Category Archives: Alfa Romeo

Mercury La Collezionne Part Five

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Here we have three more models: #10 to #12, in the Mercury partwork collection being sold in Italy by Hachette.

Hachette no. 10 is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Bern taxi, a 1:48 scale model, based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta already seen (Hachette n. 5, Mercury n. 17). This is in reality a 1956 or 1957 prototype of a model for the Swiss market, like the Fiat Nuova 1100 Bern taxi we have already seen (Hachette n. 3). The livery is red and yellow like the 1100, but it is slightly different. It is unknown how many prototypes were made, or why the model never reached production. Maybe the fact that the Giulietta was never used as a taxi in Switzerland might have played a part.

Hachette no. 11 is the Alfa Romeo 1900 Super, a 1:48 scale model (Mercury n.16) from 1955. Another simple model, just a painted shell on wheels, but very faithful to the real one. Available in many different colours, it was produced in three different “series”. Here Hachette has replicated the first one including features like the front lights made from small aluminium nails inserted into the body. It has no windows or interior, and is painted light blue. The Alfa Romeo 1900 was introduced at the 1950 Paris Motor Show, it was the first Alfa with a unitary body, the steering wheel on the left, and built on a “real” assembly line. It had a famous marketing slogan “The family car that wins races”. In 1951 the saloon was joined by a short wheelbase version. In 1954 the 1900 Super received a slightly larger engine and some small detail changes. It was produced until 1959, when it was replaced by the boxier 2000.

Hachette no. 12 is the Lancia Flavia first series, a 1:48 scale model (Mercury no. 31) from 1961. Like the Alfa 1900, the Flavia model was produced in three different “series”. Here it is replica of the first series with windows but no interior. It is painted a deep blue (almost green) colour and has very detailed rear lights. Later the model received seats and steering wheel, but some details were simplified. A very nice decal is used on the boot reproducing the model name badge with the same style of letters as the real one, the script on the baseplate is similar. The real Lancia Flavia was, like all the previous Lancias, a very innovative model: front-wheel drive, a four cylinder boxer engine, and all round disk brakes. It was introduced at the 1960 Turin Motor Show with a rather underpowered 1,500 cc engine, and a steep price. The Flavia was soon made available with a more powerful 1,800 cc engine, rather better suited to its size and weight. In 1962 the four-door saloon was joined by a coupé version by Pininfarina (reproduced by Mercury as no. 32), a convertible by Vignale and a Sport by Zagato. A new body design was presented in 1969, then in 1971 the “Flavia” badge was discontinued. Production lasted until 1974 when it was replaced by the Beta. Like the previous Aprilia, Ardea, Aurelia, Appia and Flaminia, the Flavia was named after a Roman road, the Via Flavia, leading from Trieste to Dalmatia.

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Atlas Dinky Rally Guilia 1600 Ti

By Maz Woolley

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

I have already written an article on the French Dinky Guilia 1600 Ti released in the Atlas Deluxe Dinky Collection and it can be found here. The Dinky Guilia also featured in Robin Godwin’s articles about Guilia’s from contemporary toy producers which may be found here.

After producing the standard saloon car as #514 from 1966 French Dinky re-numbered it to #1401 in 1967, painted it red and added competition stripes, numbers and Tour de France Automobile rally markings. There are a number of other detail changes for this model. There is a yellow interior rather than red one. A black steering wheel rather than white. Additional spotlights on the front. And number plates, which were not fitted to the original saloon car. Otherwise, the car was essentially the same. Again the opening features were the bonnet and boot, and sliding front windows.

The Atlas model features a replica box which has lovely period artwork showing the car racing through the dark on a snowy landscape so forcefully that a wheel is lifting off the ground. This model was made in China for Atlas and is to 1:43 scale. The car was included in in the French ‘Dinky with parts that open‘ series but was not included in the UK Atlas Deluxe series, though there seems to be no real reason that they did not as DeAgostini still has a supply of them and are selling them on their Model Space web site which is how I obtained this one.

The model captures the car’s shape well as noted in the previous article and has nice yellow ‘gems’ for the headlights and rectangular red ones for the rear lights. The rally details are all tampo printed and are a good, if not exact, match for the originals which look like decals to me, and which are often damaged on the original models at the edges of the roof, bonnet and boot.

Although the Atlas collections have been closed down across Europe a significant amount of the stock still seems to be in the system with wholesalers in the UK and Europe having substantial stocks of most ranges now and they still seem to be receiving shipments from some central warehouse managed by DeAgostini.

DeAgostini themselves and Chinese vendors on eBay and AliBaba seem to be the major source of the Atlas Dinky models now. There must be a fair stock still in existence as the models are still regularly available.

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Majorette Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder

By Maz Woolley

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

Every now and again whilst doing the weekly shop I will stop and look at the toy cars on offer. UK Supermarkets tend to stock fewer toy cars now as Matchbox and Hot Wheels have both increased considerably in price over the last couple of years. So on a recent visit to the shops recently I was surprised to find that Morrisons stocked a few of the pocket money Majorette models which are not widely available in the UK even if they are stocked in most French Supermarkets!.

This article continues the Italian theme we seem to have developed this month and looks at the 1:57 scale Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder diecast in Thailand for Schuco-Dickie in Germany in their Majorette Street Cars range.

The Alfa Romeo 4C was launched in 2013 and is built at Maserati‘s Modena plant. Is a two seat, mid-engined car, with rear wheel drive. It is powered by a turbocharged 1750cc four cylinder engine giving 240 BHP fitted into a lightweight carbon fibre chassis and clad with composite outer panels giving a very low weight. It was available as a Coupe until 2018 and is now only available as a Spyder. It has a top speed of around 160 MPH. It was the first Alfa Romeo in many years to appear on the US market.

The styling of the 4C reflected the 8C launched several years earlier which influenced Alfa Romeo styling to this day from the baby MiTo, through the Guiletta and Guilia, to the Stelvio SUV.

The Majorette model is made in Thailand and in common with other toy brands from made there, like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, it is inexpensive, has generic wheels and features a simplified level of detail. Built with a metal body with plastic chassis and wheels it also features flat printed detail where more expensive models would have moulded areas. Unfortunately some of the printing has feathered edges when crisp ones would be more realistic.

The shape of the model is good capturing the flowing lines well. It reflects the earlier years of production before the car had a few detail changes. The wheels are generic plastic items but suit the car well enough as the original allow wheels are large with low profile tyres too, though certainly more accurate wheels would make this less of a toy.

The front end has separately inserted clear plastic headlights which is an improvement from the silver printed ones on many budget models and the front grilles are neatly sculpted into the model though they are flat and simply painted gloss black which again betrays the fact that they are toys. The Alfa Romeo logo on the central grille is nicely printed and clear even at this small scale. No front number plate holder is moulded in.

At the rear the cars lines are well caught with the carbon roll bar painted gloss black and the vents on the engine cover treated in the same way. Although simplistic and lacking in moulded detail this is an effective solution. The rear number plate is too low for its height but is actually a tab holding the base of the car into the body! Rear lights are printed and are oval and not the round shape that the moulding and the real car display, though the extra brake light on the engine cover is correctly printed. Again a nice clear Alfa Romeo badge is printed on.

From the side the car lacks the matt black finish in the air intake scoop that the real car has, and the door handle could be better defined. Other than that it is well profiled and sits well.

The large glazed window unit has the frame printed in black and a wiper moulded in, but not picked out. It seems to be a good size and angle to reflect the unit on the real car.

The base is simplistic and largely devoid of details other than a few lines for front suspension and exhausts erroneously running all the way to the front of the car. The interior moulding is spoilt by boxes moulded in to clear the trapped wire suspension on the base. It is a shame as the rest of the moulding has a bit of detail including some moulded dash detail and the signature squared off lower section of the steering wheel.

So lots of compromises made so that this model could be produced at a pocket money price and to sell to the age three and up general toy market, but there are few errors. All in all a nice effort for a pocket money toy.

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Pego and Projetto K Alfas

By Karl Schnelle

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

After some readers commented on Maz’s recent article on the Pego Lancia, I decided to do some investigations into that Italian company. How are they related to Projetto K, another 1/43 maker from Italy? After many internet searches, it seems that Pego bought or combined with Projetto K around 1993. Wiki has an excellent article about Projetto K but nothing about Pego. It seems that the combined company lasted until 2011.

Coincidentally, ten years ago I saw some Pego Alfa Romeos for sale, and after a year or two looking for good prices I acquired four of them. At that time, I looked for more and could not find any.

In addition to wiki, another good source of online information is ebay – not to buy but to see what is for sale. Today, 200 Pegos are for sale there wordwide. Many, many color or racing/Police variations are shown but only five different castings! The Lancia in the previous article and the four Alfas that I bought seem to be the only ones they ever made under the Pego brand. Their silver Alfa Romeo 146 is below.

Four normal Italian sedans and a hatchback all came in the same style 3-piece box and are made in China. The perspex display case was packed in a thick open half-box which was then surrounded by a thin silver card outer box. The white Alfa 90 is a 1986 model according to the box.

Their silver 33 is labeled as a 1983. The boxes have two addresses for Pego Italia printed on them, both near Florence, in Ponte A Elsa and in Sesto Fiorentino.

Then the final Pego pictured here is the Alfa 145, the 3-door hatch version of the 146. No date is on the box, so I assume this was contemporary to the full size version from 1995-98.

Do any of our readers know the Pego history and if other models were issued under that brand?


Back in the year 2000, I also acquired a couple 1/43 Exem Alfa Romeo SZ models, made by Pego in Italy. These are more detailed than the Projetto K or Pego models and are in resin. On ebay now, there are only 100 for sale globally but there are many, many castings this time – all 2-door Italian or English sports cars plus a Fiat van. (By comparison, there are 500 Projetto K’s for sale on ebay now!) I found not much at all online about them. Pego catalogs were seen from 1995 to 2004 with Exem models included, though.   Two box colors were seen:

Both boxes have Pego Italia, Sesto Fiorentino, printed on them, When did Pego make them, at the same time as the Pego branded ones? Is the blue one the newer style box? More questions to answer…

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Togi History – Part XI

by Koen Beekmann and Karl Schnelle

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

In this 11th installment, we cover two “old-timers”. In the previous part, the 1970’s Togi Alfasud was examined. Now we look at two cars from a much earlier period: the 1930 Alfa Romeo 1750 Gran Sport and the 1927 Lancia Lambda Torpedo. Both were introduced in 1977, perhaps as an experiment by Togi. Or perhaps they were thinking this was the end of the line. Nevertheless, it was six more years before another model was introduced! Also remarkable was that a Lancia was introduced and not just another Alfa!

1750 Gran Sport

The Alfa 6C 1750 Gran Sport was manufactured from 1929 to 1933, with bodies by coachbuilders such as Touring and Zagato.

The a carbone version is on the bottom right.

Togi released several versions including plain, Mille Miglia, and a carbone. The Mille versions have three red headlights in front and seem to come with race numbers 5,6, or 25. Both top up and top down versions were made. A 1750 GS won the 1930 Mille as number 84 driven by Tazio Nuvolari!

The hood even folds up revealing the 6C 1750 engine!

The a carbone, also called gasogeno, was released by Togi in 1980 and was a modification to run on wood or charcoal when fuel was unavailable. A 1750 ‘competed’ in the 1933 Mille Miglia with this setup but was entered for demonstration only! A regular Alfa 8C 2300 won that year!

Variations: Not many have been identified. Mille Miglia versions have chrome or black wheels. Also, ivory-colored versions have been seen on the internet with matching wheels. The current Togi website is still selling all the versions!

Lancia Lambda

After many, many Alfas came out from Togi, they introduced this oddball in 1977, or 1980 perhaps: the Lancia Lambda Series VII from 1927. Some of the Togi boxes list it as a passo corto, or short-wheelbase version. A very remarkable car for its time with the first self-supporting body and independently sprung front wheels. This made it a relatively light car with good road holding. The engine was a V4.

The Lambda is also a remarkable model because it is the Togi with the most realistic details. At that time, it was also a very high-quality model, perhaps even comparable to today’s CMCs. You can clearly see that Mr. Lorenzini, the owner, really did his best to outdo himself. At that time he was producing increasingly high-quality models that could compete very well with other brands, even considering their high price. I wonder if they considered the potential market for these two oldies, after years of releasing current Alfa models. We are, however, talking about the time that the models of, for example, Rio and the l ‘Age d’Or were popular.

As with many Togi, both built and kit versions were available.

If we look at the model, the great details stand out for that time period. The hinges of the 4 small doors, for example, are minuscule and neatly made. And they really hinge, just like the door handles that also look very realistic and really work. The steering is just like the real one with a worm gear, and it works very realistically with a few turns of the steering wheel. The rear suspension with leaf springs also works. And then the sliding pillar shock absorbers in front, they also work just like in the real car and are independent.

For a Togi, this model also has a beautifully detailed engine, and striking that at this time the model came out with the closed hood made of real fabric. The opened hood was just made of hard plastic, unfortunately. The fabric is a bit rough for this 1: 23 model, but it is very charming. It is not a really opening hood but a piece of sewn fabric over a diecast frame.

The overall model looks very different from the Togi’s up to that time and also cost a little more, but no other Togi offered so much value for its high price. Moreover, it is also a model with good proportions.

A period Togi catalog.

Why did Togi finally release a Lancia, while Lorenzini was a real Alfista? Was it made at Lancia’s request? Could be, but we do not know really.

The enthusiastic crowd for this model is smaller than for the Togi Alfas because the model is still regularly offered on ebay and does not get more than reasonable prices. Why? Generally speaking, there is less enthusiasm for models that are pre WW II, and unfamiliarity with this Lancia will also play a role.

An uncommon variation for any Togi is this unpainted kit, shown below.

Togi even printed its own color brochure for the Lambda, where two models were retouched in a photo in the pre-Photoshop era.

Some sources say it lasted in the Togi catalog only until 1983, but the current website is selling the Lancia in red or white!

The next installment in this series will be coming out shortly: the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider!

Merit 1:24 Scale Racing Car Kits

By Aldo Zana

All text, photographs and models by, and copyright of, Aldo Zana.
Reprinted with permission of on-line magazine

When the editor of Veloce Today was collecting Merit kits in the late
1950s, he could not have known that another writer-to-be was doing
exactly the same thing, at the same time, but in faraway Italy. His
Italian counterpart, Aldo Zana tells us all about these British models.

The whole range of the Merit 1:24-scale plastic kits assembled and painted in period liveries: mid-Fifties. Front line: British F1 and the Jaguar D-Type. Mid row: Italian F1 and Grand Prix racers and the Lotus 11. Rear row: French racers, Mercedes W196, Cooper 500 MkIX and Aston Martin DB3S.

It was hard times in the second half of the Fifties for European kids in love with Formula One and longing to become part of its world by collecting and playing with model racers. We Italians faced especially limited choices: the hard-to-find die-cast Nigam, the elusive Zax, or the old Mercury racers of the Forties: oddly scaled, with questionable faithfulness and tires fit for an all-terrain army truck. The rise of globalisation brought from the UK to the best Italian toy shops the die-cast Dinky Toys and the first Corgi Toys. The former listed obsolete F1/F2 single seaters of the early Fifties in its catalogue. Corgi featured more updated models of British production: however, merely two, already non-competitive in real life against our all-conquering Ferraris and Maseratis after Mercedes-Benz’ withdrawal in 1955. And they looked too small alongside the Dinkies and Mercuries. And then, out of the blue, cameMerit, although quite difficult to locate among the contemporary fast-growing and highly visible offerings of plastic (polystyrene) kits dominated by the leading US brands of Monogram, Revell, and Aurora.

Italian racers of the Forties and Fifties. From the left: Maserati 250F, Maserati 4CLT/48, Lancia Ferrari, Alfa Romeo 158.

In 1957 Merit produced precise 1:24 scale models of current Formula One protagonists: Lancia-Ferrari V8, Maserati 250F, Gordini T-16, as well as milestones of the pre-1952 F1 seasons: Alfa Romeo 158, Talbot-Lago T26, Maserati 4CLT/48 San Remo”. And thanks to a flurry of new offers in a few months’ span, we could also buy and build the emerging British single-seaters striving for the limelight after a decade of playing second fiddle to the Italians in the form of the Connaught B-Type “Syracuse” 1956, BRM P25 1956, and the Vanwall VW4 1956.

It became easier for Italian kids to become loyal to Merit’s growing offer of racing cars. The company enlarged its range with three sports car icons, all made in the UK: the well-known multiple winner
Jaguar D-Type, the lesser known Aston Martin DB3S and the as yet unknown Lotus Mk XI, a name on the verge of becoming a leader.

All British: the three sports cars in the series. From the left: Aston Martin DB3S, Lotus 11, and Jaguar D in Ecurie Ecosse livery.

The Merit kits came from a company called J & L Randall Ltd., based in the town of Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, north of London. They were all sold in a standard, nondescript box, the same for every model: small and unappealing at a time when competing US brands already showcased their products on box-lids with colourful and attractive art to win the prime spots in shop windows . The only way to select the right Merit kit was a small label glued on one of the narrower sides.

The Alfa Romeo 158 with the standard box in the background. The box was the same for every kit.

They were quite expensive for the period, too: 1,100 Liras, when
the average monthly salary of a worker was about 45,000 Liras.
By comparison, a Mercury die-cast model racer cost 180 Liras and a Dinky 230-250 Liras.

The kits were moulded in flawless plastic; the surface was so clean and regular that it was possible to skip painting the body. It wasn’t a simple task for a kid to smoothly hand brush the Humbrol enamels; airbrushes for modellers were still a long way into the future. The solvent used at that time by Humbrol allowed, nevertheless, a clean and uniform finish even when working with the brush.

The instruction sheet of the 4CLT/48 Maserati. The front side tells in short the history and the races of the real car, the back side presents a clear illustration of the easy assembly procedure.

Assembly was quite straightforward too: the body was split in two halves, top and bottom. Axles and driver seat had to be glued to the bottom half, other details (exhaust pipes, windscreen, dashboard, steering wheel) to the top section, before joining these two sub-assemblies. Each wheel/tire was moulded in two halves and the tire had to be carefully painted matte black. The spokes were a decal (transfer, in British parlance) to be applied on a little transparent celluloid disc, subsequently set onto the outside of the wheel prior to gluing the hub cap. The quality of the decals was only fair and I preferred to avoid them.

The racing number decals were usually quite hard and dry, prone to
cracking. Yet, it was possible to soften them using highly diluted vinyl glue, given the lack of softening liquids on the market. The instruction sheet had a pedantic list of building steps on the front, ending with the painting scheme, but a clear assembly drawing on the back. More interesting was, at the top of the first page, a short presentation of the real car, a summary of its main successes as well as a basic description of its technical characteristics and performance.

Talbot-Lago T26, 1949, one of the two “super” kits featuring engine detail. The body was left unpainted. Note the smoothness of the plastic injection.

Two kits were super-detailed to include the engine and a removable engine bay cover: the 1950 Alfa Romeo 158 and the 1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 4.5 litre. Both were probably made so detailed because the moulds were already available when pressure to launch new models forced the company to simplify and shorten the production cycle.

The whole range of 1956 F1 and Sports cars went on sale in 1957,
a remarkably short time to market: Lancia-Ferrari, Maserati 250F,
BRM P25, Connaught B-Type “Syracuse”, Gordini T16, Vanwall VW4. A very British choice was the addition of the Cooper 500 Mk IX, 1956.

A tribute to the former German dominance was the kit of the Mercedes-Benz W196, the 1954 road-racing version mistakenly presented as the 1955 model. The Maserati 4CLT/48 was another obsolete racer in the series. The kit didn’t have the inner details of the Alfa Romeo and the Talbot-Lago. It was an unusual selection of a car that wasn’t a winner, yet it was well-known being driven by Thailand’s Prince Bira and Brit Reg Parnell.

A real piece of history outside F1 and sports cars, the Cooper 500 Mk IX, 1956, recalls a glorious period of British racing. Body unpainted.

A final touch of class was the colour of the ink used for the instruction sheets: dark red for the Italians, British Racing Green for the British, blue for the French. The Mercedes sheet fell outside the paradigm, printed in dark blue as the historically correct white or silver would have been impossible to read.

The boxes of the later kits contained a small multi-page
educational leaflet on Motor Racing, a more detailed description of the prototype, and a promotional bottom line advertising the brand of motor oil used in races by the car. The leaflet on the Vanwall doubled to eight pages and ended with a tribute to Tony Vanderwell who “raised the prestige of British Automobile Engineering throughout the world”.

The four-page leaflet in the Jaguar D-Type box. A good recap of the car’s history. Britain still ruled. And the following year it also became true in F1.
Below, all fourteen of the Merit models in individual photos. You won’t see this often!
Vanwall VW4, 1956, when the Brits knocked at the forefront of F1. Decals are original.
1956 Lancia Ferrari. The Merit kits was on sale early 1957, a remarkably short time-to-market.
Gordini six-cylinder F2, 1952. Humbrol paint (“Enamel” on the original British tin) to cover the body.
Alfa Romeo 158 with engine cover removed to show the inner details. The other “super” kit together with the Talbot-Lago
Alfa Romeo 158, 1950, hood in place.
Talbot-Lago T26, 1949. A good representation of the engine.
Mercedes W 196, 1954, open wheel version. Decals are original including the chequered cover of the driver’s seat
The diminutive Cooper Mk IX, 1956. The silver exhaust was easier to paint.
Maserati 4CLT/48 in Argentinian livery, as raced by Fangio in Europe.
Aston Martin DB3S, 1956. The yellow trim is an addition of the kit builder.
Connaught B-Type “Syracuse”, 1956. Quite a rare bird in real and scale model worlds.
Lotus 11, 1956. Airbrush repainted after 60 years when the plastic suffered signs of shrinking.
Jaguar D-Type, 1954. The gap at the rear end of the front section of the body is due to having modified the part to make it tilting forward like the real thing.
Maserati 250F, 1956 version.
BRM P25, 1956. To use the brush for the semi-metallic finish was quite a brave endeavour over- sixty years ago.

Cult new for 2019

By Maz Woolley

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

Cult models are moulded in resin to 1:18 scale in China and are distributed from the Netherlands. The range policy is to make models of vehicles that have reached cult status. Although most are classic European subjects the range does include some Japanese classics as well.

They have recently announced their new releases for 2019 which are new colours on existing mouldings .

The models span many eras and countries of manufacture. All are of vehicles that influenced design or where popular sellers in their market segment.

CML038-2  Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Zagato silver

CML041-2 Aston Martin DB6 gold 1964

CML044-2 Porsche 356 America Roadster metallic green 1952

CML057-2 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos Coupe black 1931

CML060-2 Rolls Royce 25-30 Gurney Nutting All Weather

CML064-2  Austin Mini Cooper Mark 1 red and black 1961-63

CML074-2 Mercedes-Benz 280SE W126 silver 1980

CML075-2 Mercedes-Benz 380SEC C126 green metallic 1982

CML080-2 Austin 1100 maroon 1969

CML081-2 Land-Rover Discovery Mark 1 silver 1989

CML084-2 Sunbeam Supreme MKIII black 1954

This car is better known here in the UK as a Sunbeam Mark III. Rootes dropped the Talbot name with this model and the ‘Supreme’ tag comes from the radiator badge which says Sunbeam Supreme.

CML091-2 Triumph Spitfire Mark II red

Mercury La Collezionne Part Three

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Here we have the latest parts, #4 to #6, in the Mercury partwork collection being sold in Italy by Hachette.

No. 4 is the Lancia D24, a 1:43 scale model from 1957. A simple model, but very faithful to the real one. Proving this is the inclusion of the small air scoop over the right headlight.

Alas, they didn’t add the windscreen and the rear lights. But it is a worthy reproduction of a car that won so many races, from the 1953 Carrera Panamericana, to the 1954 Mille Miglia and Targa Florio.

No. 5 is the Alfa Romeo Giulietta saloon, in a rare two-colour livery, very likely available originally only on the Swiss market as it was produced at the special request by the Swiss importer, Count Giansanti Coluzzi.

The real car was never offered by Alfa Romeo with a two-tone finish, but some were painted like that by Italian coachbuilders. The Giulietta is a 1:48 scale model from 1956, and the Hachette reproduction is faithful to its first version, where the headlights are like small aluminium nails, inserted into the body.

No 6 is a Volkswagen Beetle in PTT livery. The Beetle was a ‘must’ for all toy car ranges from the early 1950s onwards. Models in the PTT livery have featured in many ranges right up to the current date.

The Volkswagen Beetle was introduced into the Mercury range as model #15. This was produced in several colours with three shades of blue alone! The model represents a 1954 oval rear window Volkswagen and #15A was the same casting finished in PTT livery. There were variations on this model with Paolo Rampini‘s Modelcars in the World showing models with different colour tyres: black and grey tyres. Hachette has chosen to use black tyres and has created a convincing replica.

The next model due in the collection with be the Lancia Appia.

Alfa Romeo Guilia Part Four

By Robin Godwin

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

Finally we’ll look at one of Italy’s older toymakers, Mercury, and a relative newcomer, Mebetoys. With lots of time to examine real prototypes, and for Mercury at least, with many years of diecast experience behind them, one would expect nothing short of perfection. Alas, these two examples are among the worst.

Mercury #4 was introduced in 1965, according to Mercury Tutta la Produzione, by Bocco, Clemente, Coen, Pereo and Pontoni, published in 2005. It is identified as a Giulia Super on the box, but as a Giulia TI on the base (Alfa Romeo made a Giulia TI, a Giulia TI Super, and a Giulia Super, all different). Perhaps pedantic, but according to Wikipedia, the Giulia TI Super was a special lightened road going (but produced for racing) version introduced in 1963. Only 501 were built, all white save for one red and one grey version. They were easily identified by having mesh grills in place of the inner two headlights, and no overriders on the bumpers. The Giulia Super was introduced at the March 1965 Geneva Auto Show and was a regular road-going sedan that incorporated some of the performance features of the earlier Giulia TI Super. My guess is the tooling was underway for a regular Giulia TI when the Giulia Super was introduced at Geneva. It was easy to change the box printing to give the impression that they were first with the latest model, but they never updated the base of the model. That said, they also managed to put a three-spoke plastic steering wheel into the interior, which was a standard Giulia Super feature. But that is the only discernable feature in 1:43. Enough history. The model is otherwise pretty abysmal with half opening doors and a totally incorrect rear window profile. They completely missed the notchback styling with wrap around rear window. The top rear passenger side window profile is incorrect as well, being too rounded.

A Super box but with a TI inside. Colour illustration shows a properly drawn rear notchback whereas line drawing shows the incorrect lines actually modelled

The model comes with opening doors and a separate detailed engine part underneath the opening bonnet. Jewelled headlights adorn the front but rear lights are painted. There is a separate oil pan/ transmission housing casting screwed into the base plate. Bumpers are separate chrome plastic pieces. There is a reasonable attempt at the Alfa Romeo steel wheels. That they are chromed is a good thing, as that provides a barrier between plastic wheels and rubber tires. There is evidence of wheel melt on the inner surfaces of my wheels, but that does not affect displayability.

Totally wrong rear window treatment. Correct-for-a-Super three spoked steering wheel just visible here. I have seen a white steering wheel version on eBay but could not tell if it was two spoke or three spoke

Mercury issued a rallye Giulia version, also as model #4 in 1971. Bumpers were removed with the holes thru the body filled in, and additional spotlights were cast in the grill. Jewelled headlights were deleted, but the remainder of the casting looks unchanged. I have seen one of these on eBay for hundreds of euros, possibly the most expensive early Giulia you can buy. I have seen replacement racing decals online, so caution must be exercised if one is in the market for an original version. Although the Mercury scale is listed as 1:43, it is noticeably larger than the Edil and French Dinky 1:43 versions. The wheelbase is exaggerated, being longer than the (claimed) 1:42 Mebetoys and also longer than the two 1:41 plastic models from Politoys and INGAP, so something was amiss at the design stage.

Mercury Giulia rallye version (photo: from internet search)

Mebetoys was the most prolific of the early Giulia modelers, producing a regular TI in many versions starting in 1966, a Giulia Super from 1968, and later, a Nuova Giulia with horrible whizzwheels from 1978. I have not seen in the flesh a Giulia Super from Mebetoys and suspect it may be a nomenclature version (or just the addition of a three spoke steering wheel). The Nuova is a casting change. If anybody has a Super, can they please send a photo to the editor. I have seen a Nuova with earlier more accurate wheels on eBay, but suspect it may be a fake. The base on the Mebetoys attaches with screws, so all bets are off when it comes to purported wheel and interior colour variations.

Mebetoys A7 Giulia TI Carabinieri with early domed wheels from 1967. Body shape is just too squared and casting is a bit rough

The model came with opening front doors, less quarter windows, chromed plastic bumpers, front and rear, a chromed one-piece plastic insert for the headlights and grill, and working suspension. There were no jewelled headlights, like most of the other models in this review. The scale is cast as 1/42 on the base, and when placed alongside the French Dinky and Edil, seems about correct – the Mebetoys has a slightly longer wheelbase and body. Curiously, the box is marked 1/43.

Mebetoys base with SCALA 1/42 cast in
Mebetoys box indicating 1/43

I don’t have a later variation of the model, so cannot say if the scale on the base was eventually changed to match the box, or vice versa. The improved wheels appeared sometime after 1967, which was the issue date of the model pictured. They look to be quite accurate renditions of the Alfa Romeo steel wheels.

Mebetoys, left, and Mercury. This picture does not really show the size difference between the two

I talked about the Edil moulds moving to Turkey, but of course it is well known that Politoys  (plastic, fibreglass, and metal) and Mebetoys moulds also travelled to different countries. However, I have never seen a Giulia TI from these early issues reproduced in their new homes. If any reader has proof otherwise, please send a photo to the editor.

So there is a summary of the contemporary models issued shortly after the first Giulia TI rolled off the assembly lines. We have highlighted six companies that produced miniatures, some very well, and others less so. I was fortunate to start collecting these in the eighties, since they have more recently become extremely sought after and, accordingly, very expensive.

Retromobile 2019

By Fabrizio Panico

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

Once again February brings us back to Paris, both for Retromobile, and for the traditional auctions of Artcurial, RM Sotheby’s and Bonhams, a visual overdose enriched by a certain elegance, even if you start to perceive some slight fogging due to the changing tastes of the public. On the other hand it is for the market to dictate the show and not our personal interests.

This year Paris greeted us with windy days, but fortunately without the snow of last year. Alas the defections of the big automakers continue from their previous showcase of the Champs Elysées. First Citroen, Mercedes and Toyota left, now Peugeot has left its showroom too, leaving only Renault in the place that was a symbol of French motoring. How much longer before there are no showrooms on the Champs Elysées?

As usual, the Parisian show has attracted fans from all over the world. It is rich in novelties, celebrations of anniversaries, and exhibitions dedicated to specific brands. Even here there were alternate presences and absences: FCA is back, the absence of Mercedes-Benz is alas confirmed. Brand and/or model clubs attend in abundance, although their grouping together in Hall 3 reduces their presence a little.

Big celebrations took place of the centenary of Citroen with a great review of cars and prototypes, unfortunately narrow corridors meant the exhibits were difficult to walk around. Peugeot was a little poorly represented , maybe we had become used to better shows in previous years, whilst Renault chose to devote itself entirely to the ‘Turbo Years’, with the result of a series of cars of relative ‘aesthetic’ interest.

The general impression was of a reduced presence of real “vintage” cars in flavor of newer ‘classics’, which are evidently the most requested by the public today. This is the market! Fortunately the Teuf Teuf Club and the Compiègne Museum exhibited a rich collection of De Dion Bouton vehicles, while a specific exhibition was dedicated to the Bédélia, a classic of French cyclecars.

Another ‘gem’ on show was the monstrous Berliet T100, a giant destined for the African deserts and whose journey from Lyon to Paris constituted an adventure, considering its dimensions are ‘out of the norm’.

A rich collection of motorcycles from Gnome & Rhone was on show, as well as a display of the Citroen DS Chapron, in all their variants. Honda was celebrating the twenty years of the S2000 (too new in the Author’s opinion to be at such a show). The long suspension bridge between Hall 1 and 2 housed the Mini exhibition, celebrating their 60 years. There was an interesting cutaway Mini, but perhaps they could have included more variants : the Moke and the Mini Marcos appeared a bit lonely. As usual, the Saumur museum presented two tanks, a Sherman and a Panzer IV.

After lookinmg at all the displays there were plenty of opportunities to spend your money. There were many Dealers with their “jewels” and of course scale models, spare parts, books, and accessories. Add to that the wide range of goods from the many artists and artisans.

Again a show not to be missed where there is so much on offer that everyone can find lots of interest. The photographs below show some of the highlights of the show.

Citroën – 100 Years Display

Citroen GS Camargue Bertone 1972

Renault 1000kg Voltigeur 1956

Delahaye 135 M Figoni Falaschi 1946

BMW 320 Group 5 Junior Team 1977

Alfa Romeo 750 Competizione 1955

Lancia Rally 037 1982

Abarth 1000 monoposto record 1960

Jensen CV8 Mark III 1965

Classic early Léon Bollée advertising material

Wolseley Hornet Mark III 1969

Gnome Rhone motorcycle and side car outfit

Bédélia BD2 1912

Tiffany Golden Spirit 1986

Alfa Romeo 8c 2900 B Berlinetta Touring 1939

Scale Models Club display on the theme – Peugeot