Category Archives: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo Giulia Part Three

By Robin Godwin

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

1966 saw a giant in the industry, French Dinky Toys, and a newcomer, Edil Toys of Italy, enter the Giulia TI fray with the best two miniatures in this review. Both were produced to 1:43 scale and both got the complex lines of the car almost perfect, and way better than the competition. French Dinky is actually the only company that got the most major details correct, by which I mean they included the quarter window frames, which nobody else did. Unfortunately, the only thing that spoils the Dinky is the standard dished wheel, common at the time. However, it features well fitting opening hood and trunk (bonnet/boot), along with driver and passenger side windows that operate. Suspension, the fairy crude but effective Dinky steering, and jeweled headlights/ruby taillights clearly place this model in the late 60s. Bumpers and grill are part of the body casting which has generated some unsightly casting join lines on the body. One year later, Dinky released a Rallye version, #1401, in red with period decals, and a casting variation to the front grill, incorporating extra spotlights, also jeweled. Both of these versions have been reproduced accurately in the Atlas Dinky series, nice alternatives to the now very expensive originals.

Original French Dinky #514 was also available in metallic grey. Right is the Atlas reproduction #1401 Rallye version. The Atlas is a much cleaner casting with no mould join lines visible. Tough to see in the photo, but mould lines aft of the headlights on the fender, and aft of the rear door panel are evident on the original
Again, the original casting showing some rough edges, whereas the Atlas is beautiful and smooth. Atlas, similar to Dinky, also went to the effort of modifying the die to incorporate additional headlights on the Rallye version. Note bumpers and grill cast as part of the body

The Edil Toys Giulia Polizia, #5 in this small Italian range, is an absolute gem, with everything opening and accurate wheels (with no axle protrusions on the early versions. An Italian website shows protruding axles on a later version), only missing the quarter window frames. While most others in this comparison (Politoys and, to come, Mercury) only did “half doors,” Edil modelled the window surrounds. It also features suspension, but no steering. Rear taillights are the most accurate of the lot, if only represented by decals, a point to note when buying online. The engine representation under the bonnet is a separate insert (unlike the Dinky which is part of the body casting), and is done in silver. I can’t really tell is this is plastic or metal, but the fine engine detail makes me lean towards plastic. It is much more detailed than the French Dinky engine representation.  Bumpers and grill are separate chromed plastic pieces. Front seat backs also tilt forward, and all four doors have inner door panels in plastic. A note of caution is that the rear plastic inner door panel is part of the door hinge structure, so careful handling is required. If the plastic were to be damaged, the door would not sit correctly. Only the oversize antenna and lack of quarter window frame detract, but the regular sedan, ie, the non-police version (#4), would be close to perfection for its time.

Two “Goldilocks” models – just right. Edil Polizia, left and French Dinky sedan

The regular Edil sedan came in several colours. Edil’s previous history involved plastic construction buildings, similar to LEGO. Edil jumped into the diecast market at that period when manufacturers were competing with operable features. They clearly had to be special to take on the likes of Mercury, Politoys, and Mebetoys. Hence, everything opened, including all four doors for the appropriate sedans in the range. However, they did not survive, with production ceasing in 1968, and the dies passing to Orfey of Turkey. As is usually the case with second owners of the dies, the Orfeys were a bit cruder, and came with “Whizzwheel” style wheels. Bases were modified, but some apparently still had Made in Italy cast in. Anything Edil is now very difficult to find and expensive to acquire. Despite the Orfey Giulia having bad wheels, it is even more difficult to find and more expensive that the original Edil.     

Nicely actuating doors with no “dogleg” hinges. Better than lots of larger scale stuff available today
Taillights are decals on the Edil, as is the Polizia 777 plate. Dinky has ruby taillights

An Orfey Giulia TI from original Edil moulds. Simplified a bit with non-chrome bumpers and grill, but everything still opens

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Togi History – Part X

by Koen Beekmann and Karl Schnelle

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

We have now come to the tenth part in this long series about the 1:23 scale Togi models made in Italy. The very first part was published back in Aug 2017, and the previous part was about the 2000 Berlina in Sep 2018. Now we move on to the Alfasud and its variations.

To bring employment to the south of Italy, the Italian government decided to have Alfa Romeo open a plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, a suburb of Naples. The first Alfa from the South, the Alfasud, was produced in 1972. The last ‘Sud’ come off the production line there in 1984. Today, Fiat makes the Panda in the same plant!

Togi introduced their ‘Sud’ soon after in 1974. The first version had four opening doors, just like Giulia and the 2000 Berlina. This version is shown below on top of the box on the left in light blue. The beige-yellow one on the right is the Alfasud L, introduced by Togi in 1978.

Photo copyright Benjan Spiele

What is striking is the large number of small differences between the first Alfasud and the Alfasud L. The bodywork is different in many details: the bonnet mounting and the bonnet itself, the grill, headlights and Alfa shield, the Alfasud script on the back, the bumpers now with overriders, and the fastening of the hinged rear doors and thus also the bottom plate. In addition, the seats now have headrests. 

On the right the oldest Alfasud, on the left the later Alfasud L. See the different grills, headlights, bumpers and seats: 

Lots of small things were changed that you could easily overlook.  Why put so much energy into such small details? That is a question we would like to answer.

The different scripts on the back and the bumpers with over-riders are shown below. 

With the 4-door Alfasud, you see the same development work on the rear doors as with the Berlina. Here too, the second version of the Sud has a black bridge on which the doors are attached. The beige one shown below is the newer L version, the blue the oldest version.

The different bottom plates are shown below; the newer Alfasud L in beige on the top has 2 holes in the baseplate where the rear door posts attach.

Finally, the different bonnet hinges are shown below. The one in front is the oldest version; the rear one is the L. Both bonnets are fully open. The different headlights, bumpers and front seats are also clearly visible.

Photo copyright Benjan Spiele

The reason for all these changes could be that it is done on behalf of their largest customer: Alfa Romeo.  Togis were shown in the accessory catalog of this Italian brand for many years. On the other hand, the owner may have wanted to innovate which could have also played a role.


The four-door Sud has been out of production for many years.  Why did Togi switch to a two-door version, the second generation Sud TI? Perhaps the molds had been lost at the injection molding company (where the castings were outsourced to a nearby, small company). When the current owner took over Togi in 1995, he tried to get all the molds from the various local casting companies into his own hands. Unfortunately a few were missing, making these 4-door models more rare and expensive.

So at some point after 1995, the two-door Alfasud Ti was introduced, even though the last Alfasud rolled off the assembly line in 1983! In the first photo above, the dark blue model under the box is the Ti version. It seems all the revisions that went into the L version are still present. Even the baseplate has the 2 holes for the rear door posts, even though it no longer has those doors! The main difference in the front are the twin headlights, as shown below.

In the back, the difference is the script and the rear spoiler, which is a separate piece fit into a new groove in the casting. The photo shows the bonnet fully extended like the Alfasud L version. This version is currently available in multiple colors and decals on the Togi website.


A while ago, the first author was dreaming about non-existent or future Togi’s. He decided to see what they would look like. After a little Photoshop (more than 50 layers each), this is the result: two Sud variations.  It was just a nice exercise and is nothing more than a little practical joke. So please do not search for these non-existent Togi’s!!!

The Togi Sud that these were based on lacks a steering wheel and a driver’s seat, which made the Photoshop’s even more challenging.


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Autocult News December 2018/January 2019

By Maz Woolley

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

December 2018

A glitch means that the December announcement by AutoCult did not arrive in the editor’s email. As there were some interesting models announced we have summarised them here.

#05024 Bentley Type R Gooda

This model is of a sports racer built on a Bentley R type chassis in 1966. It was created for Robert (Bob) Gooda by Peel Coachworks who fitted it with a shorter fastback body with a significantly lower weight, Bob Gouda gave the racer its only public outing at the Bentley Driver’s Club race that was held at the Silverstone circuit in August of 1967. In the hands of co-owner Brian Dumps, the car started with race number 21 and did its laps on the wet racetrack.


#06028 Skoda 440 Spartak Polytex

In 1955 Škoda launched the Type 440 sedan and it remained in production with evolutionary upgrades until 1971. Once in production an idea was developed to build a sports version and Czeck architect Otakar Diblik was commissioned to design a suitable car body.

The new body was in fibreglass hand laid in one piece. The doors and hood were formed as separate pieces fitted to the main body. A removable roof was fitted that used Plexiglass, which was completely clear. With a total weight of only 56 kg (123.2 pounds), the body was very light. The prototype used the standard 1,089cc Skoda four cyclinder engine with only 40HP and the car struggled to go faster than 70MPH. The warping of the body lead to the exrcise being consigned to history and the project car was left in a boiler room. Today, the prototype has been restored in a form very close to the original, although the roof is different.


#09009 Berggren Future Car

In 1951 28 year old Swede Sigvard Berggren started to create a car based upon his own futuristic vision. The base was a chassis from a 1938 Dodge originally used on a taxi. Berggren and his assistant, Lennart Josefson, welded a tubular structure made from lightweight steel tube based on contemporary aircraft construction. The framework also acted as a roll cage in the event of an accident. Shaped body panels were fitted over the steel structure and the result looked like an aircraft without wings. The driver sat ahead of the front wheels and the large air intakes fitted to each side provided cooling for the 100HP flathead Ford V-8 engine.

As often happens, the novelty wore off and the owner lost interest with the car being passed to the Museum Svedinos in Ugglarp, Sweden.


January 2019

The announcements for the first release of 2019 are another set of curiosities. Ranging from the streamlined Horch 930 S Stromlinie through a Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototype from Raymond Loewy to a South American small series car the FNM Alfa Romeo Furia G.


Horsch 930S Streamliner

Initially shown at the 1939 Berlin Motor Show this vehicle showcased Horsch ability to create a streamliner, a style that was very fashionable in Germany due to the new Autobahns which allowed journeys to be made at high average speeds. The car was fitted with luxury touches like a radio and a sink!

The Second World War stopped production after two or three were made and a couple with modified front ends were built from parts in 1945. But at that point the Zwickau was part of the DDR and such luxury cars were no longer any priority for the newly nationalised car industry.


Cadillac Coupe de Ville prototype Raymond Loewy

Raymond Loewy the well know US car designer designed this car to appear at the 1959 Paris motor show. Based on a standard Cadillac Coupe de Ville the cars body work was largely re-created in only a few days by a French coachbuilder Pichon-Parat. After the show Loewy drove the car round Europe bringing it back to the US. The car has recently been fully restored to show condition.


FNM Alfa Romeo Furia G.

FNM ( Fábrica Nacional de Motores ) made Alfa Romeo cars under license in their factory in Rio de Janiero. With models based on the 1900 saloon being a strong seller in the local market. In 1968 Alfa Romeo actually bought FNM from the Brazilian state.

The Furia was made after came about after a tie-up with
Tony Bianca of Comionauto another local factory, who made his own sports model to compete in Brazilian races. The Alfa tie-in was based on the FNM 2000 chassis and a handful of prototypes were made of this pretty car before Cominauto terminated the project.

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More on Mercury Partwork

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Questions have been asked about the baseplates on the reproduction Mercury Models being sold as partworks in Italy by Hachette.

The first model in the series is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta shown above and its baseplate is as shown below. NB the axle retainers replicated from the original. The base cannot be confused with one on the original model as the copyright has been altered, Hachette’s name added, and ‘Made in China’ stated clearly.

The attached magazine shows a clear picture of the original baseplate on a ‘real’ Mercury model. which lacks the A.P. next to the logo, Hachette’s name, and has ‘Made in Italy’ included.

Collectors often wonder about these replicas being passed off as originals. Here any collector with any interest in Mercury models would quickly see that this is a replica and not the original model.


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Alfa Romeo Giulia Part Two

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.


Politoys, left, roof too high. INGAP, too low. A Goldilocks model (‘just right’) comes later

Roof appears too tall. Plastic shrinkage has led to deformation on 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.


Politoys 523, rear. A move to metal and 1:43 scale didn’t necessarily improve the overall representation of the Giulia. Exaggerated slope of front windscreen evident on the metal model

“Squaring” of rear window can be seen on the metal version at right

Politoys 523, left and Carabinieri version, 531 on the right. Same casting except for antenna and light holes, and model number on the base was changed

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.


Front windshield slope on the Penny Giulia is just plain bad modelling. Note more pronounced front door gaps. Front door side trim is misaligned with the rest of the trim on the 1:43 version

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…


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News from the Continent December 2018 – Wiking

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text by, and copyright of, the Author. Photographs are supplied by the Manufacturer and the Author.

Wiking has announced new releases for December 2018. As usual these are a mixture of new or largely new models and a set of upgrades to existing models. Wiking models are moulded in plastic in Europe for Germany.

New Items in 1:87 Scale

0335 01 Tempo Matador high-side flatbed


0314 01 Volkswagen T2 pick up with crew cab


0861 45 Volkswagen 1600 saloon “Fire brigade”


0311 48 Volkswagen Amarok GP Comfortline


0293 07 Volkswagen T3 pick up with crew cab “THW”


0797 22 Volkswgen T1 Samba Bus


0570 02 Mercedes-Benz L 3500 beverages truck


0523 04 MAN articulated Container truck


0440 01 Hanomag Henschel refrigerated with draw bar trailer


0990 94 “ASG” Set

Upgraded Models

1:160 Scale

0949 05 Magirus box truck


1:87 Scale

0805 09 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia Coupe


0184 03 Glas Goggomobil saloon


0070 01 Opel Rekord Caravan 1957


0656 07 Site trailer


0650 05 ABG Road roller


0832 04 Mercedes-Benz 260D saloon


0388 15 Beet trailer


0386 02 Deutz-Fahr DX 4.70 tractor


0730 02 Setra S8 tour bus


0389 14 Claas Lexion 760 combine harvester with V 1050 forager headers


1:32 Scale Range Additions

0778 45 Stertil Koni mobile column lift (contents two pieces)


0778 41 AGRIbumper Claas design


0778 42 AGRIbumper Fendt design


0778 43 AGRIbumper John Deere design


0778 44 AGRIbumper black

New and Original – Some thoughts

Amongst the upgrade releases in October 2018 were some interesting models first issued in the 1960s. As I have these models in my collection I took the opportunity to compare the original with the current release. In many cases there is an interesting background history to be told. All models shown below are made to 1:87 scale.

0183 05 BMW 2002 saloon “Bavarian Police

The BMW 2002 was manufactured beween 1966 and 1971. It was in widespread use with the city police of Munich. Under the bonnet was fitted a powerful 100 hp, 2.0 litre petrol engine, and its top speed was 170 km/h. The BMW 501 in the background, its predecessor, was also made by Wiking. These cars were typical sights in the daily traffic in Munich. The BMW 501 patrol cars got the code name “Isar” and a legendary TV serial, named Isar 12, told the life of two policemen, their families and their car.


0206 01 Alfa Romeo Spyder

This is the first Alfa Romeo miniature ever modelled by Wiking. The chosen subject is the version of the Spyder made from 1966 to 1969. The body is very authentically shaped, it is moulded in bright red plastic, and the bumpers and windscreen frame are silver painted, as is the radiator grille. Head and tail lights are made from clear plastic. The interior is moulded in black with considerable detail moulded in. The baseplate is well detailed for a small model.


0620 02 Magirus S 3500 Fire Brigade turntable ladder truck 1958-1967

The “round bonnet” Magirus is one of the great classics of German fire engines of the post war era. The impressive, rounded Alligator bonnet is impressive and full of character. The the radiator grill surround encircles the contours of the cathedral of Ulm, where the vehicles were assembled.

The Magirus ladder was introduced into the Wiking model program very soon after the launch of the original vehicle. The legendary modelmaking master Alfred Kedzierski designed the first version with closed windows. Later it emerged with pierced windows and now it has been re-issued from reworked original moulds with a new baseplate.


0071 49 Opel Rekord P2 Caravan 1961 – red

The P2 Caravan is a typical early 1960s Wiking model accurate and well detailed moulding fitted windows but still with generic wheels and simple printing. Now the model has been given a ‘makeover’. The body is moulded in read and a white roof section has been printed on. Silver printing of coachwork lines, grilles and emblems is to current standards. In addition white wall tyres and replica wheels are fitted. What a contrast to the original models shown besides it!


0521 02 Articulated Box truck with Chevrolet tractor unit “Mayflower” 1955-1956

This model set could have been chosen by the late Friedrich Pelzer the founder of Wiking. A Chevrolet tractor from the 1950s pulls a contemporary trailer, which embodies a piece of Wiking history, as it appeared as one of the earliest commercial models. To the pleasure of Wiking collectors, the truck load is the furniture for a well known bungalow model. The model may enlarge the international appeal of the Wiking model range and perhaps open new export chances to the US where 1:87 scale railways are popular.

Wiking Magazine for 2018

The photographs below show a few of the interesting articles printed in this magazine. No other producer of models in 1:87 scale has such an interesting background and can tell so much stories.

it is no wonder that the publisher always surprises the reader with new subjects. In this year, the highlights are the development of the new Tempo Matador, and the classic Henschel cab of the 1950s, All of this illustrating new models from these new moulds.

There are also articles on an impressive diorama at the Sieper museum at SIKU/WIKING world. More topics are the history of the Swiss food dealer Migros and the 50th anniversary of the German Furniture Forwarder “Deutsche Möbelspedition”.

Finally their is a feature on the model ranges of 25 and 50 years ago.

0006 25 WIKING Magazine 2018


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Alfa Romeo Giulia Part One

By Robin Godwin

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

I’m not what’s commonly known as an “Alfista,” I’m merely a collector who likes a particular style of automobile and the corresponding classic contemporary models. I was first introduced to the Alfa Romeo Giulia four-door sedan in the early eighties while stationed in Germany. A friend had one, a little rough perhaps, but still a very handsome sedan. I mostly observed it in his driveway, with the hood (bonnet) up, apparently with an unending requirement for maintenance. 

The first release was the Giulia TI (for Turismo Internazionale, an Italian racing series), in 1962 with a 1570cc twin cam four cylinder motor. Production continued until 1977, using various designations that usually referred to engine size. Visually, the basic car changed little except for headlight configuration. The TI had twin headlights, two regular size and two slightly smaller. The Giulia 1300 four cylinder (1290cc) was introduced in 1965, with single headlamps, and the Nuova Giulia was introduced in 1975 with twin headlights all the same size. The Nuova also had flat hood and trunk lids, and, in my opinion, lost some of the original style in the transition. Of course there were lots of other differences between the vehicles over the years, but these generally are not evident in 1:43 scale models of the time.

I bought my first model Giulia in 1989, Mebetoys #A7, TI in Carabinieri guise. It comes in other police guises as well as a regular civilian sedan with colour variations. It’s not my intent to detail all the variations, (and I probably couldn’t come close anyway), but this model launched me on a quest to acquire at least one version of all the contemporary, as in 1960s original issues, 1:43(ish) models, all but one of Italian origin. I was recently very lucky in acquiring the last model on my list – an INGAP Giulia TI in plastic. I’ll cover these early models in a general sense, but won’t progress to the many Progetto K Alfas of the 1980s and 1990s, or any of the current diecasts or resins (covered recently by Alex Marsden in the September 2018 issue of Diecast Collector magazine).

I acknowledge that early Giulia models have been covered before in the collecting press: Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann covered the TOGI Giulia in part 4 of their excellent ongoing series on TOGI history in MAR Online. This was a contemporary model with an introduction date of 1963, but I don’t collect “big stuff” so it will not be further covered in this article. Frequent MAR contributor, Bruno Boracco, while editor of Miniauto & Collectors magazine (an Italian model magazine, which no longer seems to be in print, did a profile on Giulia TIs, including the early issues, in issue 5, 2002. At least I assume it was Bruno as the article was unattributed). [Ed: Bruno has been closely involved with the Italian Piccole Grandi Ruote web site which covers real and model vehicles in recent years]. A nagging feeling in the back of my mind tells me that someone, perhaps Bruno, also did a photo summary of the Giulia for an early print issue of MAR, and doubtless I’ll find it just as soon as this article is posted. Release dates are sourced from Paolo Rampini’s superb Golden Book of Model Cars 1900 – 1975 and I’ll cover models from the following companies, which are all Giulia TIs except as noted later in the text:

  • INGAP (Industia Nationale Giocattoli Automatici Padova)
  • Politoys/Penny (plastic and metal models, and the Penny is 1:66 scale)
  • Edil Toys
  • French Dinky Toys
  • Mebetoys
  • Mercury

Left to right: Polistil/Penny Sedan, Politoys Carabinieri, Politoys Sedan, Politoys Sedan in plastic, INGAP Sedan, French Dinky Sedan, Mercury Sedan, Edil Polizia, Mebetoys Carabinieri

The last addition to my small collection was the first to be issued in 1963, a Giulia TI by INGAP of Italy. INGAP was founded as a toy company in 1919, but produced mostly plastic and tin toys. Many collectors will be familiar with their set of smaller scale cars, probably around 1:65 scale, which were sold in sets. The larger Giulia was sold as one of a “serie 77” consisting of six cars in 1:41 scale. I’m not sure if they were ever sold individually. It was true to form in plastic, with rubber tires, and mine exhibits the slightest evidence of wheel melt (an incompatibility between the plastic rim and rubber tire), but after 55 years it likely won’t degrade any further. This is quite a good model from a company not previously known for “collector scale” toys. These are exceptionally hard to find outside of Italy and now command high prices, as do all the Giulias I will be discussing here.

Colours I have seen are a creamy beige  (shown on hobbyDB), my red car, and a light blue one illustrated in an article by Andrew Ralston in Model Collector October 2011 (along with the box and the other five cars in serie 77). I’m not convinced that the racing decals on my red version are factory issue, as they seem overscale. I suspect they were added by a collector. But I’ll continue to search the internet for a while to see if another one pops up with decals before removing them. Despite most continental European model cars of 1963 having interiors, this model is lacking (as are the other five in serie 77). Except for axles, wheels and tires, it is a four-piece model – body, base (including rear bumper), windows, and a one-piece, silver painted bumper/front grill/headlight unit, which, in all likelihood, locks the base to the body. Body shut lines are indented, and the overall shape is very good, until you look at the tail of the model. The rear bumper is crudely overscale, and there has been no effort whatsoever to model the taillights. One would think that the brittle plastic used in construction would lead to warping or cracking over time (and it still might in strong sunlight), but my example is as true as the day it came out of the mould. INGAP also produced a 1:15 scale tin clockwork Giulia in its Eurotoys range, but this is beyond the scope of this article.

The difficult lines of the sedan are well captured, but windows may be too small
Lack of rear end detail detracts, as does crude bumper, likely needed as structural support to hold base in position
What a difference a year makes in details. Politoys plastic 1:41 Giulia from 1964, right, includes jewelled headlights, separate chromed grill and bumper and full interior

To be continued….

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Early Alfa Romeo P2’s

When the First World Champion Becomes Possibly the First Resin Model Car

By Patrick Italiano

All text and photographs copyright of the Author.

When you collect model cars in the XXIst Century, you become accustomed  to having a huge, almost infinite choice of models (and collection themes), with an endless list of new offers coming every month. Cheap models come from China with a quality of finish, details and in most cases an accuracy of the shape that was hardly to be expected from high end models 25 or 30 years ago. If you are old (experienced?) enough, you can remember two choices, back in the 80’s of either die-cast models, something like refined toy cars, or model kits needing your skills, and some money for the current standard then. Those kits were typically made either of white metal or resin.

Now try to imagine yourself quite long before that, say 50 years ago. What could you expect to collect as model cars?  Dinky Toys or similar toy cars, and that’s about it.  In addition to the toy manufacturers of the time who added a couple new models every year, there was nothing else in sight.  [Click on any photo to enlarge.]

Alfa Romeo P2 by Paddy Stanley

Yet of course, some pioneers were starting to create models dedicated to collectors, and that is what we are dealing with here. The “good news” for an Alfa Romeo collector is that one iconic Alfa, namely the P2 racer which won the first ever world championship back in 1925, is among the very first 1/43 resin models (possibly even the second ever after a Ferrari GTO made by Brian Jewell).

The surprise with that peculiar model in question is that, opposed to common resin cast which have quite thick bodies, this one is actually hollow, and its sides are very thin indeed. This is because, for the first experiments with resin, a glass fibre ribbon was used for some stiffness, and the cars were produced by hand, using a very labour-intensive process. So that’s what you have when you are lucky enough to have brought home one of those very rare early models.

But more astonishing even is that the man behind this 1/43 model  premiere was an Army chaplain, and that he did his experiments when posted at remote sites, namely in Cyprus for this Alfa P2. The “standard” scale 1/43 was chosen in order to fit the existing Dinkies. The P2’s choice derived from the appeal of the large prewar tin toy by CIJ featuring the Alfa, and the availability of scale drawings back then.

Paddy Stanley

This former Army chaplain is called Paddy Stanley, and you can enjoy his memories of those pioneering times on this page.  While those recollections date the creation of this P2 from 1965-66, in the years immediately after that, further names of model makers pop up in the same hobby:  Barry Lester, another resin pioneer, and John Day, who was the first to use white metal and became famous over the next several decades.

Paddy Stanley and John Day

Those two names are relevant to this article because both of them also produced very early Alfa Romeo P2s, so we can compare the interpretations of the same car by three different, let’s say it, ‘artists’.  Each of them has its specific charm, so far from the coldness of computer designed, machine produced, industrial models of today, no matter how accurate they may be.

Barry Lester

Each of them tried his best to carve an exact reproduction of the 1924 racer, using quite good (but not perfect) drawings as reference, but in the end issued their interpretation of the P2, and that’s just what makes them so special.

Barry Lester

Lester and Day came with their P2 later onto the market around 1971, as it was not among their very first models (1971 is written under my example of the Lester, other sources have it as early as 1967).  Despite them representing very early experimental techniques of construction, they all have stood the test of time, even after 50 years.

Barry Lester

Possibly, the only one showing a slight weakness is the most conventional, white metal, John Day: it’s the only one with some weight, and so the tiny axles bend under load over the years – this can be cured, but it’s always tricky, so the John Day showed here displays some unneeded negative camber at all four wheels.

The John Day is also interpreted with a more curvy front end shape, and has its underside fairing represented. All the features of the bodies show a certain level of interpretation from the modeler: none seem wrong at first sight, but look at them next to each other, and no shape is treated in the same way – without seeing the actual P2, you can’t say for sure which one is closer to the real thing. But does it matter, after all, when all three are pleasant representations of the P2?

Barry Lester, Paddy Stanley, and John Day (left to right)

If you think about all the technical challenges in those times, you ponder all the mechanical parts: suspension (actually axles and leaf springs), steering, starting handle, … The fact that the P2 had a rear suspension “concealed” in the tail helped it to be chosen as the first model by Paddy Stanley, he says. That saved him from building a stiff enough rear frame and suspension. Now only the John Day got “proper” front shock absorbers. But the other challenge, unsurprisingly, was the wheels. Even today, with photoetched wire wheels available everywhere, the cost and ease of assembly makes the wheels the weakest part of the model’s accuracy, either because of the standard size not fitting the needs of the modeler or the rims being too thick when clamped to the ends of the spokes.

Barry Lester, Paddy Stanley, and John Day

It was pretty much worse back then: hardly anything could be thin enough, and the  modeler needed “ways around” the problem. John Day used for years some well known white metal cast rims: thick spokes, small diameter, but what else could you do?

In the ’70s, Carlo Brianza introduced “real” spoke wheels. He managed to do so with existing techniques at the cost of using about one third of the number of spokes it should have needed. Surprisingly, Paddy Stanley in his pioneering work cast plastic (?) spoked wheels of a more suitable size than the later John Day. It’s Barry Lester here who took the “shortcut” and used what larger scale models did back then: he could afford thinner spokes by engraving them on a clear disk!

Barry Lester, Paddy Stanley, and John Day

So here are the pictures of those three early model cars for you to enjoy (I hope!) and compare to much newer attempts at the same subject: Minichamps, some years ago issued a very well made P2, a
press series (partworks) also came out with the Alfa Romeo collection in Italy years ago (good body, cheap cast wheels), and several small runs are also available (second hand), for instance from FB Models. They are better detailed, no doubt. But guess what: if I had to save a few from, say, a fire, I would certainly take the Stanley and the Lester.

If you enjoy being brought back to the pioneering times of modelling, stay tuned! There’s more to come with even older models, but still about my favorite marque, Alfa Romeo.  In the meantime, please check out my Italian blog  where not only stone-age models are presented on a regular basis but many rare and special Alfa models.


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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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A Brazilian in Australian V8 Supercars

By Sergio Luis dos Santos

I live in Brazil and collect 1:43 scale cars from Brazilian drivers but no “open wheels” like Formula 1 or Indy cars. This makes my collection very specialized and keeps me on the hunt for hard-to-find and special editions, as well as some modified models.

As for the Australian V8 Supercars, Max Wilson raced there from 2002 to 08;  some info his career is here: https://www.driverdb.com/drivers/max-wilson/. Unfortunately,  only the cars from 2002, 03 and 04 seasons were released by Biante. They are also found in 1:64 and 1:18 scale. They are hard to find outside Australia so my search went through Australian eBay and some local shops that would ship the models to Brasil.

The Biante cars are:
  1. Ford AU Falcon Nº 65, 2002 season. Model nº 286 of 2000 released.
  2. Ford BA Falcon Nº 18, 2003 season. Model nº 193 of 2000 released.
  3. Ford BA Falcon Nº 888, 2004 season. Model nº 242 of 1000 released.

The models are very finely done (good details and tampo printing) but were manufactured years ago.  Looking at Biante’s current offerings, they may look even better.  Since there are no more Brazilian drivers racing them, I haven´t bought any of the newer releases.  Maybe one day Biante will release the other Max Wilson cars so I could fill in the gap years: 2005 to 08.

To show some further models, here are two more cars raced by Max Wilson in Brasil.
  1. Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI Nº 19. He raced at Interlagos, São Paulo, in the ITC Championship in 1996.  An easy mod using an HPI model.
  2. Chevrolet Sonic Nº 65 from the Brazilian Stock Car partworks. He raced this car in the 2016 season.

I hope you enjoy these photos!

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