All posts by Maz Woolley

Atlas Dinky 531 FIAT Grande Vue

By Maz Woolley

 

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The latest model from the Atlas Dinky Collection has shipped quickly after the last. It is a replica of the French Dinky FIAT 1200 Granluce which was top of the range variant of the popular FIAT 1100 range with a more powerful engine and better finish and fittings.

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The model has been produced in ivory with a pearly blue roof which was one of the two options available the other being bronze with a cream roof  as illustrated on the box. Personally I would have preferred the model in bronze but the colours used are realistic.

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This model started as 24N and was then renumbered 531. 531 was in production from 1959 to 1962.  Atlas claims that this model was sold in the UK and Spain as well as in France but my reference books do not list this as a model officially sold in the UK by Dinky.

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The Dinky is quite a good replica of the original as shown on some brochures but many cars actually had extra painted and chromed areas on the side of the car rather than the single chrome strip modelled. The painted roof ought to have extended down as show in the brochure picture below.

 

FIAT Granluce 1200

This FIAT car design was destined to have a long life being made in India for many years in Mumbai and being a common taxi cab. Like the Hindustan it was made in India for years after the original vehicle had vanished from the roads of its native country.


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Corgi 2017 – Police Mini Cooper

By Maz Woolley

 

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VA02540 Austin Mini Cooper S, Durham Constabulary

Corgi have announced another “new model” for May 2017 to follow the ‘recycled’ Sunbeam Alpine. Yet again it is a re-used casting, this time of the Mini Cooper S .

Far from being a new model the Durham Mini Cooper was made by Corgi Classics some time ago in a box set with the Jaguar Mark II used by Durham’s Motorway Patrol. However, the sample picture of this new issue does seem to have more realistic speaker and bell fitments rather than the rally style spotlights of the original and it has ordinary wheels rather than alloys too. Looking at the sample there are few other updates to bring the model up to date. The interior has no door cards just a painted metal shell and the front indicator and rear lights are just painted on.  In fact this model is no better than the average part work issue, and poorer than many. All of which might not matter if the Corgi pre-order price was not so high, it will cost substantially more than a more detailed Oxford Diecast Rolls Royce Model for example.

Whilst we wish Corgi well at MAROnline but we don’t think that the way to succeed is to re-use old castings that are already long in the tooth and then claim that they are “new”. If these are being trailed as their exciting releases for 2017 then in our view Corgi will fall even further behind the competition.


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MG GT

By John Quilter

Please note all photographs of the real cars are from ChinaAutoWeb.com. The Author has sought permission to use the pictures but has had no reply as yet. The photographs of the models are by the Author.

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Some may not realize that the MG brand and logo are now in the hands of a Chinese firm, SAIC Motor Corporation Limited, a state owned firm based in Shanghai. They are the largest Chinese automaker by sales with over 5 million units sold in 2014. Brand names that are exclusive to SAIC are Maxus, MG and Roewe, but they have joint production with such brands as Baojun, Buick, Chevrolet, Iveco, Skoda, VW, and Wuling. The MG that is the subject of this article is known as the MG GT a medium sized four door fast back sedan which was launched in 2014 and produced in China. SAIC maintains a UK facility that does engineering work for its MG branded products and until recently did some low volume assembly of MGs there for the UK market.

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The subject of this article, MG GT It is powered by either of two engines, both petrol, inline four cylinder of 1.4 or 1.5 litre. The smaller one being a direct injection unit producing 110KW at 5600 RPM and the larger one 95KW at 5500 RPM. Gearboxes are manual six speeds, automatic six speeds or a seven speed dual clutch unit. Zero to 100 KMH (62 MPH) ranges from 9.5 to 9.8 seconds depending on the engine and gearbox. Trim levels include names such as Fashion, Elite, Luxury, and Flagship. Equipment puts these modern cars a long, long way from our “classic” MGs with such things as a start stop system, smart charging regenerative braking, cruise control, power windows, door locks, something called, InkaNet 4.0 Telematics , GPS, Voice Control, Mirrorlink connection and Blue tooth connectivity. A dual zone auto air conditioner or in lesser versions, a manual air conditioner with a pollen filter. For safety there are dual front air bags, dual side air bags, side curtain, ABS rear camera and other features. However SAIC specifies some of these features only on the top of the line version. Classic MG folks will relate to the leather seats or leather/cloths seats and the “Sports Instrument Panel” So these cars at least in the non-base line version are right up there with current automotive technology and features.

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The models of this MG GT come in a pair mounted on a fancy decorative raised plinth with a clear cover. Unlike most models in 1:43 scale there is no indication what model company produce this pair except for the chassis of the cars that states “SAIC Motor” in English and some Chinese characters which are presumably a translation.

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The cars and the box they come in, unlike most all models, have absolutely no indication of the maker of the actual model. The MG logo is prominent on the outer box and the mounting plinth so presumably the car maker SAIC have “licensed” this model product but normal licensing rules and regulations in China may be much different than in the rest of the world as the Chinese are well known for unapproved knockoffs and clones. Of the two cars the red one is quite stock and the white one is a sort of rallye or race version, having an internal roll cage, only the driver’s seat which is a sort of Recaro style bucket seat with a four point seat belt evident.

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Both are left hand drive as suitable for China where most of the real car are sold. The red car has a sunroof in a dark tinted glass, an all-black interior and chrome allow style wheels. There is even a tiny grid replicating a heated the rear window. MG octagon logos are prominently displayed on the front edge of the bonnet and hatchback. In the modern style there is minimal chrome trim, most being black. Interestingly the front and rear license plates state “Morris Garages” so somebody has done their MG history homework.

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Looking closer at the rallye version which is in white with a non-sunroof flat black roof with a very large MG logo picked out in gloss black. There is black and red decorative striping on the flanks, a black wing on the rear somewhat like what might be found on some Subaru WRX cars. The rear tail pipes are different than the red street car in that they are well separated instead of being side by side but in both cases they are chrome plated. The chassis shows a fair amount of detail such as the full exhaust system, front and rear suspensions, transverse engine sump, end on gearbox and some floor sheet metal detail.

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Judging by weight all indications are that both of these replicas are diecast, not the now more common resin material used in Asian made 43rd scale miniatures. The metal diecast medium is an indication that these models will be made in relatively high production numbers compared to the resin issues. The model maker has taken the trouble to create two wheel styles, the street car with silver alloys and the rallye car with large diameter black alloys. Both being the open spoke type so a brake discs of two different diameters are show behind the wheels. Nice attention to detail here.

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Editor: These cars seem to be known in the UK as the MG5 which appeared on Top Gear and in publicity but do not seem to have been sold here though the credit for the design seems to go to Tony Williams-Kenny who presumably worked at the design centre that SAIC maintain in the UK. The MG6 which was similar but with larger engines was sold in the UK mid-2016 when SAIC decided to stop development of its diesel engine to meet the latest Euro standards, a decision that lead to the MG6 being withdrawn from the UK market and effectively mean that SAIC cannot compete in the mid-sized car market in Europe unless they “buy in” modern diesels from another manufacturer. 


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Atlas Dinky Toys 564 Miroitier Estafette Renault

By Maz Woolley

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I now have the latest model shipped by Atlas in the Atlas Dinky collection in the UK. Again it is a French Dinky model and one already seen in the Continental series.  This model first appeared in 1963 re-using some of the components of 563 Estafette pickup to create a Glaziers vehicle and was deleted in 1965.

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The original model is usually missing the spare wheel and glazing panes that are easily lost but these are all included in this replica. The spare wheels being held in the plastic tray the vehicle rests on ready to be placed in the pick up bed.

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This model was never made available by UK Dinky so is rare here. It only ever came in one colour as shown with matching wheel hubs and black tyres.

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The replica comes with two sheets of ‘glass’, one clear and the other mirrored and the Saint Gobain brand is carried on the frame to hold the glass.

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This is another nice replica but a long way away from the spirit of the original adverts which focused heavily on UK Dinky toys which seem no longer to be being replicated for the series. One wonders if the number of collectors has fallen below the level where it is worthwhile to get new moulds made but is still high enough to make it worth getting more models from the continental Dinky Toys collection made and used to keep the collection going.


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Parker Models – Ford CX

By Maz Woolley

 

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Rod Parker produces white metal kits to 1:76 and 1:144 scale here in the UK.  These are predominantly aimed at railway modellers but also offer interesting models for 1:76 scale collectors which may never appear ‘ready made’. The model photographed for this article is VE67 which is a 1935-37 Ford Model CX.

The Ford model C/CX was a 10HP model which sold in smaller numbers than the 8HP model Y. Around 33,000 were made at Dagenham, some as kits for export.  The C was introduced in 1934 and after some small modifications it became a CX with the horizontal bars on the grille in 1935. Production ended in 1937 when it was replaced by the 7W which was the first of the “sit up and beg” style cars which lasted until the end of the 1950s. The C/CX used the 1172cc Ford Sidevalve engine which Ford only dropped at the beginning of the 1960s.

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It shows that shared models across European subsidiaries were not new when the Transit was launched in 1965 as the C and Y models were made in Germany as the Eifel and Köln, though with slightly re-styled grilles, and assembled in Spain too. Kits were also sent in knocked down form to Australia for local assembly.

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As ever the casting was very clean and little preparation was needed before painting, though care needs to be taken that if you are adding the lights after painting the model then make sure they will comfortably fit in the holes provided for them before spraying the shell.  The model is fairly simple to put together consisting of the body shell, chassis unit incorporating seats and dash, steering wheel, wheels, separate headlights, as well as a vacform. The wire wheels are quite sturdy but offer some challenges to paint and finish well as is evident from my photographs. Pictures show that the car seems to have been supplied as standard with wire wheels in the UK so they add authenticity even if they are fiddly to finish.

Even with my average modelling skills the model makes up well and it provides an example of yet another vehicle not yet made in this scale. Even in 1:43 the only previous model seems to be an obsolete Milestone Miniatures model.


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DeAgostini Mercedes-Benz Part Work for UK

By Maz Woolley

 

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Collectors who have previously purchased models from DeAgostini here in the UK are being sent fliers for a Mercedes-Benz collection being launched by DeAgostini UK. This appears to be very similar to the series sold on a monthly basis in Germany. The UK DeAgostini website only shows pictures of the 300SL, 190SL and the 230SL. All the models shown appear to be derived from castings already made available in other part work series and budget ranges.

The German DeAgostini website shows the following as part of the German series but they do not show the 190SL promised as the second in the UK range.  Of course there is no guarantee that all the items sold in the German series will appear in the one for the UK.

  • G300 1993
  • 260D 1936
  • 600 Pullman 1963
  • 300SEL 6.3 1968
  • 150 Roadster 1935
  • SLR McLaren 2004
  • 200D 1976
  • Typ G4 1938
  • 300SLR 1955
  • 220SE Convertible 1958
  • Mercedes-Simplex 40PS 1902
  • 350SL 1971
  • SSK 1928
  • SLS AMG 2009
  • 500K Autobahnkurier 1934
  • C111 /11 1970
  • 500SEC 1980

If any reader is collecting the German series or the UK one we would be very interested to receive pictures and information about this part work.


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Tekno Wossat

By Robin Godwin

 

Looking back through old print copies of MAR, I came across North American Editor Karl Schnelle’s article on Tekno models in MAR #205 (Where Did All The Tekno Go?). It was an excellent summary of a great marque, and even included Tekno derivatives, such as Joal in Spain (and later of Macau, when Joal moved manufacture to Asia). In a post-script, MAR Editor Rod Ward mentioned that there had been earlier discussion as to whether the Joals were cast from the original Tekno moulds, or were copies, but it was never fully confirmed or denied.

I hauled out my (Macau made, but no different than the Spanish made except for “Made in Macau” on the base) Joal E-Type and compared it to my Tekno original. Without using a micrometer, I found 23 casting differences, all fairly obvious. The biggest appears to be the steering, which was retained, but changed enough that it became almost useless. The Tekno MacPherson strut type assembly (actually wrongly modelled, as E-Type suspension featured upper and lower “A-arms”) tilts back about 20 degrees, so that the top of the strut is “behind” the bottom. This allows a rotation of the king pin around that canted axis when pressure is applied, allowing the steering function, giving that quirky Tekno “left pressure for right steering”. Joal made the struts vertical, so pressure on one side or the other does not provide the rotation essential for the king pin. You can make the steering work by physically turning the wheels with your hand, but not by manoeuvring the car while rolling it on the floor, so play value is much reduced. I won’t bore readers with a list of all 23 differences on the E-Type (unless Karl wants to see them), but this fact puts me in the “copy camp” instead of the original mould camp. I don’t know for sure, but perhaps the Tekno steering carried a patent, necessitating a change big enough to avoid infringement (assuming a copy). I don’t have sufficient other Tekno/Joal models to compare.

This leads me to fairly recent eBay purchase, which is a completely unmarked diecast copy of the Tekno E-Type that I had never seen before. Examine the pictures (shown below with commentary) closely and it is obviously copied from the Tekno, and the big differences are very evident – no opening features or steering, and the base is cut from tinplate, without markings. It would appear to be an industrial product – the casting is good, but not Tekno good, and the tinplate base is obviously die cut – nothing hand build about this model.

There are two threaded screw holes inboard of the two base rivets, so the model likely came on a plinth of sorts. A third, larger hole seems to serve no purpose, unless there was originally some intent to mechanise the model with a wind up motor and this would be the keyhole. I don’t really think this this would have been possible in the small vertical cavity offered by the body casting. Again, I think this is a copy and not from an original Tekno mould (even allowing for closing of all the opening features on the Tekno). A couple of obvious differences include fewer bonnet vents (13 vs 14 on the Tekno), and a larger Jaguar font cast into the boot. Perhaps this last point is a partial clue to when this model was made, since it at least includes the Jaguar logo, whereas the Joal does not. Karl mentioned that he had heard rumours that someone in Eastern Europe had bought the old moulds and were going to reissue Teknos – could this be one of those?

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Joal Macau left, and Tekno original right. Note “mirror imaging” of base cast details

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Joal detail

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Tekno steering mechanism. Note backwards of the strut – this enables the steering function

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The mystery model – Tekno copy

 

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Overhead view with Tekno on top and copy on bottom. Differences noted in text are clearly visible

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Joal base, top. Tekno copy bottom. The copy base is clearly die cut

 


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Corgi 2017 First News

By Maz Woolley

 

Corgi  has announced a 2017 release at the 2016 Classic Motor Show at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. It is scheduled to be released in March 2017 so the picture shown is of a pre-production sample.

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This model is based upon the Sunbeam Alpine pre-production prototype XRW 302. This is painted in seacrest green and bears the registration numbers on the real car as shown at the Classic Car Show.

The “series” Sunbeam Alpine was a two-seater sports drophead coupé. It was built by the Rootes Group from 1959 to 1968 and early cars were assembled at Armstrong Siddeley factory as Rootes had no room in their own factories.   The name Alpine was used following the earlier Sunbeam-Talbot’s success in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s.

The car modelled  by Corgi is the third and only surviving prototype, making it the oldest Alpine in existence. It survived because, rather than being thrashed to breaking point in testing, it was allocated to the company’s design department to be used in the development of new styles and trim.

The car was sold in 1961 to Rootes’ development engineer Bernard Unett, who’d worked on the Alpine programme and wanted to go racing. He debuted the car at Silverstone in September 1961.  After its racing career the car passed through several owners before finally being acquired by its current owner, John Willshire, who has shown the car at events such as the Silverstone Classic meeting, the Goodwood Revival and the Classic Motor Show where the car was awarded runner-up in ‘Classic Car of the Year’.

Looking at the photograph of the pre-production sample of this car Corgi has not taken steps to uprate this now long in the tooth casting yet. I do hope that before they launch the production model next March they invest some time  to make sure that it has the correct colour interior trim, correct colour tonneau cover and better wire wheels.


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News from the Continent – Minichamps and Tecnomodel

By Hans-Georg Schmitt and Maz Woolley

 

Minichamps

All photographs used have been provided by Minichamps and are of pre-release samples.

Minichamps continue to release models of recent Formula One cars. For keen collectors of F1 cars Minichamps are the main source of models at the moment.

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Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W06 Hybrid

This set is made to 1:18 scale in China for Germany. It represents a 2015 car and includes a figurine of Lewis Hamilton in a celebratory pose.


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HAAS F1 Team Ferrari VF-16

This 1:43 scale model is cast in resin in China for Germany. It is a highly detailed model of the HAAS teams 2016 car as driven by Estenban Gutierrez.


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HAAS F1 Team Ferrari VF-16

This 1:43 scale model is cast in resin in China for Germany. It is a highly detailed model of the HAAS teams 2016 car as driven by Roman Grosjean.

Tecnomodel

All photographas have been supplied by Tecnomodel.

Tecnomodel continue to develop resin models of Alfa Romeo cars in their Mythos series. These are all to 1:18 scale and produced in small editions.

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 MT18-21D Alfa Romeo 1300 Junior Zagato 1971

The model shown in in Piper yellow with a black interior. The wheels are the period aluminium finish.  The same car has also been produced in Alfa Romeo red and in Silver.

The Junior Zagato was produced in small numbers between 1969 and 1975 with the engine size starting at 1300cc and gradually increasing to nearly 1600cc by the end of production. Only just over 1500 of these cars were made.

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Find them on

AutoCult November 2016

By Maz Woolley

 

Thomas Roschmann of Autocult has sent us news of the latest models to be launched. Again all are made in China in resin to 1:43 scale for Germany. They are the  usual mix of obscure and workaday subjects.

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03007 Triver Rana

This microcar was launched in 1955 and was built in Bilbao in Spain until 1960. It was an attempt to provide basic transportation along the lines of the Italian Isetta with entry via a single front mounted door and space for two adults in the front and two children in the rear. All powered by a 399cc 15 HP boxer engine located between the rear wheels.

The poor sales were hardly surprising as in 1957 the SEAT 600 was launched offering the Spanish family more comfort and speed. Microcars like the Triver and Biscuter quickly became sidelined by a “proper” up to date small car.

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05014 Gatso 4000 Aero Coupe

This car was produced in the Netherlands from 1948 in Heemstede and the owner of the factory was Maurice  Gatsonides. Its distinctive appearance came from the third central light. The production numbers are not firmly established and between 4 and 11 cars may have been made some as coupes and some as convertibles, and a four seater touring car was also proposed. The car was based on a Matford Chassis (French Ford which later became Simca) and a four litre V8 Mercury engine.

The name Gatso will be more familiar to UK readers as a brand of speed camera developed by Maurice in the 1950s when he was a rally driver as a timing device. It was widely used by UK police forces in the 1980s and 1990s

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06011 Audi Asso di Picche

This was one of series of three cars produced by Giorgio Giugiaro of Ital Design in the early 1970s. Asso di Picche means “ace of spades”.

The body was built on the Audi 80 and shown at Motor Shows in 1973 but it was never taken up by Audi though some may say that the shape had some influence upon the first generation Quattro.

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07005 Ford Thames 400E Racing Truck

The 400E has already appeared in the Autocult range and here it is presented as a basic racing transporter as used by Team Lotus in its early days. A similar model with a trailer has also been produced by SMTS in the UK.

The flat bed rear would have been added to a standard Chassis/Cab unit shipped by Ford and customised to allow one car to be strapped on.

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08004 Goliath Express 1100 flatbed truck

Introduced in 1953  with a two stroke engine of 688cc and 29 HP this lightweight truck replaced the slow selling GV800. The engine was quickly uprated to 886cc in 1955 as the vehicle was struggling against the faster moving traffic of the mid 1950s. In mid-1957 Goliath introduced a 1093cc four stroke engine to power the 1100 but even this was not enough and production ceased in 1961.

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