Saturday, 9 September 2017

A few models that look common but have taken a while to find

In all the excitement of dealing with items rare and very strange life has continued as normal too in the field of the slightly different - and I have been able to tick off several items on my Wanted List. These are models released in the normal run of things but which have been difficult to find at reasonable prices.

I'll start with the 222 Renault Floride. It sounds like it ought to be toothpaste but is a beautiful car, both as a model and in the real world. Corgi issued this in Autumn 1959. It was the first with suspension. Not the first with an interior - the 219 Plymouth Suburban had that title (not counting the open cars).

The most frequently found colour is a metallic olive-green and then there are shades of maroon, burgundy (and all stations in between) and this nice metallic blue. The interior can be red or yellow on the blue model, yellow or cream on the red and it is always red (to the best of my knowledge) on the green. I think that the blue colour is a later addition to the range as all the models I have seen in blue have had free-spinning wheels whereas the other colours are, more often than not, fixed but can be either.

The next evasive model has been the 239 Volkswagen Karman Ghia in gold. The cream and red-orange models have come and gone at modest prices but the gold ones have been crazily expensive. This came out in early 1963 and was the second car, after the Jaguar Mk X, to have an opening front and back. In a way the VW trumped the Jaguar as this also had a spare wheel, cases in both places and an opening clear engine cover. But it doesn't have jewels so maybe they're even.

Have you noticed the extraordinary amount of luggage Corgi expected people with these cars to carry? Not only did they supply two little brown plastic cases but also inside you see, through the rear window, a mass of cases and boxes which leave precious little room for anyone who might have though about travelling on the back seat. I'll add a photo of this in a while.

Like the Renault above, this isn't perfect but it's complete, the windows are clear and the suspension works. The gold is also available with a red interior so I'm not done yet with the 239s.

Possibly one of my favourite models is the Ford Mustang - as it started in April 1965; with attractive normal wheels, jewelled headlights, chrome bumpers and this marvellous shade of metallic blue (similar to, but quite distinct from, the Renault). With a clean, pale cream interior and a Corgi dog on the parcel shelf, this just looked lovely. It was only the second model to have opening doors too. It had been a long wait since November 1963 and the Ghia. They still seldom closed in line, although this particular example is good.

Finding these with normal wheels is not easy. Most had wire wheels and very late versions had the cast spoke effect wheels.

The same story applies to the 246 Chrysler Imperial - except for the part about it being a favourite, that is. I really did not like this much at the time and I still don't care much for the editions with cast spoke effect wheels. They always seem to go very grey and dour-looking. Maybe if they had remained shiny and new then I would be more persuaded about that version. As it is, though, I have warmed considerably to the Chrysler with these normal wheels. Again, not many of these to be found and it has been on the Wanted List for a long time. 

At one point I wondered whether it did, indeed, exist but I eventually saw one in Germany and resumed the search. This one, in fact, arrived minus a screen, side window and door panels. It does have its golf clubs and trolley in the boot, though, but not the big American people whom I do not intend to try and find either. I much prefer this model unoccupied.

There are two colours for the interior, this chalky blue and a chalky green. I do not propose to search for the green variation with normal wheels, though. I have had a green one with the cast wheels and reckon that's enough for this one.

The other recent addition and Wanted List deletion is the pair of 465 Commer Pick-up Trucks. I was surprised to find that Corgi had actually issued these as different models rather than simply issuing the models that were included in the Commer Construction Gift Set 24. 

For instance, you could buy the Police Van separately and that had the device to remove the rear section just as the set one had. I know that it was necessary to get at the battery that way but I still think they could have just issued the milk float, van and these trucks in the same way. Now, of course, we get the 'made-up' models being sold as the issued items and finding the real things can be difficult. Eventually, however, I tracked down these very nice examples in each colour combination. To my knowledge, there was only the red cab in the Gift Set.

Still on my Wanted List are the individually issued Ambulance and Milk Float. these are not too expensive but I keep hoping to find one that someone prices as if it were the cheap Gift Set item! I have ticked off the Hammonds Van via a lucky purchase for my German collector friend who routed his purchase through me.

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