Category Archives: Model Makers

Who made the model

Pego Lancia Beta

By Maz Woolley

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

The Lancia Beta was a luxury car produced by Lancia shortly after they had been taken over by Fiat using much technology from Fiat stock rooms to bring the model to the market quickly. It was produced from 1972 to 1984. It was made in several styles but this article looks at a model of the fastback saloon which was sold as the Berline.

The car was well received by the motoring press for its quality fittings, comfort, space handling, and performance. Sadly, the first series of cars was exceptionally quick to rust so they depreciated badly and were the main factor in the decline of the Lancia brand in the UK. It is said that the cars used Soviet steel sent to Fiat in exchange for royalties to build the Lada, but as far as I know this has not been proven. Poor preparation and rust protection may also have played their part as this was the era of frequent strikes and poor build quality for many makers. Indeed so bad was the rust on relatively new cars that the UK Distributors were said to have bought back and crushed a significant number of the cars in an attempt to maintain brand loyalty.

The model is by Pego a brand that I had never heard of before and which does not seem to have a wide distribution outside Italy. The firms addresses are in Italy but I cannot find any web presence at all. They seem to have made only a few models, all of Italian cars, and all appear in multiple colours and some in rally, or rally assistance liveries too:

  • Alfa Romeo 90
  • Alfa Romeo 146
  • Alfa Romeo 33
  • Lancia Beta Berlina

Here we look at the Lancia Beta Berlina which is available in several colours and in rally assistance liveries. The model that we are looking at is in red. And as far as I can determine is the only version of the first generation Beta Berlina currently available in this scale. It is modelled to 1:43 scale and made in China with a diecast body and plastic base.

The model box and its fittings as well as the standard of the model suggests that it may have been made by Universal Hobbies for Pego. Perhaps in that case it has already appeared in a part work or may do so in the future. Though, unusually, the model has Pego moulded into the base rather than printed, and also printed on its plinth. This may mean that Pego has exclusive use of the moulding – we will see.

The Beta was an attractive car for a family saloon and the transverse front mounted engine made for a spacious interior and a large boot space. The model catches the overall shape of the body very well, though I think that the side windows are a little shallow. However this is difficult to determine as the car has the body printed silver window surrounds often also seen on Oxford Diecast models. Whilst this detracts less from the model in 1:43 scale it is still a shame as flush fitting widows would have been a much better solution.

The wheels are neat mouldings of the alloys fitted to the original car though they could have done with a darkened centre from the pictures of 1972 cars on the web.

The front grille is an excellent unit with separate light lenses inserted and though my photographs do not shown it clearly the Lancia Badge in the centre of the grille is nicely done. The front indicators in the bumper have not been mounted straight which is easily remedied with a careful push back into place. The windscreen wipers are plastic plated items produced quite finely and seem rather more realistic than some etched ones are.

At the rear we have nice separate lights, albeit that the fixing lug shows through too obviously. Curiously the rear number plate was not fitted to the car but attached by clear tape under the base. It would have been nice to have period authentic number plates printed front and rear but they are absent from this model. The Lancia badging which shows that this is a Beta 1800 LX is neatly printed on the boot lid.

Inside the model is a moulded tub in black with no details picked out. The dashboard and central console have been moulded in some detail and the door cards have the door furniture modelled in. A steering wheel is fitted with some moulding to it to match the real car. It is all is very difficult to see as the glazing unit is pretty thick.

Although model has some shortcomings it is a welcome addition to my collection. The original car sadly never lived up to its promise but hopefully my model will not rust as quickly!


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Greenlight Lincoln Continental 1965

By Maz Woolley

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

This article looks at another 1:43 scale LIncoln from Greenlight. Here we have the 1965 Lincoln Continental in standard wheelbase form. The model has been produced by Greenlight in two colours Madison Grey Metallic, as featured in this article, and Wimbledon White.

The model represents the fourth generation of Lincoln Continental and its styling was a radical change from the third generation with its fussy styling and attempt to provide every body style you could ever want, though several sold in very low numbers indeed. The third generation was significantly cheaper than its predecessor but that contributed to Mercury making a substantial loss from 1958 to 1960. The fourth generation was subtle in form and detail and returned US premium car brands to styling based upon a restrained dignity. It was only available in saloon and convertible forms, though specialist coach builders did provide lengthened versions. By focusing on quality and driving down faults the car quickly gained a reputation for being well made as well as good looking.

During the model life, it ran from 1961 to 1969, there were constant changes to details and the 1964/65 cars are recognisable by having a revised front grille which is flat apart from a small bulging centre section and the secondary lights which are relocated from the bumper to the edges of the front wings.

Now to the model. The Greenlight appears to be accurately detailed for a 1965 car and the body shape seems to be excellent. I wonder whether the model is made for them by Universal Hobbies as it shares many details in common with the James Bond Collection Lincoln from Goldfinger, though that was based on the previous version of the car with a different grille and was modelled with the boot open. The roof section appears to be made out of plastic so a convertible should also be possible from the same casting.

The model has been beautifully painted with the metal and plastic parts matched in colour. The chrome features on the real car are all well replicated too with excellent bumpers, grilles and the like.

The lights are all separate plastic parts with neat chrome surrounds and even the headlights look convincing, without the visible peg that mars some budget models. Front, back and side windows are all flush fitting inserts with chrome printed on where needed. The door handles are printed over raised mouldings but they actually look finer than separate ones would have done.

The wipers are moulded and plated in silver, not etched, but that gives them three dimensions and they are quite finely moulded which makes them very acceptable. The printed badging is excellent as is the Continental emblem on the bonnet.

Inside is finished in tan leather effect seats and door cards with a darker brown rear parcel shelf. The dashboard is excellent with the black padded top moulded and the chrome strip with printed instruments in place beneath it. It also has a neat deep dished steering wheel.

Finally the wheels seem to match some 1965 cars on the Internet well. The thinner whitewalls used are appropriate as these shrank in width throughout the 1960s. The wheel centres and trim match several 1965 cars on the web.

If I have a criticism it is of the generic ’65 LNCN’ plates the car carries. Some real period US plates would have been nice. But that is a minor flaw on a good model.

All in all an excellent budget model of a very attractive car. I hope that these sell so well that Greenlight are encouraged to make more models of American classics in 1:43 scale.


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Porsche’s Pink Pigs

By Matt Beaumont

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

The story behind the ‘Truffelhunter from Zuffenhausen’ begins in 1970 when Porsche’s best boffins were playing with two versions of their LMP: the 917K, as in Kurzheck, which is German for short-tail, and the 917L Langheck (long tail). The K car had its rear end lopped off to generate more down force, but that also caused more drag, while the long-tail was a more slippy version designed specifically for Le Mans and in particular the 6km long Mulsanne Straight. In 1970 to everyone’s surprise the K car still beat the L, and all the Ferraris

So in 1971 Porsche engineers together with the French company SERA attempted to combine the advantages of the K and L 917s. However, the results were not pretty. This Frankenstein car was wider with a snouty front end and a short (but not curly) tail. Rumour has it that when the car got back to Stuttgart both Porsche’s race team and the Italian sponsors at Martini & Rossi were so unimpressed that they didn’t want their iconic blue and red livery on the new racer. And so the porcine nickname was born, but in a brilliant piece of PR, Porsche designer Anatole Lapine decided in favour of the pink body colour and labelled each of the body parts according to the butcher-style cuts. Porsche caused a sensation at Le Mans 1971 with the first Pink Pig

It may not have been the best looking version of the 917 but the aerodynamics worked … sort of. It was the fastest car during the pre-race qualification session despite it being an untested experimental design. However, during the main event the Pink Pig, running well in fifth position, eventually retired with mechanical maladies. Only later in the strip down postmortem did they realise that the new piggy body was playing havoc with the brakes and other oily bits.

So a livery that started as a bit of a joke is now one of the most iconic liveries ever to grace a Porsche, There have been numerous vehicles to sport this livery an on line search shows that it found its way on to many different vehicles.

This brings me to the review of Spark’s rendition of the car Porsche ran at LeMans in 2018.

Porsche fielded two special Porsche 911 RSR at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans: The factory-run cars with the starting numbers 91 and 92 sported the traditional Le Mans liveries of the 1970s and 1980s.

The finish of the number 92 car, shared by race drivers Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), harks back to the Porsche 917/20 that tackled Le Mans in 1971. This car reached the top step on the LMGTE Pro podium, claiming the German marque’s first trophy in the class since 2013! 

The Model

This review is based on my own opinion after looking closely at the model that I recently bought.  

Spark have released two versions of this model. It first appeared in an exclusive to Porsche dealer release in specific packaging and with a display case as do many of the Spark Porsche dealer models part number WAP0219250K. This limited release commanded over £300, an awful lot of money for a sealed resin model however good it may be.

Spark have just released their standard version with their own packaging part number 18S393 which I managed to pick up for less than half the cost of an official Porsche issue. It has no display case but I don’t find this an issue especially at the cost saving the Spark branded release offered.

The only discernible differences between the two issues is the box, the base the model is screwed to, and the perspex cover that the Porsche dealer issue has.

The Exterior

Finished in a fetching pink colour with the butchers cut markings and sponsorship decals Spark have upheld their reputation for a the high quality finish which I have come to expect from them ( this is the sixth Porsche from them in my collection).

The shape and appearance has been caught very well showing off the 991 RSRs brutish lines and its striking aerodynamic package.

The glazing is nicely done and the lights have very good details (though the front ones are better executed than the rears ) there is a plethora of tiny aerials and antenna’s on the roof.  

The carbon fibre is very well replicated where it appears at various points on the car and the wheels and tyres are really nicely done, with detailed “AP Racing” brakes showing behind the large diameter alloy wheels. Both wheel and tyre manufacture labelling is present.

The Underside

When mounted on its base, as many of these models will remain, there is very little of the underside that can be seen, other than the exhaust system and the rear diffuser.

The Interior

As with most resin models this can be only viewed through the window apertures, namely the windscreen and doors, as the rear ¼ windows and screen are blacked out as the RSR is a mid-engined car and not a rear engined one like its road going sibling.  But what can be seen looks well done and gives a very good view of a busy yet spartan race car’s interior

In Summary

Personally, I am very pleased to obtain this model to join my three other “Pink Pig Porsches” and I am very happy with the model. I think that the Spark edition is a reasonable price and much more affordable than the previous dealer edition which appears to give very little in return for the extra outlay of money!

These are your only options to buy this car in 1:18 scale but I would not be surprised to see other manufacturers produce their own versions of this car in the future as collectors are be drawn to the ‘porkiest of Porsches’.


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Atlas Dinky Collection – Estafette Camping

By Maz Woolley

Here we have another model from the Atlas France‘s Dinky ‘WIth Opening Parts’ collection. This did not appear in the UK Atlas Dinky Deluxe collection unlike many others from the French Collection.

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

This is French Dinky #565 Estafette Renault “Camping”. The model was launched by French Dinky in 1965 and is marked 1/43 scale on its base. It stayed in production until 1971. It only ever appeared in blue with a cream roof and it was one of many variants of the Estafette French DInky made. It was sold in a delightfully illustrated box, shown above, with two Estafette campers in a pleasant rural location next to a lake which Atlas has replicated well.

The Estafette was in many ways a forerunner of the vans of today with a front wheel drive configuration and a flat load area. It was launched in 1959 powered by the 850cc Dauphine engine re-engineered with a new gearbox for mounting at the front and it was an immensely popular and long lived van in France finally giving way to the Renault Trafic in 1980.

Here Dinky has modelled it as a camper van with the three way opening rear doors modelled as well as the sliding side door. Inside they have included a nice set of camping fittings including a gaily covered bench seat.

All in all a very nice toy which somehow manages to capture the real vehicle well and shows what would have been on continental camp sites apart from the ubiquitous Volkswagen Transporter based vans.

A shame that Atlas did not include this in the UK series as it is an excellent model. This model is sometimes seen at a reasonable price on eBay being sold by Chinese vendors.


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Matchbox Moving Parts

By Maz Woolley

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

Hot on the heels of the anniversary Superfast models Mattel has launched a Matchbox Moving Parts series. This article looks at the first three models in the series. Two are of vehicles that appeared in the original 1960s Matchbox range, and one is of a modern US SUV.

Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback 1965.

Known in the UK as the 1600TL this vehicle appeared in the original Matchbox 1-75 range in regular and superfast wheels. The red paint used is reminiscent of one of the finishes on the original car, though I think it is rather darker. The reproduction is generally similar to the original model but there are some disappointing differences. Firstly the glazing is very thick and the window openings are compromised by the thicker plastic at the top and sides. The steering wheel is just moulded into the dashboard and is not a separate part like the original had.

Underneath we get a plastic base with some moulded in detail and wheels that are very wide like those fitted to Johnny Lightning models and bearing no resemblance to those of the original model.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

We do get a VW badge printed on the bonnet, printed headlight markings, rear amber and red painted lenses, and number plates. Mind you the plates just have a German flag and unrealistic letters and numbers and they are too wide and too shallow. So those wanting to buy a bit of Matchbox history are frankly better off buying a battered original model and repainting it.


Pontiac Grand Prix 1964

Another vehicle originally seen in the Matchbox 1-75 range with both regular and speedwheels. This was always a lovely casting and though this is a replica it still looks good. The purple shade is again reminiscent of one used on the superfast version of the original 1-75 model., though again it is not quite the same with its metal flake finish.

The underneath is similar to the VW as it has the same over wide wheels and a plastic base with some moulded detail.

The opening front doors are the same moving parts as were fitted to the original model.

Sadly the model is again treated to a clumsy very over thick glazing unit which is so thick it protrudes behind the A pillar so it fills part of the door area. Inside the steering wheel is again crudely moulded into the dashboard whereas the original has a separate wheel on a column.

Here we get no printing on headlights and no coloured rear lights either, nor are any number plates fitted.


Nissan Xterra

Here we get what to me seems a strange choice. The version of the Xterra modelled was made between 1999 and 2004 so it neither formed part of the original 1-75 series nor is it an up to date choice for younger buyers. Presumably it will appeal to US model buyers?

European model collectors may not be familiar with the Xterra as it was never sold here. It was a basic ladder framed pick up truck chassis bodied with a utilitarian separate five door body and the obligatory large standard roof rack. It was sold as both two wheel and four wheel drive and It was made originally in the US and Brazil. Once replaced there by an updated model tooling passed on to Iran and to China where it was badged as a Dong Feng. Sold as a sports utility vehicle (SUV) it seems to me to fall lamentably short of the sports element of the name.

The only moving part is an opening tailgate which does not even fully open.

Again we get a plastic base, but one with little detail in this case. The wheels are again over wide even for a off road vehicle. Here the thickness of the window unit is not an issue and the interior is a simply moulded component though the steering wheel is moulded so it is separate from the dash board though it does then have a curious hole in the bottom of the tub underneath it.


I understand that this range is not being imported into the UK by Matchbox so it is not surprising that the next wave of releases features no more classic Matchbox models and includes US favourites like the Datsun 280ZX, Chevy C10 and Tesla X.

Oxford Diecast Maxi 1750

By Maz Woolley

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

Here I look at the long awaited British Leyland Maxi 1750 from Oxford Diecast. The firs issue is painted Tara Green and is badged as an HLS version.

The Maxi fitted in the Austin and then British Leyland range between the 1300 and the 1800 saloon cars and was one of the first volume production hatchbacks made in the UK. It was the last car designed when Alex Issigonis was in charge of the design studio, and like other Issigonis cars little attempt was made to give it fashionable styling. Indeed the design had to be compromised to use the doors from the 1800 to save on tooling costs which dictated the side profile of the car. Early production of the 1500 gave the car a name for a poor gear change and some reliability issues so it never sold in the volumes it deserved as it was a comfortable and practical car. In twelve years of production, 1969 to 1981, only just under half a million were made. My wife’s first car was a 1750 HL and experience showed that it was a much better car then many said, though the wiring was of poor quality and we always carried a crimping kit to re-join failed connections, and needed it on at least two occasions. The five speed gearbox was a rarity at the time and made for very economical cruising on A Roads and Motorways.

There have been few models of the Maxi. When it was being produced Airfix made a nice 1:32 scale kit of the earlier version of the car which is now rare and expensive. A white metal model was made a number of years ago but that is virtually never seen now, and I did not buy one as it was costly and I did not think that it was a very good model. More recently Silas made excellent 1500 and 1750 models to 1:43 scale which was a model that did the car justice.

Photograph from Oxford Diecast’s website. Note the different treatment of the front grille here to the model as issued shown below.

So now to Oxford‘s new 1750 model to 1:76 scale which will undoubtedly be popular with railway modellers with layouts featuring the last decades of British Railways operation, as well as with general 1:76 scale model collectors.

I will get my criticisms out of the way first. The paint has metallic flakes which are much too large, though fortunately this is only very obvious when the model is lit for photography. The tyres/wheels are too big and hub caps do not quite match the 1750 HLS ones. The side windows are not deep enough, these are doors from the Austin 1800 after all! The number plates are too shallow for their width, and the light units under the front bumper should be spilt into amber and clear units not all amber. Whilst we are at the front the black printing on the grille just looks like two square blobs as they do not reach properly round the light fittings, in fact the model differs from the sample used to sell the model on the Oxford Diecast website shown above. Inside, the black tub unit includes a dashboard which resembles the earlier 1500‘s black plastic padded dash not the later 1750 wood trimmed full width flat dashboard, and it has a three spoke steering wheel which was again typical of the earlier 1500 whereas the later 1750 had a bar across the middle instead. Editor’s note: I have since discovered that a three spoke steering wheel is correct for a 1750 HLS which is how Oxford have badged this model, though not for lower trim levels in the 1750 range. So Oxford are correct and I am not on this point.

So in summary, about the level of inaccuracy and compromise that we have come to expect from Oxford Diecast 1:76 scale models in recent years, except for their Rolls-Royces and coaches.

Whilst I feel that Oxford could do better the model does capture the shape of the real car pretty well and looked at from a distance I guess that it is reasonably acceptable. For all my criticisms as it has never been made to this scale before, as far as I know, it is a welcome addition to the collection.


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1:43 Scale Teslas

By John Quilter

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

Just to keep the ever growing collection current, here are three of the Tesla models in 1:43 scale. The roadster and the Model S are by Schuco and Model 3 is a Bburago per the mounting plinth. It looks like a promotional model done for Tesla given the box graphics. Online sources report that it is an exclusive gift given to those who pre-ordered the Model 3. 

The latest Tesla, the Model 3, is done in an almost over the top candy apple red. A quick search does not turn up a Model X in 1:43… yet.

The Bburago model comes in a perspex box on a black mounting plinth. This is covered by a color picture sleeve which only says Tesla. The bottom of the black plinth says Bburago. The only markings on the very un-detailed model base plate is the Tesla logo, Model 3, Made in China, and a number 11746. No indication it is from Bburago.


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Return of Road Transport Images

By Maz Woolley

Text copyright of Author and Graeme McQuaker. Graeme McQuaker took the photographs and his copyright is acknowledged.

Regular readers will remember that following the sudden passing of Frank Waller his family were seeking a new owner for his Road Transport Images (RTI) business which specialised in 1:76 scale cabs and body and chassis fittings to allow conversions of existing 1:76 scale commercial models or the building of vehicles not otherwise available.

We now have the good news that the RTI business has been transferred to Graeme and Lorraine McQuaker from Irvine in North Ayrshire. Graeme was a customer of Frank’s for many years, using his cabs to make many of his models of Scottish fairground transport.

The photographs above show models build by Graeme to a very high standard using many RTI components. His experience of building the products and his appreciation of the challenges that builders face should be a great help when he develops the range further.

Graeme had a lengthy journey to Seasalter in Kent to collect the stock, moulds, masters, and exhibition display from Frank’s daughter Diane. All is now safely transferred to Scotland to allow Graeme to relaunch RTI. The current challenge is to get the website up and running to make the range available to buyers again.

Graeme’s and Lorraine’s intention is to focus on getting the current range of cabs, vans, bodies, trailers, complete kits, wheels accessories and transfers available to modellers again. Further development of the range will follow on once the existing range is back fully available. Graeme says “Lorraine and I are indebted to Diane, Frank’s daughter, for all the help and support that she has given during transfer of the business and we are determined to maintain and expand Frank’s legacy, which is such an important asset to 1:76 modellers“.  

The new business address for RTI is 2 Macallan Place, Irvine, North Ayrshire, KA11 2DN. The website, once up and running, will continue at www.roadtransportimages.com.

To relaunch the range Graeme and his team will be attending a number of shows and exhibitions in 2019. The first two will be:

  • Classic and Vintage Commercial Vehicle Show, Gaydon 8th and 9th June
  • Perth Model Railway Show, Dewars Centre, Perth 29th and 30th June

The team at MAR Online hope that Graeme and Lorraine have the best of luck in reviving and developing this range which has been missed by many model builders during its absence.


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1:18 Scale BMW Hommage Collection Part Four

The 1:18 scale BMW Hommage Collection is produced for BMW by Norev. In “part three” we met the racing version of the CSL 3.0 Hommage, the R, presented at the Pebble Beach Elegance Contest in August 2015, the fourth item produced in the BMW “Hommage Collection” by Norev. And in a recent article (“More 1:18 Promotional Models from Santa’s Sack”) we saw the collection’s fifth model, the 2002 Hommage, presented at the 2016 Concorso d’eleganza at Villa d’Este.

The “Hommage Collection” is steadily growing, and here is the sixth item, the BMW 2002 Hommage Turbomeister #2 concept. BMW chose California’s 2016 Pebble Beach Elegance Contest to show it, with an orange and matt black livery cloned from the iconic “Jagermeister” one, to celebrate the company’s turbocharged history. This version shared mechanical components with the blue concept and apart from the new livery little changed,except that the 20-inch alloy wheels were painted in gold and silver. The concept was very likely based on the M2, but BMW didn’t release any details.

So just a livery change for this scale model (BMW code no. 80.43.2.454.781). It has a metal diecast closed body with no opening parts, and the same negative features of the blue one: the safety belts are missing ! What a pity !


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De Agostini Dinky UK – Ford Vedette

By Maz Woolley

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

De Agostini French Dinky Toys #24 X

Ford Vedette 54

Although we are not following the DeAgostini Dinky collection in detail as we recorded the very similar collection from Atlas there have been a couple of models released by DeAgostini in the UK that were not part of the UK Atlas Dinky Collection and these are worth looking out for. All originally appeared in the Atlas French Dinky Collection series but were not issued in the UK series.

The Ford Vedette was a large family saloon car made by Ford SAF in Poissy in France from 1948 to 1954 when the French operations of Ford were bought up by Simca. It was powered by a side valve Ford V8 of 2.2 Litres derived from the unit used in pre-war Matford cars. The car was designed in Detroit and resembled early post-war Mercury models, a style that quickly dated when the three box style pioneered by Ford from about 1950 took hold.

After SImca took over the company a new version of the Vedette was launched which had been developed under Ford’s ownership and which gave the car an up to date American style similar to that used for the Taunus in Germany and Mark II Fords in the UK. Thsi was mostly sold as a Simca Vedette, but was badge as a Ford fro a few years in some overseas markets like Sweden, Netherlands, and Germany.

DeAgostini have replicated this model in blue as is shown on one side of the box. This model replaced the earlier Dinky Vedette 24 Q with the rear end well updated to the 1954 model but other parts of the model still showing 1953 features.

The 1954 update was issued in the blue shown and in grey and they were sold from 1954, the last year that the real vehicle was produced, until 1956. From 1956 to 1959 the casting was re-issued as a taxi.

The DeAgostini replica is made for them by Norev in China and the finish of the paint is so good that no original Dinky ever shone like that, and the silver work was never so neatly applied on the original either. However the model does capture the original car and model well.

The nice white tyres as fitted by Dinky France at the time of the original being made look model look very jaunty.

Although it has not been highlighted in silver the Ford V8 badge on the bonnet has been moulded neatly into the mould.

The original model captured the Vedette well and the replica does not disappoint. It is unglazed as the originals would have been and is a nice contrast to the contemporary UK Dinky models like the Standard Vanguard or Triumph Renown. Like the UK models this model has no scale marked on its base though it looks to be around 1:43 scale.