Tuesday, 19 May 2015

One in the back and one in the front

Never mind How do you get to Wales in a Mini? I am beginning to wonder just how many different versions of this Mini Corgi made in Wales in the early 1970s. Bearing in mind that their 1970 catalogue features the very popular 334 with opening everything and looking pretty spectacular as a model, as well as the redoubtable 226, still going albeit in metallic deep purple, bearing all that in mind you do wonder why they needed 204 which did nothing and looked pretty bad with Whizzwheels.

Someone had decreed, though, that Whizzwheels were the future of everything and so 204 would be The Corgi Mini in 1972. Except it wasn't and no-one bought any when the other two were still on most shop shelves. You can hear the little shop keeper now. 'Ere sonny, you don't want that one. Look, I've got these lovely metallic green or blue Mini Mannificks. Or you can 'ave a nice purple one but don't 'ee be blowing too hard on it or the paint will come off.'

So in 1973 they effectively disappeared again, most emerging in old stock sales over the years between now and then. The funny thing is, though, just how many different versions there are for such a short period of production. There are five main colours: orange, orange with a black roof, blue, blue with a black roof and metallic blue. As if that's not enough, you'll find tinted windows (and I'm guessing that they were spread pretty much across all the colours) and the orange one(s) came with yellow or red seats. I think that makes a dozen models you''ll need to find for your collection to be vaguely complete.

I say 'vaguely' because there are also silver or black bases but I am taking the view that they came with one or other of the variations mentioned already. There are, however, what look like different castings even amongst this short run. The all orange one looks to have a much less well defined badge and at the rear a smaller gap between roof and window and slightly different window frame detailing. The more I look at them , though, the less certain I am about a different casting and that may just be thicker paint and some optical illusions caused by the tinted windows and black roof.

This particular example of the orange one with black roof and tinted windows has seen better days but is still quite unusual. These may be little loved and rather messy Corgis but they're well worth some close examination and even tatty ones can be of good value.

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