Category Archives: Readers Letters and Comments

Volkswagen Variations

By Mike Allen

Photograph by, and copyright of, the Author.

Whilst the UK the Atlas Dinky collection included a Volkswagen Beetle it was as a replica of 262 Swiss Postal Service. #181 did appear in a light blue with chrome spun hubs in the Atlas Dinky continental collection but not in the UK series.  DeAgostini are now selling number 4 in their new Dinky series here in the UK, and yet again #181 appears but this time in the standard cast hubs  as it appeared in Italy. My picture below shows the two versions of #181 Volkswagen together.


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Jello and Chips- Part Two

By Robin Godwin

Except where otherwise acknowledged all pictures are by the Author.

In January 2018, I wrote an article on General Foods CanadaFamous Car Picture Wheels” and mentioned that there was a second series of coins produced perhaps a year or two later – “Famous Aircraft of the World.” This series must have been produced in 1962 or 1963, as the last entries in the series are the De Havilland Trident and John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury Capsule, both from 1962 (Glenn was the first US Astronaut to orbit the earth in Feb 1962).

The main difference with the aircraft series is that they are organized by role rather than era. The photos clearly show the roles represented, with role exceptions being the first 25 coins, called “Pioneers” which includes a bit of Greek mythology, and the final 25, called “Others” which includes missiles, gyroplanes and hovercraft. There are only a few helicopters that appear in the “Transports” section, but I’m surprised they didn’t warrant their own section.

The booklet was compiled and written by James A. Hornick, a noted Canadian Aviation journalist at the time. Illustrations were done by Don Watt.

The back of the Aircraft coins includes the Hostess (Chips) brand name, which was missing from the Car wheels (see photo in my earlier article).

Image from the Web

So this is another great little bit of nostalgic collectability from the 60s. If you are interested in seeing more coins you can “Google” “famous aircraft of the world jello coins” and look for the Google images.

The full carousel of 200 airplane coins, colour coded by role/theme. Note “partially cloudy” blue sky colour

Detailed 76 page booklet with descriptions and specifications for each coin. There is also a section at the back explaining aerodynamics, with some expanded detail on aircraft structures and engines. Booklet and carousel were mail-order items from General Foods

Initial coin for each role as identified at top of coin

Who would have known back in 1962 or 1963 when the author was 12 that he would serve in the Canadian Air Force for his whole career, and among others, fly each type shown here. The Link Trainer was in use when I went through pilot selection in Toronto in 1973. I’d like to say that these coins provided inspiration for my later career, but they had been in storage and forgotten in my parents attic for years when I joined the Air Force.


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More Police Cars

By Peter Wyatt

In my previous post, I promised to show a few police cars from my collection. Except for one, they are all a nominal 1/43 scale.

The first one is a Corgi Mini van with dog and handler.

Corgi Vanguards Vauxhall Velox

Corgi Vanguards Triumph Dolomite

Dinky Humber Hawk. This car has the number plate of PC 49.

Corgi Zephyr Estate

Mersey Tunnel police Land Rover

Corgi Hillman Imp. As was common on some Corgi models, the rear suspension on this model is broken.

Metosul VW

Dinky Ford Zodiac

Morestone Wolsley police car. This one is the size of a Matchbox toy.

Vanguards Austin 1800 diplomatic protection unit

Corgi Riley Pathfinder

Dinky Range Rover

Corgi Chevrolet. This is my only American police car!

Finally, here is my Dinky police phone box.  I hope you enjoyed these photos.

 


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A Life of Police and Police Cars

By Peter Wyatt

I got this Corgi Toys Commer 464 police van in 1967 for my tenth birthday. The light flashed (still does), and from that day, my heart was set on becoming a police officer.

Having completed an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer, just in case I didn’t like being a police officer or, they didn’t like me, I became a police officer in England, which I did for thirty years until I retired seven years ago as a Detective Inspector. Thank you, Corgi, for helping me in my career path and for giving my family and me a great quality of life.

It also led me to become an avid collector of police vehicles which I still do to this day at the age of 60. I have also fine tuned my two grandsons, Harry and Noah, into the mindset of collecting die cast and to look after them as an investment. They do have cars to play with, but they love to see the collectible ones on display. I also collect other Corgi and Dinky Toys, but police cars have always been my main collecting theme.

All photos are my own apart from the Mark 2 Escort which is from the Trofeu site. I moved house recently, and all my cars are currently in the loft whilst I have a room converted to house them. I can’t find my own picture of that model.

I became a police officer in 1981. The very first police car I drove was a Ford Escort Mark 2. It went from 0-60 in about 2 hours, but I thought it was a fantastic car. In the early 2000’s, Trofeu brought out this 1/43 limited model of the actual car. I just had to have one!

It’s not my intention to chronicle my whole career, but I will share some of my scale model collection by different manufacturers.

The following is a Volvo V 70 traffic car based on a Schuco Volvo estate. A business called Paul Robson Models based in Cumbria UK personalised the Schuco model into actual Staffordshire police cars.

You will see that Paul placed a clipboard with my name on the dashboard. I never actually served as a traffic officer; twenty four of my thirty years were spent as a detective.

21 is the force code for my old force, Staffordshire Police, and the number is on the roof of cars to enable identification from the air.

In my next post, I will show a selection of images from my collection. Hope you will find some of them interesting.


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Two Favorites in One

By Frank Koh

Playlist for Tonight:
1. Sergio Mendes' Favorite Things, Atlantic Records, 1968.
2. T.N. Nomura Tin Battery-Operated "Bump 'n Go" 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS, Japan, 1968

For me, this 1968 Sergio Mendes solo album (sans Brazil 66) on the Atlantic Records label (not one of the more well-known A&M releases) is truly The Carefree Sixties on Vinyl. The upbeat title cut “My Favorite Things” and the sultry interpretation of “I Say a Little Prayer” are the best of the early works of Mr. Mendes. Arranged and conducted by Dave Grusin, I might add.

The T.N. Nomura bump-‘n-go tin Camaro is not only exceptionally realistic and well-scaled (close to 1/18) for a sixties tin toy, it is feature-packed as well. It’s got lights that actually work, and though the headlight doors don’t open like on the real car, they are actually “see-thru”, and that’s genuinely sixties-cool. It also has a horn that makes squeaking sounds like those silly toddlers’ shoes that annoy everyone within twenty feet of those little brats that love to wear them.

Why did I create this playlist?

I practically “grew up on a diet of Bossa Nova” and other wonderful types of music, and Sergio Mendes has always been a personal favorite. I have also loved first generation Camaros since they debuted during the 1967 model year. In fact, I have owned two of them.  So the year 1968 ties it all together!

Here’s my latest project car, a full scale 1968 RS/SS tribute car, which coincidentally, we shot in its original Butternut Yellow color.


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Jello and Chips (or Crisps, if you must)

By Robin Godwin

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. 

In North America, we call it “jello,” a gelatin dessert (Jell-O is actually a brand/trademark name, and jello, like “hoover” to you Brits, (for virtually any vacuum, or as a verb… to hoover the kitchen… ) has become a generic term). I believe jello is called jelly in the UK, and of course jelly means something else across the pond.

When we North Americans want a thinly sliced fried potato snack, we eat some chips, whereas it’s crisps in the UK. I’m guessing that jello and chips or jelly and crisps were staples of every nine-year olds’ diet in the 1960s. It is a bonus when one can nurture one’s interest in automobiles when eating these delicacies. So it was in 1960 (plus or minus a year) when General Foods (GF) Ltd. of Canada introduced the “Famous Car Picture Wheels.”  These plastic wheels were available in every Jell-O product and, a short while later, in 10-cent bags of Hostess Potato Chips (also a GF brand). They started with Jell-O boxes, but likely the company executives determined it would take too long to acquire the full collection of 200 wheels – a challenge even for a jello-loving nine-year old, so the wheels were added to the chips. Reference to the collection, however, is strictly to Jell-O.

Each plastic wheel has a numbered, full-colour cardboard picture insert of a specific automobile. While the coins were free in the food items, the poker-chip style carousel designed to hold the full collection of 200 wheels, along with a descriptive booklet or “Fact Book”, were mail order purchases from GF in Cobourg, Ontario. The carousel features eight columns of 25 wheels each, to divide the collection into eight eras, with each era being colour coded. The first era covers 1769 to 1899, with subsequent columns/eras covering only a decade, except for the last, which only covers 1960 and 1961, the issue period of the series. Many significant cars are covered, with an emphasis on North American production, naturally. Curiously, there is no VW Beetle, despite being imported into Canada from 1952, but the much less common Karmann Ghia did get its own wheel.

The artwork on the wheels and in the fact book are “evocative of the era,” similar to early Dinky Toy catalogues. Unfortunately, the artist is not mentioned, but it could be Don Watt, who was credited with the illustrations on the similar second General Foods issue of “Famous Aircraft of the World” . The fact book was compiled by J. Ralph Turner, then president of the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada, and was also available in French, Canada’s other official language.

I am certain that this was a Canada only promotion, and several points support this conclusion. I worked in Washington, DC for five years in the early 2000s and attended many big US toy shows and never saw these coins, yet they are regularly seen at Canadian toy shows; series documentation is in both of Canada’s official languages; General Foods Canada is the issuing agency; and there is even a unique Canadian produced Ford Frontenac wheel (the Frontenac was never sold outside Canada). This is a fascinating piece of automotive history that had great appeal to a generation of kids hooked on diecast cars, Jell-O and chips. Anybody who wants to see more of these wheels can do a Google search for Jell-O famous cars, and then click on Images for Jell-O famous cars.

The carousel was a special mail order item. It held all 200 wheels. These are hard to find these days in mint condition, with white “handles/retainers” often missing

The booklet that came with the carousel – 76 pages of detailed car facts, along with monochrome line drawings that were the same as the colour versions in the wheels

First wheel for each era. Superb artwork. Note colour coded plastic.

Some of the more obscure cars (well, for Canada in 1960, that is). #181 is the Canada only Ford Frontenac. Highlighted here for Dave Turner!

Light blue wheel on bottom is from the later Famous Aircraft series (note propeller), and includes the Hostess potato chip logo. The Famous Cars (top) only mentions Jell-O


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Readers Letter

Notes from another Lamborghini Lover

 

Further to the article on Lamborghini by Mick Haven of the South Hants Model Auto Club I would like to add a few comments/recollections.

As a late teenage boy from a small town in Gloucestershire I was absolutely bowled over at the first sight of the lime green Miura on the front of the Telegraph Magazine at the time of the 1966 Geneva Motor Show. I just had to learn as much as possible about this amazing ‘Supercar’ as it had been described by Car Magazine.

A trip to London by train specifically to visit Lamborghini Concessionaires in Alie Street, in London E.1. was called for. Mick Haven’s description brought the showroom back life. Unlike MIck’s my visit was made during the working day either late morning or early afternoon.

From memory I recall that there was no sales person around to speak to when I arrived. An inspection of the two cars revealed them to be a 400GT and…. a dark blue Miura with white interior. I learned that the Miura belonged to the Shah of Iran and was stored for him in London. The ski rack attached to the roof was for when he came to Europe in the winter to go skiing in Europe!

Before I left the showroom I was allowed to have an official brochure for the 400 GT2+2 and the Miura! A great finish to the day. I still have those brochures today. In autumn 1968 when I learned that the Miura S was to follow on from the P400 I wrote a letter to Alie Street enquiring when would they expect to have the ‘S’ in their showroom. I was amazed to get a reply on a postcard with a red Miura on the front from them saying they had no delivery date as yet. I still have that postcard too!

I only caught up with Lamborghini again in the late 1970s when I started working in London. They were imported by Porsche GB handled by Portman Garages in St George’s Square, W.1. I’d missed the Whyteleafe and Lower Thames Street chapters but met Del Hopkins who ran the servicing side of Lamborghinis out at a separate premises in West London.

My 1:43 die cast Lamborghini collection is of approximately 350 items and still growing. My brochure collection complements it and features factory catalogues up to Aventador.

Last year’s Salon Privé at Blenheim celebrated 50 years of the Miura and starred the 1968 Brussels Motor Show Miura Spyder. That was a must see. If the opportunity should ever arise I recommend a visit to the Lamborghini Factory Museum and the Tonino Lamborghini Private Museum. An eBay auction recently produced a large Lamborghini Factory produced poster for dealers showrooms showing Espada, Countach and Urraco which I’d only ever seen hanging on the wall of Tonino’s Museum.

The lime green ‘Twiggy’ Miura that Mick wrote about can be seen at various car events, and the lady who owns it has a LM002 which appeared at Brooklands Supercar Sunday this year.

Like Mick I’m a life long fan of the Lamborghini marque.

Ian Hunt,
Redhill. Surrey.

By email

 

 

Readers Letter – Atlas Editions Cadillac Ambulance

Atlas editions 7 495 002 Cadillac Miller-Meteor 1959

I definitely think that the 1959 Cadillac ambulance by Atlas is NOT a ‘Miller-Meteor‘, but is actually a ‘Superior‘, there’s even a script on the rear fender of the model telling us so.  I found a photograph of the real car on the internet. This one seems to be all white, but it is the exact same car even having the same air-conditioning intake behind the rear doors.

Nevertheless it’s a great model for a reasonable price, much cheaper than the same model made by Neo!

Roel Kuyper by Email

Haarlem, The Netherlands

Editor – Roel’s eMail prompted the Editor to look at the photographs of this model taken by our Consultant Editor in Germany. And yes there behind the rear wheels is a Superior script along with some rather poor tampo printing of the chrome embellisher visible when magnified (See below). A further search on the Internet shows that the 1959 Miller-Meteor had much more upright window frames on the rear passenger door and the rear door. The widely modelled Ghostbusters car is described as a 1959 MIller-Meteor and this has vertical rear passenger door frames and not the sloping ones seen on the Atlas model. Finally a quick comparison with the Neo Model which is described as a 1959 Cadillac S&S Superior shows that it is practically identical to the Atlas, see photographs lower down the page.

We would like to thank Roel for pointing out this error in description by Atlas.

 

Atlas Model

Neo Model


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Corgi 2017 – Reader’s Response

From Andrew Davies

From his Facebook post

My response to the Editor’s posting on Corgi’s 2017 Announcement

 

Correct, the 1:48 scale English Electric Lightning is the only new tooling announced in the Corgi ranges and by rights it shouldn’t even be in this catalogue as it has a due date of Q4 2017, i.e. within the scope of the next catalogue. The last new tooling in the Vanguards range was VA13800 released in June 2015, (Ed as shown above) , so it will be a gap of at least two years between new tooling in the range assuming that we see some in the announcements for the second half of 2017. Sad.

Unfortunately, according to Hornby PLC’s beancounter turned CEO, new tooling spend across the group is being cut to a third of previous levels (and Hornby Trains & Airfix will be first in the queue for what there is). Only model lines that meet a defined level of profit contribution will continue to be produced in the foreseeable future (see Hornby PLC 2016 annual report) hence the discontinuation of the Haulier range and the older buses. Ed – of course recoloured models from existing moulds give a higher contribution to profits as there is no tooling cost but only as long as anyone wants to buy them.

Just to show how out of touch they are, they will produce Vanguards models using Lledo 1990s tooling (Anglia, Mini, Beetle, Imp) with its moulded-in detail like tail lights, door handles, etc., and expect collectors to pay £28 to £30 for them! It is sad to think about the money Corgi wasted in recent years by investing in tooling for the Formula One cars, the Lotus cars, the Bentley cars, and the oddly-scaled static trains, all of which were remaindered and discontinued. That money could have been spent on new tooling in the core ranges for a far greater return.

Maz. I just hope the last line of your introduction does not turn out to be prophetic …


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Readers Comment from Jim McLachlan

Jim McLachlan posted this comment on Facebook when he heard of Vic Davey’s passing. Jim is an authority on Volkswagen Models who ran the Volkswagen Model Club for many years. 

So sad to hear that Vic has passed away. He was a friend and was also involved with the Volkswagen Model Club that I used to run. When Vic was in Hong Kong I was lucky to add some very interesting models to my collection that he supplied. Back in 1980 he even managed to do a deal with Playart in Hong Kong to supply the club with a batch of VW Beetle models which we used for a club model.


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