Saturday, 28 April 2018

Corgi Catalogue 1973

I had stopped bothering about Corgi catalogues after the 1972 edition on the grounds that there wouldn't be anything in them that would interest me. I am not bothered about either the 1:36 scale stuff nor Corgi Juniors and the dragsters had little appeal.

Recently, however, I realised that there were several commercial vehicles issued which were essentially older models with some changes, usually a new cab pulling an existing trailer of some sort or the Ford H Series cab gets a new outing with many different things behind. Being 1:43 scale, or thereabouts, I decided that I ought to include these in my catalogue and get hold of some examples. In order to see just what was issued, or proposed to be issued, I have found catalogues now from 1973 through to 1980 and will, over the course of the next few weeks, add these to the web site.

So I can now continue that series of articles that I used to write, taking a stroll through each year's publications, starting with 1973 which is, in fact, still almost entirely 1:43. The illustrations are from a French edition but they are, apart from the text, identical to the UK edition.

You'll quickly see that 1973 was all about racing cars. The cover has an image from the racing track across the back and front pages. The cars are drawings and just recognisable as Corgi models. The next 8 pages are of racing or rally cars. The first pages have the new larger scale racing cars and then we have the Whizzwheel 1:43 models like the Datsun 240Z, Mustang Mach 1 and one of the revamped Mini Coopers.

Next come a couple of pages of the weird stuff. Earlier theUS Racing Buggy had started the catalogue and now we get an awful selection of drag racing vehicles, including the last gasp for both the original Mustang and the Ford Capri 3 litre. They're hardly recognisable now and it's a sad way to go.

Back to the Whizzwheels rally cars again and the other revamped Monte Carlo Mini, the Porsches and others, including the scarce 305 Mini Marcos in white.

Next we see some bugs and buggies on some sand that someone must have brought into the office. The Bertone Shake Buggy looks distinctly enormous in comparison to the GP buggies and is even quite a lot bigger than the other Bertone, the Runabout, featured.

Finally we get some good old fashioned British vehicles in the form of a Flying Club Land Rover and the Police Ford Cortina. The Land Rover and Trailer are shown in a dark metallic green rather than the blue in which they were issued. A few pages then of the Whizzwheels models - probably almost the whole range would now be listed and they're all in issued colours too.

After them we have a London Gift Set with an orange 204 Mini which was blue by the time the set gets issued. The bus is also shown with cast wheels and jewelled headlamps still. The Longleat Lions Land Rover is still going strong, (illustrated with shaped wheels!) and must be one of the more ancient models here.

Corgi also get into aircraft now and there is a four page insert with their 1300 range. Also as a late insert are four pages devoted to The Magic Roundabout. That's quite useful as I had always wondered just what was issued individually and what was in the sets.

Back to earth with a bump as the catalogue itself continues with a couple of new Mack Trucks. One is the Container Truck and the other is a crane affair which can grab the containers, assuming you still have the lifting strop the catalogue tells us is included with the Container Truck. That's something to look out for as it looks like something that'd soon get lost. These Macks were shown as 'available later' in the 1972 catalogue. There are more now, though, with others added. Looking quite odd now against a huge Mack truck is a 477 Land Rover Breakdown Truck, with cast wheels and a much more shiny roof lamp than the type issued.

The Mack cabs look very cheap and nasty, though. I have yet to obtain one for a closer look.

The Holmes Wrecker with the Ford H Series cab continues as do the huge fire devices and Unimogs of various types.

The Transporter pages are fascinating. Page 26 has a Gift Set 48 with five cars with cast wheels and the MGCGT. Page 27 has Gift Set 20 with six Whizzwheel versions! I can only assume they were getting rid of old stock with the first one. The funny thing is that there's the 258 Saint's car in one and the 201 version in the other! Both Transporter sets disappear in the 1974 catalogue, incidentally, but I'll save more details of that for another day. Gift Set 20 is, of course, famous for having, in late editions, a plain blue 305 Mini Marcos.

There are four pages of farming models next - all in 1:43 scale still and the Land Rover is shown in turquoise green and with shaped wheels but with a plastic tow bar. Now that's a rare version!

To close the 1973 catalogue we have Batman and the Batboat, the Saint's Volvo and a couple of James Bond cars; the 270 still showing tyre slashers and the rather dull in comparison Mustang, together with the strange Moon Buggy. Both Daktari Sets are still there, with shaped wheels still! They must have used very old illustrations for that page. Finally we see Noddy and Big Ears with the bear in the back and the dreadful Basil Brush wreck of a Renault which apparently came with some kind of sound box. I am so glad I do not have one. Oh, I almost forgot the Lunar Bug, stated in my English edition to be 'Limited Stocks Only'. That's really not something I would have expected them to have sold out of. I'd better get one quickly now.

The Tracks Sets shown in the 1972 catalogue have gone and there have now been no military items at all since 1966.

The whole catalogue will shortly be available on the web site at this link.

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