Category Archives: 1:55

1991 Alfa Romeo SZ

By Karl Schnelle

For the last couple years, I have driven down to Nashville, TN, in the autumn to drive a car from the Lane Motor Museum.    If you are lucky enough and have the funds, you can sign up for a Rally to drive their cars if you donate a certain amount to the museum.  The museum wins and the participants win!  Plus the cars get to be driven as they should be on the back roads of Tennessee for a day.

Being an Alfafanatic, I saw that the museum had just acquired an Alfa Romeo SZ (Sport Zagato) and it was on the 2018 Rally list!   Somehow, I was so extremely fortunate that I was the first in line for this car.  I got my buddy Skip, a fellow car guy and 1/43 collector,  to co-drive since you really need a navigator to read the Rally book and call out directions. He did not need any convincing!

The museum has a short write-up on the car, so I won’t repeat the whole story.  In 1988, Alfa Romeo and Zagato collaborated on a show car based on the Alfa 75 (Milano) sedan, but with 3L V-6 engine, called the ES-30.  The slab-sided body was a little ‘wedgy’ (it was the 1980s!) and nicknamed “Il Mostro”, the Monster.  Either you love it, or you hate it, as they say.  Enough people liked it that they produced 1000 red examples for sale and 1 black one for Signor Zagato from 1989-91.

The Models

After the Rally, I came home and dug out my SZ models.  I have three or four.  I am mainly a 1:43 guy, so I do not have the 1:18 from BBR Top Marques, the 1:24 Alfa Centenary partwork by Hachette, or the small 1:64 from Kyosho.

Being in the US, Matchbox are common so I do have this little 1:55 Matchbox in all red.  Matchbox made many different ones right after the real one came out.

SMTS in their 1/43 Voiturette series made a very nice white metal version.  I acquired this heavy Monster in 1993, so I did not get the newer handmade resin Make Up model later.

Finally, Spark made both the red and black versions in 1:43 over ten years ago, so I picked up the black one.

Have you seen other SZs out there in model form?  Please let me know.


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More Pocket Money Toys – Majorette

By Maz Woolley

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

Majorette were once regarded as the ‘French Matchbox‘ as they made small ‘fit in  a three inch box’ models sold at pocket money prices in French shops and supermarkets. Once part of a group with Solido they both ended up as part of the German Simba-Dickie group, owners of Schuco,  after they went bankrupt in 2009.

In a previous article I have looked at some of their limited editions but here are two models from their ‘Street Cars‘ series which are sold all around Europe on bubble cards like Matchbox or Hot Wheels. These models are diecast in Thailand to variable scales as they are designed to fit a standard blister pack which is used for all models in the range and doesn’t even have the make and model of the car on it..

Fiat 500

This model of the popular small Fiat is not based on the current version as the rear light printing has yet to be altered to create the body coloured panel in the middle. But it is a neat model of Fiat’s baby with the Fiat badges being neatly printed and small enough to need magnification before you can see how accurate they are. The baseplate states that it has been modelled to 1:55 scale.

The side profile is excellent and the standard fit ‘speed wheels’ even look like some of the more extreme alloys fitted to small cars. The painting even has a slight hint of the pearlescent sheen often used on these small Fiats.

At the front the 500 logo used in advertising is well printed as is the badge and front decorations. Lights are just printed areas of silver paint but they are quite effective.

To the rear the rear hatch, lights and number  plate areas are well modelled. Though the lights could be properly divided up to reflect the light clusters better.

The interior has no door cards but the seats are well represented and the moulded dash board is a good shape and the Fiat gear level mounted in the dash is well modelled.

Renault Twingo

Another popular car with the young, and the first saloon car in a long time with a rear mounted engine. Very much Renault‘s competitor to the Fiat 500 though its four doors make it the more practical and utilitarian of the two.  The detailing is pretty close to the current Twingo production model. The baseplate states that this has been modelled to 1:55 scale.

The side profile captures the car well. The ‘speed wheels’ again look like some aftermarket alloys fitted to small cars so do not look too out of place.

From the front the Twingo lights and grille are exceptionally well represented for a budget model. A dark plastic insert is used which is very effective. Painted small additional  lights and the black bumper panel complete a good front end.

Again the rear has been well captured with the badging nicely done. Printed rear lights are basic and again should be striped with amber and silver as well as red.

Inside again we get no door cards but a convincingly moulded set of seats, dashboard and steering wheel.

Pocket money toys they may be but they are also good, and reasonably detailed, models of every day cars that can be recognised from the streets.


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