One of my favourite Corgi models is the 322 Rover 2000 Monte Carlo rally edition. That's the maroon and white edition but in early 1967 the same catalogue number was represented by a quite different model. This was the International Sun Rally edition and was white with a black bonnet. These are extremely hard to find now and when they do appear they're usually at prices only rich people in Dortmund can afford.
Another collector friend said he was going to try and make one and so I thought I'd have a go too.
The base model was a 252 Rover 2000. I needed one at a really cheap price but it had to have an intact rear screen. That wasn't as easy to find as I'd expected and the best that came along was a maroon model with some pretty bad paintwork. Consequently, my creation has a cream interior and, of course, it should be red! I'm looking for a blue 252 wreck that I can steal the interior from and will then update this. I thought at the time that the trans-o-lite system was an integral part of the rear screen but now see that it just slots in to it. So I could, after all, use a replacement screen unit. That will make life easier next time as I can then use a cheap 252 or even a 322 with a broken rear screen that no-on else will want.
The 252 has three features that need changing (as well as the interior!); the wheels, fog lamps and front bumper. I can't do much about the front bumper - the 322 has what looks like an air intake below the bumper and no over-riders. the only base model with that would be an actual 322 International Rally model! The wheels and lights, however, looked feasible.
Changing the wheels wasn't too difficult. I had some spare cast wheels on a Rambler Marlin that is waiting for some repairs. To fit them on the Rover, however, I filed off one end of the axle, slipped off one wheel and then slid the axle through beneath the suspension wires. The wheel then could be put back on and, if I were an expert, I would have burred the edge of the axle properly. My friend had tried to lift the suspension wires to insert the axle without removing the wheels but the wires had become bent too much and he lost the suspension on his. Reversing the wheels also gave me some rather cleaner wheel designs than I'd had before. they're not shiny and silver like new ones but better than they were.
The fog lamps are a couple of jewels inserted either side of the Rover badge. I drilled a couple of holes and almost got them in the right position. The holes were slightly too narrow to take the jewel holders and, looking at how close the edges were to the existing headlamp holes, I decided not even try making them any bigger! Instead I dropped the jewels directly into the holes and they look pretty and pretty reasonable. In fact, I'm not sure how else I could have done the fog lamps without using a smaller jewel which wouldn't be right either. Using a 322 as a base would be a big advantage there!
My masking for the black bonnet area wasn't quite perfect but then I've looked at pictures of the real model and most of those have either the same surplus black or missed areas as mine! So that's OK, then.
The transfers came from a supplier in Milton Keynes, I think. They are excellent and just the right size, colour and material.
So, I've spent about £7 on paint, £2 on transfers, 60p on jewels and £10 on contributing models and I have to say I'm pleased with the result so far. It's not exactly right, I know, but a pleasure to have around until an affordable original can be found. Which may be some time!
And here's the real 322 model.