by Karl Schnelle
All photos by Koen Beekmann, unless otherwise noted.
NOTE: Six years ago, I ran into a fellow Togi collector online and joined a conversation with him about the history of this small Italian toy car manufacturer. As an Alfa Romeo fanatic, I discovered Togi many years ago because they mostly make Alfas, in a strange 1:23 scale. The fellow collector, Koen Beekmann, had amassed many of them and gathered their history. That was a while ago, and he has since then sold off all his collection. So I thought it was time to gather together in English the history he had pieced together. Most of the story was posted on alfabb, planet diecast, and in his native tongue, Dutch, on modelautoforum.nl.
In the 1950’s, Alberto Lorenzini was an engineer at Alfa Romeo in Milan, Italy. He also started to make a streamlined toy race car of his own design. The company name for his futuristic model car was called Trilor, which is very rare today. The well-known Italian collector, Rampini, says Trilor started in 1954. Koen did find a photo of it online. Note the smooth wheels with take-off hubs! Rampini also shows one with smooth hubs in his pdf book. Then in 1958 or so, Lorenzini changed the name to Togi and modified this racer to be a Corsar, #1 in the Togi lineup. The new Corsar now had a side exhaust and restyled windows. Early ones are seen without the window glass. The name is a contraction of Tonino (his nickname) and Giocattoli (Italian for toys)! He setup the company in Bareggio, an area just west of Milan center. At some point, he must have stopped working for Alfa because many models were designed and sold after #1.
At some point in the late 1960s or 70s, the Corsar was discontinued. The tooling must have been lost or discarded at some point because, when Togi was sold to new owners in the early 1990s, the Corsar tools were not found (along with the Giulia Berlina). The parts were cast for Togi by an outside company. More on this in Part II.
The #2 Turbo Special came out soon after the Corsar. This was a similar streamlined race car but had a more detailed casting. Both early Togi’s had the smooth wheels from the Trilor, which were improved upon to represent wire wheels around 1960. Both models had front suspension and steering though! No scales were mentioned for these two fantasy cars.
In addition to the newer wheel style, the front suspension/steering was also redesigned on both the Corsar and the Turbo Special. The curved arms on the right are the older style, shown on the Turbo below.
This is only the beginning of the Togi story. In Part II, we will begin to see their 1:23 Alfa Romeos appear! Stay tuned.
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