Category Archives: Leo

Maserati Kyalami 1976

By Maz Woolley

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

From time to time models from Italian part works turn up on eBay and at toy fairs. When they do they often offer a good budget model for a modest price. The model this article focuses on is a 1:43 scale Maserati Kyalami issued as part of an Italian part work by Leo Models of Italy but made in China for them. Leo Models specialised in preparing a range of masters for part works and budget ranges  though the web site quoted on the model is no longer responding so this cannot be confirmed.

Excess stock from the Maserati part work series has been made available through wholesalers in the UK over the last few years, though not all the cars available to subscribers appear to have been made available on the secondary market. The standard of the models is variable but the Kyalami is very good.

The Kyalami is a four seater coupé produced by Maserati from 1976 to 1983. It was named after the Grand Prix circuit in South Africa where a Cooper-Maserati won the Grand Prix in 1967

This was the first model developed after Alejandro de Tomaso bought the company and it was derived from, and mechanically similar to, the the Longchamp a three-box grand tourer made by De Tomaso AutomobiliPietro Frua was commissioned by De Tomaso to turn the Tom Tjaarda-designed Longchamp, into a Maserati. The interior was also upgraded to incorporate classic Maserati elements such the steering wheel and instrumentation. Thankfully the Maserati V8 was used and not the American-sourced Ford V8 which was used in the Longchamp. The same styling found its way to the larger Maserati Quattroporte which shared the same running gear as the Kyalami. The fact card in the part work is completely wrong in its statements about the engine which is described as a 6 cylinder 1488cc unit. Clearly the quality control in pre-production was non-existent!

The model captures the shape well. Hints of the Lancia Beta, and even the Fiat 130 coupé in the styling perhaps? It is certainly a clean design with typical late 70s mixture of boxiness and sculpted sides.

The wheels and tyres are accurate if a little bland.

The front end is well modelled with the grille and lights very neatly done and the multi part front bumper with embedded indicators and sidelights nicely moulded and printed. However, a little red paint on the trident would have made it even better.

The windscreen wipers are fine mouldings and better than the Photoetch ones on many dearer models.

Inside the model a pale blue matt finish suggests the leather sets and door cards. The dashboard has instruments moulded in but is all black.

To the rear the missing number plate is annoying. Again the lights are very well made separate units, the multi-part bumper is well modelled. The chrome strip and name badges has been printed so finely it is only obvious how fine when you blow up the photograph of the model.

The glazing for this vehicle is excellent. Flush fit all around the car is shown with an open drivers window.

All in all a very nice part work model of a vehicle from a period when styling was considerably different to the styling we see today.


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Another Taxi Partwork!

By Fabrizio Panico

Photographs are by, and copyright of the Author, unless otherwise stated.

Another partwork is now being sold in Italy, this time from Centauria, looking like a copy of the previous similar partwork from Altaya in 2002-2004. Which then appeared as a DeAgostini partwork in Northern Europe. But there are changes: the models are now marked as from LeoModels but they do appear to be identical in many respects to the models made by Ixo for Altaya.

The scale seems to vary from the claimed 1:43 with models often more like 1:45 to 1:46. The collection has been announced as having 39 parts, what a strange number?

First issue is a Ford Crown Victoria 1998, even if the box says 1992, somewhat smaller and different to the Altaya one. The second issue is the Fiat 1400, similar to the Ixo one, perhaps a bit smaller. After the first issues the price will be €14.99 I’m wondering if this collection is really needed, the Ixo models, which were much better,  are still freely available at modest prices on eBay or at the various toys fairs everywhere.

Centauria is part of the Fabbri group of publishers better known in the UK for the James Bond Collection. Their products are aimed at the news stand market and they have a range of partworks such as fairy tale collections, Great Musicians encyclopaedias, and the art works series “The Masters of Colour”,

The boxed Ford Crown Victoria looking rather small on the standard sized plinth.

 

The first part in its packaging selling at half price to encourage people to collect the series. NB the model is claimed to be 1:43 scale.

 

To the rear of the launch card mount we see some of the proposed models all of which seem very familiar! It means that Volkswagen collectors and London cab collectors have yet another target to chase.

 

The first model unpacked.

The second Model unpacked.A FIAT taxi as already seen in the Altaya series.

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