Category Archives: Alfa Romeo

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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The BATs are Back!

By Karl Schnelle

Alfa Romeo BATs, that is!  Earlier this year, I heard from a  fellow collector that AutoCult was making a small batch of 1:43 Alfa Romeos. Known for making models of strange, rare vehicles, I had to investigate. It turns out that AuoCult made them for a German distributor, Ravensberger Handelskontor, so the model appears in blue ‘Masterpiece’ packaging.

Perhaps because this is a commission, their Alfa is not all that strange or unknown like most AutoCults: it’s a BAT 7 from 1954. Here it is with its mini-me (a MicroMachine)!

Then, the same collector (thanks, Harvey) informed me in August that they released the BAT 5 in the same limited series.  After a quick search, I had that BAT in hand as well!

Why is AutoCult doing these now, and will BAT 9 be far behind?

Franco Scaglione designed these three concepts while working  at Bertone  in 1953/4/5.  BAT stands for Berlinetta Aerodinamica Tecnica.  If I remember correctly, they were restored over 10 years ago and are now owned by the same person.  All three were united at Pebble Beach in 2006 (Motor Trend).   As far as I know, the Blackhawk Collection has them now but not on display any more (Petrolicious).  How unfortunate!

I am not sure if this is a global trend or not, bur several art museums here in the USA have presented special art exhibits on car design featuring  the actual concept cars or classic collector cars.   I am aware of the High Museum in Atlanta (2014), the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2015) , and the Frist Museum in Nashville (2016).  I made a special trip to Nashville to see that exhibit because the three BATS were on display!

That was an amazing experience for me.  To absorb all the angles and wings took some time.   I was entranced enough to only get a few quick photos.   I have a few other BATs in 1:43, but to see them in full-scale was a different experience.

Comparison to SMTS

Back in the 1990s, I bought the 5 and 7, and I assume they were fairly new then, by SMTS, 1:43 white metal made in England.  I don’t think they ever did the BAT 9.   Provence Moulage from France also did a 1:43 resin kit of the BAT 9.  Looksmart from Italy might have come out soon after the SMTS with all three, but they were more expensive, and I did not think they looked better than the SMTSs I already had.

Here is the SMTS BAT 7; I hope the green background keeps you awake!  This BAT is an old white metal handbuilt, but it has beautiful paint – a little grayer perhaps than the AutoCult. The SMTS is 1990s white metal technology and really nice, just missing the PE window surrounds, triple wipers, and recessed headlights!

The AutoCult and the SMTS are very similar in scale. The SMTS may be just slightly more narrow in the roof (on the bottom of the photo below).

Comparison to Bizarre

Then, about twelve years ago, Bizarre (a brand made by Spark) brought out all three in resin.  Here is their BAT 5.

Looking at the AutoCult, I am  glad I did not spring for the more expensive Looksmart several years ago! The older Bizarre is more bluish and wider in the photo below.

The Bizarre also has a lower stance and seems meaner. However, the new AutoCult seem closer in color, in stance, and in width. It was 1953 so a pretty high road clearance was probably common.

Their BAT 7 is below with the AutoCult on the right.

On the green background, the colors are about right on the two models. I think the full-size is a bit more bluish, but who knows how many times its been repainted? But without a birds-eye view at the Frist, I am not sure which one is more accurate on shape. The AutoCult/Masterpiece is again much more narrow and closer to 1:43 scale in wheelbase. The Bizarre is closer to 1:42, but is from 12 years ago!

Final Words

In March this year, I attended the 1:43 get-together in Countryside, Chicago.  Harvey brought his Looksmart BAT 7.  So here are all 4 examples together in one place: AutoCult – SMTS – Bizarre – Looksmart!!!

Some people upgrade their collection and dispose of the older one when a better representation comes out.  In this case, I think I will keep all my BATs.  It’s fun to compare and contrast them!


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News from the Continent September 2018 – M4 Model Cars Italy

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

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

Here is a look at the September and October releases from M4 Model car group. These models are made in Italy and are diecast to 1:43 scale unless otherwise noted.

September2018

ART Models

 

ART392 Ferrari 860 Monza

3rd at 1000 km of Nurburgring 1956 – drivers Hill / De Portago / Gendebien


 

ART393 Ferrari 500 TR

3rd in Grand Prix of Rome 1956 – Paul Frere


Best Models

 

BEST9721 Ferrari 308 GTB – American Version 1976

Red standard road car finish


 

BEST9722 Porsche 550 RS – 12 hours of Sebring 1957

8th overall and 1st in Class S1.5 – Bunker /Wallace


 

BEST9723 Ferrari 512 BB 1976

Bi-colour yellow and black


 

BEST9724 Ferrari 512 BB LM

1000 km of Fuji 1981 – drivers Griswold/Bond


Rio Models

 

RIO4572 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Police 1961

From the collection of the Museum of Rome


 

RIO4573 Volkswagen Beetle 1953 “Police”

Another strangely inaccurate model from Rio. There is an oval rear window but no triangular ventilators in the front doors and the bumpers and tail lights are from a 1948 car.


 

RIO4574 Citroen DS 21 saloon 1969

In Paris Taxi livery.


October 2018

ART Models

 

ART394 Ferrari 290 S

15th at Watkins Glen 1964 – J. Flynn


 

ART256/2 Ferrari 860 MONZA

Winner of 12 hours race at Sebring 1956 – Drivers Fangio /Castellotti


Best Models

 

BEST9725 Ferrari 250 GTL

Here modelled as the car of Jay Kay in blue


 

BEST9726 Porsche 908/02 Flunder

10th at Nurburgring 1000 km 1971 – drivers Wicky / Cabral


 

BEST9727 Porsche 550RS

Winner of 10 hours race at Messina – drivers Heinz / Strahle


Rio Models

 

RIO4575/P Mercedes-Benz 770

In German Wehrmacht Africa Corps camouflage markings from 1941. Figures of Field Marshall Rommel and driver.  The authenticity of this model is questionable as no photo exists of the large Mercedes-Benz 770 in khaki camouflage, In the many photographs of Rommel he is in a captured British armoured vehicle or a KdF Kubelwagen.


 

RIO4576 Fiat 18 BL

Here this early Fiat truck is in the livery of the Peroni beer company.


 

RIO4577 Citroen DS 19 Break

Here the DS Break has been fitted with the trappings of a hearse.


 

RIO4578 Fiat 238 1972

Here the 238 van with a high roof extension has been fitted with a roof mounted loudspeaker  and liveried for the “Italian Police”.


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News from the Continent September 2018 – Wiking

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Text and some photos by, and copyright of the Author. Other Photographs are from the Manufacturer.

Planned Releases

Here are the Wiking Releases for October 2018. As ever this is a mix of new items and re-colours and upgrades which will be shown separately. Wiking models are made in plastic and in the EU for Germany unless otherwise stated.

New Releases

All photographs in this section provided by Wiking.

Latest Wiking Publication

0006 25 Wiking magazine 2018

1:87 Scale

0433 07 Mercedes-Benz LP 2223 high-sided flatbed truck with loading crane

 

0661 49 Krupp Ardelt crawler crane

 

0206 01 Alfa Romeo Spider

 

0183 05 BMW 2002 Police car

 

0227 08 Mercedes-Benz E-class S213 estate “Taxi”

 

0601 31 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U20 with loading crane “Fire Brigade”

 

0645 03 Magirus dump truck

 

0620 02 Magirus S 3500 turntable ladder “fire brigade”

 

0672 05 MAN TGX Euro 6c Meiller roll on-roll off dump truck

1:160 Scale

 

0949 04 Magirus flat bed truck “German Red Cross”

Model Upgrades

1:160 Scale

 

0953 04 Hanomag R16 with trailer

 

1:87 Scale

 

0877 05 Fahr tractor

 

0844 37 Hanomag K55 crawler tractor

 

0802 08 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

 

0071 49 Opel Rekord P2 1961 Caravan estate car

 

0149 25 Mercedes-Benz 250 T-model (estate) “Taxi”

 

0789 05 Volkswagen Transporter T1b pick up with crew cab

 

0521 02 Chevrolet articulated Box truck loaded with furniture

 

0382 38 Joskin vacuum barrel trailer

 

0806 98 Henschel HS 14/16 articulated Tanker

 

0518 45 Mercedes-Benz 1620 articulated Stanchion trailer truck

Then and Now

All photographs in this section by the Author.

In the last set of upgraded models there were some interesting ones which were first issued in the 1960s.  I have the original models in my collection and so I took the opportunity to do a comparison between the original release and the current one. It also unearthed some interesting background history. All models are to 1:87 scale.

0797 33 Volkswagen T1c 1963

Camping vans were an early use of the Microbus.  Westfalia was the most popular manufacturer, and they converted the buses into “campmobiles”, many of which were exported to the United States of America. The latest release shows up to the minute details like printed curtains and a roof rack. The accurate model has the US specification vehicle with the second bumper at the front. It is a 1963 model with a widened tailgate.

Also shown are older Microbus models released by Wiking.


 

0368 02 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U401

A former Daimler-Benz aero-engine engineer developed this vehicle after the end of the Second World War. He named it “Universalmotorgerät”, in short UNIMOG. In 1948 the U 411 was shown to the public. Limited production capacity led to production being moved from the Boehringer company to Mercedes-Benz in Gaggenau.

From Autumn 1953 onwards the Unimog was available with a closed driver’s cabin, which was made by Westfalia during the earlier years. The first miniature of this type was launched by Wiking in 1956 when their range was still not glazed.

The new model is based upon the same real vehicle and the difference between the models shows the huge progress in quality and detail mould making has undergone in the last 60 or so years. The new miniature is highly detailed, some parts are moulded separately and then inserted like the radiator grille. Looking through the windows on the new model the interior can be seen. The wheels are fitted with realistic tyres with different rims front and rear. Finally the printed “UNIMOG” badging is clearly readable.


0513 22 Saviem artic. Box truck “Kronenbourg Beer”

Created when MAN and Saviem cooperated in the 1960s, when a common cabin was used for both manufacturers tractor units. It was quite easy for Wiking to create a Saviem tractor for this articulated French beer truck. Kronenbourg SAS is the biggest French brewery. It was formerly located in the Cronenbourg area of Strasbourg. In 2001 they moved to Obernai, a small Alsatian town. In a rural area there was much more space for economic expansion.  Kronenbourg has a beer market share in France of 30 %. The consolidation of the brewing industry means that today Kronenbourg is a subsidiary company of Carlsberg.

In the 1950s and 1960s different model trucks were issued in Kronenbourg like the JRD truck with a Berliet tractor shown in the photograph above.


 

0526 02 Volvo F89 articulated container truck 20´ “ASG”

In 1935 AB Svenska Godsbilcentraler was founded as a transport company. In 1978 it was re-named ASG. In 1999 the Swiss company DANZAS bought ASG and was itself bought by the German Post/DHL. ASG model trucks have long featured in the Wiking model range. So the new model of the Volvo F89 tractor with an articulated trailer carrying a 20′ container is a ‘new pearl in the string of pearls’. The model is shown above with a Scania 110 drawbar which would have operated in the ASG fleet at the same time.


 

0794 34 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 “Herbie”

In the small scale of 1:87 there was no model of Herbie available. Wiking has now released the movie star on four wheels with authentic decoration and open sun roof. However, they have made the same mistake that Tekno did many years ago Tekno in their 1:43 model. The original movie-Herbie was fitted with double-bumpers, which were developed especially for the USA, but it could be ordered as option also in Europe. Mattel/Elite fitted their models of Herbie in both scales 1:43 and 1:18 with the correct bumpers and with correct decorations but Wiking and Tekno did not.


 

0861 44 Mercedes-Benz 180 saloon “Fire Chief”

The 180 saloon is a re-issue of an old mould, which has been changed over the years. The latest release now looks like a mixture of different versions.  The front doors have no vent windows like the first 180, which was manufactured between 1953 and 1957 and the rear bumper is also fitted with overriders from this time. The front end is closer to version 180b, which was manufactured between 1959 and 1962, with a widened radiator grille and bumper without overriders


 

0100 04 Land Rover

In 1962 the Land Rover 99 appeared in a civilian version, most were moulded in green and came with or without a driver, and with canvas cover or without. A few years ago, it was issued in a range of Army vehicles, which were used in Berlin. Now it has been released moulded in the dark blue livery of the Royal Air Force, authentic logo has been printed with the blue-white-red national emblem. It also now has the spare wheel at the bonnet.


 

0279 01 Borgward mobile shop “MIGROS”

The mobile shop with movable blinds revealing a fully equipped sales room first appeared in the Wiking range in 1963. It was  moulded in white or light blue. The cab front showed a moulded radiator grille, but lacked the Borgward emblem, indeed the company was already bankrupt at this time. Now it has been re-issued with same features, but the old radiator grille was removed and the flat surface printed with a radiator grille with the Borgward emblem, the rhombus. The new model was is moulded in the colour of the Swiss company MIGROS and carries their livery on this mobile shop.


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1991 Alfa Romeo SZ

By Karl Schnelle

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

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

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

The Models

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

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

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

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

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


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Togi History – Part IX

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

We are now more than half way through the Togi story! In Part VIII of this series, we looked at the Togi Alfa Romeo Carabo and Montreal.    Now, we will examine the more sedate sedan from the early 1970s.  The actual 1750 Berlina  came out in 1968, and then Alfa Romeo upgraded it to the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder, the 2000,  in 1971.  Production at Alfa lasted until 1977.

In 1972, a year after the Montreal, Togi introduced the 2000 Berlina.   The baseplate is marked “Scala 1:23-8/72”.   The red Togi below was bought in Belgium at the local Alfa dealer in the mid 1990s.

As a side note, my Dad bought a 1972 2000 in the USA new.  I remember it being a metallic light blue.  I don’t remember ever seeing a family photo of it, oh well.

The Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina is perhaps the most beautiful Togi casting.  There are a few different evolutions. The oldest model has 4 opening doors, hood, and trunk.  That 4 door version is special because they seem to be very rare. You usually find the model with only the front doors that can be opened (like the red one above). The model was developed in 1972 and at some point later, Togi decided to simplify the molds and to close those rear doors, unfortunately.

Here are two prototype bodies sitting on a Togi bench (photo from an old 1970’s Alfa Romeo magazine):

It turns out that differences can also be seen in the first version; the hinges on those rear doors were redesigned. The very first version had a base that was part of the bodywork and  the door was hinged to  the body with a thin pin (a kind of clipped pin).  A later version has a kind of (black) bridge that is screwed to the bottom plate by means of 2 screws to which the doors hang.

So there are three different versions and not two. In the photos are three old versions, borrowed from a fellow Alfa Romeo collector (Frank Janssen, with photos by Benjan Spiele).  The dark blue is a special version that has been fitted with other wheels by Togi:

The beige one has the oldest hinge design:

Raw castings of the later version (2 opening doors) were pictured in the Togi article in Quattroruotine magazine N°206, Nov. 1997:

Many different views of a later version one can be seen in the next photo.  The baseplate shows where the two holes for the rear doors were filled in. 

And with all parts opened:

A few special versions exist.  Were they one-off, limited editions, or promotional items?   An early 2000 Berlina with 4 opening doors could be a promo for the Mondialpol security company. Striking is the searchlight on the roof that can not be found on any other Togi. This model was on display ten years ago at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese. (photo Dinky Boy)

Other specials are the Carabinieri and a Polizia (with Togi scratched off the baseplate).   Was that a prototype from the factory or a 3rd party version?  Who knows.

And finally, here is an early advertisement from a 1973 magazine:

Next in Part X, we will look at all the Togi Alsasud variations!


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More new models from Matrix August 2018

By Maz Woolley

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

Hot on the heels of the announcement of their new Racing Series  Matrix has announced new models in the main ranges for the Autumn. The models are made in resin in China for the Netherlands to 1:43 scale and are expected to be available between September and November.

As usual the models represent some scarce coachbuilt or prototype models.

MX20303-021 Chrysler Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton LeBaron cream 1941

 

MX20303-031 Chrysler Thunderbolt Concept LeBaron green metallic 1941
MX20303-032 Chrysler Thunderbolt Concept LeBaron green metallic closed 1941

 

 

MX40102-091 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Figoni Coupe black / white 1933

 

MX40408-021 Delahaye 145 V12 Franay Cabriolet #48772-3 blue metallic 1946

 

MX41306-011 Mohs Ostentatienne Opera Sedan gold metallic 1967

 

MX50108-131 Aston Martin Bulldog grey 1979


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Togi History – Part VIII

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part VII of this series, we looked at the  Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider and Kamm-tail Spider.    Now, we will examine two Togi show cars from the early 1970s.

In a recent article, the American magazine Autoweek said these ’70s concept cars were all about “decadence and design”.   We believe it and these two Togi’s prove it.  The Carabo was introduced by Togi in 1970 and the Montreal in 1971,  (Photos by the authors, unless otherwise noted.)

Carabo

In 1968,  Bertone presented their design concept at the Turin auto show, the Carabo, which was based on the Alfa Romeo 33 race car,  Several other automobile design firms also showed studies there based on this racing car. The Carabo was designed by Marcello Gandini, who was employed at Bertone at the time, and was the first car with upward hinged, or scissor, doors.  We know them now mainly because of the Lamborghini Countach; that is no coincidence because Gandini designed that car also.

The name Carabo was based on the name for a bright green beetle that inspired Bertone’s use of the iridescent color for the car.  The color and wedge design was at that time very progressive and seemed to come from another planet.  The car was also equipped with reflective safety glass with a golden mirror surface.

The actual car is now at the Museo  Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese.  The first author was very excited to see it a few weeks ago!

This concept car inspired many model car brands to bring out their own versions:  just think of Dinky Toys, Mercury, Politoys, Solido, Verem, Matchbox, Hotwheels, and later Spark (and there are even more out there).  Togi also got into the mix with their 1/23 version, probably the most expensive Carabo model back in the early 1970s.  However, the Togi was probably not the best scale model,  due to its poor proportions and very simple design.  Even other Togis had better proportions and details at that time.  Many other Carabo toy models from that time look better in scale: for example, the 1/43 Solido or the 1/25 Politoys.

As with most Togis, there was a kit and a factory built version, shown in this old catalog page.

On this model, everything can be opened: the doors hinge upwards, the rear trunk opens, and the flip-up headlights are opened with an ingenious mechanism that works by pushing the steering wheel towards the dashboard. Unfortunately, the Togi uses ordinary flip-up headlights while the real Carabo had 3 slats that rotated up.

The instruction for opening the headlights is stamped on the box insert.

There seems to be two versions of the wheel design on the older models; we are not sure which came first.   One version has flat wheels,  the same wheels that later came on the 2000 Berlina and the Giulia GTA.  The two versions are evident on the black-green car with flat wheels in the front right and the gray-green car with hollow (recessed) ’33 style wheels’ behind on the left  (photo Benjan Spiele).

It seems pretty remarkable that Togi decided to completely change the wheel design, unless it was a cost cutting measure.  The hollow wheels are much closer to those of the original than the flat wheels.  But the hollow version has other differences: the color of the rear is brighter  (closer to the real one, so that’s a good adjustment) and the black plastic pieces have been replaced by dark gray, while the actual concept car is  black.    So better wheels but less realistic color choice – why?

The different colors and wheels are clearly visible in the photo below. The gray version has no side windows.  This is not an error on this one copy because it is seen often like this. (photo Benjan Spiele)

Below is an old Togi flyer, with the Carabo shown with a complete cardboard kit box. That cardboard box dates this flyer because in the early seventies they replaced it with a plastic inner box.  Frustratingly, we can’t see which wheels are on the model and so the mystery remains: which wheel came first.

The Carabo has not always been in Togi’s range if we believe the catalogs.  After 1995 and the takeover by FongalTogi, this model came back again, but with a big difference: the headlights can no longer be opened and closed. They are cast with the bodywork. It is unclear whether this adjustment had been carried out before 1995, or only afterwards. Togi catalogs can lead you down the wrong track and are often of no help, because they sometimes re-use very old photos.

The newest version with molded in headlights and side windows is shown below. . It is cast in zamac and quite heavy, like all the recent Togis. The older versions are made of light alloy, probably aluminium.  These hollow wheels have larger wheel nuts here and are darker in color, which makes them look different.

Here is a close-up of the newest wheel design, with the real one below it.

Also, there is less red on the rear of this latest  Togi version! Compare to the full size rear below!

An interesting side-note is that an American toy car magazine published an article on the Carabo kit shortly after it came out.  Car Model in December 1971 reviewed the Carabo kit and factory-built Giulia GT. At that time in the US, Togi were not imported so the reviewer relied on a friend to carry them back from Italy.

Montreal

A year before the introduction of the one-off Carabo, Gandini also penned the Montreal for Expo 67 in Montreal, Canada.   The concept car was updated and upgraded and introduced as a low volume production car in 1970.  Alfa produced the chassis and mechanicals and then sent it to Bertone for the bodies.   The white one below is the prototype in the Museo – notice that it has 7 slots behind the door.  Production versions had 6!

Less than 4000 were made before being discontinued in 1977.  The two below were seen by the first author in Italy this summer, the orange in the Museo and the red in a private collection!

The authors have not researched the Togi Montreal in depth so we are unsure if there are multiple versions or variations.

The original Togi is made of light alloy and always in orange, and the newer FongalTogi is made of heavier zamac in several colors. Also the newer one is recognizable by its nickle colored wheel nuts instead of chrome ones.  Both doors and the hood open on this one!

This post-1997 example came in a plain white box with this sticker on top.

Please let us know if you have any other Togi versions of these two  supercars!  So now this series of Togi articles is well into the 1970s.  Thus, in Part iX, we will look at all their 2000 Berlina variations!


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