By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
South American partworks continue to provide models based on vehicles originally developed in other countries. The Brazilian partwork provided a Dodge 1800SE several years ago. This car was based upon a Hillman Avenger designed at Chrysler’s UK design Centre. It was fitted with an engine locally produced which stretched the 1500cc unit used in the UK to 1800cc. This model is shown in photographs by John-William Greenbaum shown below taken from an article in his ‘Brazilian Wheels’ Series.
Recently two more of the Avenger influenced Dodge’s have appeared in South American Partworks and these are shown below.
Dodge 1500 1971
I believe that the Dodge 1500 was produced in Argentina from 1971 to 1990 ending its days badged as a Volkswagen 1500. Like the Dodge 1800 made in Brazil it went through several generations. The Argentinian made cars were four doors and estates which were similar to the UK made cars in many respects, whilst the Brazilian made two door car had different pressings from the A pillar back. They started off with the UK style 1500cc power unit but by the end of production they had the 1800cc engine, as used in Brazil, although they still carried the 1500 model name.
There are a number of differences with the UK cars, in particular the rear lights were a simple horizontal line and not the ‘hockey stick’ shape used in the UK.
The model is to typical partwork standards with the yellow paint ‘splitting’ at thin points on the body, over large chrome wipers, and the B pillars printed on the window unit not quite matching the paint shade on the body.
The badging and door handles are printed well. And the interior, though an unpainted black nmoulding has quite a lot of moulded in detail as do door cards. A convincing steering wheel finishes off an acceptable, if plain interior.
At the front the headlights and grille are very neatly done. And the wheels and tyres are fairly plain but match many pictures of the real car on the Internet.
Finally when looking at the model I realised that the whole of one side is bowed out as shown in the photograph above. Is this an early stage of zinc pest or just a moulding stretched whilst it was cooling or being tumbled to prepare the surface for painting? I guess only time will tell.
Dodge 1500 Rural 1978
The Estate car version was produced in the UK from 1972 but was only introduced in South America in 1978. Though it was called the Dodge 1500 Rural it was fitted with the larger 1800cc engine as used in Brazilian Dodges.
The model is liveried as a service car for the Automobile Club of Argentina as shown in the Chrysler advert shown above. ACA is the local equivalent of the AA/RAC here in the UK providing services to members, especially those who breakdown during their travels.
The model again shows the yellow paint splitting in the edges of panels. Though we get neat flush fitting glazing with well printed window rubbers and chrome surrounds. Wipers front and back are overlarge and clumsy.
The roof fitments are well done and I was convinced that the case on the top should open but it doesn’t! The printing on of the gaps on the side of the rack in black is a compromise which is acceptable only on a budget model. To make up for it the lighting bar is well moulded has the gaps moulded in and a neat light on top.
The wheels are black filled in a slightly hit or miss fashion, but are good replicas of the wheels used on the real car. Black printed door handles are OK but really need to be more matt in finish and for the print to curve over the top of the handle.
The front grille is beautifully replicated with blackened recesses and a neat Chrysler pentastar logo. The rear lights are separate units, well produced but sadly rather ill fitting with a decided lean on both sides and the small pips are still on the bottom as they have not been cut off the sprue properly.
The interior is again plain black but with a considerable amount of moulding on dashboard and door cards. The rear of the Estate is empty where perhaps a moulded load of rescue equipment might have been nice. Sadly the way the rear of the model is fixed has created a post behind the rear door intruding into the load space and an alternative means of fixing the model at the rear would have been better to avoid this.
As partwork models selling at partwork prices these are both good value models in South America, or Spain where some are also being sold. For the rest of us they are only available on the secondary market from China or beyond. This means that they are quite expensive to buy here in the UK, but for Avenger collectors they are an attractive way to expand the international connection.
One wonders if the later Avenger related models produced in Argentina and Brazil, the Dodge Polara and the Volkswagen 1500, will be produced as a partwork model at some point?
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