By Robin Godwin
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
As alluded to in Part 1, next up is the Politoys Giulia TI in 1:41 scale plastic. Most collectors know that Politoys started in plastic, and had a brief foray into “Fibre-glass” (actually resin and I’m pretty sure there were no “glass fibers” used) before settling on diecast metal. I’m not sure where the scale of 1:41 comes from; it could be as simple as a response to the use of the scale by INGAP. In any case, Politoys labelled many of their early plastic vehicles as 1:41, but issued many of the models in totally different scales. The early “Veicoli Militari” series is a prime example (covered in an early print MAR). That said, the Giulia seems to be correct in scale as it compares favourably to the INGAP, and is slightly larger than their 1:43 metal version issued a couple of years later. (I must emphasise that I am not a diehard scale checker).
Rampini lists 1964 as the year of issue for the plastic Giulia. I don’t think it captures the style of the original as well as the INGAP, nor do any of the subsequent metal issues from Politoys. To me, the roof is too tall, making the windows too big. It includes many of the features prevalent on contemporary models: glazing, a full interior, jewelled headlights, separate chrome pieces, and suspension. There are no opening features, likely due to strength considerations of the small plastic components that would have been involved. I have always been impressed with the stability of the plastic used by early Politoys. This one features no warping at all, but does suffer from some post-manufacture shrinkage evident in the slight deformation seen in the door panels.
It would seem that Politoys quickly discovered the wisdom of diecasting in metal, especially as the toy car market was now demanding a variety of operating features and manufacturers were competing with more and more opening parts. The plastic models had no opening panels; the ‘fibreglass’ models had some (and note, there was no ‘fibreglass’ Giulia), but the big change came with metal toys, and the Politoys M series of models in “proper” 1:43 scale, which first appeared in 1965. There was certainly some overlap between all three mediums (plastic, fibreglass, and metal), but metal was the future.
A completely remastered Giulia TI appeared in metal in 1966, as number 523, with opening front doors (half doors, with no window frames), hood and trunk. Typical of the diecasters art of the time, the opening features spoil the lines somewhat. In reality, the rear window is a beautiful wrap around affair, but Politoys managed to square it off at the corners, which really detracts from the rear view. The A pillars are sloped back a little too far; the real vehicle had a more upright windshield profile. Alfa Romeo and Giulia TI are cast into the back of the trunk lid, albeit, overscale. A Carabinieri version was issued in 1967 as number 531 in the M series, with antenna and roof light. The base casting was changed to reflect the new number.
Polistoys introduced the Penny range in 1966, about the same time as the Impy Roadmasters Super Car range from Lone Star. These cars provided competition for Matchbox and were done to a constant scale of 1:66, unlike the other two whose scales varied. The Pennys had lots of opening features, but were not nearly as feature laden as the Impys. Shortly after their introduction, the range was rationalised, and simplified with the loss of opening features. An early catalogue illustrates (as in a diagram) model #0/41 Giulia with opening doors, along with #0/47, a Carabinieri version. However, it was caught up in the rationalisation process and was eventually released in 1968 (after Politoys had become Polistil) as #0/201-A. The Carabinieri version was never released. It is easy to tell that the model is a Guilia, but that is about as generous as one can get. The front windshield is even more sloped than the 1:43 versions, and the interior lacks a steering wheel. Oddly, bonnet and boot shut lines stand proud, while the door lines are indented, with bigger gaps for the front doors. It is possible that the dies had been cut for the original plan of opening front doors, but were reworked when the range was rationalised. Rear and front bumpers, along with grill and headlights are all one chromed casting, making the front end appear way too bright. Wheels are common across the range, a generic (and wrong for this model) set of simulated wire wheels.
Politoys/Polistil produced other Giulias as well – a 1:20 scale plastic model, a slightly-smaller-than-1:43 estate (station wagon, or familiare), mostly in emergency/police versions (the estate was bodied by Carrozzeria Colli of Milan) in the AE series from the 70s (a nasty model all round, with bad whizzwheels), and a 1:55 Nuova Giulia 1300 from the RJ Series dating from the 80s, also with whizzwheels. It should be noted that many early Politoys dies travelled to Mexico, and were subsequently produced as McGregor Politoys. Plastic, resin and metal models were included, as well as Penny. I have no conclusive evidence to prove that any Giulia die travelled to Mexico, but a Dutch Alfa Romeo Forum shows photos of a McGregor Politoys 1:43 Giulia Carabinieri in its box, but not the base of the model. Another site, worthpoint.com (similar to eBay), shows a McGregor Politoys #523 sedan exactly the same as the one pictured above, but the description goes on to say that McGregor imported Made in Italy Politoys, and boxed and sold them as McGregors for awhile. This model was one of those.
To be continued…