Part V: Accuracy, Aftermarket Parts, Distribution, and Expansion
By John-William Greenbaum
I believe that before I write anything further concerning the Carros Inesqueciveis do Brasil partwork, I should tell you that said partwork has been expanded to one hundred issues. What issues seventy-six through one hundred depict is unknown at this point, although an official statement from publisher Planeta DeAgostini said that the models would be ‘primarily’ cars from the 1990s. Given that Ixo has produced models for a partwork devoted to Opel, of which popular Brazilian cars of the nineties such as the Chevrolet Vectra and Chevrolet Astra could easily be adapted from, I believe it safe to say that we’ll see at least a few of the Opel-based Chevrolets. Furthermore, moulds of the early model Brazilian Dodge Dart and late model Chevrolet Opala have shown up in a parallel Brazilian partwork, so we may see these cars as well. Another entry may be the long-promised 1975 Dodge Polara, which was a surprise cancellation only a few months ago. The future of the partwork is uncertain regarding which models we will see and we will not see. As such, I will concentrate on the past and present until a list of models becomes available. Likewise, I will omit any references to models that should have been included, for they indeed may yet be.
The eight models which I will concentrate upon in this article are on the whole excellent, even at times reminding me why I was spending my time writing about them and my pennies on buying them. Indeed, one model in particular reached to the same heights as the Chevrolet Amazona carryall featured in Brazilian Wheels IV, but I’ll get to that in due time. When you were last reading my opinion of Ixo’s quality control, it was with a decidedly bleak outlook. I feared that more and more models would arrive with parts that were fitted incorrectly, parts that were rattling loose in the box, and possibly even bizarre substances applied to the models as with the Chevrolet Amazona and Dodge Charger R/T. Fortunately, with two exceptions, all of that seemed to change with these models and Ixo’s quality control was acceptable. Bizarre and painful inaccuracies such as those witnessed with the Chevrolet Ipanema were another problem that I feared, but encountered in only one instance. I suppose that in sum, one could fairly say that my expectations were lowered by the models seen in the past issue and have since been raised by the models seen in this issue.
The first model that arrived to my door was a true modern classic in Brazil: the 1991 Chevrolet Kadett three-door hatchback. Coloured gunmetal grey, this was ironically the car upon which the dreadfully-modelled Chevrolet Ipanema estate wagon was based. Like the Ipanema, the Kadett was more or less a rebadged Opel Kadett E. Like the Ipanema, the Kadett was powered by either a 1,800 cubic centimetre or 2,000 cubic centimetre four-cylinder engine. However, unlike the Ipanema, the model of the Kadett has excellently-done badging. It’s unfortunately almost impossible to see in a photograph due to being roughly the same colour as the car’s body, but the car is indeed badged as a ‘Kadett 1.8’, meaning the model represents the variation with the 1,800 cubic centimetre engine. This also means the car was powered by traditional petrol rather than the ‘gasohol’ ethanol fuel that powered the 2,000 cubic centimeter version. Released in 1989, the first Chevrolet Kadett was technically a 1990 model, although the one we see represented is the 1991 model.
The Kadett was, at the time, actually looked upon as having been something of an underdog in spite of its origins with the proven Opel Kadett E. When the Kadett was introduced, it was taking the place of Brazil’s favourite Chevrolet: the Chevette. In addition to its excellent price point, the Chevette had national pride going for it, having been Chevrolet’s only ‘world car’ ever introduced in Brazil before being released anywhere else. The Kadett was more expensive, most assuredly not Brazilian-designed, and had gained competitors such as the Gurgel BR-800 in addition to the established Fiat Uno, Ford Escort, and Volkswagen Gol. Regardless, the Kadett managed to beat the odds and while not equaling the near-unbeatable nature of the Chevette, it was a good-selling, reliable car manufactured until 1998. The Kadett also universalised Chevrolets, with the exceptions of trucks and SUVs, in Brazil being essentially rebadged Opels. Gone were the days of a ‘hybrid’ German-American car like the Opala or indeed the Chevette.
What really surprised me about the model was that it was so good compared to the dreadful Ipanema estate wagon. There was no fitting that was needed, wiper blades were not glued on crooked, and rather importantly, the trim and badging were correctly done. The side mouldings that were such a disaster with the Ipanema were replaced with tampo-printed black side-mouldings that really do convey the look and feel of plastic trim. The grille, bumpers, chassis, and wiper blades all fit perfectly. This was a car that Planeta DeAgostini and Ixo really did seem to care about. However, it did introduce one new and slightly disturbing trend that has reared its head several times with the past few models and, from the previews of forthcoming models, will be seen again: the presence of aftermarket parts.
One of the few bright spots with the Ipanema was its hubcaps, which were correct for the car. The only perceptible flaw with the Kadett, aside from perhaps having the driver’s side window rolled down that caused a surprising amount of controversy, was ironically hubcap design. Instead of the nicely-executed, dull plastic hubcaps we saw on the Chevrolet Ipanema, we see a return to the shiny hubcaps from earlier in the partwork. A number of Brazilian collectors believe the shiny hubcaps to be poorly coloured; as just one more step in preparing a model that shouldn’t need any alterations made to it. However, what we don’t see are poorly-coloured factory hubcaps, which could easily be remedied with a dash of gray paint or Humbrol Clear Matt enamel. Rather, we see poorly-coloured aftermarket hubcaps that were, on the whole, poorly received by Brazilian collectors. While the general consensus on the model itself was that it was excellent, it wasn’t until someone showed a photograph of a Kadett converted with wheels from the Ipanema that collectors started giving this car the high marks it deserved. It’s not that we’ve not seen aftermarket hubcaps before—the Volkswagen Brasilia sported them—but the aftermarket hubcaps we’ve seen in the past have on the whole been quite tastefully done. These decidedly were not. Soon after photographing this model, it became the first in my collection to receive a coat of pale grey paint on the hubcaps.
Regardless of the hubcaps, though, I would recommend the model to several different types of collector. Obviously, the Chevrolet collector would be atop the list. The Kadett was Chevrolet’s successor to the Chevette in the Chevette’s country of origin and aside from the wheels, the model was very nicely done and in an attractive colour. Opel collectors may also wish to have this model in their collection, as it was truly the car that universalized ‘Chevrolet-as-rebadged Opel’ in Brazil. Fans of the Vauxhall Astra Mark 2 may also be interested. To my mind, if you’re a fan of 1980s and 1990s cars in general, then the Chevrolet Kadett has the detail and the history to justify its price point. However, you may want to invest in some flat clear enamel for the wheels, as well.
The second model I received was the collection’s very first ute: the 1989 Ford Pampa. The Ford Pampa was based on the Ford Corcel II and indeed was the last vehicle produced in Brazil to have a Renault 12 chassis (it was of course outlived by the Dacia 1310, which ceased production in Romania in 2004). Introduced in 1982, it was most certainly not meant as a ‘true’ pickup. For this, Ford already had the proven F-100 and F-1000, the latter a domestic variant of the American Ford F-250. Rather, since only Fiat had produced a successful ute, one that was ultimately too small, and notably not Chevrolet or Volkswagen, Ford seized the opportunity. Essentially having a monopoly on the market in 1982 and 1983, the Pampa sold very well and Ford was able to quickly expand the number of options available for the ute. It also spawned two competitors: the Volkswagen Saveiro based on the Volkswagen Gol and the Chevrolet Chevy 500, based on the Chevette. While the Saveiro was deliberately chosen to avoid direct competition with the much larger Pampa, the Chevy 500 was indeed intended as a true direct competitor. While it lasted until 1993, the Chevy 500 never outsold the Pampa or really captured the public’s imagination in the same way.
In 1984, largely in response to the introduction of the Volkswagen and Chevrolet utes, the Ford Pampa received even more options. While a new engine was promoted, the real attention-grabber was a Pampa 4×4. Ford continued upgrading the Pampa throughout its existence. In 1986, the ute was facelifted with the front clip of a Ford Del Rey and a special Ghia version was added with much of the equipment that could be found in the Del Rey Ghia. By 1989, the standard 4×2 models were available with Volkswagen AP-1800 engines. You may be wondering why a Ford ute would be fitted with a Volkswagen engine. The answer, in a word, is “AutoLatina”. AutoLatina was a joint venture between Ford do Brasil, Volkswagen do Brasil, Ford of Argentina, and Volkswagen of Argentina that lasted from 1987 until 1995. It was actually founded on a fairly sound premise: that the two companies would not compete in Argentina or Brazil due to economic reasons and, when necessary, would share technology. The problem, of course, was that managers of individual, established Ford and Volkswagen dealerships continued to push Ford over Volkswagen and vice versa while, during the final years of the joint venture, tensions began growing between Ford and Volkswagen as the economic situation was improving. However, in 1989, tensions were fairly low. By 1991, the Pampa received another, more powerful engine. The Ghia version also began getting a ‘sportier’ image. Facelifted again in 1992, the Pampa only ended production in 1997. Over 350,000 had been sold and the buying public was not happy with the Pampa’s discontinuation. The Pampa’s replacement, the Fiesta-based Ford Courier, never came close to matching the sales figures of the Pampa.
The model that Ixo produced for the partwork represents a 1989 Ford Pampa. If we stick to that general outline, the model is very good. A few Brazilian collectors noted that the front end was a bit too squared-off, but that it really wasn’t something that would affect them buying the model one way or the other. The real problems with the Pampa were its badging and its extremely heavy use of aftermarket parts. The tailgate, for example, on the real Ford Pampa, was badged with the trim level. The model has a completely blank tailgate. The real problem, however, is just how much in the way of aftermarket modifications the Pampa has. Rather than putting a black tonneau cover over the cargo bed as was initially speculated, we instead saw the model come with a black-coloured cargo bed. While the actual detail is just fine, there’s only one problem: the Pampa wasn’t available with anything but a body-coloured cargo bed. While aftermarket modifications exist that have had the cargo bed sprayed with black-coloured spray-on truck bed liner, ideally, it would have been nice to note that somewhere in the accompanying booklet or alternately save some money and just paint the cargo bed red like the rest of the body.
With all that said, if you want the quintessential Brazilian ute, the Brazilian answer to the Chevrolet El Camino in the United States or the various Holden and Ford Falcon utes in Australia, then the 1989 Ford Pampa is both a handsome, nicely-done model (grille controversy notwithstanding) and one that probably deserves to be revisited as a Premium X Diecast or White Box model with a body-coloured cargo bed and proper badging. Photographs are available on the internet of the correct badging for these utes, so printing decals is not out of the question. The wheels and wing mirrors alike are both well-executed, with the former being grey-coloured and the latter having reflective surfaces. Likewise, I think you can overlook the cargo bed given that it was a rather widespread modification once the interior had become worn from use. My personal problem with the aftermarket parts on the Pampa isn’t so much the physical detail as it is the precedent that it’s set. Doubtless, there will be naysayers telling me it’s a tempest in a teapot or perhaps an aberration, but just wait until I get down a bit further to another model and you will see why this is a concern not only to me, but also to a number of Brazilian collectors.
Issue 64 was supposed to be the 1992 Chevrolet Omega CD four-door saloon in black. Instead, what we wound up seeing was a 1987 Volkswagen Voyage. However, I had already pre-ordered the Omega from my dealer friend and when I sent him an email asking for credit toward the next model, he told me not to worry, that I would receive a 1992 Chevrolet Omega CD model anyway! Sure enough, although missing the magazine, I received exactly that, packed together with the Volkswagen Voyage. I later learned that distribution problems had delayed the Omega CD all the way until Issue 75; technically, it’s not even been released yet. Fortunately, a very small amount managed to make their way onto the market missing the magazines, and I secured one in its original position in the partwork as Issue 64.
The Chevrolet Omega CD, as you can probably tell from the photographs, is based on the Opel Omega A and will certainly be familiar to British motorists, as well, as a ‘cousin’ to the Vauxhall Carlton Mark II. However, if we look at the Chevrolet Kadett and we look at the Chevrolet Omega in any trim level, one of the things we immediately notice is that while the Chevrolet Kadett is literally a rebadged Opel Kadett E, there are some differences one notices between the Opel Omega A and the Chevrolet Omega. The trim, the grille, and the front turn signals are all notably a bit different. During its 1992-1998 production run, the original Chevrolet Omega was General Motors do Brasil’s top of the line car. What distinguished the Omega CD from the other Omega variants—the Omega GL and Omega GLS—was its engine. The Omega CD featured, at least in 1992, a 3.0 litre six-cylinder engine. In 1995, it actually got a 4.1 litre inline six that was tuned by Lotus, which was of course very similar to what Lotus had done with the Lotus Carlton and Lotus Omega five years earlier. Fortunately for Brazilian motorists, the car’s exterior remained one of luxury rather than sport and wasn’t the infamous favourite of car thieves and joyriders. Sadly, this excellent car proved to be the only generation of Chevrolet Omega that was physically produced in Brazil. In 1999, when the so-called Omega B arrived, it was a rebadged Holden Calais imported from Australia. Therefore, unsurprisingly, the original Omega CD is generally looked to as the car to be the most proud of; you’ve not only got a good car with great engine in it, but you’ve also got a Brazilian-manufactured car.
From the handful of models that did reach the marketplace, including a few in the hands of somewhat influential collectors, the general feeling amongst Brazilian collectors is that Ixo really nailed this model. A majority of cars were sadly defective and were likely quality control rejects for one reason or another so until these are actually released as Issue 75, I would stay away from them. Because I had heard the reports of quality control rejects, when my supplier got back to me and said he had a few, I asked for one with a cracked case lid over the plinth and to simply ‘strap’ the model to its plinth using newspaper. Naturally, while the case lid was almost unusable, the model itself was not defective. I can anticipate a few collectors complaining about the shiny wheels, but the actual mould used for these wheels is correct. If you wish to paint it light grey, you’ll get a very nice representation of the real car without the ‘bling’ on the wheels. Badging and trim are extremely well-executed and finally, I really thought the black colour for what was essentially Chevrolet’s last Brazilian-made executive car was extremely appropriate and they couldn’t have chosen better. This is a superb model and of the 1980s and 1990s Chevrolets, it’s my personal favourite so far. I highly recommend this model, but unfortunately, I would recommend waiting until the model is physically released as Issue 75 before buying it because of the extremely high rate of defects in the models that have shown up so far, to say nothing of the complete lack of an accompanying magazine. Other than that, if I had to pick a model released so far to represent a 1990s Brazilian Chevrolet, it would without any second thoughts be this model.
Ironically, the model that was released instead of the near-perfect Chevrolet Omega CD, the 1987 Volkswagen Voyage two-door saloon, has a whole host of problems with it and is, without question, the worst model I’m going to review today. One of the reasons that I think this model had a lot of potential was that in the United States, it was sold as the Volkswagen Fox. Any time you get a US-market or even Canadian-market Volkswagen, it tends to bring the American Volkswagen collectors out in droves. Just look at the 1961 Volkswagen Fusca from Carros Inesqueciveis do Brasil or the Volkswagen Kombi 1200 from the same collection. The Voyage was the obvious number three in the triumvirate on paper, but it didn’t quite work out that way. The Voyage was introduced in 1981 as the saloon version of the Volkswagen Gol. Both two-door and four-door versions were offered, although the four-door version is quite rare in Brazil owing to the fact that it was built in Argentina at a time when tariffs designed to protect the Brazilian automotive industry were so astronomically high that it was unrealistic to import any car whatsoever. As such, I doubt anyone was surprised that we saw a two-door saloon. The basic model is pretty clearly a 1987-1989 generation model while the plinth calls it a 1983 model. Likewise, the trim up front is barely off; the bumper should be a bit more flush-fitting. However, this is fairly minor. The real problem with this model is the location of the wing mirrors.
Normally, when one gets the location of the wing mirrors off on a model, it’s either negligible or it’s fairly simple to correct. In the case of the Volkswagen Voyage, however, it’s neither. As you can see in the two photographs, the wing mirrors on the model are about halfway down the length of the doors. As you can also see, they’re also recessed fairly deeply into the doors. The only problem here is that on the real Volkswagen Voyage, the wing mirrors were located more or less exactly where they were located on the partwork’s superb Volkswagen Gol GTi: right where the corner glass comes to a point at the front of each door. The type of wing mirror is also wrong. In other words, you can’t just remove the mirrors, fill the holes with putty, and stick them where they’re supposed to go because they wouldn’t look correct there, either! Due to the colour, it would be nearly impossible to match correctly even provided one took the mirrors off a superfluous Volkswagen Gol GTi. Some speculation has arisen from the Brazilian collecting community that perhaps they were looking at a 1983 Voyage and used the wing mirrors from that. I think that’s close, but not exact, because the mirrors are still set too far back. The real shame of it is that if you can manage to look past the wing mirrors, Ixo really had a good model here. If they went back and reworked the mould to accommodate the wing mirrors from the Gol GTi, I think this model would be very nice. As a few of its pluses, for example, we saw a return to grey-coloured wheels, the colour was very nicely done, and the badging was also accurate.
My next package, however, contained the first of three absolutely superb models: a 1982 Volkswagen Kombi CD. As I explained in my previous article when I was talking about the Volkswagen do Brasil models that had been done prior to me writing my first article, the Volkswagen T2 Kombi was both one of the partwork’s best-executed models as well as one of Brazil’s best-known motor vehicles of any type. Produced from 1976 all the way until December 2013, one year ago, the Kombi had a sister model known as the Kombi CD. A pickup, the ‘CD’ is an abbreviation of ‘cabine dupla’, which translates to ‘double cab’ in English. The Kombi CD, introduced in 1981 as a 1982 model and finally discontinued in 2000, didn’t quite have the amazingly long production run of the Kombi, but it was still in production for just over eighteen years. Going up against the Chevrolet C-10 and the Ford and F-100 and F-1000, you may be wondering how it managed to last that long. The secret was not how much cargo it could carry, but rather how many passengers it could carry.
The designers at Volkswagen knew that producing the European version of the T2 pickup was not something that was going to compete adequately with Ford and Chevrolet. It just could not carry enough compared to the Fords and the Chevys that had been on the market for so long. Even if it could undercut the Ford and Chevy in price when sold new, the numerous used Fords and Chevys that could still use parts that were at the time newly-manufactured and inexpensive negated the entire concept. However, demand began growing during the late 1970s and early 1980s for pickups that could also carry more than two or three people. With the fuel shortages in Brazil, estate wagons like the Ford Belina II, the Chevrolet Opala Caravan, and even the Volkswagen Kombi were being bought up and used as dual purpose vehicles, rather than owning a Ford F-100 and a Volkswagen Passat, for example. The Kombi certainly could not carry more than the F-100 and the C-10, but it could carry more than the Belina II and Opala Caravan. Combined with aftermarket conversions of the C-10 and F-100 in particular to double cab vehicles, Volkswagen do Brasil suddenly had the perfect truck to market.
Rolled out as something of a combination work crew alternative and family alternative to the F-100 and C-10 near the end of 1981, the Kombi CD had a few other unique features aside from the double cab. Foremost among these was that it could be adequately described as a ‘drop-side’ more than a true pickup truck. Not only could one lower the tailgate, but they could also lower the sides of the bed for easy access to whatever was inside. In keeping with its family-friendly image, early Kombi CDs were offered in two-tone paint. I think that Ixo doing one of these early models was a really nice touch. I don’t have any complaints about this model at all. In my opinion, it’s one of the best models Ixo’s yet done for the partwork. Some may complain a bit about the shiny silver wheels, but the actual mould use to make them is spot-on and should you decide to paint them grey or white or even add a clear flat coat of paint, I can’t see having any problems whatsoever with this model. One could argue I suppose that the 1981 model year given on the display plinth is inaccurate, as the 1981 production Kombi CDs were all 1982 models, but that’s nitpicking to an absurd degree. Still, it was only my second favourite model that I reviewed for this article. That’s not a commentary on any fault with the Kombi CD, but rather a testament to the very next model.
I have a strong feeling that American collectors in particular will be drawn to the next model I received, which was the truly stunning 1980 Ford F-75 Pickup. The average European collector may ask, reasonably, ‘what are you going on about American collectors buying 1980 Fords?’ My answer is that a Willys by any other name is still a Willys. Turn back the clock from 1980 to 1965. Willys Overland do Brasil brings in Brooks Stevens, the original designer of the Willys Jeep Station Wagon, to redesign both the Willys Rural, the Brazilian equivalent to the Willys Jeep Station Wagon, and the Willys Pick-up, which was the Brazilian equivalent to the Willys Jeep Truck. We saw what Stevens did to the Rural in the very first article in this series, a model which Ixo executed beautifully. But you may be wondering what happened to the Rural and the Pick-up after Ford first purchased Willys and then ultimately renamed its products as Fords. The Ford Rural continued production almost completely unaltered until the end of 1972, but Ford didn’t have a light truck ready to import into the country that was just a notch below the F-100 and which had plenty of available parts. The Willys Pick-up was renamed the Ford F-75 and continued in production until 1981. Like the Rural, Ford did give it an extremely minor facelift. Notably, the Ford versions have black-coloured grille bars while the Willys versions have body-coloured or white-coloured grille bars. Very late Ford versions also have different side mirrors, which were mounted on stalks rather than the doorframe. Late Ford models also tend to have decidedly late-style hubcaps, which Ixo has once again captured perfectly. They’ve also done these in the grey colour that tends to be favoured over the ‘shiny’ wheels that seem to be favoured by a majority of collectors. ‘FORD’ lettering on the tailgate was also much more prominent on the later models, which was recreated superbly.
I actually have two of these models: I had intended to convert one to a Willys, but decided against it. Yet, I still don’t regret buying the second one. It’s just that nicely done. Rarely does a model manage to pole-vault its way into the top five models of a collection when the collection is over half completed, but the Ford F-75 has done just that for me. However, I should caution American buyers: before you start raiding eBay for the $75 USD models if one includes the price of postage, Ixo has anticipated your salivating over this model. Premium X announced that it would be releasing one in the near future. A Willys Rural is planned for release under the White Box brand, as well. You can save a few dollars and still get the model you want.
The next model is, to date, the final estate wagon to be announced as well as the final MOPAR or Simca to be announced, though that could of course change on both counts and likely will. The 1962 Simca Jangada was something of a commercial flop, but it sure was beautiful. If one examines the Simca Marly estate wagon manufactured in France during Chrysler Corporation’s controlling interest in Simca but also before the complete buyout in 1964, it seems something of a mismatch. To wit: the front of the car is clearly from a second generation, ‘fins and chrome’ Simca Vedette. However, the rear of the car as well as the tailfins were taken from the earlier, first generation Simca Vedette from the mid-late 1950s. Before beginning this collection, I wondered if Simca had ever made a mockup or concept version of the second generation Vedette as a station wagon. It was then that I learned of the Simca Jangada. Presented in stunning two-tone red and white, the Simca Jangada, both in real life and on the model, lacks the ‘mashup’ look of the Simca Marly. The Simca Jangada, a self-developed Brazilian design, looks eminently more consistent. Ixo treats us to whitewall tyres, a roof rack, tastefully done chrome hubcaps, and an acceptable if rare paint scheme. The model is an excellent one and has only one real defect: the wing mirror that seems to have been taken from a 1/24 scale model or perhaps a truck. The Jangada wasn’t available with wing mirrors at all and the few aftermarket or dealer conversions seen in photographs seem to have Simca Chambord wing mirrors. Fortunately, getting that particular part is fairly simple, and it also fits perfectly into the slot left vacant by the poorly-sized aftermarket mirror that came with the model.
In spite of its success, Brazilian collectors were a bit worried about this model due to distribution problems, a number of quality control issues, and the complete lack of a photo depicting the model on Carros Inesqueciveis do Brasil’s website. My own model came with a bent wing mirror—which is now languishing away in my spare parts box and therefore doesn’t matter; but it also came partially covered in a thin film of oil. This oil seems to have been applied some time ago, for as you can see in the photograph, it actually has dust under it. Of course, I cleaned the film off immediately after photographing the model, but after getting a few models, two others that come immediately to mind were the DKW-Vemag Vemaguet and the Volkswagen Variant, with oil spots or oil film on them and having someone ask me what sort of oil film I was talking about, I wanted to illustrate just how they looked before I cleaned them up for the camera. However, if the Simca Jangada caused minor issues with its aftermarket wing mirror, the next model caused a great deal more issues with a great deal more parts.
I received my alleged 1963 Willys Jeep CJ-5 just three days ago as of my writing this. I say ‘alleged’ because what we really have here is a 1980 Ford Jeep CJ-5. Even though it lacks Ford badging, and Willys badging for that matter, a number of tell tale signs point to this being a very late production Ford Jeep CJ-5. The front bumper, front fenders, and wheels, which are surprisingly detailed, all point to this Jeep being a Ford. Much like the Ford Rural and Ford F-75, Ford do Brasil thought the CJ-5 profitable enough to keep producing it almost completely unaltered until 1982. I actually happen to like vehicles like this, the ‘living fossils’ of the automotive world, but the lack of Ford badging is a tad disappointing. Still, it’s also fairly easy to correct, as this model of the CJ-5 would only require three tiny Ford logo decals to make it accurately badged. My real issues with this model were just how much in the way of aftermarket parts that were put on as well as one of the most severe quality control issues I’ve yet encountered. I repaired the model for the photograph.
For starters, the canvas roof is aftermarket. This was actually a fairly common aftermarket conversion that seemed to surface during the late 1970s, so the timing is right, but I would have preferred the factory roof. Given that it’s a separate part, hopefully Ixo can correct that for the Premium X model or the White Box model. Much more egregious is a somewhat uncommon aftermarket customization wherein the spare tire was moved from the rear of the passenger side just aft and above of the right rear wheel to a mount that’s slightly off-center on the tailgate. The earliest I can find reference to this aftermarket mount is 1980, which means very few new Jeeps would have had it. More common was a centered mount on the tailgate meant to emulate Brazilian Army Jeeps of the 1970s. However, a few clues from both Carros Inesqueciveis do Brasil’s website and the accompanying magazine point that a CJ-5 may not have been the original model intended for production.
In the Carros mas Queridos Colombian partwork, we see a beautifully-done, beautifully-researched Willys Jeep CJ-3B. On the older version of the website, we saw advertised a ‘1953 Willys Jeep CJ-3B’. Finally, in the magazine, we see an advertising brochure devoted to the old CJ-3B, as well as large amount of text devoted to it. Although it’s merely a hunch, I believe fairly strongly that someone changed their mind about which Jeep to feature, thereby giving them less time in which to research the Brazilian CJ-5. Most South American countries produced the CJ-3B under license at some point and indeed, Brazil was among these countries. Imported as complete knockdown kits in 1953 and 1954, these kits were assembled in small quantities until 1957, when Brazil began assembling the CJ-5. While seeing a Willys Jeep CJ-3B on Brazilian roads would hardly have been unheard-of, they had become quite uncommon by the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately, with the combination of aftermarket parts it has, the CJ-5 that we received wouldn’t have been much more common. With all that said, as I said, I really hope Ixo revisits this one and corrects it, as the parts that are aftermarket are not integral to the mould.
I also noted that this model had a severe quality control issue, and it took a lot of work to repair it and put it into the condition you see in the photo. It arrived with a large piece of mould flash jutting out from the baseplate into the right front fender. The result was that the model was badly lopsided, and one of the wheels (rear left) had actually cracked where it attached to the axle. Fortunately, the damage to the wheel is only visible if one looks at the underside of the model. Because Ixo had glued the front suspension over the screw, I painstakingly pried off the front suspension with the tip of my XActo knife. I was then able to unscrew the baseplate, remove the piece of mould flash with a file, screw the baseplate back on, coat the back of the left rear wheel with cyanoacrylate glue to prevent the crack from worsening, glue the front suspension back on with wood glue, and I finally had myself a repaired model! With that said, I do believe it to have been worth the effort. If you’re willing to tolerate the aftermarket parts and lack of Ford badging with this one, I would recommend it, as the scale is close to perfect.
As usual, I also feel obligated to cover, by manufacturer, the models that I missed covering from before my first article. In this issue, we’ll go over the five models by Chevrolet do Brasil that I missed covering in the first issue. I actually did devote quite a bit of wording to the Chevrolet Opala SS and Chevrolet Diplomata Caravan, but ironically did not give much coverage to the 1958 Chevrolet 3100 Picape that I ranked third best at the time, the 1974 Chevrolet Chevette that I ranked as fourth worst at the time, and the 1969 Chevrolet Veraneio SUV.
The 1958 Chevrolet 3100 Picape was, until the 1980 Ford F-75 came along, my personal favorite pickup from this partwork. Indeed, objectively, it probably is still a toss-up between which model is the better of the two. Indeed, Ixo followed it up with the 1963 Chevrolet Amazona, which of course proved very popular. The importance of the 3100 was that it was Brazil’s first self-developed pickup truck. Although there actually had been Brazilian-specification 3100s imported from the US or Canada prior to the 1954 import restriction and complete knockdown kits of the 1952 and 1953 models built from 1954-1957, these weren’t indigenously designed. The 3100 Picape, on the other hand, most certainly was. It proudly wore the emblem of Chevrolet do Brasil at the time: the black Chevrolet logo on a red field with a gold-coloured outline of the country of Brazil superimposed over it. The truck itself was a mixture of different parts, coming from early 1950s to late 1950s American Chevrolet trucks, but whatever the source, it worked and worked well until Chevrolet could finally get the C-10 down to Brazil to replace it. The detailing on the model was and is stunning and it continues to occupy a space in my personal ‘top five’ list. Also, there have been some conflicting reports as to whether this one will be produced for Premium X Diecast or not. Ixo briefly advertised it, but it has since not shown up, so you may wish to spring for the Brazilian partwork version. Fortunately, quality control on this particular model has been excellent.
Less impressive was the 1974 Chevrolet Chevette two-door saloon. Although this was meant to represent Brazil’s first generation Chevette, Chevrolet’s only world car that debuted in Brazil, it failed. A superfluous grille bar and a complete lack of any bumper overriders was downright bizarre. In addition, the turn signals are far too light in colour and the car is bizarrely missing any sort of bracket on the rear on the rear of the boot lid for a licence plate! What’s truly unfortunate is that Planeta DeAgostini either deleted or bumped back the planned 1975 Dodge Polara in order to essentially re-do the Chevette as a 1977 GP-II model that I’ll be reviewing in the next article. While egregious problems like the void on the boot lid, for lack of a better term, and the superfluous grille bar are fortunately gone, the bumper problems are remarkably still there. Fortunately, I think I know how to correct them, at least for the GP-II. But I’ll get to that in my next article.
Finally, there is the 1969 Chevrolet Veraneio, called a 1965 on the plinth. While I’ve heard this described as an estate wagon, it really is best to describe it as a carryall or as an SUV. It was derived from the first generation Chevrolet C-10 and the early models manufactured from 1965-1967 show this best. By 1969, however, it featured a black-coloured grille with four headlights that was completely indigenous in design. Inspired by the American Chevrolet Suburban, the Veraneio was produced almost completely unaltered from 1969 until 1988 (as a 1989 model year). In 1989, the Veraneio finally changed over to being based on the Chevrolet C-20, a pickup that had replaced the C-10 in 1985. From 1989 through 1994, the Veraneio was produced based on the C-20 alongside the smaller Chevrolet Bonanza, which we will see, before finally being discontinued. Ixo reproduced this model in a lovely pale green colour with excellent attention to detail. Anyone even remotely interested in the Chevrolet Suburban should strongly consider this model, as it’s been a surprise omission from both Premium X Diecast as well as White Box.
Unfortunately, or fortunately if I was starting to bore you to tears, it seems that we’ve come to the end of the article. Right now, the partwork is facing minor distribution problems and some quality control issues, although nothing like the horrors I described in my last issue. The announcement of an extension to one hundred models seems oddly-timed, but I certainly look forward to both the new issues and indeed finding out what they will be. Although it’s obviously impossible to judge a model until I’ve seen it in person, I will say that of the remaining six known models (not counting the Chevy Omega CD), three seem spectacular, one seems solid, one seems impossible to tell thanks to terrible photography, and one seems outright poor. I sincerely hope you join me again in visiting those and future models. I will be sure, of course, to let you know when the ‘non-reject’ Chevrolet Omega CD is released, by the way. As always, happy collecting!