Monday, 23 June 2014

Whizzwheels


A glimpse of the front cover of the 1971-2 Corgi Catalogue shows just how Whizzwheels had become the standard by then and, despite some odd repeat of the same models in the photograph to make the range look bigger than it was, how there was now a polarisation of types. At one extreme the conservative Rolls or Bentley and at the other weird experimental sports cars most of us had never heard of. The latter were to dominate things in these early years.


Here are some pages from the 1970 catalogue. You can see just how many of the previous range had continued into Whizzwheels mode by a simple change of base and colour scheme.




Although some of these are just plain awful - like the revised Customised Sting Ray - and some are not particularly easily distinguished one from another at first glance, there is generally a decent standard of production amongst the early models and some I have had to conclude are actually worth adding to a collection. 


Here in the 1969 Catalogue you'll see how Corgi planned the Ferrari and Lamborghini with Golden Jacks. Indeed, the spare wheels in the released models are still the 'take off' style wheel! That's quite amusing and faintly sad at the same time.

These were not easy years for Corgi as their factory was destroyed and the business almost finished in 1969. So models from the 1969-71 era will be comparatively scarce anyway and some which had just commenced production and not resumed are notably difficult to obtain.

It took a while to put a list together of exactly what was released in this second period which I have taken as 1969 to 1971. The very first had some actually quite smart wheels using red nylon centres. Had they stayed like that then I have a feeling that they would have been much better accepted. The tyres were still rubber and they did look right on the models I have seen them on. That is really why I feel I have to extend my listings and stock a little as the 'red spot' models are excellent and many of what followed were pretty much normal Corgi Toys apart from the dreaded plastic wheels. A good example would be the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (not the Customised one) which is almost exactly the same as 300 and quite rare. There is a Camaro too in blue that is difficult to find and a really quite attractive Toyota 2000GT in metallic dark turquoise. Beware of red spot models, though. Only six were known to be produced, of which five are really rare, the Rolls, for example, being virtually unobtainable. It is possible to switch the plastic to red nylon types, though, and that is tempting for dealers who think they might be able to get a much higher price. The model will also look a lot nicer but you really shouldn't pay more unless you are sure it is original.

With a very short life for some models and not many sales for them either compared to their predecessors these are going to be even more difficult to find and, whilst some seem to be commanding higher prices now, most on this list are still around at really quite modest prices. I don't think this will be the case for long once people like me get over their dislike of Whizzwheels and actually realise how rare some will be! (And that they're not all that bad.)

The red spot models are definitely good to collect and some early ones that have Whizzwheels do not declare this on the base. I am guessing that these will be the ones originally intended to have Golden Jacks but I do need to check that. The name of the die-cast alloy, Mazak, appears on the base of some models too. Again, I need to discover which and when that started. It may help to identify a cut-off point rather than just a random date.

So I am adding a further section to the web site and here is a list of the models I propose to find and make available.




Iso Grifo 7 Litre
Lamboughini P400GT Miura and the original black bull

Ferrari 204 Dino Sport

Customised Chevrolet Sting Ray







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