Sunday, 3 December 2017

Corgi Toys @ 60: Citroen DS19 and Gift Set 1

December 1957 and we see the first foreign car. A good choice and still an icon today, model number 210, the Citroen DS19 came in two brightly coloured editions: pale yellow-beige with a cherry red roof and metallic blue-green with a black roof.

This was the first saloon not to have an M version. I believe that there was simply not enough room to fit the mechanism in due to the minimal depth of the rear part of the car. Nevertheless, there are two types of base for the Citroen: one completely flat at the rear axle and another with a small lump.

The lump is similar to the 'differential' unit that the M cars had but is somehow a bit inappropriate as the Citroen was a front wheel drive car!

The 210 model gets an interior and suspension three years later. Most 210 models will have smooth fixed wheels but you may find a few with fixed shaped wheels if you're lucky.

Some catalogues also list a red 210 but I am sure this is an error, or maybe a sample of some sort. Red was the colour used for the 210S but I suppose there could have been a few  red bodies made without suspension or interior during the changeover period.

The other new addition to the Corgi catalogue in December 1957 was the Gift Set, and, in this instance, suitably called Gift Set No.1. This comprised a Carrimore Car Transporter and four British cars.

The box illustrated a pale blue Austin Cambridge, red Riley Pathfinder, dark green Rover 90 and brown Ford Consul. Quite what you would actually find in the box in 1957 (and certainly nowadays!) is largely a matter of conjecture.

You would get four models in blue boxes and two 'spacer' boxes. These empty boxes were initially yellow with black text, then yellow with red text and then the Corgi dog logo replaced the text. I don't know the dates for these changes.

Many sets that I have seen have two sports cars and two saloon cars rather than four saloons but it is impossible now to know what they may have contained originally. I know that some collectors are keen to try to match the lid, although they will be hard pressed to find a grey transporter section! You will find both the red and blue as well as blue and yellow versions, however.

For the American market Gift Set 1 became Gift Set 1A and initially the letter A was added to the lid, together with a label to say that the set contained American cars. This would have been rather later - more like 1959 or even 1960 - as it would not be for several years that there would have been four American cars. By that time a new box lid, featuring a selection from America, France and Britain was printed and Gift Set 1B was the strange 'export' edition. Again, quite what would really be inside I cannot be sure.

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