Category Archives: Model Makers

Who made the model

Atlas Deluxe Dinky – 1425E Matra 630

By Maz Woolley

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

The Atlas replica of French Dinky Toys #1425E Matra 630 has been shipped to UK subscribers.  This model was introduced in France in  1969 and remained in production until 1974. It was made to 1:43 scale. The model was also sold in the UK with a race number 36 and was UK #200 sold from 1971 to 1978. The E suffix indicated that the export version of the model has been recreated by Atlas. Indeed the included decals have a leaflet in German, Italian, Dutch and French included. Some may have preferred the perspex lidded box that was used more commonly than the picture box. This was not the only Matra made by Dinky in France as they made a very good model of the Jackie Stewart Matra Formula 1 car as well as a Matra Sports M530 road car.

The Matra-Simca MS630 was a Group 5 prototype race car introduced in 1967 for the World Championship for Makes. The car was initially designated as the Matra MS630, but when Simca sponsored Matra in 1969, it was renamed as the Matra-Simca MS630.  Presumably Dinky had already completed tooling up for the model before Simca’s sponsorship as they are not mentioned on the model or box. This three litre V12 engined car was good looking but sadly the cars looks were not matched by racing success as the car modelled pulled out after 22 hours in 1968 after a puncture and fire. There was greater success in 1969 when Matras did finish, but this was the era of the Ford GT40s dominance in this race and Matra were not competitive enough to outrun them.

The construction of this model is slightly unusual with the model cast in two halves bottom and top joining at the line along the bottom of engine cover and doors through to the front wings. With a fully diecast bottom half it is a heavy model. An engine is modelled to the rear beneath the opening cover and the front access compartments lid comes off. Large plastic covers for the front lights are a sign of the increased realism of toys in the late 1960s. A large windscreen wiper is added as a separate component which is a rare feature on models of this era.

The wheels are nice but not fully representative of the real car which tended to have darkened centres to the wheels and ribbed spokes. However this was intended as a toy for children so they are acceptable compared to the horrid speed wheels Dinky UK fitted towards the end of production.

Only the racing numbers are printed on as was the case of the original, and decals are supplied to add details. I have yet to be brave enough to do this!


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Dinky Toys Alfa Romeo 1900

By Terry Hardgrave

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

1959 was a momentous year for me, in my early days of collecting Dinky Toys. I was 14 and totally hooked on buying every new one I could afford, so I managed to acquire quite a few that year.

One of my favorites has always been the French produced 24j Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sport. A superb diecast model, nicely painted in the proper red for this car.  Dinky renumbered their models later on so this one became 527, and at some point came also in blue before being cancelled in 1963.

One more photo with its box… amazingly, after almost 60 years, the original box is practically like new and still crisp.

The French factory shared the molds, so English Dinky also produced this Alfa as number 185 from 1961-63.   This version came in yellow with a red interior (or red with white interior).

photo credit: Karl Schnelle

Both factories made this great 1900 for just a short time, which is a bit strange because many Dinkys in the 1960’s were made for years and years!


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The Negrão Racing Dynasty

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

All text and photographs copyright of the Author.

Throughout all  sports it’s fairly common to find family dynasties where generations from the same family play the same sport. In motorsports it’s the same.  We may remember some well known racing dynasties, from short-lived ones like Hill, Villeneuve and Senna, to the longest ones like the Andretti, Piquet or Fittipaldi, just to name a few.

Here are some models from the Brazilian family Negrão: Alexandre Furnari Negrão (Xandi Negrão), Alexandre Sarnes Negrão (Xandinho Negrão or Alexandre Negrão Jr.) , Antônio Augusto Furnari Negrão (Guto Negrão) and André Negrão.

All models are in 1:43 scale.  [Click photo for larger image.]

  1. Audi TT-R – Mil Milhas de Interlagos 2004 – Xandi Negrão, Xandinho Negrão and Guto Negrão. Schuco.
  2. Ferrari F 430 GT2 – Mil Milhas Brasileiras 2007 – Alexandre Negrão, Alexandre Negrão Jr and Andreas Mattheis – ProModelTek.
  3. Aston Martin DBR9 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2008 – Xandinho Negrão with Peter Hardman and Nicki Leventis – IXO.
  4. Aston Martin DBR9 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2008 – Xandinho Negrão with Peter Hardman and Nicki Leventis – Spark.
  5. Alpine A-470 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2017 – André Negrão with N. Panciatici and P. Ragues – Spark.

And here are views of their other ends!

I hope you like them.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 20

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Parts 58 to  60

 

Three very interesting buses : from France, Germany and USA/Canada. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

 

No. 58 (no. 50 in the French collection) Panhard Movic IE24 1948 – At last a vehicle from the oldest vehicle manufacturer: first to produce petrol engines (1887) under a license from Daimler, Panhard et Levassor sold their first automobile in 1890. Their first vehicles set many modern standards, it had four wheels, a clutch pedal to operate a chain-driven gearbox, a front-mounted engine and radiator, the first modern transmission and the steering wheel. This “state of the art” layout was called the “Système Panhard”. Before the Great War Panhard et Levassor was already one of the largest and most profitable manufacturers of automobiles. Between 1910 and 1924 Panhard et Levassor offered plenty of models with conventional valve engines, alongside cars powered by sleeve valve power units, a technology patented by the American Charles Yale Knight, and from 1924 till 1940 all Panhard cars used steel sleeve valve engines only. After the Second World War the company was renamed Panhard (without “Levassor”), and produced light cars making the bodies and several other components out of aluminium, mainly because of postwar government steel rationing. A false evaluation of production costs using that material pushed the firm close to bankruptcy, forcing a hurried return to steel. The last Panhard passenger car was built in 1967, after assembling 2CV panel vans and selling ownership progressively to Citroën. From 1968 Panhard only made armoured vehicles, and were then absorbed by Auverland and from 2012 by Renault Trucks Defense, a division of Swedish Volvo Group. Panhard built trucks from the 1910s, and during the Second World War made technical investigations for a new diesel engine, using the Lanova type of cylinder head in order to achieve an higher efficiency and a reduced noise. These engines were named 2HL, 4HL and 6HL according to the number of cylinders and where HL stood for “huile lourd” (heavy oil or diesel fuel). After the Second World War as part of the “Plan Pons” Panhard was grouped into the U.F.A (Union Française Automobile) together with Somua and Willème and entrusted with the manufacture of medium tonnage heavy goods vehicles.

In 1952 Panhard presented a vehicle with a seven tons of payload called Movic, a vehicle particularly well adapted to the reconstruction needs of the time, powered by either a 85 or 100 hp diesel engine, or a 90 or 110 hp petrol engine. Like many other firms Panhard used a five letter system to designate the vehicle class in order to facilitate orders (hence the Movic name), and a combination of letters and numbers to identify the chassis type (like IE24). The Panhard Movic IE24 used a 5 meters wheelbase and was able to transport fifty passengers, powered by the 4HL engine, with bodies by Currus or Besset. But production was always very limited and 1962 saw the end of any production of civilian trucks and buses.

The model is shaped accurately and the cream and green livery appears authentic and neatly printed. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis with basic detail. A basic interior is fitted,and there are many small separately inserted parts, like wipers, mirrors, lights and chromed bumpers.

The red spot indicates that it is a regular line service. It sports the insignia of a transport firm from Mouthoumet, a small village in the Aude department, Occitaine region, in the south of France, and it is fitted with an accurate French registration plate, from the Aude department (11) prefecture of Carcassonne.

There is a very nice baggage rack on the roof, and a well modelled large rear ladder. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a simple tourist bus typical of the 1950s.

 

 

No. 59 (no. 48 in the French collection) General Motors “New Look” TDH-5301 1959 – We have already seen the GM history and its TDH-3610 (see part 10, no. 29) and its PD-3751 (see part 14, no. 41), Scenicruiser (see part 2, no. 4) and type 6000 School Bus (see part 3, no. 7), and how the more usual GMC badges did not appear until 1968, replacing GM, GM Coach and Yellow Coach badges previously used. The GM New Look bus (an official term used by GM), was introduced in 1959 to replace the previous transit buses, like the TDH-3610, and was available in both Transit and Suburban versions (less than 3,300 made). More than 44,000 units were produced by 1986 (from 1978 production in Canada only) and it soon becoming an iconic North American sight, and gaining the “fishbowl” nickname after its six-piece rounded windscreen.

The air-sprung self-supporting monocoque structure with aluminium frame and riveted body panels was powered by a rear transverse engine, a two-stroke V6 diesel by Detroit-Diesel, 238 cv, usually with an angle-drive single ratio automatic transmission. Its whole design, an airplane-like stressed-skin construction, was patented by GM (U.S. Patent D182,998), to avoid any unwarranted competition. As usual its denomination (TDH-5301) was a full technical description : T for transit bus, D for diesel, H for hydraulic transmission, 53 for the number of seats and 01 for the series. The first city to take delivery of the New Look was Washington D.C.. The New Look was particularly appreciated in Canada, with a local production of more than 11,000 units, while its heir, the RTS (Rapid Transit Bus), was almost rejected in Canada, pushing GM to resume production of an updated New Look (the Classic) from 1982.

The scale model is based on one of the Canadian buses, with the blue/silver and ivory livery typical of the Toronto Transit Commission. It has a plastic body and metal baseplate which is detailed and has an added silver exhaust. This is a very large model in 1:43 scale and is fitted with a correct interior and a nice driver area.

Very well reproduced side windows with silver frames are included. The usual added plastic parts can be found: lights, wipers, mirrors, bumpers. There are nice wheels with the correct twin rear ones.

The line number is 71, from St. Clair Avenue to Runnymede station (Runnymede is a residential neighbourhood on the western side of Toronto’s downtown core, not far from the shore of lake Ontario). The registration plate is a correct one for Ontario from 1961 (white on black). Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice reproduction of a much loved Canadian bus.

 

 

No. 60 (no. 49 in the French collection) Borgward BO 4000 1952 – The origins of the company go back to 1905 with the foundation in the Bremen area of NAMAG, maker of the Lloyd car, and of Hansa Automobilgesellschaft, due to merge in 1914 to form the “Hansa-Lloyd-Werke A.G.”. After the Great War the company soon faced bankruptcy, but Carl Borgward, already owner of the Goliath-Blitzkarren business, took control of it, greatly expanding the scope of his auto business and broadening the products range. 1939 saw the first use of the Borgward name as a brand, while the Second World War saw the production of many military trucks, half-tracks and munitions, but also lead to the destruction of Factories due to heavy Allied bombing. Notwithstanding the buildings destruction, the tools were almost untouched and it was possible to restart truck production before the end of 1945, and cars from 1949.

Like many other buses in the aftermath of the Second World War the BO 4000, launched in 1951, was strictly derived from the B 4000 truck, in turn heir to the B 3000, produced in large numbers during the war. Powered by a straight-six five litre diesel engine with ‘turbulence’ combustion chambers, it was very efficient. The bus was produced for three years only, and sold less than two hundred units, so it is a rare bus indeed.

But it must be said that though Borgward produced in total only 631 buses it made more than 43,000 trucks. Borgward buses were very expensive and often created to order: clearly the company had difficulty in amortising production costs on such small production volumes, leading to troubles in competing in the marketplace and in assuring the needed cash-flow. This despite being a pioneer in air suspension and automatic transmission. In 1961 the company was forced into liquidation by creditors, even if they were then paid in full. Many spoke of a conspiracy, but it is doubtful if Borgward trading beyond 1961 would be able to generate sufficient cash to repay existing debts and any new borrowing needed.

The scale model is an accurate reproduction of the only existing BO 4000, a preserved bus still in use on the Sylt isle, the fourth-largest German island in the North Sea, nowadays connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm, an 11 km-long causeway joining from 1927 the North Frisian island to mainland Schleswig-Holstein, which is exclusively a railway corridor. The model is shaped accurately and the blue and light grey livery with a black roof appears authentic and neatly printed. The body is plastic, as usual, with a metal baseplate which is well detailed and has an added silver exhaust. Due to the large side and roof windows, which are well executed, the interior appears full of light and is fitted with nice seats. Many small plastic separate parts are used, like mirrors, lights and bumpers, plus width indicators at the front and a towing hitch at the rear.

It is fitted with accurate British occupation zone registration plates. On the sides we see the logo of the Wander Falke (the peregrine falcon) and a very small plate, probably identifying the coachbuilder. Nice chromed hubcaps are fitted and the correct twin rear wheels. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A good choice, a rare and likeable bus .


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The Ford in Miniature – 2001 Fortyniner

By Dave Turner

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

Around Ford’s Centenary in 2003 numerous events and creations were produced to celebrate the achievement . One of these was a concept called the Fortyniner as a tribute to the 1949 Ford that in reality could be said to have saved the company in the years following the Second World War. Two examples were created, a black closed car with an all glass top and a red convertible.

That original ’49 Ford featured what was regarded as radical new styling for the time embodying a simple shape with clean body panels combined with what were then modern conveniences. The 1949 Ford was presented with the Fashion Academy Award in both 1949 and 1950. This fifty year later concept car appeared in 2001 and was styled keeping to those original ideas and marrying them to what were significant custom car touches from the period as well as modern elegant and clean lines from Italian designers such as Ghia.

Appearing a year earlier in 2000 was the new Thunderbird concept that subsequently went into production in virtually the same form. Much of the character of this new Thunderbird was also incorporated into the Fortyniners styling.

The concept was powered by a 3.9 litre 32 valve V8 Thunderbird engine, the front fender badges are in the Thunderbird style and are lettered “Powered by”.

So far the only model of the Fortyniner concept to be found came from Auto Art at the time of the real thing and as usual they have done a superb job of it. At 1:18 it represents the ‘closed’ version and captures the simple but elegant lines perfectly having opening doors hood and trunk, steerable front wheels and a complete interior. The latter features the distinctive central ‘console’ that was part of the cars structure while such things as the cruise and radio controls located on the steering wheel was done to echo those bright horn rings of fifty years previous – have all been depicted. Turning the model over reveals a plethora of engine, transmission, drive line, steering and suspension detail. Beware, while enjoying the examination the projecting mirrors are vulnerable and delicate.

Auto Art China 72031 2003 Fortyniner concept closed 266mm 1:18 Diecast
Illustrations:

 

 

Auto Art 1:18 diecast from China: 72031, Ford Fortyniner concept.

Auto Art 1:18 diecast from China: 72031, rear view of Fortyniner.

 

With MIRA 1:18 diecast from Spain: 6250, 1949 Ford Coupe the inspiration for the Fortyniner concept.

Rear view of the two Ford Coupes.


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Big enough to catch the eye!

By Maz Woolley

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Photographs from Manufacturers and Wholesalers.

There has been a decided trend towards the production of more 1:18 scale models so I suppose that I should not be surprised to see a 1:18 scale Scania tractor unit announced by a company called Road Kings. This is of a 1976 Scania LBT 141 operated by ASG and painted in its famous blue and yellow livery. This model is due to be released this month (November 2018).

Such units were operated on long Trans-International routes so the left hand drive is correct as are large tanks for fuel.

Photographs of the model show an  extremely impressive level of detail which is good as at this scale every fault would be noticeable. I don’t know whether any trailers will be released to accompany this model but if they are the whole outfit would make an amazing display.

Tekno have made a similar Scania in 1:50 scale but I am sure that collectors of ASG models may well be tempted to buy this model even if they already have the Tekno.

Looking at web pictures of the real Scania 141 in this livery the model seems to be well executed catching the original well. The pristine paint seems a bit bright, though I don’t think many buyers will weather the model which I think would actually improve the looks if done well.

From the rear the chassis components seems well modelled as do the wheels and all the tanks.

A side on view certainly catches the no nonsense square lines of the original Scania.

This view of the cab shows a lot of details moulded in or added as extra parts. The rear view mirror set is particularly impressive. In 1:18 scale the plastic bars holding the mirrors can be robust and in scale!

 

A final look at the front view as seen in rear mirrors! The grille slates seem to be very well moulded and defined.

A final note is that the model seems to be no more expensive than many mid-range 1:18 model cars so I suspect that this will be a popular model and I look forward to see what other trucks Road Kings bring out.


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More from 1964 – Dodge and Plymouth Conversions.

By John F. Quilter

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

In my never ending quest to make something that no model maker makes, at least currently, I have done some work with the diecast Universal Hobbies 1964 Plymouth Belvedere hardtop and the 1964 Dodge sedan which is in the Mexican partworks series and I believe comes from Ixo. Both of these cars, the Belvedere and the Coronet, were the mid-sized cars for Plymouth and Dodge in 1964. Since these two cars were from Chrysler Corporation and were closely related by some styling features as well as overall size I thought I could do some mixing, matching, and modifying.

The Plymouth comes as a Belvedere hardtop and extras of these in my collection became a convertible in red, a four door sedan in light beige, plus a two door sedan in metallic turquoise.

 

Using the displaced top from the conversion to the four door sedan I transplanted this to the Ixo Dodge making a Coronet hardtop Then with still another four door Dodge I fabricated a rear roof and tailgate and created a station wagon.

This one was the most involved transformation and I used some sheet aluminium to add the roof extension and tailgate. The quarter panels had to be somewhat reshaped from the sedan and multiple layers of aluminium created the raised panel on the tailgate.  An option on these wagons was a luggage rack so this was made using silver paperclip wire and some aluminium feet to mount it to the roof. Transverse rubbing strips suitably bare metal foiled were applied to the roof.

The plastic interior section with the seats needed to be modified cutting off the parcel shelf and adding a load floor. Using Google images is vital in getting the shapes and proportions right on these type of conversions and I was lucky to find the all-important 90 degree side photo plus others showing various details such as the fuel filler cap, tail lamps and rear bumper which is different from the sedan. A 13 inch diameter piece of electrical solder served for this purpose with suitable bending and filing for the correct final shape. Solder is ideal for this purpose as it is already very shiny silver in colour and can easily be filed and polished to a high gloss with only a final coating of clear lacquer to preserve the chrome like appearance.

A careful study of the sales brochure for this Dodge on this site http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html provides specifications for length, a selection of colours for interior and exterior. Colour chips found on Google are also useful. I learned that in the case of this Dodge wagon it was about 5 inches longer than the sedan, all in the rear quarter panel so this was factored into the conversion process. The Ixo sedan comes with blackwall tires which would have been uncommon on a new car in 1964 so I created thin whitewalls using my loop of thin gauge wire technique. A bit too three dimensional but when working in 1:43 and doing custom work one has to be creative and resourceful and until a supplier, such as Tin Wizard, produces some very thin whitewall decals these will have to suffice.

The Plymouth convertible was an easy job, simply cut off the roof of the hardtop using a jeweller’s saw, and fabricate a top boot with sheet lead and paint in a suitable vinyl top colour. It was easy enough to do that I was able to preserve all the paint and tampo printed badging of the Universal Hobbies item. When doing one of my conversions I always preserve one of the factory production models to illustrate what I started with. In the case of the Plymouths the metallic blue hardtop in the photograph is unaltered. In the case of the Dodges the metallic turquoise sedan is the starting point.

The Plymouth light beige sedan was a bit more involved as it required taking the cut off roof from the Dodge and grafting it on to the Plymouth. Of course when mixing and matching these parts one has to sometimes alter the plastic interior and dashboard unit to fit. And an alternative interior colour may be chosen based on internet research. When going from a two door body to a four door body the rear doors have to be engraved in, the front door shortened, and new door handles fabricated and mounted.

So with these Dodge and Plymouth variations I have replicated many of the body styles that were part of the lineup in 1964.


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The ones that got away.

By Gunnar Bernstrup

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Photographs as acknowledged.

Opportunities missed. This thought came as I saw the beautiful Lansdowne model of the AC 16/80 in a friend’s collection.

Picture Credit: Brooklin Models

 

There are opportunities missed along the way for all of us. These thoughts concern mine about cars; real or models.

The AC 16/80 I missed in real life stood in a garage in southern Portugal. Not as bright red as the Lansdowne model, but very impressive, and well looked after by the owner of the garage. This was in the mid 1970’s. A year or two after ’The revolution of the roses’ when a lot of well off people fled the country and left houses and cars behind, afraid that the ‘reds’ would take over. The first free elections were to be held. Prices – on everything – were low.

”You can have it for 15 thousand”, said the owner. In Swedish currency. The pound was very low those days (We just had to pay 6-7 kronors for one pound in 1976-77. Today it’s double that price. So it’s difficult to make an exact evaluation of that offer. But perhaps one thousand two hundred pounds – £1,200.  Plus what time and inflation does of course. It was, however, a bargain.

Still, it was a lot of money for me. I tried to figure out how to get hold of the money and get it to Portugal (I was not easy to transfer big sums over the borders in a legal way ) and then drive the car all the way to southern Sweden. The project seemed too big for me. So I had to say no thank you.  And it didn’t take long before my economical situation had changed, when our radio show made a tremendous success. I had stopped myself and the opportunity was missed. And no, I didn’t buy the Landsdown model in time either!

By the way. There was an ‘Bond’ style Aston Martin in the garage too.  At ‘about’ twice the price for the AC!

 

Picture Credit: 007collector.com

Some forty-seven years ago (1971), I was ready to buy my first real car. It just had to be something different. I found a Mercedes-Benz 170 S – yes, a 1950 cab – on sale at around three-four thousand kronor, say three hundred UK pounds at the time. Since I then, as now, knew nothing about the technicalities of cars other than how to feed and drive them and about their history; I asked my good friend to join me when I looked at the wonderful object. He was a born engineer, so I could rely on him.

”It’s great fun, he said. But don’t buy it”. ”Useless brakes”,

So I didn’t. Since then, I cry every time I see such a car.

Photo Credit: www.carandclassic.co.uk

Instead, I bought a ‘Glas’. Nice, fast and rare, but worthless in quality. It only lasted 8 months.

In the early 1980’s, I missed several Dinky Toys Foden vans then sold for nothing – if you compare to today’s prices – because I thought the price was to high. This was in the early days of my collecting career when I had just discovered the hidden treasures in my mother’s attic. I, then, wasn’t even sure about the value of Dinky Supertoys since we never played with the big ones as kids. They were too expensive for our pocket money and even for our parents to buy as Christmas or birthday presents, I guess. Certainly too expensive for us to buy. Hence the lack of nostalgic feeling. A distant relative offered me a couple of well played Super Toys for free.

”I don’t collect them”, said I.

As the years go by, the offered collection has grown in quantity and quality. In my mind.

”How many Foden lorries, Guy vans … did I miss?” I ask myself .

I refuse to answer.

Picture Credit: Dinky Site.com

While thinking of it. We – four brothers – had lot’s of Dinky’s, Tekno, Märklin trains and such. Much was given away to younger relatives when we where teenagers and didn’t care. Nice gestures.

Picture Credit: MAR Online

The question is: How stupid can you get?!

Editor: I am sure that we all have memories of ones that got away. Things we saw but didn’t buy and have never seen again, or even nowadays ones that we lost eBay auctions for. Maybe other readers would like to share their own experiences! In my case I regret not breaking the Bank to buy several Pathfinder models which are now so expensive I will never be able to afford them.


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Promoting smart cars

By Fabrizio Panico

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

A “smart” family

The “smart” history (lower-case only) is too well-known to need re-telling in detail, suffice to remember the many tentative initial steps, from the Swatchmobile idea to the initial agreement with Volkswagen, to the deal with Daimler Benz and the birth of the joint company MCC (Micro Compact Car AG), then the start of production and the final buy-out by Daimler-Benz, becoming “smart GmbH” and then a Mercedes-Benz Cars division of Daimler AG.  Perhaps less known are the origin of the “smart” name (Swatch Mercedes ART) or of its emblem, a “c” and an arrow (respectively for “compact” and “forward thinking“).

From the start the promotional miniature side was well catered for: in 1:18 scale Maisto and Kyosho were able to present the full production, from the City-coupè (C450) to the City-cabrio (A450), even the Brabus and Crossblade variants, the models often including double plastic body panels, so you could change panels on the model just like the real car.

Kyosho reproduced the Roadster-cabrio (C452) and the Roadster-coupè (R452), and the first Forfour (W452) even in different versions like the Pulse or the Passion.   Minichamps reproduced the 2007 second generation : fortwo (C451) and cabrio (A451). For the 2014 iteration (third generation) Renault was to share its Twingo platform with the new forfour, and it was Norev’s time to present the new fortwo coupè (C453), fortwo cabrio (A453) and forfour (W453) scale models, this time with standard Mercedes-Benz code numbers (B6 696 xxxx).

Here are the third generation smart cars in pictures and data, nice models, accurate representations of the real cars, but strangely lacking any safety belts ! The double bodypanels have been skipped, but a small screwdriver and a dust cloth are now present.

fortwo coupé (C453) 2014

 

B6 696 0280     white + lava orange     (passion edition #1)
B6 696 0281     titanium + black           (passion version)  
B6 696 0282     midnight + white          (proxy version)        

fortwo cabrio (A453) 2014

 

B6 696 0289     yellow + black
B6 696 0290     titanium + silver
B6 696 0291     white

forfour (W453) 2014

B6 696 0298   graphite + lava orange (passion version)
B6 696 0299   hazel + black         (prime version)
B6 696 0300   cadmium + black        (prime version)


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Models 56 by Armco and a Load of Cobras: Part 2 Cobras

By Mick Haven

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs will be found at the end of the article.

As mentioned previously in MAR Online, Gateway Models near Brisbane, which Graeme referred to, is the trader I have dealt with the longest, probably seventeen years or so. I was fortunate enough to pay them a visit while down there in September 2017. From the outside it looks nothing like a model shop. Appearances are deceptive. It takes something special to keep me quiet but I was temporarily speechless there, and I didn’t see all of it. The place is stacked with model cars.

He also mentions the Falcon ‘Cobra’ GT, although I’m not sure that ‘GT’ is the correct title as I believe the correct designation is ‘XC’. The XC followed on from the very successful XA/XBGT ranges, produced from 1973 to 1976. The XC family was introduced in 1976, and would include a GS500 ‘Hardtop’, a large coupe, not dissimilar to the afforementioned Torino. In October 1977, Allan Moffat, partnered by Formula 1 legend, Jacky Ickx, would win the legendary Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst in an XC GS500 Hardtop, in the famous ‘1-2 form finish’ for Team Moffat. By the end of the race his car was virtually brakeless and should have come second, but he was team owner and orders is orders.

By the end of 1977, Ford Australia had built 13 ‘special order’ XC GS500 Hardtops. The modifications on these cars would become the basis for the Cobra XC ‘Option 97’. The company decided to capitalise on the 1977 Bathurst result and wanted to go racing so they needed a suitable car. Four hundred examples of whatever they chose had to have been built to meet CAMS homologation rules. It just so happened they had four hundred XC bodies left over with no buyers when production of the big coupe ceased in April 1978.

Rather than scrap them, Edsel Ford II, who was Ford Australia Managing Director. at the time, suggested they be saved and could be offered to the public as a road going race car. Production began in July of that year. I believe I read some time ago that Carroll Shelby was approached for permission to call the car ‘Cobra’, and to use the familiar Shelby stripes and Cobra badging. By coincidence, the colour scheme was the international colours for American racing cars, as seen on the Le Mans Cunninghams of the 1950s, e.g. Britain had its British Racing Green, Italy was red, France blue and so on.
Four hundred blue and white road going Cobra XCs were built, in two variants, Option 96 and Option 97. Of the four hundred, only 30 were Option 97s. These were numbered from 002 to 0031, and would be known as ‘Bathurst Specials’. The first two hundred would have a 5.8L 351 cu.in. motor, the remainder would have a 4.9L 302 cu. in. Two exceptions were car number 001 which would have the 302 cu. in. motor, and car number 351 which had a motor of that capacity.

There are a number of differences between the two, mainly under the skin, but the most obvious externally is the addition of a ‘power bulge’ on the bonnet of the Option 97 in addition to the two ‘flared nostril’ intakes already in place on the Option 96, and on previous XAs, XBs and XCs, including four door saloon, estate, Ute and van variants. The XC Cobras would also have their own blue and black seats and ‘Globe’ alloy wheels. I’ve got three of these, one in 1:64th scale, one in 43rd scale and one in 1:18th, all by Biante. In model and 1:1 scale, Option 97s are sought after. A genuine full size Option 97 can command big dollars if and when one comes up for sale. Even the Option 96 doesn’t come cheap, but these do get offered from time to time, with prices usually around $100,000 AUD, some more, some less.

Graeme makes mention of its size, citing, ‘some views show it to be a compact’. I’ve referred to it as the ‘big coupe’. So how big were they? They are, or were, easily on a par with the Holden (Vauxhall) Monaro and Audi A5 coupe familiar on UK roads today. For comparison the XAGT coupe was 4808 mm L x 1969 W x 1369 H. The Monaro and A5 are 4789 L x 1841 W x 1397 H and 4673 L x 2029 W x 1371 H respectively, so compact they weren’t. It weighed in at 3500 lbs. I did see one at Ford Fair some years ago and compact it wasn’t. Also, some time ago, I exchanged e mails with a guy who lived in the Oxfordshire countryside and he had an XC Cobra. Negotiating those narrow country lanes with it was interesting to say the least. Attached are the pics he sent me. What I didn’t know at the time was that there were the two variants. Looking at the pics while writing this, I noticed that it’s an Option 97. How much is that worth today? I think he worked for TWR at the time as one picture shows the car outside TWRs premises. I know he emigrated to Australia taking the XC with him. There is much racing footage of them on You Tube. I imagine they were a real handful at racing speeds and they would clock up to 170 mph down Conrod Straight.

From a collecting perspective, the 1:43rd scale is one which I’ve had as long or longer than virtually of all my Australians, for at least fifteen years, possibly more. It almost certainly came from those good ol’ boys at Gateway. The 1:18th scale came next, bought at a Ford dealership near Melbourne, and the 1:64th example by Biante Minicars would eventually follow some years later. Even so, I’ve had that since at least 2011, as it was in a display of Ford models I showed when the club, South Hants Model Auto Club put on a display at Ford fair that year. I also had another one in 1:87 scale by Cooee Road Ragers (Made under contract by Oxford Diecast). The Biante Minicars 1:64 example is my only Option 97 Cobra XC in the familiar white with blue stripes colour scheme, the other two being Option 96s. The total number of Option 97s I have in three scales is eight, of which two are 1:18 scales two are 1:64 scale, and the remainder in 1:43.

One is the Allan Moffat/John Fitzpatrick GS 500 Hardtop ‘Federation’ car number 25 from Bathurst 1979, and I have one of those in 1:43rd scale and one by Biante Minicars. The other 1:18 scale is Biante’s Carter/Lawrence ‘Brian Wood Ford’ from Bathurst 1978, resplendent in its overall dark blue with red and yellow stripes with wide yellow ‘Magnum’ five slot racing wheels with slick tyres. Two of the 1:43rd scales are as raced in 1978 and 1979, by Dick Johnson, the latter a car which he co-drove with ex Formula 1 and Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan at Bathurst. The ‘79 car would be dubbed ‘reverse Cobra’, owing to the body colours being ‘the other way round’ i.e. with white stripes over blue, rather the more familiar blue stripes on a white body. A unique feature about the stripes was in their application and defied the norm. Apparently, rather than take a white body and then apply the blue stripes across the body and along the sides, the blue bits  were applied first, then taped over and the car painted white. Very odd.

Another one is the 1978 Bathurst XC Cobra of once again, Moffat and Ickx, carrying race #1, relating to their win the year before. They couldn’t repeat the heroics of 1977 and the car was a DNF. The other model shown is of the Garry Wilmington/Jeff Barnes 1978 Bathurst runner. This model was produced by Trax in 1993, by whom I have two Falcon road coupes, one of which is an Option 97. Trax also released a Cobra XC Option 96 and a small number of other XBGT and XCs in 1:43 scale, including the # 25 Federation car and the ‘Brian Wood Ford’. They also produced a model of the Jack and Geoff Brabham car from Bathurst 1977. The total number of XA/XB and XC coupes in my collection is twenty seven in three scales, including, aside from the Moffat/Ickx ’77 car, the XAGT Bathurst winners from 1973 and ’74, plus one XBGT saloon by Trax from their Opal range. There are a number of XC Cobra models in other scales by other manufacturers. OzLegends have both Option 96 and 97 in 1:32 scale and these can be found on eBay. Dinkum Classics is another manufacturer of the popular coupe. Models of XA/XB GTs can occasionally be found on eBay, and some via dealers ‘down under’, of which I’m happy to report, there are still a large number. Biante’s XC Cobra in 1:43 scale is rarer, while an Option 96 in 1:18 scale, although slightly less rare, commands good money, see below. Those with deeper pockets may be interested in XA/XB and XCs in 1:18 scale. For example, at the time of writing, Hobby_Link have a Biante Auto Art Moffat/Ickx 1978 Bathurst XC in that scale, for a mere £462.56 plus just £13.11 shipping, or $809.95 + $22.95 AUD if you prefer. Gateway have an Option 96 for just £227.87 + £51.40 shipping, or $489.00 including shipping. Seen on eBay is the Moffat #25 car at £313.46 + £40.68 shipping. This model doesn’t even have the  ‘Camel’ sponsor decals, owing to tough Australian tobacco advertising laws. They can be obtained from other sources. As with all internet buys, prices vary from seller to seller. Then there’s always the added danger of getting stung by Customs and Royal Mail. Ouch! Sometimes I’ve been caught, other times I’ve got lucky and paid nothing. As an owner of more than twenty 1:18th scales by both Biante and Classic Carlectables, I should add that they are superb and worth every penny.

When I first started collecting them all those years ago, I was astonished at the quality and detail to be found on them, and at the time, with a good exchange rate, great value for money too. Many have opening doors boot and bonnet, steerable wheels and fully detailed engines with plug leads etc, and detailed undersides and interiors, despite being well over ten years old. Biante’s FPV GT nee Falcon XR8, even has a carpeted boot mat and a fire extinguisher. Although a tad more expensive these days, they still make great value. The race cars are truly magnificent. Collectors of Scalextric are not ignored either. There are many fine slot car models of Australian race cars which would make great display models. There’s a plethora of them on eBay including the XA/XB XCs and V8 Supercars. Earlier in the year I took delivery of their Dick Johnson Sierra RS500 1989 Bathurst winner and very nice it is too. Shame about the driver figure. Is that really the great man? How fortunate I am that neither my house or my wallet are overly large.

 

Just for the record, for any MAR Online readers who may be interested in exploring the wonderful world of Australian die casts, I can thoroughly recommend the following traders; Biante, Gateway, Motorfocus, Kollectable Kaos, Jays Models, Pit Stop Models, Top Gear aka Trax, Ace Models, Replicars and Automodelli among many others. There’s always eBay of course from where I got many of mine, but beware, many sellers on eBay au, won’t post up here. If they do they’ll be on eBay UK. A model shop, where you can browse to your hearts content, still exists in Australia. In the early days, I was even ordering them from main car dealers, who usually stock a fine selection of models appertaining to the brand of car, e.g. Ford or Holden. DJR race car models can also be ordered directly from DJR/Team Penske. Classic Carlectables, another fine brand, cannot be sourced directly from them, but the XA, XB and XC doesn’t feature in their range. Their excellent web site does list every model they have ever produced, including a picture of each one and the release date. Biante’s web site does list all their releases since 1998 under the heading, ‘customer service’, then ‘view the list here’, but it stops at 2014 and there are no pictures. The coupes were released long before that.

Give the above traders and models, and eBay a look, you won’t be disappointed. Appreciation for some of the above goes to ‘Wiki’ and to Bill Tuckey from his book   ‘True Blue’ 75 Years of Ford in Australia.


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