Category Archives: Model Auto Review Magazine

Model Auto Review Magazine 1986

By Maz Woolley and Karl Schnelle

This is the fifth in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine.   Last month, we reviewed the year 1985 so this month we have reached 1986, a year when 6 issues were produced. We show you the Cover and Contents pages of the magazines and some colour pages to give a flavour of what the magazine looked like. (Click on the images to get a larger copy.)

1986 was the year of “Big-Bang” deregulation in the UK and Perestroika in the Soviet Union with most evening news bulletins in the UK seeming to feature Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Mikhail Gorbachev. After years of worrying about the impact of Nuclear Weapons being launched from the Eastern Bloc the first Nuclear fall-out for Europe came with the meltdown of the Soviet Nuclear Power Station at Chernobyl.

Over in the US collectors were more likely to have a job with unemployment falling  but in UK the opposite was true with high unemployment showing no signs of declining.

Here in the UK the examinations usually taken at 16 were radically changed. Gone were the Ordinary (O) Levels and Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) exams taken by the editor to be replaced by the new single General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams.

In the world of Transport the M25 Motorway which runs in a ring around London was completed. Agreements were reached to finally build the Channel Tunnel. Over in the US smoking was banned on public transport. Sadly, the US Space Program had a set back with the sad disintegration of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The best selling car in the UK was the Ford Escort and the transition from the Mark III to the very similar Mark IV version happened that year. All the 10 top selling new cars in the UK  were produced by Ford, Vauxhall or Austin Rover with most made in the UK.  There were some significant changes as PSA dropped the Talbot brand and yet again scaled back UK production. The sign of the times was the opening of the Nissan factory in Sunderland outside the traditional car building heart of the UK in the same way Japanese factories in the US were well away from Detroit. In US local production again dominated the sales charts. The top seller was Ford F series which was no surprise.  The Chevrolet Celebrity, Chevrolet C/K Pick-up, US Ford Escort, Chevrolet Cavalier, Oldsmobile Ciera, Ford Ranger , and Ford Tempo were all in the Top 10. The sign of the times was the Honda Accord up there in the top 10, albeit built in the US though.

In the Cinema Top Gun and Crocodile Dundee were blockbusters of the year. Wham and George Michael had a successful year in the pop charts with multiple hits, as did Madonna and the Bangles.

The technology the personal computer was developing again as IBM introduced the first laptop computer the PC Convertible which cost $2,000 which is the equivalent of around $4,400 now. Although “portable” it was still a DOS machine with a monochrome screen. But big changes were taking place in Intel Labs and the 386 chip was starting to be produced which was to be the game changer that would make the resource heavy Windows operating system practical.

So this was the background to our collecting. And despite the economic situation MAR shows that adult collecting was increasing with a steady increase of firms making models for collectors and even the large diecast firms seeing this as an opportunity for more sales with Corgi finally launching its 1:43 scale Classics range.

#18 Winter 1986

A somewhat sombre cover enlivened by the multi-coloured borders. The models on the cover are mainly to 1:43 scale with a mix of kits and finished models from small producers  as well as industrial firms. Provence Moulage presented a very nice Ford Woodie in resin and Starter’s NASCAR resin Ford Thunderbird appeared too. Another French company Sibur’s diecast Talbot Lago Le Mans was pictured alongside Revival of Italy’s Ferrari 500 F2 car. Finally a Matchbox Yesteryear Electric vehicle and a Corgi Thorneycroft in a dealer only Corgi livery are shown.

This being the first magazine of the year fourteen pages are devoted to the new model announcements from ranges around the world.

There were two editorials with Rod Ward the first tackling the problem of makers following each other by repeating the same subjects leaving other good subjects unmade, and the second discussing whether MAR should include model ratings and setting out what they may be if used. In practice then and now  MAR has steered clear of ratings as there are so many factors to consider and it is a subjective process.

Readers letters occupied a full 2 pages and covered contributions from Vic Davey in Hong Kong and others around the world. Subjects covered included USSR models, small models, and clarifications and corrections to previous articles.

Articles covered a huge range of items from Don Elliot’s Avon Automotive Decanters to Brian J Elliot’s “how to” on converting a Brumm Fiat to a Mercedes Simplex land speed record holder. Roger Bailey pops up with another article on buses, the Greyhound this time.

The colour pictures cover a huge range of items in multiple scales but it is noticeable that obsolete items are less prominent than in the early MAR years.

#19 Spring 1986

Green dominates the spring issue with a rural backdrop and a selection of vehicles in different scales. The FDS Ferrari Daytona is a very detailed kit even by current standards. An obsolete  Mettoy Morris Z  points to a John Hanson article on the Morris Z inside. A DAF promotional lorry sits alongside a Gama Opel Kadett to represent up to date subjects. A Provence Moulage kit of the Toyota Le Mans car is shown above a 1:16 scale Case tractor from ERTL. Finally we get one of two adapted Corgi Transits made specially to present to the Prince of Wales on a Ambulance Service visit.

Inside Andre Blaize continues his Rolls-Royce coverage, and Richard Ineson continues to write about Mebetoys. Don Elliots offbeat transport subjects are back in the form of decanters. Gerard Palazy has a great story of the models of the Paris Bus. Letters cover more than two pages and include one from the then editor of Stamp Magazine Richard West who many readers will recognise as the Editor who launched Model Collector and edited it for many years. A topic returned to again and again in MAR is the lack of credit given to the makers of masters by most ranges.

The colour covers show a wide range of scales , materials and prototypes. Estetka plastic models from Poland are featured as well as Igra and Bohemia from Czechoslovakia. Homburg models expensive hand built  resin Ferraris also feature. Amongst the others are Vitesse diecasts, and Herpa 1:87 plastic. A variety of resin models from Provence Moulage, MH Models, FDS are shown as well as Box  and Old Car diecasts.   All set off by a sole tractor from ERTL, a Farmall to 1:16 scale.

#20 Summer 1986

A suitable set of summer holiday graphics on the front cover which features an expensive Styling Models model built by BBR to 1:43, Starter resin kits of the MG Metro 6R4. A Ford Zephyr to 1:20 scale by an unknown maker heralds the start of a very long running series of articles.  Diecast VW Transporter in Fire livery  and  the obsolete Solido Silver Cloud are also featured.

The editorials show the problems with international mail order in the 1980s with the need for readers to pay with a method which UK banks would accept without a large fee and to send IRCs and not foreign stamps to allow questions to be answered. It made me realise that the Internet and Paypal have been wonderful enablers.

The colour pages include a wide range of models with everything from obsolete Minix models to Sun models of the Humber Super Snipe drophead and the Sun transkit for the VW Beutler Estate Car based on the Tomica Dandy VW. Eligor, Gama, Polistil and Shaback models represent current diecasts.

Inside an excellent article on Minix from Robert Newson who has written many books on model makers is inside. Tekno trucks are back with the L series looked at in detail by Clive Chick. Andre Blaize continues his Rolls-Royce coverage. Amongst other articles are Roger Bailey on Tuff-Tots and Midland Red Motorway coaches and John Comber on Model Caravans. A very long running series starts with part one of a series initially entitled Ford Miniature Cars by Dave Turner covering early Consul and Zephyr models. You can find many postings on this web site as Dave continues to chronicle the Ford in Miniature  30 years later!


#21 Extra 1986

A return to stylised graphics for this issue and the Front Cover has an interesting mix of models from the Allsorts resin kit 1:48 scale London Transport RF single decker to a restored Bing tinplate model. A Team T resin kit of the Jaguar XJR6 with Jaguar livery as run at Silverstone is  centre stage. Diecasts from ERTL , Box, and Schabak fill other spots.

Two pages of readers letters with lots on Bugattis and models in the form of decanters and bottles were followed by a further section on responses to the motor caravans article from the previous month.

An article by the magazine’s editor tells readers that the new Corgi 1:43 Classics were to be made in Portugal by Vitesse – a relatively short lived arrangement . This marked the shift for Corgi away from 1:32 scale and back to 1:43 with a series kicked off with the Morris Minor models. Andre Blaize looked at the SIlver Cloud II in models. Clive Chick got to the Tekno Ford D series. Catalogue Corner by Horst Macalka features Corgi and this series continued for may years. Don Elliot concentrates on the rare US made AM (ambo) tinplate models. Dave Turner’s article now gets the same title it runs under today “The Ford in Miniature”  with part two covering further UK Fords up to the Scorpio. John Hanson looks at the Scammell Scarab and again we see reader’s chops as well as a wide range of new models for sale.

The colour pages show models from many firms that seem to have come and gone quite quickly like Dubray and Guild Models. Others that lasted longer were Provence Moulage, Replicast, Automany, MA Collection and Western. Land speed record cars feature on inside cover a subject which was very popular in the early years of MAR. The rear colour cover included the ERTL 1:43 tractors and a Ford car as well as many 1:87 plastic models. There is even a set of Arcade cast iron models.

#22 Autumn 1986

The cover is autumnal with a leaf motif as a background. The cars featured are all 1:43 except for a single 1:50. The old timer is a Bussing by Cursor. Provence Moulage resin Ferrari Daytona and Ford Escort in sporting liveries are pictured. Lion Cars DAF tractor unit represents commercial vehicles . The Williams-Honda FW011 is from Tameo as a white metal kit. The Nascar Chevrolet Monte Carlo came from Starter as a resin kit as did the Renault 5 Turbo rally car.  The final model shown is the unusual Sibur diecast and plastic model of the Citroen Kegresse half track which crossed from Persia to China in the 1930s.

The editorial on the devaluation of the pound sounds awfully familiar to UK collectors today who have seen the recent significant increase in model prices.

Readers letters again come from around the world and pose questions to Editor and readers on a range of topics. The topic of quoting prices and suppliers cane up – a topic that was to be repeated many times – MAR did not quote prices or sources due to the fact that any price quoted would be irrelevant to many readers around the world.

Articles inside look at Bugatti,Ford, and Zee Toys. and Solido, A Ford Tug chop is described and various other chops by Fred Harris are shown. Coverage of new models shows items like the Picollino 1:76 sports and racing cars models and Brooklins latest.

The stand out models for me on the inside front cover are the Jensen Hardtop and Facel Vega II by Enco both superb castings by Pete Comben and models I greatly enjoyed making from kits. Other models include several E Types. Eligors derived from earlier Norev plastic models in convertible and 2+2 form and Minimarque white metal handbuilt open cars. Others of note are CSV resin models of the Aston Martin DBS convertible, Mini Marque Packard Caribbean,  CCC resin Peugeot 401D, We also see Progetto K Ferrari 225 Spyder as well as MPA Ferrari 512M and a Lotus Elite in racing trim from DM in resin. A Sun Motor company Beetle transkit in resin to turn a Tomica Dandy into a VW convertible sits above a Yesteryear conversion which in turn sits above a Vitesse TR3A with its very overscale rack on the boot. Finishing off are a 1:20 scale Volvo-BM Tractor from Finland and a MA Collection resin 1937 Renault.


#23 Christmas 1986

A very geometric background suggestive of boxes perhaps for Christmas. The cover had models from Japan, France and Canada. From Sakura there was a cast Rolls-Royce and from Tomica Dandy a Mitsubishi Fuso bonneted fire appliance. From France in resin came a CCCJM kit of a Panhard Dyna woodie, from Provence Moulage a a Le Mans E Type, and from Starter a Ford RS200 and a Ford Mustang GTO. From Canada Mini Auto Emporium had a handbuilt Buick 1939 Canadian Royal Tour car.

Readers letters spilt over four pages and covered a wide range of topics from a suggestion that people form a model caravan collectors club to additional information to follow previous articles. The inter-war Marsh models mystery which ran for some time gathering information was also a subject of a letter.

Inside Stu Schaller gives an authorative account of the John Day range of models which were largely sold as kits made in white metal, and of racing cars. Vic Davey covered the Tomy Dandy Leisure series which consisted of cars from the standard range with roof racks ready to go on holiday. Regular items on Rolls-Royce and Ford continued and Jim McLachan looked at pedal powered Volkswagens. Geoff Keans continued his exploration of construction related models focusing on Volvo BM and M J Sharp looked at Impy Roadmasters. Catalogue corner covered French Dinky. Amongst the news pages is a picture of the first of the Corgi Classics in 1:43 scale the Minor Post Office Telephones van. Though not entirely accurate Corgi had hit the spot and it sold in large quantities as it was relatively inexpensive and was of a popular vehicle. The centre pages were dominated by pictures of Kids cars, the “ride in” variety

The colour pictures have a lot of classic British vehicles. From Provence Moulage in resin there were XJR6s in various liveries as well as the Aston Martin DB4 Zagato. Starter from France are featured with their Ford RS200 and Aston Martin DBR1 and a Ferrari 328 GTS. In white metal GPM’s white metal Bentley R Type features along with Brooklin’s Mustang Shelby. Pinder and Knie Circus models from Verem complement a 1:25 Schabak Transit. On the rear cover a Precision Miniatures Lincoln is driven by Santa Claus alongside a picture of the made up K&R Ford Pilot Woodie kit. Two Tomica Dandy Toyota saloons are complemented by their Mazda RX-7. A lovely Brumm diecast Alfa Romeo 2900 sits above a superb Aston Martin DB5 in resin from Provence Moulage.   Rio Hispano Suizas feature in open and closed forms. The Solido Age D’or 1950 Chevrolet in metallic blue sits on its plinth. A Lledo Ford A van with BBC Livery features alongside a model made in the Far-East for Australia with Grace Brothers livery. Editors note: Grace Brothers was a fictional Department Store featured in the BBC Comedy series “Are you being served?”.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @

Model Auto Review Magazine 1985

By Maz Woolley and Karl Schnelle

This is the fourth in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine.   Last month, we reviewed the year 1984 so this month we have reached 1985, a year when 5 editions were produced. We show you the Cover and Contents pages of the 5 magazines. (Click on the images to get a larger copy.)

Reading about the events of 1985 makes it seem a long time ago. Here in the UK the first mobile phone call was made; who could have imagined the smartphones of today then?

In world politics President Reagan started his second term in the US, whilst Margaret Thatcher was still PM in the UK. Things were changing in the Soviet Union as the recently appointed President Chernenko died and President Gorbachev was appointed. Things were about to start changing in East-West relations as well. Other important events in 1985 were Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia and the “We are the World” single. The beginnings of public concern about the fragility of the Earth’s climate were triggered by the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer.

Here in the UK we had riots in many of the major urban centres in the UK as unemployment amongst the young, particularly in deprived areas of major cities, lead to discontent and rebellion. We also saw the end of the miners strike and the beginning of the end of coal production in the UK. There was better news in Ireland where the Anglo-Irish agreement was signed which was the first step in the peace process there. International terrorism was still a major worry and the  Achille Lauro hijacking and the murder of a disabled US citizen shocked the watchers of TV news all around the world.

In the world of entertainment, “A View to a Kill”, the last Roger Moore James Bond, was shown, and Whitney Houston’s debut album was issued.

In the US, Route 66 was declassified and no longer officially existed. Although no longer a key transport artery it started a wave of nostalgia for the simpler America of the 1950s. Here in the UK the roads saw a curious new sight – the Sinclair C5 – a personal electric vehicle designed by Clive Sinclair, the inventor of the Sinclair electronic watch and many early UK personal computers. The C5 was powered by a washing machine motor and regarded by most as a joke and did not stay in production for very long.

In computing, we saw the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment system and the Commodore Amiga. Steve Jobs left Apple to form NeXT, and Apple ploughed on with the Apple II and Macintosh systems but started to turn corporate and lose sight of their customers.  IBM were still working flat-out and shipping the PC XT, but competitors like Compaq and Dell were beginning to emerge. The big news was that Microsoft had launched Windows 1.0 to a world which was far from ready for mice and graphical interfaces.

So against that background, we look at MAR in 1985.

#13 Spring 1985

A nice green background starts off the cover of the first issue of 1985.   A good mix of buses, cars, and trucks is shown:  Pirate Models Bedford OB coach, a large scale Japanese tinplate Caddy, a Sun Motor fire truck  (from Modelauto themselves), Yesteryear, Corgi Classic, and a small 1/87 Herpa bendy-bus!

As the cover suggests, new Corgi, Lledo, German plastic HO, French, English, and Italian cars are discussed.    The Jaguar XK had the centre spread, and the next two pages were taken up with Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows.   The Modelauto ad on the final pages lists seven Sun Motor white metal handbuilts with the Mercedes fire appliance on the cover as being diecast, resin, and white metal.    It was based on the diecast Arpra/Supermini from Brazil.

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#14 Summer 1985

The background colour switches to orange for the next cover, with nine trucks, cars and buses pictured.  The editorial this time addresses concerns based on letters to the editor.  The Editor, Rod Ward, states that MAR does not have personal opinions and tries to reflect the majority of readers, MAR publishes as many readers’ letters as possible, and MAR is not biased in favour of the advertisers.  Reviews are based on the quality of the models only, no widespread deals with advertisers like in other magazines of the time.

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#15 Autumn 1985

The Autumn cover is a bit wilder with a blue star burst or marbled background.  Seven cars and trucks are shown, with one being a De Soto fire department ambulance by Sun Motors (Modelauto). The range of models shown on the cover shows how the range of models for collectors is rapidly expanding just two years on from the first issues of Model Auto Review.

Two pages on several subjects each are included in this issue; the Rolls-Royce Phantom II, the inexpensive Road Stars series of 1/64 toy cars, Matchbox buses, Mebetoys, Cunningham race cars, Napier land speed record cars, and Tekno Dodge trucks.

The back cover shows several nice 1/43 handbuilts and five Sun Motor cars from Modelauto, all in colour!

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#16 Extra 1985

The front cover shows the Editor experimenting even more with eye-catching graphics, and as ever a selection of models relating to news items or articles within. The Mayes Models Rolls-Royce Armoured car was featured in André Blaize’s Rolls-Royce article within.  Two Record models, 1952 Chevrolets, were also shown in the basic trim with the body shell painted and nothing else; even in 1985 resin producers were trying to find ways to keep costs down. A Land Rover occupied the centre of the cover and featured in an article on Mebetoys inside.  Finally we have a trio of “old timers” with the Corgi Thorneycroft Van in Jacobs livery, Rod Ward’s own Sun Motor Company transkit which allowed you to turn the Corgi rolling chassis into a Thorneycroft Fire Appliance, and finally a Schuco old timer clockwork model of an Opel Doctors Coupe from 1909.

Inside expert contributions came from all over the world. Don Elliot’s contributions of offbeat car models provided light relief amongst the very serious articles on Rolls-Royces, South African Dinky Toys, Mebetoys, and School Buses. There were also articles about “chops” based on the latest Matchbox and Lledo toys as well as old and battered Dinky models.

An index to Issues nine to fourteen was included a feature many readers liked but one that became much too hard to maintain in the days when it would need to be compiled by eye – no quick computer searches across magazine text in those days.

Spotted amongst the adverts is one for McLaren Models of Falkirk who were founded in 1983 and are still advertising in the UK modelling press today.

The back cover is shown with a variety of models relating to the contents including a fine display of South African Dinky Toys as well as two Sun Fire conversions, another view of the Thorneycroft and a De Soto Fire Ambulance.  A new series called Phoenix of 1:50 UK Fire Engines was pictured as well as Ashton US profile engines. Some Picollino 1:76 scale models which were available as kits, handbuilts,  and some cheap Corgi  buses in travel-related liveries were also shown.

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#17 Christmas 1985

The Christmas edition has some interesting graphics perhaps representing tyre tracks. The Corgi Thorneycroft van is again pictured on the cover. This time in yet another livery and with revised wheels.  Rod Ward commented that after issuing many other liveries Corgi finally fitted it with correct disk wheels. The lovely Russobalt is pictured with the information that it was unlikely to become available from the USSR at that point even though many Soviet made models were being sold in the West. The Cobra is a Box model from Italy, a range which still features in our News for the Continent postings.

In the centre of the cover is a range of 1:76 white metal buses from Model Road and Rail who made a small range of white metal models in 1:76 and 1:43. Their Routemaster variations were very popular as EFE’s was not founded until 1989 and the Corgi Routemasters were clearly toys.

At the base of the cover was an Ertl Ford Model T van in a toy fair finish a rare model at the time. Ertl were making a big play for the UK market at this time and their models were beginning to appear in specialist model shops. The final vehicle is a Brepsomn 1:8 scale tin plate model from France which you could buy for 500 UK Pounds, that would make an expensive Christmas present! (Current online sources show a few Brepsomn  models and state that they were made in Switzerland.)

Inside the magazine we see examples of readers’ work in creating Hearses from standard models, as well as cars crafted in wood by John Shelford which were to feature in MAR on a regular basis. We also see an article on detailing the Norev Paris bus to make it into a very accurate model. Corgi, Matchbox, and Lledo models featured in the news alongside Somerville and other specialist model makers.

A two page article, written by Rod Ward focused on the firms making models in Britain, has some fascinating illustrations to show the relative levels of production of different firms.  How different it is now with so few models made in Britain. Other features are the part two of Who’s Who as well as whole sections on USSR vehicles, Ambulances and a feature article by Charles Barnett on the Sunbeam Silver Bullet and the model by Pandora Models.

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We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at

Model Auto Review Magazine 1984

By Maz Woolley and Karl Schnelle


This is the third in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine.   Last month, we reviewed the year 1983. So this month we have reached 1984, a year when five editions were produced. We show you the Cover and Contents pages of the five magazines. (Click on the images to get a larger copy.)

1984 is a world away. In the US the film Star Wars was seen on television for the first time and Miami Vice, with those “fake Ferraris“, also hit the small screen. In the UK a big hit was Thomas and Friends, models of whom soon started to turn up at swap meets.

In the technological world, Apple introduced the Macintosh which was US$2,500 when a new Dodge RAM 50 truck was only $9,000. The Apple Modem 300 was also introduced that year giving the well off user the chance to connect to the internet albeit very slowly!

It was still a time of recession with interest rates of around 10% on both sides of the Atlantic and high unemployment. Here in the UK we had the long running miner’s strike. Ronald Reagan was elected for a second time and in the UK Margaret Thatcher was also in her second term as Prime Minister. Overseas: Indira Ghandi was assassinated and the Union Carbide disaster took place. In the Soviet Union, President Andropov died to be replaced by President Chernenko.

Late in the year the world of music came together to make a record to raise money for the starving in Africa and Band-Aid was born.

When we look at the prices in the adverts in the 1984 editions of MAR, we must remember to multiply all the prices by 3 to get an idea of the prices in today’s terms. 1984 brought more regular colour to MAR with a format that lasted a few years with colour on the front and back of the magazine cover being used to show as many models as possible and earn revenue through a colour advert on the rear of #9.

#8 Spring 1984

The pink cover shows a large scale model bus with four real bodies sticking out the roof!  The article inside on Miniature Coaches explains that this was a famous Johnstone Midget.   The Editorial by Rod Ward talks about two recent trends:  theme collecting now that there are so many choices and upmarket  collectors who would rather have one perfect model than 6 OK models.

Also, Yesteryears take up a few pages, as well as new releases from the UK, Germany, France, and Italy.  Jim McLachlan’s VW column continues as well as Ralph Horton’s Fire and Clive Chick’s Tekno articles.  Two pages of Rover photos, and two more on the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (by the famous French collector Andre Blaize) are shown.

The black & white center spread is on chopped Rolls models in 1/43 by Henri Fischer of Germany.  Eleven pages of swapmeets and ads are at the rear of the mag, with Modelauto taking the inside back cover.

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#9 Summer 1984

The full-colour front cover (a first for the magazine) highlights how important Matchbox Yesteryear collecting was at this time with Y5 Talbot in Dunlop livery joined by a Y12 Ford T Van in Pepsi Cola livery and a Y22 Ford A in a Toblerone livery. In contrast we have a plastic Mercedes-Benz from Yugoslavia and an Eastbourne liveried bus. The inside back cover showed more 1:43 scale Eastbourne buses all made by Dave Spencer alongside some Eastbourne bus memorabilia. Also on the back cover were military chops and a display of Routemaster buses from a variety of makers in various scales.

Inside there were two pages of letters. Including one from Dr Ed Force, a well known writer of books on models. Another letter had a diecast wants list which has still not been fulfilled to this day as no Standard 8/10 or Pennant have been made other than as expensive white metal models, mind you the requested Austin Ruby is due to be made this year by Oxford Diecast!

There was a London centric feel to some of the content with articles about London Routemaster buses and FX3 taxicabs. The offerings were all toys or toy like. Another article on the Rover P4 also looked toy like when compared to what is on offer now.

Other articles told us more about Tekno, Daimler models and Rolls-Royce. Andre Blaze produced one of his excellent articles on Rolls-Royce models which updated regularly for many years. The center spread contained 2 articles on Manou from France – white metal, resin, and hand carved wood!

Adverts were from traders around the world as well as the UK. The prices of Models of Yesteryear are scarcely different from what they sell or on eBay today. But some of the white metal models from Western were only the equivalent of 60-70 pounds today and they are regularly two or three times that price on eBay today.

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#10 Autumn 1984

Many of the same series of articles appeared in issue #10.   In addition, the cover shows three Lion Cars that were re-issued in 1984 – we are surprised they were doing that already more than 30 years ago!  Lion Toys are still in business, and other re-issues are still available. New topics include the Corgi Toys Rover P6 – nine  variations according to the author and reminiscences of working with the famous John Day, by Ray Ashworth.   The center spread documented a visit to the Corgi factory in Swansea after they had reorganized as Corgi Sales Ltd.

The back cover shows the interior and exterior of the Modelauto shop in colour for the first time.  The inside back cover shows construction and trucks in colour.

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#11 Extra 1984

The Extra issue this year was published on 15 October.  This magazine has the colour cover (4 sides) and articles similar to the previous issues.  We won’t give  a laundry list of subjects, just point out some differences.   The four center pages are an Index to issues 5-8 and the Colour Extra.  Page 449 has some nice B&W cartoons or caricatures of classic cars – a little different area than usually covered.  These were used to create rubber stamps!  Wonder if any are still around?

A regular contributor back then was Clive Chick – he wrote an article in Extra 84 that caught our attention.  On a trip  he found Corgis and Solidos made in Brasil, as well as REI, Jue, Minimac, Muky, ARPRA Supermini…  Stuff we would love to had seen and handled back in the 1980s!

Also we would be remiss if we did not mention that p 467 contained an ad for the first Tekno book from Denmark.  One of the Editors being an avid collector for many years,  this was the first Tekno ‘bible’ that showed how many Tekno cars we still had to collect!

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#12 Winter 1984

Finally, the Winter issue was published to round out 1984.  Box Model, Conrad, Lion Cars, Yesteryears, and Western Models were pictured on the cover.  All brands many people collected or wanted to collect back in the 1980s.

Many articles were again published on similar subjects.  Clive Chick showed many Tekno tinplate fire trucks in a two-page article, things we had never seen nor heard about before this issue.

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We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at

Model Auto Review Magazine 1983

By Karl Schnelle


This is the second in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine. Last month we started with our very first year, 1982.  This month we will review 1983 using images of the Cover and Contents pages of the four quarterly magazines and one extra colour issue. (Click on the images to get a larger copy.)

In 1983, the internet was just getting started, and Apple introduced the Lisa, one of the first PCs with a GUI.  Microsoft released Word (which I use everyday at work!).  The movie Return of the Jedi was released. Swatch produced their first watch.  And my favorite band back then was The Police! In automotive news, Chrysler introduced  the first-ever minivan, the Dodge Caravan.  And in toy news, Mettoy Playcraft Ltd,  the owner of Corgi Toys, was called into receivership.

No 4, Spring 1983

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The year started off with an orange colored cover with a Michel Conti Testa Rossa on the lower third!  Also on the cover was Matchbox Yesteryear Y12 van – back then we were in the throws of the Yesteryear promo van craze. MAR continued the unique page numbering system by starting the year with page 113.

Jim McLachlan had another VW Review, and Yesteryear promo vans were listed – factory made and factory-approved versions – in another article!  However, the reason I was attracted to MAR as a reader was Clive Chick’s series of articles on Danish Tekno.  In this issue, one page was devoted to the Tekno tankers.  Many other articles appeared – from Peugeot to Citroen to Trolleybuses.

The back cover had a Tri-ang Minic catalog page reproduced, and in fact large-scale Minic and Victory were written about on the center spread.

No 5, Summer 1983

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Three pages of this issue start off with readers’ letters.   News & Views and Truck Stop continue as regular columns.  Also the VW, Peugeot, Citroen, fire appliances, and Yesteryear sagas continue with the same authors as before.  Part Two of the MINIC article appears with many B&W photos.

A review of the 1/43 Politoys E Series (Economy) piqued my curiosity, since I have their two Alfa Romeos. A brief description is given of each model.   To tie us to the current online version of the magazine, the first RAMI article appeared by Charles Barnett in this issue; models 1-5 were covered in No 5 with B&W photos.  This article was updated online here and then more color photos of RAMI models were added here!

The nice back cover had a Spot-On catalog page from their first catalog reproduced in blue, black, and white.

No 6, Autumn 1983

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The previous two 1983 issues had cars on their covers, but now No 6 shows a van, bus, truck, and tractors.  This is one reason I liked the MAR early issues – because they were truly not just Autos even though the middle name of the publication says that!  🙂  The breadth of models covered kept the hardcopy magazine interesting for many, many years for many, many readers!   To support that statement, another three full pages of letters were published in No 6.   One letter notes that Lledo seemed to be really taking off with collectors; 1983 was a long time ago.

Two toy cars books are reviewed next and then the VW, Tekno, RAMI,  Yesteryear, Fire, Peugeot  articles continue!   Corgi farm tractors, Rovers, Politoys M, and Talbot Lago race cars are also described.

Pages from a 1963 Norev catalog are on the back cover this time, with a note that plastic Norevs might appear again!

Colour Extra 1983

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Now many years later, it was not obvious where the Colour Extra fit in the production timeline, but because the original Editor, Rod Ward, had decided to number the pages of all issues consecutively, I could put them back in order easily.   Color (sorry, I am an American.) was expensive and there were extra articles still to publish, so MAR decided to try an ‘extra’ issue with a color insert for the middle page, as well as full color front and back pages, double-sided!  This extra issue was published on Oct 1st.

Eight small B&W photos were included on the other pages with each model from the color pages marked with a number.  Next to those images, each model was captioned as there were no words on the color pages.   The use of captions on B&W pages with all pictures on separate colour pages was common throughout MAR’s existence.  It was to make the most of the expensive colour pages – if you used captions as well on the colour pages, it would have meant about 30% fewer pictures.

The center colour page (without captions) is seen below.

Four pages were devoted to an Index of the first four issues, while the remaining articles followed a similar format to the regular issues.  See the Content page above for exact titles.  TB, FGT, and BS on page 262 refer to three pages on Taylor & Barrett,  F G Taylor, and Barrett & Sons.

No 7, Winter 1983

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The Editorial remarked about the MAR policy for publishing articles. To this day, the same  guidelines are used: any article from a knowledgeable collector or author is encouraged.   A scope ranging from in-depth, long term research projects to short, new product reviews are encouraged.  From Issue No 1 to today’s virtual blog format, this policy has not changed.

The same type of articles continue in this issue with the same continuing series on Rover, Tekno, RAMI, etc.  The Gallic Gossip page includes a short article on Marmande, a small but famous, French concern that made detailed wooden 1/43 models.  As with the other issues, 9 or so pages of advertisements are included in the back: both for model car shops and for swapmeets.  These are a real step back in time 30+ YEARS ago!  The inside cover color pages are ads for mail order from Modelauto in Leeds (no website or even email yet!).

The yellow back cover is a fascinating collage of 3 Dinky scale drawings for models that never were (maybe)!  Geoff Moorhouse had sent them in with a Letter about Dinky scales.  On top is the recently famous Austin ‘Omnisport‘ van, then a Guy Warrior ‘Golden Shred‘, and finally the ‘Sweeteners for Industry‘ tanker.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at

Model Auto Review Magazine 1982

By Maz Woolley


This is the first in what we intend to be series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine. We will cover one year in each posting and look at the collectors world through articles and adverts which are an interesting reflection of the growth in our hobby.  To help illustrate this, we will include images of the covers and content lists of the magazines.

1982 saw the launch of a new magazine for the rapidly growing collectors market in model vehicles. In his introduction Rod Ward said “We will attempt to cover all scales, materials, and eras of model or toy cars, trucks, buses, etc.” An ambitious mission statement, but one that was true throughout the life of the magazine whose last printed edition went to press late in 2013. The magazine was all put together by Rod and Val Ward, and the team at the Model Auto shop. Copy was typed, photographs taken and developed, everything was pasted up and finally scanned to produce output ready to be taken to the printers. The only colour in the first year appeared on the cover. Magazine production before powerful personal computers, the Internet and digital cameras was a much more time consuming and manual process.

In the world at large Ronald Reagan was American President, Margaret Thatcher the UK’s Prime Minister, and Brezhnev and then Andropov leaders of the USSR.  We had experienced a major period of economic recession in the UK with many traditional industries losing plants and jobs, or even vanishing, leaving many communities with high unemployment and few prospects. Others taking opportunities from the the wave of deregulation or working in the rapidly growing Information Technology industry made careers in this new world. The rise of offshoring manufacturing to China was yet to come.

A personal computer in the UK meant a Sinclair ZX80 or the exciting new Sinclair Spectrum. In the States the Commodore VIC-20 was about to be replaced by the 64.  Many Christmas stockings now had a games machine or cartridge in them where once there would have been toy cars. Whilst the better off families would also be busy watching films played on their new Video Recorder/Player.

In the toy world major changes were taking place. Dinky Toys had already gone bankrupt in the UK in 1979. Lesney, makers of Matchbox toys, went bankrupt during 1982, and whilst Corgi Toys soldiered on it was only for another year before they too went bankrupt. On the Continent Solido, Gama, and others still were still making diecast toys as were Pilen and Metosul in southern Europe but the days when toy cars, trucks, trains. and planes were keenly collected by most schoolboys were passing and the only booming makers of “Toy Cars” were Mattel whose Hot Wheels still sold strongly.

At the same time that the toy industry was experiencing turmoil a new phenomena was growing quickly; the adult model collector.  This was not entirely new as ranges such as Lesney’s Models of Yesteryear, Dugu, Rio, Solido Age D’Or and others had always had an adult following but now the children of the 1950s and 1960s who had played with model planes, trains and cars were becoming collectors again and in substantial numbers.  The adult collector often collected obsolete models from Dinky, Corgi and Matchbox  and collectors clubs and swapmeets started to develop across the UK allowing them to buy, sell and swap models. At the same time new firms had grown up, many of them “one man” operations to provide collectors with models of cars never modelled before or of current vehicles that were not being made as diecasts such as racing cars. These collectors models rapidly grew in quality and detail so that even models previously made as diecasts were produced again with greater detail for collectors. Many ranges were sold only as kits, or as kits and ready made models.

Model Auto Review was squarely aimed at the adult collector who was interested in models of all kinds from all over the globe, new and old. Up to this point they had been catered for by columns in Classic Cars and modelling magazines like Modellers World but not in a magazine dedicated to them.

Summer 1982

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A wide range of topics in this first magazine. From the start MAR featured excellent articles on obsolete toys written by people who really knew their subject. Often the subjects were lesser known ranges for UK readers like Danish Tekno models and even the Crescent racing car series.  Another type of article which was to become a regular feature were those featuring models of a particular car or from a specific car maker: the Austin 7, Isettas, and Citroen for example.  The roundups of new models of different types was supplemented by a detailed look at Somerville who were making a name for themselves for their high quality kits and built models.

The adverts are interesting. I believe that all the dealers advertising, with the exception of Charles Barnett, seem to have closed. Many of the dealers had shops as well as selling by mail order which is certainly not the case nowadays. The models on sale were a mixture of contemporary diecasts, kits and hand built models from the producers making 1:43 models for collectors like Brooklin and Somerville.  The smaller scale 1:87 models that were sold primarily to railway modellers but were also collected in their own right like Wiking also found a place in the magazine.

One of the key differences between MAR and the normal UK modelling press of the time was it’s international outlook. The adverts and articles cover models from all over the world. This international coverage was to grow as the years went by.

Autumn 1982

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The Autumn issue continued with more on the Austin 7 as well as features on Citroen H Vans, Peugeot Models and a VW review. Makers were covered with a look at the Politoys M Series and a feature on Brooklin Models which was already a well established firm having moved from Canada to the UK  in 1979. Brooklin’s final assembly area is pictured on the front cover with the 1956 Ford Thunderbird model shown being built.  The model itself is very plain and lacking in chrome compared to the latest generation of Brooklins.

For the first time a page of reader’s letters appears with contributions from readers around the world as well as best wishes from others in the publishing trade. Another feature which was to appear from time to time is an article on a reader’s model collection.

Adverts include special offers from Model Auto on Kado Models and Corgi’s too and include adverts from overseas dealers like Model Cars of Rotterdam too. An advert for John Ayrey who still advertises in the model collecting press today provides a link to the present though the advertised Schabak model aircraft at £1.70 each shows how long ago it was.  The first models from Eligor based on earlier Norev moulds were advertised as were the Heller 1:43 scale plastic car kits.   Model Auto even had some tin plate, and card cutout models of buses from Holland on sale in 1:25 scale.

Winter 1982

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Winter brought  Christmas wishes on the cover with an obsolete diecast Santa set  providing a seasonal mood. A Solido AEC RT featured a repainted model with a Bradford livery as used when Bradford brought some RTs from London Transport. There was also an article on how to convert a Yesteryear Crossley Lorry and a  Solido Citroen C4 bus into a Crossley Country Bus and a Citroen Coal and Coke lorry. Modifications of existing models to make models not commercially available were to appear in MAR on a regular basis.

The editorial looked at the fact that Matchbox’s new owners were moving production of some models to the far east and considering the predictions that high-volume model production would be moved to Taiwan and Hong Kong before moving to even lower cost countries like India, South America, and Africa. In fact as we know Chinese industrial policies made China and Malaysia the hub of all high volume production over the eighties, and it is only now that production is moving out to lower pay economies like Bangladesh.

Readers Letters now covered two pages and was full of comment on previous articles as well as reader’s request lists. One model requested is a Royal Daimler which was not made until Oxford Diecast did so over 30 years later.

As ever keen on covering unusual subjects Rod Ward wrote an article on Midland Replica Models horse drawn and other models made with old Taylor and Barrett and F G Taylor moulds. The Austin 7 and Peugeot articles continued, and these articles opened the eyes of everyday collectors in the UK to the models made abroad, such as the Arcade slush moulded Austins from the US. The Yesteryear series also continued reminding us how important a part of collecting these models were.

Advertised items that catch the eye are the final Märklin models made by Mercury in Italy being remaindered alongside recently obsolete Schuco models. In 1:87 scale the Walldorf white metal mini models are listed precursors of the Praline plastic 1:87 models. Spare parts for restoring obsolete models are advertised but so too are expensive models from ENCO, Pocher, Record, and Western. You could even have bought a range of Nicky Toys which often sell for silly prices at auction today for about the same as a Wiking 1:87 scale bus.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor at