Model & Toy Cars - Part II (2011-2012)
Newer toy car photos and stories are posted here.
Read more about the model car business here.
1961 Lincoln Continental: In the miniature arena, this Lincoln has been modeled in many sizes. More information can be found here.
Oldie But Goodie: I purchased this cheap-n-cheerful Road Champs 1:43 scale early Chevrolet Corvette diecast model waaay back in May, 1998 at an outlet mall in Post Falls, Idaho.
For a $5.99 model, it looks pretty decent. More information on early Corvettes can be found here. (posted 6/15/12, permalink)
Inflated Bentley: This Bentley Type R Continental with body by Carrosserie Franay, a French coachbuilder was modeled by Yat-Ming, a diecast firm located in Dong Guan, China. The little Bentley is metallic gray with a tan interior. I received it as a Christmas gift.
Yat Ming used to make relatively low cost model automobiles - five years ago, all of their 1:43 offerings were priced at under $5. In 2009, prices had risen to around $7. This new Bentley cost $14.95, an indication of price inflation seen recently ... (more >>>)
A Model Christmas: One of the 1:43 scale model cars I received for Christmas was a 1933 Duesenberg SSJ roadster, with a cream and black exterior paint job and a red interior.
This scale model was manufactured by Ixo as was part of a special edition for Edison Giocattoli, a large Italian toy manufacturer/distributor. (posted 1/5/12, permalink)
Tijuana Tutsitoys: Hemmings blog posts a lot of old street scenes and, while they provide a nostalgic look at an earlier time, they don't usually invoke a personal connection.
This week's photo of Avenue Revolución in Tijuana struck a chord. In the mid-1980s, my wife and I visited the Woolworth de Mexico store pictured and I bought several 'Tutsitoys', rebranded obsolete TootsieToy cars from the 1950s.
The Tijuana Woolworth is long gone but I still have the little diecast cars. According to the Wieland/Force book on TootsieToys, these were produced in Mexico for local consumption only, using old dies. The undersides of the vehicle bodies still had the 'TootsieToy - Chicago' markings. (posted 12/14/11, permalink)
Model Mania: For my daughter's birthday this month, I gave her a 1:43 scale model of a 1934 Packard Le Baron V12 boat tail roadster. (She's quite a Packard enthusiast.)
The model is manufactured by Ixo, but this one was part of a limited edition in red for Edison Giocattoli, a leading Italian toy manufacturer and distributor. I also bought one for myself, along with a 1:43 gas pump, a 1937 Bowser model in Mobilgas livery, produced by Vitesse.
These pumps were a familiar sight when I was growing up. Even though pump manufacturers offered more modern models in the postwar period, lots of service stations stuck to the old prewar pumps which were durable and long-lasting. (posted 11/15/11, permalink)
Tire Display: Recently I obtained a 1:43 scale '1950s Service Station Merchandising Kit' with period automobile tires. The kit is produced by American Heritage Models.
This will look good in front of the Edsel dealership on my model train layout. Of course, the railroad layout isn't being put up this year, so I'll just have to wait until 2012. (posted 11/10/11, permalink)
New Addition: Sparks Models are limited-edition, resin-cast models manufactured in Macau by Minimax. The little cars are pricey but I've never been disappointed in the look or detail of the 1:43 scale models.
I treated myself to a Figoni & Fallaci coachbuilt 1936 Delahaye 135 Grand Sport. The model arrived yesterday and it's a beauty.
The real car debuted at the Paris Auto Show. Only 11 examples were produced. A red and white example, in the same colors of the Paris Show Car, won the 2000 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. (posted 9/13/11, permalink)
Late Report: Since Father's Day was a month ago, I guess this report is tardy but I did receive some cool model cars as gifts.
The four 1:43 scale dieecasts include a silver 1936 Chrysler Airflow and a blue 1936 Cord 812 - both by Ixo Models, as well as the 1941 Ford Tudor 'Pennsylvania Railroad' by First Response and finally a blue 2008 Lexus LS 600h by J-Collection. It's the closest thing I could find to my 1:1 scale Lexus LS 460. The little model was offered only in dark blue. (posted 7/19/11, permalink)
In The Original Box: Here's a sneak peek at one of my Father's Day gifts. It's a 1:43 model of a 1941 Ford Tudor in Pennsylvania Railroad Tuscan red with PRR decals on the doors and trunk.
The lettering reads: 'Pennsylvania Railroad, Phila. PA'. Only 25 examples of this model were produced.
I was lucky/fast enough to snag one before all were sold. (posted 5/31/11, permalink)
Limited Promotion: I've recently learned that the 1:25 scale plastic promotional models for the 2011 Corvette are now available and selling for $36 or so. Sadly, the Corvette is the last American brand to be offered as a promo. The miniature Corvettes were injection-molded, assembled and finished in China.
Once upon a time, it was believed that little cars helped sell big cars. Starting in the 1920s, Citroën actively assisted toy manufacturers, freely supplying technical details to toymakers and acting as a distributor, selling little cars in its dealerships. The theory was that young children would bond to the brand of auto and, as adults, would be more prone to purchase the full-size namesake. Or persuade their fathers to buy the full-size model. It was just one more way to build brand loyalty in the marketplace.
In the late '40s, Banthrico, a Chicago firm which made slush-cast metal promotional items for banks, began producing banks in the shape of automobiles. These bottom-slotted, 1:25 scale coin-banks were offered as gifts to people that opened new accounts at financial institutions. Usually, the bank's name imprinted on the car's roof. Banthrico models were also painted in authentic factory colors and used as "paint chips" by car dealers. These low-pressure cast vehicles were fairly basic, lacking see-through windows interiors. Some models had painted-on windows. Banthrico was sold to Minnesota-based Toystalgia - once a maker of wooden banks (now out of business) - in 1985, although most people still referred to the white-metal models as Banthricos.
In 1949 or so, AMT - a maker of aluminum auto miniatures (AMT stood for Aluminum Model Toys) introduced injection-molded plastic models with clear windows, molded interiors and chrome grilles and bumpers. Jo-Han and MPC also made plastic promo model autos. Initially, models were produced from cellulose acetate, which tended to warp over time. Eventually, models were molded from hi-impact polystyrene which was less prone to distortion.
In the 1950s, it was very common to find 1/25th scale promotional models at U.S. car dealers, toy stores - even gas stations. These injection-molded plastic vehicles were fairly realistic and were available in factory colors. Today, only a small number of Mercedes, BMW and Porsche dealers carry models - mostly 1:43 diecasts - in their parts departments. Most can't be bothered, however.
When I bought a new Scirocco in 1976, I purchased a few 1:43 scale models of my new car - in the same silver color as my 1:1 scale Volkswagen. These little diecast models were made by the German firm Schuco and were pretty accurate. I got mine from the VW dealer where I bought my car.
My only remaining plastic promo is a 1:25 AMT 1956 Continental Mark II. By today's standards, it's crude but - back in the day - it was considered a nice representation of the full-scale automobile. (posted 5/4/11, permalink)
Firebird III: I have written about this 1958 General Motors gas turbine concept car and posted photos of my 1:43 scale model of it here.
Bertone Bizarreness: At the May 2011 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este show in Cernobbio, Italy, RM Auctions will offer several concept cars developed by the Italian design and coach-building company Bertone, including the one-off 1963 Corvair-based Chevrolet Testudo.
Nuccio Bertone presented the Testudo himself at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show. It was a built off the Chevrolet Corvair chassis. The car featured a one-piece door/hatch that revealed the entire interior. Another unique element was the headlights, which were flush fitting, and popped-up when illuminated, foreshadowing the lamp design of Bertone's legendary Lamborghini Miura - introduced in '66.
The Testudo was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, then head of design at Bertone. The car stood only 42 inches tall.
I own a 1:43 model of this car - a yellow/orange version made by the Italian diecast firm Polistil. I bought it new in 1970 for $1 and still have the original box it came in. I purchased it from Dave Sinclair's model car mail-order firm, Sinclair's Auto Miniatures, which - remarkably - is still in business 41 years later.
The little model has the same squared-off steering wheel as the full size car. (posted 4/20/11, permalink)
Update: Both cars found buyers at the auction. The Lancia Stratos HF Zero sold for $1,086,803. The Corvair Testudo fetched $479,472.
Scale Acquisitions: I recently purchased a couple of model vehicles which I'll probably use on my model train layout when it goes back up later this year.
The first is a 1:43 scale 1937 Studebaker hearse produced by Phoenix Mint - a relatively new maker of diecasts. The glossy black vehicle has a side mount spare on the right side and chrome landau bars on each side. There are not many hearse models offered in 1:43 scale.
The second model is a 1:48 scale GM Coach Silversides bus from the early 1950s. Sold by MTH Trains, the diecast bus has Pennsylvania Railroad markings. (posted 3/23/11, permalink)
Old Friends: Recently, I was thumbing through a book and came across some information on old toys, including information on Manoil, a manufacturer of diecast vehicles. Memories came flooding back.
The first toy car I can remember was a Manoil wrecker - a sleek-looking, car-based, tow vehicle. It even had sidemounts on its sweeping blue front fenders. Long gone, of course - although I still have some of my original Tootsietoy vehicles from the early 1950s. Patched up, repainted and reposing peacefully in a Plexiglas display case. (posted 3/15/11, permalink)
One More Diecast: I received one more 1:43 scale model for Christmas - a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split-window coupe, made by Ixo Models.
It is a good-looking and well-detailed model - priced at under $30. Generally, Ixo diecasts are very well made for the money. Of course, they're made in China ... but then, so is most everything these days.
I requested this one because I used to own a '63 Vette - mine was a convertible. I already have a 1:18 model of it.
I've got a couple of other 1:43 Corvettes of the period from other manufacturers in my collection but the Ixo was too nice an example to pass up.
Besides, you can never have too many model cars.
As the old saying goes: He who dies with the most toys wins. (posted 2/7/11, permalink)
More toy car photos and stories are posted here. Read more about the model car business here.