Sunday, 27 July 2014

VW Beetles

There are some Corgi models that I really didn't want to get. A VW1300 with a very big, very odd-looking and slightly scary gold steering wheel on top is one. But having got the photos and ticked the stock list hopefully someone will buy it and I can wait until someone has a special request before getting another in. It is almost the last 1:43 model from this era, being released in 1974 and only staying for a year as #400 before being replaced by what appears to be an identical car but numbered #401 in 1975 and that only lasted a couple of years more. 

I shall have to research further as to what the difference between #400 and #401 is. They both came with bollards in the box and both are, I believe, inscribed VW1300 unlike previous models which were VW1200s.

The car itself isn't bad if you can ignore that steering wheel. The bright metallic blue suits it and the interior is a cheerful yellow. Despite being from the Whizzwheels era it has bright gold cast wheels similar to one or two earlier models that are attractive and have real tyres. And, despite losing its steering in 1970 as a 'Flower Power' model, this has returned. I guess they must have had some parts to use up. This particular example comes in an original box that is a bit scruffy round the edges but overall it is now quite hard to find these, and I'm still looking for a #401.

The #383 'Flower Power' version was also short-lived, being out just for a year in 1970/1. It is a very basic version with nothing that opens, the ubiquitous wheels of the time and just some paper decals to cheer it a little. The green 'chrome' is very strange. I thought it was the plastic beneath chrome that had been worn away but no, this is how it is supposed to be!

The Police version lasted a lot longer but was just as basic as the 'Flower Power' car.

In contrast, the #256 and #492 seem most luxurious and well-featured models of a different class completely. They had opening bonnets and boots, even if each had exactly the same content in the trunk! I have always liked the mudflaps fitted to both these versions.

There are two mainstream VW Beetles still to arrive: the #401 Driving School one, assuming that it is different. If not, and it is just some odd box numbering change then I shall not bother as we could simply swap them around and no-one would know which they had in the box. The other is the very last 1:43 model, a VW1200 Rally which looks pretty dreadful and is devoid of any features and probably orange. It is number #384 and appeared in 1977 for a year or so only. Another very short lifespan which makes these a little hard to find but they are still inexpensive and, in my view, really quite good investments purely because so few are around and people get confused with so many variations.

A complete set of VW Beetles would be a nice thing to aim for and then you might need to get some variations - #400/1 had a French version with a French sticker on the doors. There may be Dutch, German and others perhaps. Another quite rare variation is the Dutch Police Car version of #492 which was all white. I think there may be different types of the green and white one too but haven't seen any yet.

Lastly, don't forget that you need the left-hand drive as well as right-hand drive versions of #256! If this was supposed to be a real No.18 East African Rally car then surely it was one or the other? One day someone will find a right-hand drive European Police Car!

Plenty to keep us occupied here anyway. Pity about the huge gold steering wheel...

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