Minialuxe Beetles Part One

By Robin Godwin

This article was originally written for the old MAR Online site. It is being republished in a slightly modified form on this site to ensure its continued availability to readers.

Minialuxe was a French maker of contemporary, and vintage and veteran, detailed plastic model cars from the early 1960s through to the mid 1970s. The new New Minialuxe range uses the same logos but is producing diecasts in the same simple nostalgic style already seen from Dan Toys and Atlas Editions.

I have recently bought the Volkswagen Beetle in their ‘Classic’ collection. This is similar to models in the Atlas Dinky collection so it has no interior or windows. This is a limited edition of 500, in this colour anyway. I expect that we are likely to see more batches in different colours later.

The same casting is also used as the basis for a Polizei model in the “Special” collection. In this case the model has an interior, windows, and different spun wheels. This is also an edition of 500 models. I’m guessing there will be other versions later, perhaps a Swiss PTT version may be made. See latest news after the photographs.

Lots of VW afficionados will buy the Classic edition as it’s only 39 Euros, but the Polizei Special is 110 Euros and it is difficult to imagine many paying that price for what is a very basic model. Will Minialuxe even manage to sell an edition of 500 at that price or will they end up discounting them later?

Most overseas sales for this range will be via their online shop. However, Minialuxe seem to have issues with the way that their site works and it seems impossible to get them to sell VAT free to overseas buyers. This is something they need to address if they expect to sell models to North American collectors.

All pictures below are from Minialuxe.

PTT news

It turns out that Minialuxe has done a Swiss PTT version of the Volkswagen Beetle, now available only to members of Club Minialuxe. The Minialuxe line-up comes in three “trim levels”; Classic, with a basic body casting and base, but no windows or interior. The “Star” level comes with windows, jewelled headlights, and a change in wheels (from what looks like cast/ridged to spun, similar to old Corgi), and “Luxe” which includes the Star features and adds an interior. There is an additional “Spéciale” series, usually Police, or some other service vehicle, such as this PTT, which are done to Luxe specification, sometimes adding something on the roof (a beacon or taxi sign).

To be clear, although they are to 1:43 scale, these are not state-of-the-art models. Minialuxe is trading in nostalgia here (that they don’t own, given original Minialuxe models were plastic, and generally better detailed than these modern models). The Star level is on a par with 1950s Dinky Toys, and the Luxe series roughly equivalent to late 1950s to early 1960s Dinky or Corgi Toys. They are on a similar detail level with the current Atlas Dinky series, yet are considerably more expensive, but can be purchased individually. Perhaps their popularity is similar to Brooklin, they are what they are, but they seem to have captured a reasonable collector base and enthusiasm. My interest really stems from being a VW Beetle collector, similar to my interest for Brooklin ’59/’60 Chevrolets, in that my collection would be incomplete without them. With the exception of some Beetles and Austin Minis, all Minialuxe models are of French built vehicles and seem to have a low volume production of 500 models in each version.

Still, the founders of the new Minialuxe should be congratulated for taking the initiative in what would appear to be a crowded market for nostalgic toys. They appear to have found a niche market, and seem to be moving from strength to strength. Have a look at their website for details, and to purchase in stock models.
The picture shown below is of the Minialuxe PTT VW Beetle captured on a mobile phone. The Author promises better pictures soon.

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