Thursday, 14 August 2014

Corgi should have supplied replacement aerials in the box

Two rare Corgi models. The Ghia Mangusta 5000 De Tomaso first appeared in 1969 as #271 and was the second example of a detachable chassis. The Lotus Elan #319 had been the first. It was an attractive car but, apart from being able to take off the body for some reason best known to the production team, that was it. Nothing opened, it was a bit anaemic and the aerial broke on almost every model except this one. (You just try finding one with an original aerial intact!). 

I suppose there might have been a plan to release different coloured versions, maybe even different wheel types so that swapping chassis would be a bit more interesting. Unfortunately, as you all know now, this was Whizzwheels time and so this model didn't even see out 1969 (making good values now for these). 

In its place was #203 - the same body but with its chassis firmly sealed up now, ubiquitous little plastic wheels and a highly vulnerable to chips green metallic paint. If you can find one (and that's easier said than done) then you'll see that the paint falls off if you breathe too hard or there's thunder outside. I am amazed that I managed to find this one which is almost perfect.

I have yet to find a green one with an aerial, though. Corgi really should have put some spares in the box.

#203 didn't last long either and sales appear to have been pretty low. It came off most shelves in 1972, not much more than a year after coming out. It is these changeovers and very short runs, though, that make this period quite interesting. Models in good condition are scarce but, whilst prices for #271 are really high, #203 is all over the scale, from extremely expensive down to a few pounds. No-one seems to have much of a clue but I can only see these increasing. Despite the general unpopularity of these late models their scarcity will eventually be clear and I can even see some of them exceeding the traditional collector's favourite predecessors.

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