By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless stated otherwise.
Recently a small number of the Atlas Dinky 1410 Moskvitch have been sold on eBay by sellers based in China. I have always wanted one of the French Dinky Toys Moskvitch models to go with my USSR/Russian made Moskvitch models so I bought one. Of course it is possible that one will also turn up in the Atlas UK Deluxe Dinky series in which case I will have two!
The model was launched by French Dinky in 1968 and was based on a Moskvitch 408 with a 1360cc engine. The model was withdrawn in 1971. The Moskvitch 408 car was launched in 1964 and replaced by the 412 in 1967 so the French Dinky was already out of date when launched.
The Model is in a reproduction of one of the later style of picture boxes with the car drawn but none of the nice backgrounds shown on earlier models.
The French Dinky came in three different colours: metallic bronze, metallic blue, and red. Here Atlas has chosen to reproduce the deep red colour.
The quad headlights and grille are very nicely reproduced and with some effort the front hinged bonnet can be made to sit properly.
Interestingly for a model sold in France the number plates look to be Soviet ones in the format used from 1960 onwards with the area code last. I can find no listing of where ‘MML’ was issued, which is what the Cyrillic letters say, but Moscow would be my guess.
The rear of the car is very nicely modelled with the upright lights of the 408 well captured and the additional lights on the rear panel too.
The opening bonnet shows quite a bit of detail and has a slightly complicated front hinge. Inside the car there is a basic white plastic interior with a black plastic steering wheel and unusually no recess for the footwell in front of the front seats.
Here in the UK the Moskvitch sold modestly but it was cheap, came with a complete tool kit and was a tough car. It was also sucessfully campaigned in saloon car racing by the importer. In that period saloon car classes were based on sales price putting a Moskvitch with a strong OHC 1500cc engine in the same class as basic MIni and Imps.
Behind the Iron Curtain.
The French Dinky model may have gone out of production in 1971 but the casting went on to live a second life. In the Soviet Union the French Dinky spawned copies and new versions such as estates, vans and pickups.
When you compare a Saratov made Moskvitch model like the estate car shown below you can see the similarities. Though chrome here, and black in the French Dinky, the engine casting looks identical. Look inside and the funny interior with no cutouts for the floor wells and the bulge where the steering column would be looks identical to the French Dinky. Even the seats look the same, albeit with a rear extension in the estate car.
The USSR made model shown has a slightly different means of attaching the bonnet, the indicators on the front wings are slightly less pronounced, and the grille is from a rectangular headlight second series car. The ventilator window frames are also a little larger on the USSR made model. So the conclusion is that the Saratov model is derived from the Dinky without being a straight copy.
The Soviet model has nicer wheels than the Dinky as the wheel embellishers are etched in to the concave section and the wheels are smaller and tyres more finely moulded.
As the photographs show the French Dinky makes a nice companion to the Soviet made model which was bought from a Berioshka (Foreign Tourist only) shop in a hotel in Leningrad in the Gorbachev era.
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