Category Archives: Alfa Romeo

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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News from the Continent April/May 2018 – M4 Modelcars Italy

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text by the Author. Photographs, unless otherwise stated, have been provided by the Manufacturer.

M4 Modelcar group make their cars in Italy to 1:43 scale. Most are made in diecast metal but a few are made in resin.  Here is a look at the models that they expected to release in May 2018. They have three model lines: Art, Best and Rio.

ART

 

ART387 Ferrari 500 TR – 8th in Grand Prix of Cuba 1957 – Masten Gregory #42

 

ART388 Ferrari 250 P – 2nd in 12 hours of Sebring 1963 – Mairesse/Vaccarella/Bandini #31

 

BEST

BEST9706 Ferrari 308 GTS 1979 – Magnum TV Series – first series

 

BEST 9707 Ferrari 308 GTB Group 4 – Tour de Corse Historique 2011 – Adhina/Ruppert #151

 

BEST9708 Porsche 550 RS – 10th in Le Mans 1958 – Kerguen/”Franc” #34

RIO

 

RIO4567 Alfa 24 HP Torpedo 1910 – First prototype Alfa Project by Guiseppe Merosi

RIO4568 KdF-Wagen (Volkswagen Beetle) – This replicates the  the first KdF-Wagen from 1942. It was handed over to agents of the SS. This time Rio has made a Volkswagen model with authentic. features. It is painted in the right paint, the right bumpers are fitted, and only the chrome plated rings around the authentic covered headlights are wrong as they should also be in matt black.


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Trip Report – 1/43 and Others in Italy, Part II

By Karl Schnelle

Continuing my car journey across northern Italy started in Part I

After being inundated with Ferraris in Modena and Maranello, we moved out into the Italian countryside. The Maserati museum collection was sold in the 1990s when they went through a restructuring, but a private collector saved it with the help of the local government.  It is open to the public at his dairy farm.  Cows and cars – what a combination!  A side benefit is that you can also taste and buy their cheese!   Inside the museum, I could not get close enough to his 1/43 display cabinet, but he had a few Masers in there!

The original highlight of this trip, the reason I signed up, was a visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo.   Ever since I had my 1976 Alfetta, I have wanted to visit.  Then in 2011, it closed down and I was bummed out.  Re-opened in 2015, it was back on my bucket list!

A funny story – I walked over to the Carabinieri in the Subaru and asked if they had any Alfas in their fleet.  One of the four said they have one in Milano, but he never got to drive it!  I guess they were parked there in the back to be on call if needed.  It was a big day at the museum because the 400 classic cars of the Mille Miglia were passing by out front!

After the overload at the museum, we headed to Lake Como for a little non-car downtime. That meant time for me to search out any model shops.  Just 5 minutes from the hotel was this jam-packed store.   Previously, the one in Bologna was already closed, the one in Maranello was at 3-hour lunch, and the two in Milano were closed on Sunday like every store, so I was happy to get to at least one store during business hours.  Many 1/43 Alfas were examined, but none that I needed…  Prices were about the same as the internet in the US, but it’s always nice to see them in-person and up-close.

,

Up next was the second private collection:  really amazing ‘Pebble Beach’ quality Alfas and Lancias in a nondescript warehouse outside Milan.

For some reason, the owner had a case of 1/43 Gulp handbuilt Alfas there.  Perhaps, they are there because they made his rare Alfa Romeo 6C1750 Carrozzeria Aprile!

By happy coincidence, the private Vespa museum was nearby and the owner was around to open it up for us.  It pays to have a tour guide who speaks Italian. Of course, he had the requisite partworks in his display cabinets.  There must have been 100s of full scale mopeds on display above his Vespa parts business.

Next day, it was off to Turin to stay at the ex-Fiat factory at Lingotto.  Their 1923 test track is still on the roof!  Did you happen to see the original Italian Job?

A short walk from factory is perhaps the best automobile museum in Europe, the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile.  Redesigned in 2011, it is a fun place for any car guy or girl to visit.  But why do they have a boxed Dinky Toy BMW Isetta;  Dinky never made one!  I think they previously had ‘Dinky’ 24L Vespa 400 in there that must be out on a temporary exhibit somewhere!

The other 1/43 mystery was why they had a large Brooklin Model display.  After further investigation, the new silent partner (or owner) at Brooklin is Nicola Bulgari, and two of his newly-restored American cars are on display in this Turin museum now!

Another fun display is the new Fiat 500 covered with >500 500s!  I think they are 1/55 Majorettes…

And finally because our esteemed Editor has been writing a lot about Atlas and DeAgostini lately, we zipped by this place on the A4 Autostrada on the way back to Malpensa airport to end our long, glorious trip.

I hope that these two posts has not been too much for you.  However, if you would like more details or photos from anywhere we visited, please let me know via the contact info below. Arrivederci!


We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.

Trip Report – 1/43 and Others in Italy, Part I

By Karl Schnelle

I have been home from Italy a couple weeks now and just got my 500 car photos organized.   It was a trip of a lifetime, I have said several times!  The Alfa Romeo Owners Club (USA) had organized a tour of Italy, and I happened to see their ad.  I immediately signed up and then asked my wife.  Not as bad a mistake as you may think, as she happily added on four extra days (with absolutely no car activities)!

The plan was to see the Alfa Romeo Museum (naturally), the Ferrari museum, the private Maserati museum, Lamborghini factory, Ducati factory, and 2 private collections.   In hindsight now, I don’t know which was more amazing.  Perhaps that we timed it just right to be at the start of the Mille Miglia was the highlight!  [Click to enlarge the photos,]

I did hunt out some model car stores and looked for any 1/43 Alfas to add to my collection, but that was really low priority compared to all the other sights to see!  What follows then is a photo travelogue of some of my model car sightings over the ten-day trip.

We started our tour with two factory tours near Bologna (‘no photos please’); both Ducati and Lamborghini had museums attached to their factories.  The Ducati gift shop had lots of nice motorcycle models for sale, but I am more of a car guy. Lambo strangely had no gift shop or models for sale.

Next stop was a private collection at a farm out in the countryside, truly amazing pre and post-war cars. mostly Italian.

We had time for an extra stop in Modena at the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari.  They had a nice 1/43 display of Enzo’s first workshop – when he worked for/on Alfa Romeos!  Is that a Brumm Bugatti out front???

In the display cases were two vintage, large scale models: a Ferrari liquor container and a Maserati wind tunnel model.

The next day we were off to Brescia for the start of the Mille Miglia.  While we were there, we also saw the Mille museum.  They had a few 1/43s for sale, but had 2 full cases of 1/43 Mille cars inside the museum: handbuilts on wooden bases as well as the Italian Hachette Mille partworks series!

Later we also went to the Ferrari museum in Maranello near the current factory.  A recreation of Enzo’s office had a few 1/43s on his cadenza.

My favorite full scale might have been this gorgeous 250 Europa.

In the F1 room, they had a whole wall of 1/43 Ferrraris.  Here is the middle section.

Their gift shop was stocked with high end, handbuilt 1/43s. At that price, they could be BBR, MR, or Looksmart, or even better!

Of course, just go across the street to an independent store if you want more reasonable prices for the same cars!

I’ll take a break now and post Part II later.  Hopefully this has not been too many photos all at once.   If you would like more details or photos from anywhere we visited, please let me know via the contact info below.  Ciao…


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