Mercury La Collezione Part Five

By Fabrizio Panico

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

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

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

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

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

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