By Maz Woolley and Karl Schnelle
This is the third in a series of articles looking at each year’s output of the original Model Auto Review magazine. Last month, we reviewed the year 1983. So this month we have reached 1984, a year when five editions were produced. We show you the Cover and Contents pages of the five magazines. (Click on the images to get a larger copy.)
1984 is a world away. In the US the film Star Wars was seen on television for the first time and Miami Vice, with those “fake Ferraris“, also hit the small screen. In the UK a big hit was Thomas and Friends, models of whom soon started to turn up at swap meets.
In the technological world, Apple introduced the Macintosh which was US$2,500 when a new Dodge RAM 50 truck was only $9,000. The Apple Modem 300 was also introduced that year giving the well off user the chance to connect to the internet albeit very slowly!
It was still a time of recession with interest rates of around 10% on both sides of the Atlantic and high unemployment. Here in the UK we had the long running miner’s strike. Ronald Reagan was elected for a second time and in the UK Margaret Thatcher was also in her second term as Prime Minister. Overseas: Indira Ghandi was assassinated and the Union Carbide disaster took place. In the Soviet Union, President Andropov died to be replaced by President Chernenko.
Late in the year the world of music came together to make a record to raise money for the starving in Africa and Band-Aid was born.
When we look at the prices in the adverts in the 1984 editions of MAR, we must remember to multiply all the prices by 3 to get an idea of the prices in today’s terms. 1984 brought more regular colour to MAR with a format that lasted a few years with colour on the front and back of the magazine cover being used to show as many models as possible and earn revenue through a colour advert on the rear of #9.
#8 Spring 1984
The pink cover shows a large scale model bus with four real bodies sticking out the roof! The article inside on Miniature Coaches explains that this was a famous Johnstone Midget. The Editorial by Rod Ward talks about two recent trends: theme collecting now that there are so many choices and upmarket collectors who would rather have one perfect model than 6 OK models.
Also, Yesteryears take up a few pages, as well as new releases from the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. Jim McLachlan’s VW column continues as well as Ralph Horton’s Fire and Clive Chick’s Tekno articles. Two pages of Rover photos, and two more on the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost (by the famous French collector Andre Blaize) are shown.
The black & white center spread is on chopped Rolls models in 1/43 by Henri Fischer of Germany. Eleven pages of swapmeets and ads are at the rear of the mag, with Modelauto taking the inside back cover.
#9 Summer 1984
The full-colour front cover (a first for the magazine) highlights how important Matchbox Yesteryear collecting was at this time with Y5 Talbot in Dunlop livery joined by a Y12 Ford T Van in Pepsi Cola livery and a Y22 Ford A in a Toblerone livery. In contrast we have a plastic Mercedes-Benz from Yugoslavia and an Eastbourne liveried bus. The inside back cover showed more 1:43 scale Eastbourne buses all made by Dave Spencer alongside some Eastbourne bus memorabilia. Also on the back cover were military chops and a display of Routemaster buses from a variety of makers in various scales.
Inside there were two pages of letters. Including one from Dr Ed Force, a well known writer of books on models. Another letter had a diecast wants list which has still not been fulfilled to this day as no Standard 8/10 or Pennant have been made other than as expensive white metal models, mind you the requested Austin Ruby is due to be made this year by Oxford Diecast!
There was a London centric feel to some of the content with articles about London Routemaster buses and FX3 taxicabs. The offerings were all toys or toy like. Another article on the Rover P4 also looked toy like when compared to what is on offer now.
Other articles told us more about Tekno, Daimler models and Rolls-Royce. Andre Blaze produced one of his excellent articles on Rolls-Royce models which updated regularly for many years. The center spread contained 2 articles on Manou from France – white metal, resin, and hand carved wood!
Adverts were from traders around the world as well as the UK. The prices of Models of Yesteryear are scarcely different from what they sell or on eBay today. But some of the white metal models from Western were only the equivalent of 60-70 pounds today and they are regularly two or three times that price on eBay today.
#10 Autumn 1984
Many of the same series of articles appeared in issue #10. In addition, the cover shows three Lion Cars that were re-issued in 1984 – we are surprised they were doing that already more than 30 years ago! Lion Toys are still in business, and other re-issues are still available. New topics include the Corgi Toys Rover P6 – nine variations according to the author and reminiscences of working with the famous John Day, by Ray Ashworth. The center spread documented a visit to the Corgi factory in Swansea after they had reorganized as Corgi Sales Ltd.
The back cover shows the interior and exterior of the Modelauto shop in colour for the first time. The inside back cover shows construction and trucks in colour.
#11 Extra 1984
The Extra issue this year was published on 15 October. This magazine has the colour cover (4 sides) and articles similar to the previous issues. We won’t give a laundry list of subjects, just point out some differences. The four center pages are an Index to issues 5-8 and the Colour Extra. Page 449 has some nice B&W cartoons or caricatures of classic cars – a little different area than usually covered. These were used to create rubber stamps! Wonder if any are still around?
A regular contributor back then was Clive Chick – he wrote an article in Extra 84 that caught our attention. On a trip he found Corgis and Solidos made in Brasil, as well as REI, Jue, Minimac, Muky, ARPRA Supermini… Stuff we would love to had seen and handled back in the 1980s!
Also we would be remiss if we did not mention that p 467 contained an ad for the first Tekno book from Denmark. One of the Editors being an avid collector for many years, this was the first Tekno ‘bible’ that showed how many Tekno cars we still had to collect!
#12 Winter 1984
Finally, the Winter issue was published to round out 1984. Box Model, Conrad, Lion Cars, Yesteryears, and Western Models were pictured on the cover. All brands many people collected or wanted to collect back in the 1980s.
Many articles were again published on similar subjects. Clive Chick showed many Tekno tinplate fire trucks in a two-page article, things we had never seen nor heard about before this issue.
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