Saturday, 1 October 2016

You may need to check your Impala's bottom.

No, I am not entering a competition for the strangest title this year! But perhaps I should. This is about taking a closer look at the Chevrolet Impala #220. Just the saloon for now.

I think the record for the shortest time spent on my desk by any Corgi Toy is held by the kingfisher blue Chrysler Imperial I acquired earlier this year but second place must surely go to Chevrolet Impalas in blue with red interiors. An immaculate one came and went a few weeks ago and now another, with just two or three nicks, arrives today and will be on the road to Germany on Monday.

While I actually had all three of the main versions of this in the same place I thought I would take a photo or so of them all together. It is often only later, when I look at them again, that I notice differences. And so it has been today.

There is what I assume is an earlier base which has axle holes and a prop shaft. Here it is the base for the blue and yellow edition with fixed flat wheels. The blue with red interior edition illustrated above has what I guess is a later base but the one I had before, which had the same reversed fixed wheels and is otherwise identical, has the earlier prop shaft style base.

My pink Impala has the very late free spinning wheels so I would expect that to have the later base style.

From above there would seem to be two varieties of interior - one with a much bigger gap between fittings and perspex. Again, the one in the middle is the odd one out, the steering wheel, for instance, being set further forward. there is a clearly wider ridge around the other two.

Lastly, the finish on the baseplate of the blue one with red interior is quite rough, with a sort of textured nature to the paint. It looks like there was a massive amount of dust in the room when it was sprayed but it must actually be the surface of the metal that is rough and not as smooth as the others.

The photo doesn't show this very well but it is quite noticeable if you hold the model at an angle to the light, showing a fine texture all across the base. Many Corgi Toy models with the familiar grey metal base have a smooth, even shiny finish underneath. Some may have poor paint finish from the factory but I haven't noticed this rough texture before. I shall now have to check others in stock and see if any are similar.

I doubt that any of these variations are particularly scarce. the Chevrolet Impala was a really popular model that sold well and most of us will surely have had one at some time. I don't have any figures for the split but I can't imagine many dads buying the pink one for their sons in the early 1960s. There do seem to be plenty available now, though, and far more pink than blue at the time of writing.

Here are the numbers on Ebay as I write, 24 in total:

Pink: 15 | Blue / red 5 | Blue / yellow 4

Pink with fixed flat wheels 12
Blue / yellow with fixed flat wheels 4
Blue / red with fixed reversed wheels 3
Pink / yellow with fixed reversed wheels 2
Blue / red with fixed flat wheels 2
Pink with free spinning wheels 1

That's mine at the end, by the way! The only one with free-spinning wheels.

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