By Maz Woolley
All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except for the picture of the real car whose copyright is recognised.
Oxford Diecast‘s models from the Second Release of 2017 are now starting to arrive thick and fast. This article looks at the first release of the Range Rover Classic, so called as it was built alongside its replacement for a period of time. Most readers will be familiar with the fact that in the 1950s Rover developed a set of prototypes of an upmarket Land Rover estate car based on the P4 chassis but with the ability to be used on or off road. The programme got so close to release that Corgi had developed a Road Rover model of its own and when Rover decided it was not going ahead with the Road Rover Corgi had to scrap theirs too.
By the 1960s the agricultural nature of the Land Rover was allowing Japanese makers like Nissan and Toyota who offered 4x4s with options of civilised cabins with nice seats and a more car like ambience to attract customers tired of the hard ride, discomfort and rudimentary cabin on even the Land Rover Estate versions. In the US the Jeep Wagoneer and other 4x4s were much less like a truck. To fight back against this Rover developed the Range Rover powered by the 3.5 Litre V8 and with full off road capacity. It was a much more comfortable vehicle but retained the go anywhere capacity. In its initial form it was fitted with an interior that could be hosed down, rubber matting and plastic seats but the requests for a less utilitarian interior lead to an interior that became more luxurious at each upgrade.
This Lincoln Green painted model is Oxford’s first Classic Range Rover and is diecast in Oxford’s Chinese facility to 1:76 for the UK.
It is a nice model with an excellent shape. The printing is well registered and the Range Rover black script is neatly done as are the side badges .
Some have commentated very favourably about the wing mirrors but I think that their shaft is so very over scale that they may have been better left off altogether. Not all pictures of the original have mirrors and those that do are on a very spindly shaft. I guess that some collectors would not agree with me and want mirrors and are happy to live with the overscale shafts needed to prevent the mirrors breaking off. I also think that the black printed grille should actually run along under the lights and to the level of the bumper and not end at the bottom of the grille cutouts.
At the side the wheels are good and the mudflaps good with an exhaust exiting at the correct place. The door lock should have a black rim printed round it as the silver “blob” looks much too large and flat.
Inside there is a good matt finish suitable for this first generation of Range Rover and the typical very long gear lever. Sadly there is not the additional small lever to select low ratios next to it but in this scale that is not as obvious as it would be in 1:43. At the passenger side of the luggage area the spare wheel hanger is moulded in but no spare wheel is fitted.
The rear is generally good with the lifting rear window convincingly moulded above the handle unit and the Land Rover badge printed well. I am unconvinced by the number plates. I don’t know what process causes it but the characters are too wide for their height. In addition members of modelling boards on the web have pointed out that the lights are incorrectly printed. Checking the real vehicle myself against the model shown above, this seems to be the case. A web picture of YCX 348K as shown below confirms this.
Oxford Diecast has often listened to criticisms of minor issues with their initial releases and sorted them out for later ones. I hope that they do as the model is excellent apart from a few details which could be easily fixed and I look forward to it in the mid-blue and yellow/beige so many were painted.
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