By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
My latest delivery from Atlas is a replica of French Dinky #1421, an Opel GT 1900. The original model was in the Dinky range from 1969 to 1971. The earlier releases of the original came with a sheet with a choice of French and German number plates though the Atlas model just has German plates ready fitted. The box art is in the later unattributed style with a white background and showing the car in red, a colour it was never issued in. The Atlas model replicates the blue colour the model was produced in for its entire run.
The Opel GT debuted as a styling exercise in 1965 at the Paris and Frankfurt motor shows. The production vehicle used mechanical components from the contemporary Opel Kadett B and two-door hard top bodywork produced by French contractor Brissonneau & Lotz. More than one hundred thousand were sold by Opel from 1968 to 1973. The car was unitary bodied and powered by a choice of a 1.1 or 1.9 Litre engine. mounted longitudinally at the front driving the rear wheels. One unusual feature of the Opel GT is the operation of the pop-up headlights. They are manually operated, by way of a large lever along the centre console next to the gear lever. Designed by Opel stylist Erhard Schnell the GT is a fastback, that has neither an externally accessible boot nor a hatch. There is a parcel shelf behind the seats that can only be accessed through the main doors. Behind the parcel shelf is a fold-up panel that conceals a spare tire and jack. Hence the need for the luggage rack fitted to the Dinky!
This model features ‘super rapide speedwheels‘ which do not seem to be much lower friction than normal ones, perhaps that is just Atlas not replicating them properly? In any event they are over shiny and not particularly good replicas of the real wheels. The doors are fully framed and open, as does the bonnet. However, none of the opening parts is a tight fit and the gaps round them are large.
The GT badging is moulded into the front wings and the front bumper unit is a large moulding with yellow jewels fitted as fog lights and what appears to be a Munich registration plate. Unfortunately the sides of the bumpers are too small to fully fill the recess leaving a substantial gap there too. I am sure that these faults are all there on the original model too, certainly web pictures seem to bear that out.
[Editor: Since publishing this article Jim McLachan has pointed out that his original Dinky has close fitting parts and no problem with a gap round front bumper. This clearly suggests that the Atlas replica is poorer than the original]
The rear of the model is finished simply with the lights moulded in and picked out in red and orange paint. The bumpers are well modelled as is the luggage rack though this is fitted crookedly on the model that I have. As it is simply retained by a single plastic pin into the bodywork I can see that it would be impossible to correct. In fact a missing rack is very common on the original models that survive.
Viewed from the side the blandness of the wheels and the large gaps round the doors an bonnet are quite clear. The side view also highlights the fact that the Dinky model roof is too low. Photographs show the side door windows to be rather higher and the roof rounder in profile. I am also a bit unsure about the front end where I think the gradual curve is too gentle and perhaps the front end is little long. What do you think?
The interior is all in red and the front seat backs do not tip forward. A shiny inline motor sits beneath the bonnet. Underneath there is a minimal moulding showing the drive train and exhaust and stating that the model is to 1:43 scale.
As with many other late Dinky models from France there is a street sign included showing speed controls.
All in all I am not sure that the model does the original vehicle justice but there I think Atlas has just perpetuated the shortcomings of the original Dinky.
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