge surrounds and inserts, including the needles, were picked out with silver paint using a toothpick. Take note of the “T-Handle” shifter, an obvious aftermarket add-on replicated in this New Bright Corvette. Also while those sport mirrors are definitely not era-correct, they added a pleasing touch to the “modded” look of the car.

With poseable steering and a pair of retractable headlight assemblies, this old ‘Vette shows its versatility and is capable of being displayed as the mood of the moment dictates. Okay, so it’s not an expensive hand built resin masterpiece of recent manufacture, but do those limited-edition high end models have peek-a-boo lights and front wheels that steer? 


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Greenlight C30 Chevrolet Ramp Truck and Z-28 Camaro

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Greenlight has developed a range of ramp trucks carrying an appropriate car. Most are in the HD Trucks series and are to 1:64 scale. There are two ramp trucks used a Ford F-350 and a Chevrolet C30 but both are finished as different model year cabs in different sets. Both appear to be fitted with an identical ramp section. These models are diecast in China for the US.

This article looks at the set featuring a Chevrolet C30 from 1970 paired with a 1971 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28. Both are painted black and look well together.

Chevrolet C-30 Ramp Truck 1970

This ramp truck is nicely made and even the sides of the ramp section are cast in metal, though the side rails, protection bar and deck are plastic inserts with the metal tread areas finished in silver.

This is a model of the second generation C30 which was in production from 1967 to 1972 with minor changes to the styling along the way.

Unlike many other Greenlight models the bonnet does not open. The cab is a nice casting with the key features of the 1970 Grille modelled and badging neatly printed. The windscreen wipers are neatly done as body mouldings into the screen surround and all is finely printed in silver. Greenlight’s contracted producers show that they can print silver into the window openings very effectively, something some other manufacturers factories seem to be unable to do. Body side lights, door handles, and locks are all printed in silver in a neat manner.

The rear of the ramp area is a little disappointing. There should clearly be more lights. Just two printed in the central section is not convincing. One expects some drop down units below the hinge area for the ramps. The ramps are also an issue. All the Greenlight publicity shows them in a vertical position clipped onto the hinge areas on the bed, but mine don’t clip on at all. They can be posed resting on the hinge area for loading but the indent in them is nowhere near the correct size to clip on to the bed. This is a shame.

Inside the model is black with no picked out details. A wide bench seat sits in front of a steering wheel and dash board with quite a bit of moulded detail for instruments, stalks on steering column, and the steering wheel seems to have a central section moulded in a Chevy logo shape. All this can be seen as the cab glazing has been modelled with the windows down.

The wheels are neatly moulded and fitted with good rubber tyres, the rear set is double wheels which would have been fitted to allow the ramp to hold a heavy load. The ‘chroming’ is perhaps a little bright but custom wheels were often fitted to such trucks.

Chevrolet Z-28 Camaro 1971

Here we do get an opening part, the bonnet lifts to reveal a bright orange painted V8 engine with a large silver air filter on top.

This is a second generation Camaro as made from 1970 to 1981. Introduced to counter the runaway success of the Ford Mustang The Z-28 was a special version fitted with a V8 from the Corvette and given the twin body stripes. It was a homologation special to allow Chevy to race against Ford’s Mustangs which they did with considerable success.

This model captures the shape of the second generation car well and even shows the live rear axle and cart springs amongst the detail on the base. The body stripes are neatly printed but the white is perhaps printed a little thinly, though it does have the fine outline borders printed very effectively. The front lights are printed in white and the grille has been well modelled and printed in black with the Z-28 badge overprinted finely. Bumper and grille surround are printed well in silver.

The glazing features fully open sides allowing a view of the interior which has no printed detail but does have a nicely modelled set of seats, central console and dashboard. Looking at pictures of the Z-28 interior from that year it seems well modelled and the steering wheel appears to be correct too. The window rims are printed silver where applicable and again into the casting so no lines of body colour appear within them. The silver could have been better applied on the back screen where the silver is not a consistent width and finish on one side.

The side badging, lights and door fitments are all printed well, as is the chrome strip along the sills. The wheels are excellent replicas of the originals though they would have looked even better with a black wash. The printed name details on the tyres are excellent.

To the rear the lights are printed in red over a silver base print. The base silver is straight but the red overprint is off centre rather spoiling the effect. The bumpers are neatly moulded in and overprinted in silver and the Z-28 badging on the boot lid is very tiny but accurately printed in several colours.

As with the C30 no number plates are printed on.


In the US these 1:64 models sell for many times more US Dollars than a standard range Hot Wheels or Matchbox model, though they are still far from expensive. The level of detail and finish is superior to the cheaper models and justifies the higher prices charged. This is a nice set marred slightly by the fact the ramps do not fit properly and the rear light printing was not registered correctly, others may find that neither of these faults afflict their models.


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Majorette Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Every now and again whilst doing the weekly shop I will stop and look at the toy cars on offer. UK Supermarkets tend to stock fewer toy cars now as Matchbox and Hot Wheels have both increased considerably in price over the last couple of years. So on a recent visit to the shops recently I was surprised to find that Morrisons stocked a few of the pocket money Majorette models which are not widely available in the UK even if they are stocked in most French Supermarkets!.

This article continues the Italian theme we seem to have developed this month and looks at the 1:57 scale Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder diecast in Thailand for Schuco-Dickie in Germany in their Majorette Street Cars range.

The Alfa Romeo 4C was launched in 2013 and is built at Maserati‘s Modena plant. Is a two seat, mid-engined car, with rear wheel drive. It is powered by a turbocharged 1750cc four cylinder engine giving 240 BHP fitted into a lightweight carbon fibre chassis and clad with composite outer panels giving a very low weight. It was available as a Coupe until 2018 and is now only available as a Spyder. It has a top speed of around 160 MPH. It was the first Alfa Romeo in many years to appear on the US market.

The styling of the 4C reflected the 8C launched several years earlier which influenced Alfa Romeo styling to this day from the baby MiTo, through the Guiletta and Guilia, to the Stelvio SUV.

The Majorette model is made in Thailand and in common with other toy brands from made there, like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, it is inexpensive, has generic wheels and features a simplified level of detail. Built with a metal body with plastic chassis and wheels it also features flat printed detail where more expensive models would have moulded areas. Unfortunately some of the printing has feathered edges when crisp ones would be more realistic.

The shape of the model is good capturing the flowing lines well. It reflects the earlier years of production before the car had a few detail changes. The wheels are generic plastic items but suit the car well enough as the original allow wheels are large with low profile tyres too, though certainly more accurate wheels would make this less of a toy.

The front end has separately inserted clear plastic headlights which is an improvement from the silver printed ones on many budget models and the front grilles are neatly sculpted into the model though they are flat and simply painted gloss black which again betrays the fact that they are toys. The Alfa Romeo logo on the central grille is nicely printed and clear even at this small scale. No front number plate holder is moulded in.

At the rear the cars lines are well caught with the carbon roll bar painted gloss black and the vents on the engine cover treated in the same way. Although simplistic and lacking in moulded detail this is an effective solution. The rear number plate is too low for its height but is actually a tab holding the base of the car into the body! Rear lights are printed and are oval and not the round shape that the moulding and the real car display, though the extra brake light on the engine cover is correctly printed. Again a nice clear Alfa Romeo badge is printed on.

From the side the car lacks the matt black finish in the air intake scoop that the real car has, and the door handle could be better defined. Other than that it is well profiled and sits well.

The large glazed window unit has the frame printed in black and a wiper moulded in, but not picked out. It seems to be a good size and angle to reflect the unit on the real car.

The base is simplistic and largely devoid of details other than a few lines for front suspension and exhausts erroneously running all the way to the front of the car. The interior moulding is spoilt by boxes moulded in to clear the trapped wire suspension on the base. It is a shame as the rest of the moulding has a bit of detail including some moulded dash detail and the signature squared off lower section of the steering wheel.

So lots of compromises made so that this model could be produced at a pocket money price and to sell to the age three and up general toy market, but there are few errors. All in all a nice effort for a pocket money toy.


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Pego and Projetto K Alfas

By Karl Schnelle

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

After some readers commented on Maz’s recent article on the Pego Lancia, I decided to do some investigations into that Italian company. How are they related to Projetto K, another 1/43 maker from Italy? After many internet searches, it seems that Pego bought or combined with Projetto K around 1993. Wiki has an excellent article about Projetto K but nothing about Pego. It seems that the combined company lasted until 2011.

Coincidentally, ten years ago I saw some Pego Alfa Romeos for sale, and after a year or two looking for good prices I acquired four of them. At that time, I looked for more and could not find any.

In addition to wiki, another good source of online information is ebay – not to buy but to see what is for sale. Today, 200 Pegos are for sale there wordwide. Many, many color or racing/Police variations are shown but only five different castings! The Lancia in the previous article and the four Alfas that I bought seem to be the only ones they ever made under the Pego brand. Their silver Alfa Romeo 146 is below.

Four normal Italian sedans and a hatchback all came in the same style 3-piece box and are made in China. The perspex display case was packed in a thick open half-box which was then surrounded by a thin silver card outer box. The white Alfa 90 is a 1986 model according to the box.

Their silver 33 is labeled as a 1983. The boxes have two addresses for Pego Italia printed on them, both near Florence, in Ponte A Elsa and in Sesto Fiorentino.

Then the final Pego pictured here is the Alfa 145, the 3-door hatch version of the 146. No date is on the box, so I assume this was contemporary to the full size version from 1995-98.

Do any of our readers know the Pego history and if other models were issued under that brand?

Exem

Back in the year 2000, I also acquired a couple 1/43 Exem Alfa Romeo SZ models, made by Pego in Italy. These are more detailed than the Projetto K or Pego models and are in resin. On ebay now, there are only 100 for sale globally but there are many, many castings this time – all 2-door Italian or English sports cars plus a Fiat van. (By comparison, there are 500 Projetto K’s for sale on ebay now!) I found not much at all online about them. Pego catalogs were seen from 1995 to 2004 with Exem models included, though.   Two box colors were seen:

Both boxes have Pego Italia, Sesto Fiorentino, printed on them, When did Pego make them, at the same time as the Pego branded ones? Is the blue one the newer style box? More questions to answer…


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Autocult Releases 4/5 2019

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. All photographs provided by the Manufacturer.

This article looks at the last two releases of models by Autocult. These are cast in resin to 1:43 scale with photoetched details, and are made in China for Germany. As ever they represent rare of unusual vehicles from across a wide time frame.

Release 4


This release features:

  • Steyr 100 “Asien Stey – from the category ‘past brands
  • Benz 35/40 Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen – from the category ‘the early beginnings
  • Thompson House Car – from the category ‘camping vehicles’
  • Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato – from the category ‘prototypes
#02018 Steyr 100 ‘Asien-Steyr’  (Austria, 1934)

Max Reisch was born in Kufstein in the Austrian Tyrol in 1912 and made a name for his long distance motorcycle journeys. Using the reputation he had earned he approached Steyr-Daimler-Puch AG in 1934 for material and financial support for his next trip.

Instead of a motorbike they offered him the recently launched Steyr 100 so that the trip would be combined with a major promotional tour for the new car. Max Reisch accepted and the first step was to get the expedition car changed to his suggestion of a pick-up version.

The trip began in April 1935 and Max Reisch along with his partner Helmuth Hahmann left Vienna and travelled to Palestine, Syria and Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. From there they went via Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand and Laos to Vietnam and China. After 14 months they arrived at their final destination Shanghai.

When they arrived in Shanghai instead of finishing they decided to continue their journey and took a passage on a ship to Japan and to the USA. After a brief pause the men and their Steyr headed to Mexico from where they sailed back to Bremerhaven.

Circumnavigating the world would be an amazing feat now but in 1935 with minimal engineering and spares back up it was an incredible achievement.

#01001 Benz 35/40 Prinz-Heinrich-Wagen (Germany, 1906)

The Benz 35/40 was the pinnacle of the Benz company output early in 1900. It was powered by a 3,380cc four cylinder engine producing 35 to 40 horsepower which could power the car up to 55 MPH via a leather lined clutch and chain or cardan drive. It was one of the fastest vehicles on the public roads at the time.

This was an expensive chassis and was generally fitted with a luxurious bodywork.

Albert Wilhem Heinrich of Prussia; the brother of the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was an early motoring enthusiast and Benz owner. His Benz 35/40 double phaeton modelled here participated in the 1,700 kilometers long-distance race “Herkomer-Konkurrenz” on 6-12 of June 1906.

#09010 Thompson House Car (USA, 1934)

Little is known of Arthur Thompson, who was said to have been a watchmaker from Ontario in California, the creator of this vehicle.

This 1930s vehicle took seven years to develop and build. It was based upon a Studebaker chassis fitted with a six-cylinder engine. Onto the chassis he formed a car body, passenger and camper compartment, all made out of aluminium. Over the conventional, solid structure he fixed another almost identical structure, which could be lifted like the popup campers of today. It was connected to the body by a combination of rods and fold-able fabric parts and was driven by an ingenious series of gears. Once in place it was possible for an grown person to stand upright.

It is not clear how many of these campers were built some references quote four, others no definite figure. One still existed in a museum in Sacramento in 2007 as photographs on the web show.

#06032 Ferrari 330 GTC Zagato (Italy, 1974)

In 1968, the last year of production of the Ferrari 330 GTC, chassis number 10659 was shipped to the USA. The buyer was the US-American Ferrari importer and former race driver Luigi Chinetti.

The car was first sold to Robert V. Kennedy of Cambridge, Massachusetts who sold it on to an unknown owner before it was accident damaged and ended back the hands of the US importer in the early 1970s. Instead of simply reconditioning the car he gave it to Zagato for a completely new design. Elio Zagato and his team created a new body for the Italian sportscar in the new style, without any curves and with several extravagant design features, which were new on a Ferrari. The most prominent feature were the front lights behind plexiglass covers, but the rear to had special features. Beside the eye-catching body there were new safety features built in underneath that could not be seen.And the whole car was topped off by a removable targa top.

This unique car was exhibited by Zagato at the Geneva Motor Show in 1974 and was shown at the Concour d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 1996.


Release 5

This release features:

  • Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe Figoni & Falaschi – from the category ‘past brands’
  • BMW 340/1 Roadster – from the category ‘prototypes’
  • Bedford SB3 Mobile Cinema – from the category ‘buses’
  • Mercedes-Benz 150H Sport-Limousine from the category ‘racing cars’.
#02019 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé (France, 1949)

In the years following the Second World War things were hard for most people and the pre-war days of outrageous spending and glamour were replaced by a more serious and less frivolous era. In such a market pre-war bodybuilders such as Figoni & Falaschi found a lot fewer takers for their extravagant designs.

The model made by Autocult is one of their last designs based on the chassis of a Talbot Lago T26 . The car was ordered by the ‘Zipper King’ Mister Fayolle and featured a zipper-like string of horizontal chrome strips on its front hood. The car then made its way to the United States, where Lindley Locke bought it in 1960. But Locke’s interest in the exclusive French car was passing and soon the car was garaged and forgotten.

47 years later the car saw the light of the day again. After its restoration it was presented for the first time at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach in 2018; exactly 70 years after its creation. The Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe was one of the highlights of the show.

#06029 BMW 340/1 Roadster (Germany, 1949)

In August 1946 the BMW plant in Eisenach was taken into the state owned AWTOWELO AG. In the spring of 1948 the first prototypes of a new car were finished, and in October 1949 series production of the new BMW 340 sedan began. After international legal battles between West and East German companies over the right to use the BMW name the East Germans changed the name of their cars to EMW, after their place of manufacture Eisenacht Motoren Werke.

Whilst the saloon version was being developed designer Hans Fleischer designed a sporty two-seater. The BMW 340/1 was a prototype based on the 340. It was a convertible with a sleeker body and lower bonnet line and greatly modified grille. The sports car was fitted with the 55 hp six-cylinder engine from the 340.

The project was taken seriously by the Soviet dominated German industry and it was publicly exhibited on the AWTOWELO stand at a trade fair in Leipzig in 1949. Long distance testing and some road racing were all undertaken to prove the car but it never went into series production. This is thought to be because there was little place for a sports car in the planned economy of a war ravaged country struggling to rebuild itself and which needed utilitarian vehicles much more.

#10004 Bedford SB3 Mobile Cinema (Great Britain, 1967)

In the early 1960s the then Prime Ministerof the UK, Harold Wilson, made a speech about the “White heat of Technology”, and the challenges that faced the UKs industries to adapt and exploit the new developments in science and engineering. A Ministry of Technology was created and its role was to inform manufacturing industry about new production techniques and opportunities.

Nowadays this outreach would be done by a team of consultants creating web sites, emails, and tweets and hoping that people round the country would interact with them. But in the 1960s the officials realised that they had to get out and visit Industry face to face round the country to spread the message. One way to do this was to take films and lecturing staff to visit key staff at industrial companies.

To allow this to take place the Ministry of Technology ordered seven trucks and trailers in 1967. The equipment was produced by Coventry Steel Caravans (CSC) a company based in Warwick which was famous for the trailers they had produced in the war, for the MInistry of Agriculture, and for industrial customers, as well as for making Caravans. CSC also built the bodywork for a cinema on wheels on a Bedford SB 3 coach chassis. With a capacity of up to 24 seats managers could watch the films on a cinema screen that was located at the rear end of the interior. The cinematic equipment was controlled from a Plexiglas dome above the driver’s cab. Inside the trailer displays were fitted to complement the films.

Seven Bedford trailer combinations were on the roads across the United Kingdom between 1967 and 1974 managed by the state and Industry sponsored Production Engineering Research Association (PERA).

#07015 Mercedes-Benz 150H Sport-Limousine (Germany, 1934)

The 1934 Mercedes-Benz Type 150 was unusual with its mid-engine. After the W30 the Type 150 was the second Mercedes-Benz which had its engine positioned as far as possible toward the centre of the vehicle. Never suited to mass production it was however very suitable for racing. The influences of Tatra and others are clear in the styling of this car.

Six such sports cars were built by Mercedes-Benz all built to compete in the class “V” in the second ‘2000 km durch Deutschland’ (2000 km of Germany). On July 21, 1934, at 5:35 am, all six were positioned on the starting line. All models were fitted with a 1.5 litre, water-cooled ohv four-stroke engine with a power rating of 55 hp. The engine closely related to that fitted to the Type 130. Four drivers finished their race with a gold medal. After the 2000 km of Germany the cars competed in another race in August 1934; the rally Liège-Rome-Liège. The driver Hans-Joachim Bernet led the field between Rome and Pisa and completed the section perfectly with the score of “zero penalty points”.

Despite this racing history Mercedes-Benz had no use for the six cars and in the end all the vehicles were destroyed. Several parts of the bodies and the chassis were reused for the development of a conventional front engined roadster which was launched in 1935.


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Pego Lancia Beta

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The Lancia Beta was a luxury car produced by Lancia shortly after they had been taken over by Fiat using much technology from Fiat stock rooms to bring the model to the market quickly. It was produced from 1972 to 1984. It was made in several styles but this article looks at a model of the fastback saloon which was sold as the Berline.

The car was well received by the motoring press for its quality fittings, comfort, space handling, and performance. Sadly, the first series of cars was exceptionally quick to rust so they depreciated badly and were the main factor in the decline of the Lancia brand in the UK. It is said that the cars used Soviet steel sent to Fiat in exchange for royalties to build the Lada, but as far as I know this has not been proven. Poor preparation and rust protection may also have played their part as this was the era of frequent strikes and poor build quality for many makers. Indeed so bad was the rust on relatively new cars that the UK Distributors were said to have bought back and crushed a significant number of the cars in an attempt to maintain brand loyalty.

The model is by Pego a brand that I had never heard of before and which does not seem to have a wide distribution outside Italy. The firms addresses are in Italy but I cannot find any web presence at all. They seem to have made only a few models, all of Italian cars, and all appear in multiple colours and some in rally, or rally assistance liveries too:

  • Alfa Romeo 90
  • Alfa Romeo 146
  • Alfa Romeo 33
  • Lancia Beta Berlina

Here we look at the Lancia Beta Berlina which is available in several colours and in rally assistance liveries. The model that we are looking at is in red. And as far as I can determine is the only version of the first generation Beta Berlina currently available in this scale. It is modelled to 1:43 scale and made in China with a diecast body and plastic base.

The model box and its fittings as well as the standard of the model suggests that it may have been made by Universal Hobbies for Pego. Perhaps in that case it has already appeared in a part work or may do so in the future. Though, unusually, the model has Pego moulded into the base rather than printed, and also printed on its plinth. This may mean that Pego has exclusive use of the moulding – we will see.

The Beta was an attractive car for a family saloon and the transverse front mounted engine made for a spacious interior and a large boot space. The model catches the overall shape of the body very well, though I think that the side windows are a little shallow. However this is difficult to determine as the car has the body printed silver window surrounds often also seen on Oxford Diecast models. Whilst this detracts less from the model in 1:43 scale it is still a shame as flush fitting widows would have been a much better solution.

The wheels are neat mouldings of the alloys fitted to the original car though they could have done with a darkened centre from the pictures of 1972 cars on the web.

The front grille is an excellent unit with separate light lenses inserted and though my photographs do not shown it clearly the Lancia Badge in the centre of the grille is nicely done. The front indicators in the bumper have not been mounted straight which is easily remedied with a careful push back into place. The windscreen wipers are plastic plated items produced quite finely and seem rather more realistic than some etched ones are.

At the rear we have nice separate lights, albeit that the fixing lug shows through too obviously. Curiously the rear number plate was not fitted to the car but attached by clear tape under the base. It would have been nice to have period authentic number plates printed front and rear but they are absent from this model. The Lancia badging which shows that this is a Beta 1800 LX is neatly printed on the boot lid.

Inside the model is a moulded tub in black with no details picked out. The dashboard and central console have been moulded in some detail and the door cards have the door furniture modelled in. A steering wheel is fitted with some moulding to it to match the real car. It is all is very difficult to see as the glazing unit is pretty thick.

Although model has some shortcomings it is a welcome addition to my collection. The original car sadly never lived up to its promise but hopefully my model will not rust as quickly!


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Greenlight Lincoln Continental 1965

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

This article looks at another 1:43 scale LIncoln from Greenlight. Here we have the 1965 Lincoln Continental in standard wheelbase form. The model has been produced by Greenlight in two colours Madison Grey Metallic, as featured in this article, and Wimbledon White.

The model represents the fourth generation of Lincoln Continental and its styling was a radical change from the third generation with its fussy styling and attempt to provide every body style you could ever want, though several sold in very low numbers indeed. The third generation was significantly cheaper than its predecessor but that contributed to Mercury making a substantial loss from 1958 to 1960. The fourth generation was subtle in form and detail and returned US premium car brands to styling based upon a restrained dignity. It was only available in saloon and convertible forms, though specialist coach builders did provide lengthened versions. By focusing on quality and driving down faults the car quickly gained a reputation for being well made as well as good looking.

During the model life, it ran from 1961 to 1969, there were constant changes to details and the 1964/65 cars are recognisable by having a revised front grille which is flat apart from a small bulging centre section and the secondary lights which are relocated from the bumper to the edges of the front wings.

Now to the model. The Greenlight appears to be accurately detailed for a 1965 car and the body shape seems to be excellent. I wonder whether the model is made for them by Universal Hobbies as it shares many details in common with the James Bond Collection Lincoln from Goldfinger, though that was based on the previous version of the car with a different grille and was modelled with the boot open. The roof section appears to be made out of plastic so a convertible should also be possible from the same casting.

The model has been beautifully painted with the metal and plastic parts matched in colour. The chrome features on the real car are all well replicated too with excellent bumpers, grilles and the like.

The lights are all separate plastic parts with neat chrome surrounds and even the headlights look convincing, without the visible peg that mars some budget models. Front, back and side windows are all flush fitting inserts with chrome printed on where needed. The door handles are printed over raised mouldings but they actually look finer than separate ones would have done.

The wipers are moulded and plated in silver, not etched, but that gives them three dimensions and they are quite finely moulded which makes them very acceptable. The printed badging is excellent as is the Continental emblem on the bonnet.

Inside is finished in tan leather effect seats and door cards with a darker brown rear parcel shelf. The dashboard is excellent with the black padded top moulded and the chrome strip with printed instruments in place beneath it. It also has a neat deep dished steering wheel.

Finally the wheels seem to match some 1965 cars on the Internet well. The thinner whitewalls used are appropriate as these shrank in width throughout the 1960s. The wheel centres and trim match several 1965 cars on the web.

If I have a criticism it is of the generic ’65 LNCN’ plates the car carries. Some real period US plates would have been nice. But that is a minor flaw on a good model.

All in all an excellent budget model of a very attractive car. I hope that these sell so well that Greenlight are encouraged to make more models of American classics in 1:43 scale.


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Porsche’s Pink Pigs

By Matt Beaumont

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The story behind the ‘Truffelhunter from Zuffenhausen’ begins in 1970 when Porsche’s best boffins were playing with two versions of their LMP: the 917K, as in Kurzheck, which is German for short-tail, and the 917L Langheck (long tail). The K car had its rear end lopped off to generate more down force, but that also caused more drag, while the long-tail was a more slippy version designed specifically for Le Mans and in particular the 6km long Mulsanne Straight. In 1970 to everyone’s surprise the K car still beat the L, and all the Ferraris

So in 1971 Porsche engineers together with the French company SERA attempted to combine the advantages of the K and L 917s. However, the results were not pretty. This Frankenstein car was wider with a snouty front end and a short (but not curly) tail. Rumour has it that when the car got back to Stuttgart both Porsche’s race team and the Italian sponsors at Martini & Rossi were so unimpressed that they didn’t want their iconic blue and red livery on the new racer. And so the porcine nickname was born, but in a brilliant piece of PR, Porsche designer Anatole Lapine decided in favour of the pink body colour and labelled each of the body parts according to the butcher-style cuts. Porsche caused a sensation at Le Mans 1971 with the first Pink Pig

It may not have been the best looking version of the 917 but the aerodynamics worked … sort of. It was the fastest car during the pre-race qualification session despite it being an untested experimental design. However, during the main event the Pink Pig, running well in fifth position, eventually retired with mechanical maladies. Only later in the strip down postmortem did they realise that the new piggy body was playing havoc with the brakes and other oily bits.

So a livery that started as a bit of a joke is now one of the most iconic liveries ever to grace a Porsche, There have been numerous vehicles to sport this livery an on line search shows that it found its way on to many different vehicles.

This brings me to the review of Spark’s rendition of the car Porsche ran at LeMans in 2018.

Porsche fielded two special Porsche 911 RSR at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans: The factory-run cars with the starting numbers 91 and 92 sported the traditional Le Mans liveries of the 1970s and 1980s.

The finish of the number 92 car, shared by race drivers Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), harks back to the Porsche 917/20 that tackled Le Mans in 1971. This car reached the top step on the LMGTE Pro podium, claiming the German marque’s first trophy in the class since 2013! 

The Model

This review is based on my own opinion after looking closely at the model that I recently bought.  

Spark have released two versions of this model. It first appeared in an exclusive to Porsche dealer release in specific packaging and with a display case as do many of the Spark Porsche dealer models part number WAP0219250K. This limited release commanded over £300, an awful lot of money for a sealed resin model however good it may be.

Spark have just released their standard version with their own packaging part number 18S393 which I managed to pick up for less than half the cost of an official Porsche issue. It has no display case but I don’t find this an issue especially at the cost saving the Spark branded release offered.

The only discernible differences between the two issues is the box, the base the model is screwed to, and the perspex cover that the Porsche dealer issue has.

The Exterior

Finished in a fetching pink colour with the butchers cut markings and sponsorship decals Spark have upheld their reputation for a the high quality finish which I have come to expect from them ( this is the sixth Porsche from them in my collection).

The shape and appearance has been caught very well showing off the 991 RSRs brutish lines and its striking aerodynamic package.

The glazing is nicely done and the lights have very good details (though the front ones are better executed than the rears ) there is a plethora of tiny aerials and antenna’s on the roof.  

The carbon fibre is very well replicated where it appears at various points on the car and the wheels and tyres are really nicely done, with detailed “AP Racing” brakes showing behind the large diameter alloy wheels. Both wheel and tyre manufacture labelling is present.

The Underside

When mounted on its base, as many of these models will remain, there is very little of the underside that can be seen, other than the exhaust system and the rear diffuser.

The Interior

As with most resin models this can be only viewed through the window apertures, namely the windscreen and doors, as the rear ¼ windows and screen are blacked out as the RSR is a mid-engined car and not a rear engined one like its road going sibling.  But what can be seen looks well done and gives a very good view of a busy yet spartan race car’s interior

In Summary

Personally, I am very pleased to obtain this model to join my three other “Pink Pig Porsches” and I am very happy with the model. I think that the Spark edition is a reasonable price and much more affordable than the previous dealer edition which appears to give very little in return for the extra outlay of money!

These are your only options to buy this car in 1:18 scale but I would not be surprised to see other manufacturers produce their own versions of this car in the future as collectors are be drawn to the ‘porkiest of Porsches’.


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Atlas Dinky Collection – Estafette Camping

By Maz Woolley

Here we have another model from the Atlas France‘s Dinky ‘WIth Opening Parts’ collection. This did not appear in the UK Atlas Dinky Deluxe collection unlike many others from the French Collection.

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

This is French Dinky #565 Estafette Renault “Camping”. The model was launched by French Dinky in 1965 and is marked 1/43 scale on its base. It stayed in production until 1971. It only ever appeared in blue with a cream roof and it was one of many variants of the Estafette French DInky made. It was sold in a delightfully illustrated box, shown above, with two Estafette campers in a pleasant rural location next to a lake which Atlas has replicated well.

The Estafette was in many ways a forerunner of the vans of today with a front wheel drive configuration and a flat load area. It was launched in 1959 powered by the 850cc Dauphine engine re-engineered with a new gearbox for mounting at the front and it was an immensely popular and long lived van in France finally giving way to the Renault Trafic in 1980.

Here Dinky has modelled it as a camper van with the three way opening rear doors modelled as well as the sliding side door. Inside they have included a nice set of camping fittings including a gaily covered bench seat.

All in all a very nice toy which somehow manages to capture the real vehicle well and shows what would have been on continental camp sites apart from the ubiquitous Volkswagen Transporter based vans.

A shame that Atlas did not include this in the UK series as it is an excellent model. This model is sometimes seen at a reasonable price on eBay being sold by Chinese vendors.


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Matchbox Moving Parts

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Hot on the heels of the anniversary Superfast models Mattel has launched a Matchbox Moving Parts series. This article looks at the first three models in the series. Two are of vehicles that appeared in the original 1960s Matchbox range, and one is of a modern US SUV.

Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback 1965.

Known in the UK as the 1600TL this vehicle appeared in the original Matchbox 1-75 range in regular and superfast wheels. The red paint used is reminiscent of one of the finishes on the original car, though I think it is rather darker. The reproduction is generally similar to the original model but there are some disappointing differences. Firstly the glazing is very thick and the window openings are compromised by the thicker plastic at the top and sides. The steering wheel is just moulded into the dashboard and is not a separate part like the original had.

Underneath we get a plastic base with some moulded in detail and wheels that are very wide like those fitted to Johnny Lightning models and bearing no resemblance to those of the original model.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

We do get a VW badge printed on the bonnet, printed headlight markings, rear amber and red painted lenses, and number plates. Mind you the plates just have a German flag and unrealistic letters and numbers and they are too wide and too shallow. So those wanting to buy a bit of Matchbox history are frankly better off buying a battered original model and repainting it.


Pontiac Grand Prix 1964

Another vehicle originally seen in the Matchbox 1-75 range with both regular and speedwheels. This was always a lovely casting and though this is a replica it still looks good. The purple shade is again reminiscent of one used on the superfast version of the original 1-75 model., though again it is not quite the same with its metal flake finish.

The underneath is similar to the VW as it has the same over wide wheels and a plastic base with some moulded detail.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

Sadly the model is again treated to a clumsy very over thick glazing unit which is so thick it protrudes behind the A pillar so it fills part of the door area. Inside the steering wheel is again crudely moulded into the dashboard whereas the original has a separate wheel on a column.

Here we get no printing on headlights and no coloured rear lights either, nor are any number plates fitted.


Nissan Xterra

Here we get what to me seems a strange choice. The version of the Xterra modelled was made between 1999 and 2004 so it neither formed part of the original 1-75 series nor is it an up to date choice for younger buyers. Presumably it will appeal to US model buyers?

European model collectors may not be familiar with the Xterra as it was never sold here. It was a basic ladder framed pick up truck chassis bodied with a utilitarian separate five door body and the obligatory large standard roof rack. It was sold as both two wheel and four wheel drive and It was made originally in the US and Brazil. Once replaced there by an updated model tooling passed on to Iran and to China where it was badged as a Dong Feng. Sold as a sports utility vehicle (SUV) it seems to me to fall lamentably short of the sports element of the name.

The only moving part is an opening tailgate which does not even fully open.

Again we get a plastic base, but one with little detail in this case. The wheels are again over wide even for a off road vehicle. Here the thickness of the window unit is not an issue and the interior is a simply moulded component though the steering wheel is moulded so it is separate from the dash board though it does then have a curious hole in the bottom of the tub underneath it.


I understand that this range is not being imported into the UK by Matchbox so it is not surprising that the next wave of releases features no more classic Matchbox models and includes US favourites like the Datsun 280ZX, Chevy C10 and Tesla X.