Category Archives: Alfa Romeo

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!


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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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News from the Continent – M4 Model Car Group March 2018

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs provided by the manufacturer.

All the models listed below are made in diecast metal to 1:43 scale in Italy unless otherwise stated.

ART Models

ART381 Ferrari 500 TR

Winner SCCA Laguna Seca 1957 – Pete Loylely #125

 

ART382 Ferrari 250 California LWB Spider America 1958 – red

 

ART383 Ferrari 860 Monza

3rd in Mille Miglia 1956 – Luigi Musso #556

 

ART384 Ferrari 625 LM

8th in GP Venezuela 1956 – Pierro Drogo #36

 

ART385 Ferrari 860 Monza

2nd in Mille Miglia 1956 – Collins/Klementaski #551

 

ART386 Ferrari 500 TRC

12 hours of Sebring 1957 – 1st in 2.0 litre class – Hively/Ginter #28

 

BEST Models

BEST9694 Lancia Fulvia F&M Special HF

Test car 1967 (new resin)

 

BEST 9695 Porsche 550 RS

Le Mans 1958 – 5th Godin de Beaufort/Linge #32

 

BEST9696 Jaguar E-Type Spyder

Elton John´s personal car.

 

BEST9697 Simca 1150 Abarth Rally 1963

 

BEST9698 Lancia Fulvia F&M Special HF

9th in Targa Florio 1969 – Munari/Aaltonen (new resin)

 

BEST9699 Ferrari 250 LM Spyder

Test car 1965

 

BEST9700 Ferrari 250 LM Spyder

Pernis von Innsbruck/Tirol 1965 – Heini Walter #2 first in class

 

BEST9701 Porsche 550 RS

2nd in Targa Florio 1959 – Mahle/Strähle/Linge #118

 

BEST9702 Ferrari 330 GTC 1966

light blue metallic

 

BEST9703 Porsche 908/02 Flounder

Interseries Norisring 1970 – Niki Lauda #39

 

Image of car – no model shot available
BEST9704 Abarth 2000 SE

Mont Ventoux 1969 – Arturo Merzario #49 – 2nd – 1st in its class

 

BEST9705 Alfa Romeo TZ2

Pergusa Jolly Hotel Rally 1965 – De Adamich/Lini #148

 

RIO Models

RIO4560 Fiat 238 Tetto Alto

Service Van Lancia Racing 1975-1977

 

RIO4561 Volkswagen Beetle with skis 1953

This is again a very strange looking model. This Beetle has an oval rear window from 1953, but lacks the quarter lights in the doors and has the bumpers of a 1948 car. In between the windscreen wipers  there are air intake slots like those fitted to the Beetle from 1968 onwards. The rear lights are round, in original it were oval to this time. The model has been put together with no regard for accuracy.

 

RIO4562 Fiat 1500 6C

Police 1950

 

RIO4563 Fiat 519

Italian Red Cross 1932

 

RIO4564 Fiat 128 Rally 1971

Green

 

RIO4565 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 De Luxe 1953

Bordeaux red

Once again a very strange looking model and unauthentic. Oval rear window from 1953, but no quarter lights fitted at that time.bumpers of a 1948 car. In between the windscreen wipers  there are air intake slots like those fitted to the Beetle from 1968 onwards. The rear lights are round, in original it were oval to this time. The model has again been put together with no regard for accuracy.

 

RIO4566 Fiat 18 BL truck 1918

Italian Army


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Togi History – Part VII

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part VI of this series, we looked at the  Alfa Romeo 2-door Giulia GT.   Now, we will examine the two Togi convertibles: the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider and Kamm-tail Spider.  Here is an early catalog page of the Duettos.

Rampini in Automodelli Alfa Romeo 1910-1993 (1993) actually lists four Spiders and their release dates:

  • Duetto 1600 – 1969
  • Duetto 1300 Junior – 1969
  • Spider 2000 – 1972
  • Spider 1300 Junior – 1975

The first two versions are the Duetto designed by Pininfarina  and are often called the “Osso di seppia” (cuttlebone in Italian) because of the shape of its long, round tail. Alfa made them from 1966 to 69 before modifying the design to the Kamm-tail or “coda tronca”.   Togi produced the Duetto for 2 years only, and thus it  is very rare. Alfa introduced the Kamm-tail in 1970 so Togi had to soon follow suit with the other two, simply called Spiders.  The Junior versions of each are just a name change, so the same main castings are used for both.

The original, very rare Duetto spider is shown below.

The old Togi catalog shows the Duetto in both kit and built formats. The mustard version has headlight covers and should be the 1750 version, while the red one probably is the lower spec 1300 Junior.  Togi made these two different versions by using big headlights without covers or smaller headlights (so the covers would fit over it) with transparent covers.  Here is the kit version from that same catalog.

The current Togi company has reissued the Duetto in limited production, so it is not so hard to find any more.   This re-issued Duetto is slightly different from the original, so as not to confuse the two or reduce the value of the original!   Current prices for original, mint boxed Duetto’s are now very high! Therefore Togi made new badges for the  boot (trunk) in photo echoed metal, whereas the original ones had it molded in.  These new badges don’t seem to fit  the rather simple style of  Togi‘s any more, but at least it’s easy to tell the difference.

Below left is the new Togi reissue in white; on the right is the silver Kamm-tail spider that Togi produced for quite some time.

Next is another top-up Spider Kamm-tail, in Alfa red this time, made from a kit.  One can see the parts do not fit very well and there are some large panel gaps!  But we think this is charming none the less.

And finally, here is a printed sheet of the older Duetto kit box found just a few years ago.

Next time in Part VIII, we will continue the Togi story with two Alfa show cars introduced by Togi in 1970 and 71!


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Togi History – Part VI

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part V of this series, we looked at the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint.  Now, we will examine the Alfa Romeo 2-door Giulia GT series.  The Giulia GT coupe first came out in 1968 as the GT 1300 Junior, (Rampini, Automodelli Togi, online Dec 2017).  Rampini lists four  versions of this Coupe :  GT 1300 Junior, 1750 GT Veloce (1970), Giulia Sprint GTA Competitizione (1972), and Giulia GTV 2000 (1976).  [All photos are by Koen or his colleagues.]

The Giulia GT Coupe story is probably the most complex of all the Togi Models.  Rampini listed four versions, but we have identified six historically! Some seem to have overlapped in the market so even an exact release order might not be possible.  The current company is currently selling 8 renditions!!!

In contrast to Rampini, the authors believe the first “Giulia Sprint GT” came out earlier, in 1965. Togi made good commercial use of this GT model because, to make the different versions, all they did was to alter the grill.  In the 1960s, the first three types were produced:

  • 1300 Junior with 1 horizontal strip in the grill
  • 1600 with grill without a strip (not mentioned by Rampini)
  • GT Veloce with 3 horizontal strips in the grill (not mentioned by Rampini)

Here is a better shot of the green GT Veloce – with 3 strips:

Up until that point, this might have been the Togi with the best fit and best lines.  Perhaps that was because, as was customary with model car manufacturers at that time such as Mercury, the factory drawings were used.  On all the versions,  the doors, hood, and trunk open.

Here is the Giulia GT from the 1968 Togi catalog (it’s hard to tell how many strips are on the grill!):

Togi opted for its own solution for the door hinges, though. They hinge around a pin: a  very nice system with which the door turns like the real car inside the body, more beautifully done than with almost all other toy cars. There is almost no resistance and the doors always neatly open and close.

On the baseplate shown below,  you will find the end of the door pins behind the two small screws.  These screws are used to attach the the bottom baseplate.  All versions of the coupe use this baseplate so it does not help identify which one you have.  Additionally, the baseplate shows a date of 8/65!

The build instructions that comes with every Togi shows the door construction. As with other Togis, many of the details are very similar to other model cars from that era.

In the next photo,  an unsharp line up of early 1750 GT Veloces are shown with rare Veloce grills with 3 horizontal bars and their very rare little round stickers behind the window, that over the years fell of and disappeared after the glue dried out. As far as we know, only the first series of the GT Veloces had these little stickers.

Here is a red 1300 (1 strip) next to a green GT Veloce (3 strips):

A mustard GT Veloce is pictured below with no headrests on the front seats.

Later in the 1970s, three or four more versions were released:

  • 1750 with double headlights, one smaller than the other
  • 2000 GTV by using a sticker to rename the 1750
  • GTA  that is missing all the specific GTA details
  • Cabriolet or convertible version.

Togi released the 1750 GT Veloce version in 1970.  While the real 1750 was a restyled model with many new details such as the hood design, Togi just reused the 1300/1600 molds. The ugliest detail was the 4 headlights that did not fit into the recess for the previous two large headlights. This poor detail you would expect from a small Matchbox and not from such a large, expensive model!

In 1976, this model was renamed the 2000 GTV simply by means of adding a sticker.  A much too easy choice because the 2000 had a lot more updated details in real life.  We were very disappointed to see the 1750 grill used (on the 2000 GTV) with the strange design again underneath the double headlights that did not fit in the body.   The lower round cutouts below are left over from the single headlights of a 1300 GT.

In 1972, Togi produced the GTA Competitizione, always in red and with racing numbers, and with wheels from the 2000 Berlina.  This “lighter and faster” version is more rare than the rest of the Togi GTs and is shown in the photo below. (The other coupes in the photo are a white 1300 Junior with 1 horizontal strip in the grill and an ocher yellow 1750 with the double headlights.)

A GTA from a kit is shown next to the green Veloce GT below.  the racing numbers have not yet been applied since it is a kit.  Notice the double headlights, headrests, and different wheels from the 2000 Berlina.  Of course, Togi calls this a GTA but in reality it is nowhere near to the actual light-weight Competizione version.

A Togi catalog page from the 1980s shows that they were selling the 1300, 2000, and GTV all at he same time.  The photo seems to show a GT Veloce on the kit box that should have been obsolete by then!

In 1977 the last Togi version came out, a model that was converted from the Coupe to Cabriolet (with the roof sawn off) in a very limited edition.  See the light  blue example in one of the photos above.  Not a very attractive conversion but because of the low production numbers, this is now very popular and expensive model. The interior was provided with some stickers to represent the side door panels. The folded back hood came from the Alfa Spider.

Finally, a  scan of the ultimate Togi set: a Veloce, a Giulia Berlina and an ‘Osso di Seppia’ (Duetto) Spider are together in a rare dark red and yellow box.

Next time in Part VII, we will continue the Togi story with the Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider and Kamm-tail Spider.


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Togi History – Part V

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part IV of this series, we looked at the Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlina.  Now, we will examine the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint.  The Giulia first came out in 1963, and the 2600 Sprint followed in 1964 (Rampini, Automodelli Togi, online Dec 2017).  Others report that the 2600 Sprint may have been introduced as early as 1962. [Unless noted, all photos are by Koen or from his colleagues.]

Short History of the Real Thing
Alfa Romeo introduced the 4-cylinder 2000 Sprint in 1960.  The 2000 coupe was one of the first commercial designs by Giorgetto Giugiaro, then employed at Bertone. This 2000  was succeeded in 1962 by the 6-cylinder 2600.    The most notable exterior difference was the small air intake on the hood (bonnet), no doubt needed for the larger in-line 6-cylinder. This 2600 remained in production until 1968.  Two 2600s are shown below, in Chicago USA, 2008. [Photo: Karl Schnelle]
The Togi
Togi made a very nice model of the 2600 Sprint.  At that time, it was the 6th Togi.   The rear body sides seemed a bit short, but the overall impression was very good.  In any case, the clean, simple design of the toy made it one of the authors’ favorite Togi cars!
As with many previously released Togi’s, nothing opens.  However,   the steering works the front wheels, and there is suspension front and rear.  This was the model that made both authors decide to search out more Togi’s and  start collecting them;  what a wonderful 1960’s era toy automobile. And of course a 6-cylinder Alfa is always nice to have!
The very first release (see two photos above) is recognized by the lack of the chrome strip under the doors, while the second series has the chrome-plated plastic strip clamped and glued between the two halves of the body.  When the chrome strip was added is not known.  See two photos below.

In addition to the regular coupé, there was a Polizia (Squadra Mobile Pantera) and a Vigili del Fuoco (Fire) version. These two came out in 1965, a year after the plain version (Rampini).  As with other toy brands, these designs were created simply by adding decals, a flashing light, and an antenna.

The 1967 catalog (below) shows the two emergency versions with the lower side strip , as shown by the snippet below, so the older version without the strip only lasted a few years.

The Polizia  and Fire versions are much more rare than the civilian one, the Fire version is almost never seen.  Probable reason: These versions were just less popular and therefore did not sell as well.

Besides the ready-made models, Togi kits were also sold. As with all Togi kits, the owner could screw the parts together with the supplied screwdriver, and they are set!

Are the later Togi’s with many open parts “a  pain” to put together? (Yes, you actually need 4 small hands all at the same time!)  Even with no opening parts, the 2600 was one of the first Togi’s with a realistic, but simple, interior that consisted of two separate front seats, a back seat,  a rear shelf, and steering wheel. The plastic interior parts were always painted.

Details about the Police Version

Many of the 1960’s Alfas in Polizia guise for the Mobile Squadron had a ‘pantera’, a panther, in the front wings.

The early Togi versions without chrome side strips had the panther printed in one direction only, so the driver-side was facing backwards!  See the photo below.

The newer chrome strip versions had the panther facing the correct way! See photo below.

Next time in Part VI, we will continue the Togi story with the Alfa Romeo 2-door Giulia GT series.


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Togi History – Part IV

by Karl Schnelle and Koen Beekmann

In Part III of this series, we looked at the #5 Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS.  Now, we will examine the Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlina.  This is the 4-door sedan (or berlina) made by Alfa from 1962-1978.   This must have been when Togi stopped numbering the baseplates on their new releases.  From online photos, the baseplate only reads 7/63 with no #6 anywhere.

NOTE: Koen Beekmann took the photos or acquired them from other collectors, unless otherwise noted.

Some Togi History

The original founder and owner of Togi, Alberto Lorenzini,  sold the company in the early 1990s; he passed away about 1995.  An article on Togi in the Italian magazine, Quattroruotine N°206, Nov. 1997, stated Togi had a new owner, so it was definitely sold sometime before 1997.  The original company used some small local factories to make all the casting for them.   The new owner, Alberto Lanzani,  was one of them (he made the Alfa 164 castings) and took two years or so for him to find all the molds and tools for all the toy cars from all the other factories.  The tools of the Giulia Berlina were lost, because the small company who produced the castings was long gone by then.

Giulia Berlina

In 1963, Togi brought out the Giulia TI Berlina model as a toy car with four doors, bonnet, and boot lid that all opened. That was quite special at the time. Mr Lorenzini had to find out for himself how to make all the openings work and how the hinges attached.  Was this the first toy car with all opening parts?  Edil Toys  did not make their 1/43 Giulia with 6 opening parts until 1966.

The early hinges on the Giulia look very different than later models.  The doors were hinged at a single point that was clamped between the bottom of the door and the floor of the interior, perhaps a strange way to do it, but Mr. Lorenzini was covering new design territory!  After the Giulia, a different method of hinging was chosen. You can see the low hinges on the disassembled early version below.

These models had a steerable front axle and front and rear suspension. A wheel key was supplied so the customer could disassemble the wheels;  with a screwdriver you could easily disassemble the whole model and then hopefully reassemble it.

Rampini (Automodelli Alfa Romeo 1910-1993, 1993) reports that  Carabinieri, Polizia, and Vigili Fuoco (Fire) versions came out in 1965.    Here is a catalog page from that time:

Then in 1967, the mold was modified to improve the lines of the model. After that, two new grills were available with clear headlight lenses:  Giulia 1600 Super (4 headlights) and a year later the Giulia 1300 (two headlights). The rear lights were no longer cast as part of the aluminum body but attached using separate red plastic parts.  Rampini also says the Super version has the two police and one fire versions as well.

Here are the three versions: cast front lights, 2 headlights, and four headlights:

The second author found this proof sheet for the Giulia TI kit several years ago – a collector had acquired it in the 1970s:

Here is the box it was for, as well as the box for the assembled model:

Finally, the Giulia TI came in a rare gift set with 2 other Togis, shown here from a 1960’s catalog:

Next time in Part V, we will continue the Togi story with the Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint.


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Neo’s baby Alfa Romeo GTV6

By Maz Woolley

Photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

I recently review Neo‘s model of the Alfa Romeo Alfetta in 1:87 scale.  Here is another of Neo’s Alfa Romeo models the GTV6.  The Neo 1:87 range is obsolete but a limited number of models may still be in stock at some suppliers.

The GTV6 was built on the same Alfetta bodypan as the more conservative saloon and was introduced two years later in 1974. The fastback coupé style started with the Alfetta GT using a 1.8 Litre four cylinder engine and extended up to the top of the range GTV6 fitted with a V6 2.5 Litre engine. The GTV 6 is easily identified as the bonnet had to have a bulge pressed in to clear the larger engine. The GTV6 in stripped touring car form won the European Touring Car Championship four times which undoubtedly helped encourage sales even at a time when Alfa Romeo’s reputation for reliability was poor.

The Neo model captures the shape of the car very well and has a lot of fine detail modelled and printed. The 1970s were a period where matt black finishes replaced chrome and the black printed window frames, air inlets and outlets, windscreen surrounds and wipers are all very neatly done. The wheels have also been well modelled and nice rubber tyres are fitted.

The rear lights are painted which is a pity as plastic lenses might be more effective. The rear badging is printed in some detail but is slightly wobbly. However this only shows when heavily magnified as it is so small you can scarcely see it with the naked eye.

The front end is very good with indicators printed into the bumper, a neat German number plate, lovely small headlights in plastic and the Alfa grille neatly made but slightly crooked. Again a defect scarcely noticed unless looking at enlarged photographs.


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