Category Archives: Vehicle Manufacturers

The original car makers

Auto Union 1000S Universal

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The South American part works series have thrown up a number of vehicles which are very similar to those produced in America or Europe. Readers will have seen John Quilter‘s conversions of several of these into American market vehicles, many never modelled previously in 1:43 scale. Here we see an Auto Union 1000S Universal estate car which was made in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 1959 to 1962 and was made under licence by IASFe (Industrias Automotriz de Santa Fe) between 1960 and 1970.

The name Auto Union was revived for this car which was a development from the 700cc DKW 3=6. It had a larger 1,000cc version of the same two stroke engine and included an autofuel mixer system so the motorist filled up a tank with two-stroke oil as well as one with petrol and the mixing took place in the carburettor. The Auto Union 1000 was sold as luxury compact front-wheel-drive car costing significantly more than a Volkswagen. Once the 1000S was out of production Auto Union lasted only a couple of years more under the ownership of Daimler-Benz before being sold to Volkswagen who used technology from the DKW F102 to lead it in to the front wheel drive era and develop its Audi brand.

This part work model is nicely made and well up to the standard of the better models made by Oxford Diecast. There appear to be few differences between the German and Argentinian production.

At the front the grille is nice though it would benefit from a black wash to tone it down. The lights are typical Ixo style with the peg giving it a visible centre. All bumpers are fitted with extra bars which do not seem to be common on German cars but which might have been an option. The Auto Union script on the bonnet is very fine.

The wheels are nicely replicated. The large painted steel wheels with small chrome hubcaps adorn many examples of surviving cars shown on the web.  At the rear there are small inserts and the reflectors are well replicated with red paint over a silver base. The Auto Union rings and the 1000 script on the rear door are neatly printed and the fuel filler has been very well modelled with a chrome cap on a black collar.

The side chrome strips are mostly fine though on my model the roofline is not without some missed areas. The interior is black and details cannot be seen without a light being used. The steering wheel and dash are moulded in some detail but with no picking out in colour and the door cards have texture and fittings moulded on, but again nothing is picked out. The seats are simply but well moulded.

These part work models originally cost very substantial amounts of money imported from South America but now many seem to be shipping from China. Be warned the price range for these models from eBay sellers is very wide indeed but with care they can be picked up shipped from China for less than the price of a cheaper 1:43 Oxford Diecast here in the UK.


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Atlas Deluxe Dinky – 1425E Matra 630

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

The Atlas replica of French Dinky Toys #1425E Matra 630 has been shipped to UK subscribers.  This model was introduced in France in  1969 and remained in production until 1974. It was made to 1:43 scale. The model was also sold in the UK with a race number 36 and was UK #200 sold from 1971 to 1978. The E suffix indicated that the export version of the model has been recreated by Atlas. Indeed the included decals have a leaflet in German, Italian, Dutch and French included. Some may have preferred the perspex lidded box that was used more commonly than the picture box. This was not the only Matra made by Dinky in France as they made a very good model of the Jackie Stewart Matra Formula 1 car as well as a Matra Sports M530 road car.

The Matra-Simca MS630 was a Group 5 prototype race car introduced in 1967 for the World Championship for Makes. The car was initially designated as the Matra MS630, but when Simca sponsored Matra in 1969, it was renamed as the Matra-Simca MS630.  Presumably Dinky had already completed tooling up for the model before Simca’s sponsorship as they are not mentioned on the model or box. This three litre V12 engined car was good looking but sadly the cars looks were not matched by racing success as the car modelled pulled out after 22 hours in 1968 after a puncture and fire. There was greater success in 1969 when Matras did finish, but this was the era of the Ford GT40s dominance in this race and Matra were not competitive enough to outrun them.

The construction of this model is slightly unusual with the model cast in two halves bottom and top joining at the line along the bottom of engine cover and doors through to the front wings. With a fully diecast bottom half it is a heavy model. An engine is modelled to the rear beneath the opening cover and the front access compartments lid comes off. Large plastic covers for the front lights are a sign of the increased realism of toys in the late 1960s. A large windscreen wiper is added as a separate component which is a rare feature on models of this era.

The wheels are nice but not fully representative of the real car which tended to have darkened centres to the wheels and ribbed spokes. However this was intended as a toy for children so they are acceptable compared to the horrid speed wheels Dinky UK fitted towards the end of production.

Only the racing numbers are printed on as was the case of the original, and decals are supplied to add details. I have yet to be brave enough to do this!


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Wessex Model and Toy Collectors – Club Model 2018

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Wessex Model and Toy Collectors Club (WMTC) continues their tradition of club models which extends back over many years. Until recently Brooklin provided club models but their decision a couple of years ago to only do special models in much larger numbers than any UK club can justify means that Wessex have taken their business elsewhere.

This years club model has been produced specially to order and is a replica of Spot-On #161 Landrover Long Wheelbase Station Wagon.

Spot-On made a number of Landrovers including a pickup used as a military vehicle towing rockets, a tow car with a hoist, a fire car and a plain civilian version with tilt.  The LWB Station Wagon came in plain colours with a white roof as used on the Wessex model and also as an all blue RAC vehicle. The Station Wagon seems to be seen most commonly in grey and white in the UK though a green and white version was made in New Zealand after moulds went there. The roof modelled represents the double skin fitted to reduce the heat in the vehicle in hot climates.

The replica is nicely made and painted and has the usual club model style number plates but is otherwise free of any club printing, though the base plate is engraved WMTC 2018.  Although the age of the original model is given away by the raised lines representing doors and the lack of separate windscreen wipers it is still a very pleasing replica of the Land Rover.

WMTC has only had 50 models made and I am sure that members and friends of WMTC will have already taken up most, if not all of the batch. Club Models are only one of the benefits of joining WMTC who have a full programme of activities and are a very welcoming group as I found when visiting them to give a talk last year. Details of the club may be found on our clubs page here.


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Dinky Toys Alfa Romeo 1900

By Terry Hardgrave

All text and photographs copyright of the Author, unless otherwise noted.

1959 was a momentous year for me, in my early days of collecting Dinky Toys. I was 14 and totally hooked on buying every new one I could afford, so I managed to acquire quite a few that year.

One of my favorites has always been the French produced 24j Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sport. A superb diecast model, nicely painted in the proper red for this car.  Dinky renumbered their models later on so this one became 527, and at some point came also in blue before being cancelled in 1963.

One more photo with its box… amazingly, after almost 60 years, the original box is practically like new and still crisp.

The French factory shared the molds, so English Dinky also produced this Alfa as number 185 from 1961-63.   This version came in yellow with a red interior (or red with white interior).

photo credit: Karl Schnelle

Both factories made this great 1900 for just a short time, which is a bit strange because many Dinkys in the 1960’s were made for years and years!


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The Negrão Racing Dynasty

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

All text and photographs copyright of the Author.

Throughout all  sports it’s fairly common to find family dynasties where generations from the same family play the same sport. In motorsports it’s the same.  We may remember some well known racing dynasties, from short-lived ones like Hill, Villeneuve and Senna, to the longest ones like the Andretti, Piquet or Fittipaldi, just to name a few.

Here are some models from the Brazilian family Negrão: Alexandre Furnari Negrão (Xandi Negrão), Alexandre Sarnes Negrão (Xandinho Negrão or Alexandre Negrão Jr.) , Antônio Augusto Furnari Negrão (Guto Negrão) and André Negrão.

All models are in 1:43 scale.  [Click photo for larger image.]

  1. Audi TT-R – Mil Milhas de Interlagos 2004 – Xandi Negrão, Xandinho Negrão and Guto Negrão. Schuco.
  2. Ferrari F 430 GT2 – Mil Milhas Brasileiras 2007 – Alexandre Negrão, Alexandre Negrão Jr and Andreas Mattheis – ProModelTek.
  3. Aston Martin DBR9 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2008 – Xandinho Negrão with Peter Hardman and Nicki Leventis – IXO.
  4. Aston Martin DBR9 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2008 – Xandinho Negrão with Peter Hardman and Nicki Leventis – Spark.
  5. Alpine A-470 – 24 Hours Le Mans 2017 – André Negrão with N. Panciatici and P. Ragues – Spark.

And here are views of their other ends!

I hope you like them.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 20

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Parts 58 to  60

 

Three very interesting buses : from France, Germany and USA/Canada. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

 

No. 58 (no. 50 in the French collection) Panhard Movic IE24 1948 – At last a vehicle from the oldest vehicle manufacturer: first to produce petrol engines (1887) under a license from Daimler, Panhard et Levassor sold their first automobile in 1890. Their first vehicles set many modern standards, it had four wheels, a clutch pedal to operate a chain-driven gearbox, a front-mounted engine and radiator, the first modern transmission and the steering wheel. This “state of the art” layout was called the “Système Panhard”. Before the Great War Panhard et Levassor was already one of the largest and most profitable manufacturers of automobiles. Between 1910 and 1924 Panhard et Levassor offered plenty of models with conventional valve engines, alongside cars powered by sleeve valve power units, a technology patented by the American Charles Yale Knight, and from 1924 till 1940 all Panhard cars used steel sleeve valve engines only. After the Second World War the company was renamed Panhard (without “Levassor”), and produced light cars making the bodies and several other components out of aluminium, mainly because of postwar government steel rationing. A false evaluation of production costs using that material pushed the firm close to bankruptcy, forcing a hurried return to steel. The last Panhard passenger car was built in 1967, after assembling 2CV panel vans and selling ownership progressively to Citroën. From 1968 Panhard only made armoured vehicles, and were then absorbed by Auverland and from 2012 by Renault Trucks Defense, a division of Swedish Volvo Group. Panhard built trucks from the 1910s, and during the Second World War made technical investigations for a new diesel engine, using the Lanova type of cylinder head in order to achieve an higher efficiency and a reduced noise. These engines were named 2HL, 4HL and 6HL according to the number of cylinders and where HL stood for “huile lourd” (heavy oil or diesel fuel). After the Second World War as part of the “Plan Pons” Panhard was grouped into the U.F.A (Union Française Automobile) together with Somua and Willème and entrusted with the manufacture of medium tonnage heavy goods vehicles.

In 1952 Panhard presented a vehicle with a seven tons of payload called Movic, a vehicle particularly well adapted to the reconstruction needs of the time, powered by either a 85 or 100 hp diesel engine, or a 90 or 110 hp petrol engine. Like many other firms Panhard used a five letter system to designate the vehicle class in order to facilitate orders (hence the Movic name), and a combination of letters and numbers to identify the chassis type (like IE24). The Panhard Movic IE24 used a 5 meters wheelbase and was able to transport fifty passengers, powered by the 4HL engine, with bodies by Currus or Besset. But production was always very limited and 1962 saw the end of any production of civilian trucks and buses.

The model is shaped accurately and the cream and green livery appears authentic and neatly printed. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis with basic detail. A basic interior is fitted,and there are many small separately inserted parts, like wipers, mirrors, lights and chromed bumpers.

The red spot indicates that it is a regular line service. It sports the insignia of a transport firm from Mouthoumet, a small village in the Aude department, Occitaine region, in the south of France, and it is fitted with an accurate French registration plate, from the Aude department (11) prefecture of Carcassonne.

There is a very nice baggage rack on the roof, and a well modelled large rear ladder. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a simple tourist bus typical of the 1950s.

 

 

No. 59 (no. 48 in the French collection) General Motors “New Look” TDH-5301 1959 – We have already seen the GM history and its TDH-3610 (see part 10, no. 29) and its PD-3751 (see part 14, no. 41), Scenicruiser (see part 2, no. 4) and type 6000 School Bus (see part 3, no. 7), and how the more usual GMC badges did not appear until 1968, replacing GM, GM Coach and Yellow Coach badges previously used. The GM New Look bus (an official term used by GM), was introduced in 1959 to replace the previous transit buses, like the TDH-3610, and was available in both Transit and Suburban versions (less than 3,300 made). More than 44,000 units were produced by 1986 (from 1978 production in Canada only) and it soon becoming an iconic North American sight, and gaining the “fishbowl” nickname after its six-piece rounded windscreen.

The air-sprung self-supporting monocoque structure with aluminium frame and riveted body panels was powered by a rear transverse engine, a two-stroke V6 diesel by Detroit-Diesel, 238 cv, usually with an angle-drive single ratio automatic transmission. Its whole design, an airplane-like stressed-skin construction, was patented by GM (U.S. Patent D182,998), to avoid any unwarranted competition. As usual its denomination (TDH-5301) was a full technical description : T for transit bus, D for diesel, H for hydraulic transmission, 53 for the number of seats and 01 for the series. The first city to take delivery of the New Look was Washington D.C.. The New Look was particularly appreciated in Canada, with a local production of more than 11,000 units, while its heir, the RTS (Rapid Transit Bus), was almost rejected in Canada, pushing GM to resume production of an updated New Look (the Classic) from 1982.

The scale model is based on one of the Canadian buses, with the blue/silver and ivory livery typical of the Toronto Transit Commission. It has a plastic body and metal baseplate which is detailed and has an added silver exhaust. This is a very large model in 1:43 scale and is fitted with a correct interior and a nice driver area.

Very well reproduced side windows with silver frames are included. The usual added plastic parts can be found: lights, wipers, mirrors, bumpers. There are nice wheels with the correct twin rear ones.

The line number is 71, from St. Clair Avenue to Runnymede station (Runnymede is a residential neighbourhood on the western side of Toronto’s downtown core, not far from the shore of lake Ontario). The registration plate is a correct one for Ontario from 1961 (white on black). Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice reproduction of a much loved Canadian bus.

 

 

No. 60 (no. 49 in the French collection) Borgward BO 4000 1952 – The origins of the company go back to 1905 with the foundation in the Bremen area of NAMAG, maker of the Lloyd car, and of Hansa Automobilgesellschaft, due to merge in 1914 to form the “Hansa-Lloyd-Werke A.G.”. After the Great War the company soon faced bankruptcy, but Carl Borgward, already owner of the Goliath-Blitzkarren business, took control of it, greatly expanding the scope of his auto business and broadening the products range. 1939 saw the first use of the Borgward name as a brand, while the Second World War saw the production of many military trucks, half-tracks and munitions, but also lead to the destruction of Factories due to heavy Allied bombing. Notwithstanding the buildings destruction, the tools were almost untouched and it was possible to restart truck production before the end of 1945, and cars from 1949.

Like many other buses in the aftermath of the Second World War the BO 4000, launched in 1951, was strictly derived from the B 4000 truck, in turn heir to the B 3000, produced in large numbers during the war. Powered by a straight-six five litre diesel engine with ‘turbulence’ combustion chambers, it was very efficient. The bus was produced for three years only, and sold less than two hundred units, so it is a rare bus indeed.

But it must be said that though Borgward produced in total only 631 buses it made more than 43,000 trucks. Borgward buses were very expensive and often created to order: clearly the company had difficulty in amortising production costs on such small production volumes, leading to troubles in competing in the marketplace and in assuring the needed cash-flow. This despite being a pioneer in air suspension and automatic transmission. In 1961 the company was forced into liquidation by creditors, even if they were then paid in full. Many spoke of a conspiracy, but it is doubtful if Borgward trading beyond 1961 would be able to generate sufficient cash to repay existing debts and any new borrowing needed.

The scale model is an accurate reproduction of the only existing BO 4000, a preserved bus still in use on the Sylt isle, the fourth-largest German island in the North Sea, nowadays connected to the mainland by the Hindenburgdamm, an 11 km-long causeway joining from 1927 the North Frisian island to mainland Schleswig-Holstein, which is exclusively a railway corridor. The model is shaped accurately and the blue and light grey livery with a black roof appears authentic and neatly printed. The body is plastic, as usual, with a metal baseplate which is well detailed and has an added silver exhaust. Due to the large side and roof windows, which are well executed, the interior appears full of light and is fitted with nice seats. Many small plastic separate parts are used, like mirrors, lights and bumpers, plus width indicators at the front and a towing hitch at the rear.

It is fitted with accurate British occupation zone registration plates. On the sides we see the logo of the Wander Falke (the peregrine falcon) and a very small plate, probably identifying the coachbuilder. Nice chromed hubcaps are fitted and the correct twin rear wheels. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A good choice, a rare and likeable bus .


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The Ford in Miniature – 2001 Fortyniner

By Dave Turner

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Around Ford’s Centenary in 2003 numerous events and creations were produced to celebrate the achievement . One of these was a concept called the Fortyniner as a tribute to the 1949 Ford that in reality could be said to have saved the company in the years following the Second World War. Two examples were created, a black closed car with an all glass top and a red convertible.

That original ’49 Ford featured what was regarded as radical new styling for the time embodying a simple shape with clean body panels combined with what were then modern conveniences. The 1949 Ford was presented with the Fashion Academy Award in both 1949 and 1950. This fifty year later concept car appeared in 2001 and was styled keeping to those original ideas and marrying them to what were significant custom car touches from the period as well as modern elegant and clean lines from Italian designers such as Ghia.

Appearing a year earlier in 2000 was the new Thunderbird concept that subsequently went into production in virtually the same form. Much of the character of this new Thunderbird was also incorporated into the Fortyniners styling.

The concept was powered by a 3.9 litre 32 valve V8 Thunderbird engine, the front fender badges are in the Thunderbird style and are lettered “Powered by”.

So far the only model of the Fortyniner concept to be found came from Auto Art at the time of the real thing and as usual they have done a superb job of it. At 1:18 it represents the ‘closed’ version and captures the simple but elegant lines perfectly having opening doors hood and trunk, steerable front wheels and a complete interior. The latter features the distinctive central ‘console’ that was part of the cars structure while such things as the cruise and radio controls located on the steering wheel was done to echo those bright horn rings of fifty years previous – have all been depicted. Turning the model over reveals a plethora of engine, transmission, drive line, steering and suspension detail. Beware, while enjoying the examination the projecting mirrors are vulnerable and delicate.

Auto Art China 72031 2003 Fortyniner concept closed 266mm 1:18 Diecast
Illustrations:

 

 

Auto Art 1:18 diecast from China: 72031, Ford Fortyniner concept.

Auto Art 1:18 diecast from China: 72031, rear view of Fortyniner.

 

With MIRA 1:18 diecast from Spain: 6250, 1949 Ford Coupe the inspiration for the Fortyniner concept.

Rear view of the two Ford Coupes.


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More from 1964 – Dodge and Plymouth Conversions.

By John F. Quilter

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

In my never ending quest to make something that no model maker makes, at least currently, I have done some work with the diecast Universal Hobbies 1964 Plymouth Belvedere hardtop and the 1964 Dodge sedan which is in the Mexican partworks series and I believe comes from Ixo. Both of these cars, the Belvedere and the Coronet, were the mid-sized cars for Plymouth and Dodge in 1964. Since these two cars were from Chrysler Corporation and were closely related by some styling features as well as overall size I thought I could do some mixing, matching, and modifying.

The Plymouth comes as a Belvedere hardtop and extras of these in my collection became a convertible in red, a four door sedan in light beige, plus a two door sedan in metallic turquoise.

 

Using the displaced top from the conversion to the four door sedan I transplanted this to the Ixo Dodge making a Coronet hardtop Then with still another four door Dodge I fabricated a rear roof and tailgate and created a station wagon.

This one was the most involved transformation and I used some sheet aluminium to add the roof extension and tailgate. The quarter panels had to be somewhat reshaped from the sedan and multiple layers of aluminium created the raised panel on the tailgate.  An option on these wagons was a luggage rack so this was made using silver paperclip wire and some aluminium feet to mount it to the roof. Transverse rubbing strips suitably bare metal foiled were applied to the roof.

The plastic interior section with the seats needed to be modified cutting off the parcel shelf and adding a load floor. Using Google images is vital in getting the shapes and proportions right on these type of conversions and I was lucky to find the all-important 90 degree side photo plus others showing various details such as the fuel filler cap, tail lamps and rear bumper which is different from the sedan. A 13 inch diameter piece of electrical solder served for this purpose with suitable bending and filing for the correct final shape. Solder is ideal for this purpose as it is already very shiny silver in colour and can easily be filed and polished to a high gloss with only a final coating of clear lacquer to preserve the chrome like appearance.

A careful study of the sales brochure for this Dodge on this site http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html provides specifications for length, a selection of colours for interior and exterior. Colour chips found on Google are also useful. I learned that in the case of this Dodge wagon it was about 5 inches longer than the sedan, all in the rear quarter panel so this was factored into the conversion process. The Ixo sedan comes with blackwall tires which would have been uncommon on a new car in 1964 so I created thin whitewalls using my loop of thin gauge wire technique. A bit too three dimensional but when working in 1:43 and doing custom work one has to be creative and resourceful and until a supplier, such as Tin Wizard, produces some very thin whitewall decals these will have to suffice.

The Plymouth convertible was an easy job, simply cut off the roof of the hardtop using a jeweller’s saw, and fabricate a top boot with sheet lead and paint in a suitable vinyl top colour. It was easy enough to do that I was able to preserve all the paint and tampo printed badging of the Universal Hobbies item. When doing one of my conversions I always preserve one of the factory production models to illustrate what I started with. In the case of the Plymouths the metallic blue hardtop in the photograph is unaltered. In the case of the Dodges the metallic turquoise sedan is the starting point.

The Plymouth light beige sedan was a bit more involved as it required taking the cut off roof from the Dodge and grafting it on to the Plymouth. Of course when mixing and matching these parts one has to sometimes alter the plastic interior and dashboard unit to fit. And an alternative interior colour may be chosen based on internet research. When going from a two door body to a four door body the rear doors have to be engraved in, the front door shortened, and new door handles fabricated and mounted.

So with these Dodge and Plymouth variations I have replicated many of the body styles that were part of the lineup in 1964.


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The ones that got away.

By Gunnar Bernstrup

All text by, and copyright of the Author. Photographs as acknowledged.

Opportunities missed. This thought came as I saw the beautiful Lansdowne model of the AC 16/80 in a friend’s collection.

Picture Credit: Brooklin Models

 

There are opportunities missed along the way for all of us. These thoughts concern mine about cars; real or models.

The AC 16/80 I missed in real life stood in a garage in southern Portugal. Not as bright red as the Lansdowne model, but very impressive, and well looked after by the owner of the garage. This was in the mid 1970’s. A year or two after ’The revolution of the roses’ when a lot of well off people fled the country and left houses and cars behind, afraid that the ‘reds’ would take over. The first free elections were to be held. Prices – on everything – were low.

”You can have it for 15 thousand”, said the owner. In Swedish currency. The pound was very low those days (We just had to pay 6-7 kronors for one pound in 1976-77. Today it’s double that price. So it’s difficult to make an exact evaluation of that offer. But perhaps one thousand two hundred pounds – £1,200.  Plus what time and inflation does of course. It was, however, a bargain.

Still, it was a lot of money for me. I tried to figure out how to get hold of the money and get it to Portugal (I was not easy to transfer big sums over the borders in a legal way ) and then drive the car all the way to southern Sweden. The project seemed too big for me. So I had to say no thank you.  And it didn’t take long before my economical situation had changed, when our radio show made a tremendous success. I had stopped myself and the opportunity was missed. And no, I didn’t buy the Landsdown model in time either!

By the way. There was an ‘Bond’ style Aston Martin in the garage too.  At ‘about’ twice the price for the AC!

 

Picture Credit: 007collector.com

Some forty-seven years ago (1971), I was ready to buy my first real car. It just had to be something different. I found a Mercedes-Benz 170 S – yes, a 1950 cab – on sale at around three-four thousand kronor, say three hundred UK pounds at the time. Since I then, as now, knew nothing about the technicalities of cars other than how to feed and drive them and about their history; I asked my good friend to join me when I looked at the wonderful object. He was a born engineer, so I could rely on him.

”It’s great fun, he said. But don’t buy it”. ”Useless brakes”,

So I didn’t. Since then, I cry every time I see such a car.

Photo Credit: www.carandclassic.co.uk

Instead, I bought a ‘Glas’. Nice, fast and rare, but worthless in quality. It only lasted 8 months.

In the early 1980’s, I missed several Dinky Toys Foden vans then sold for nothing – if you compare to today’s prices – because I thought the price was to high. This was in the early days of my collecting career when I had just discovered the hidden treasures in my mother’s attic. I, then, wasn’t even sure about the value of Dinky Supertoys since we never played with the big ones as kids. They were too expensive for our pocket money and even for our parents to buy as Christmas or birthday presents, I guess. Certainly too expensive for us to buy. Hence the lack of nostalgic feeling. A distant relative offered me a couple of well played Super Toys for free.

”I don’t collect them”, said I.

As the years go by, the offered collection has grown in quantity and quality. In my mind.

”How many Foden lorries, Guy vans … did I miss?” I ask myself .

I refuse to answer.

Picture Credit: Dinky Site.com

While thinking of it. We – four brothers – had lot’s of Dinky’s, Tekno, Märklin trains and such. Much was given away to younger relatives when we where teenagers and didn’t care. Nice gestures.

Picture Credit: MAR Online

The question is: How stupid can you get?!

Editor: I am sure that we all have memories of ones that got away. Things we saw but didn’t buy and have never seen again, or even nowadays ones that we lost eBay auctions for. Maybe other readers would like to share their own experiences! In my case I regret not breaking the Bank to buy several Pathfinder models which are now so expensive I will never be able to afford them.


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Mercedes-Benz Pagoda Slot Cars

Two Fifty Year-Old SL Pagoda Slot Cars from Germany

By Frank Koh

MAR Online does not publish about slot cars very often, but these cars are so nice that they can act as static display models in any cabinet!  Two of my favorite slot cars are models of my favorite European sports car: the W113 Mercedes-Benz “Pagoda” SL. I took these two units out which I have owned for a couple of years now, so I could simply re-live my love affair with them.

The orange Fleischmann roadster and the maroon Stabo coupe shown above are, in my humble opinion, much more realistic than the contemporary Scalextric slot car model, which is considerably more common and well-known to slot car mavens.

The iconic Mercedes-Benz 230SL/ 250SL/ 280SL of 1963-71 needs no introduction. The “SL Pagoda” as it was fondly referred to because of its unique hardtop design was Stuttgart-Sindelfingen’s sports car of the sixties that was revered for its sparkling grand touring performance, exceptional comfort, leading-edge safety and timeless beauty.

While the real car was being produced, two West German slot car manufacturers released scale masterpieces of the Pagoda, the Stabo 230 SL Coupe and the Fleischmann 280 SL Roadster. The external dimensions of both appear to be nearly-identical; hence we can take an educated guess that these two West German beauties are spot-on at 1:32 scale.  The photos speak for themselves.

By its very nature, a closed coupe would be less susceptible to damage than an open roadster, both in real life and in slot car parlance. The Stabo SL has that distinct advantage, but there are no plans to even take a low-speed “cruise” on the slot car track with this rare, well-preserved model.

Working headlights came standard on the Fleischmann SL Roadster. I don’t know if the lenses turned yellow from age, or the manufacturer sought to replicate a “French Market” headlight setup. The photo does not do justice to the very accurate and crisp detail on that signature “SL” grille.

The W113 230SL/ 250SL/ 280SL got its “Pagoda” moniker from the unique hardtop that was designed by Bela Barenyi, and the recessed center portion with raised sides are evident from this angle. An inside joke at the design studio of Mercedes-Benz was that the roof was created when a tree fell lengthwise on the car.

While Barenyi created the roof of the SL Pagoda, it is renowned French designer Paul Bracq who penned those very pleasing, timeless lines of the overall car. With its large “greenhouse” and stately yet flamboyant stance and the unmistakable Mercedes-Benz Three Pointed Star on that lovely SL radiator grille, the SL Pagoda looks as fresh and fast today as it did when it first debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1963.

The Stabo slot car featured revolutionary front wheels that “steered” in the direction the car would take on the track. Truly ingenious. While this particular unit appears to have seen some serious track use, it is nevertheless very well preserved for its half century-old age.

This particular Fleischmann unit does not appear to have been used at all. The contact brushes show practically no wear, the chassis plate is devoid of scratches, and the metal case of the high speed motor maintains a uniform shine with no abrasion. There’s even an “Ein/Aus” (“On/Off”) switch for the headlights.

Sadly, there is no public slot car track in Manila at this time; hence, these beauties will remain as display models, and “out of trouble”, indefinitely.   For any avid SL Pagoda enthusiast, this vintage pair is irreplaceable!


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