Sunday, 31 May 2020

Corgi Toys @ 60: 4 revised models and a Hovercraft

A New York Taxi Cab was the second Chevrolet Impala to appear, arriving in the local store in May 1960. Always bright yellow, of course, with the sign on the roof, charges on the door and an aerial. I am afraid that the aerial illustrated here is a poor replacement. Initial models will have had smooth wheels as in this example. Later ones get fixed. shaped wheels and then the last ones from 1963 get free spinning shaped wheels.

These two Bedford CA Vans may be the first to get the new casting with a single screen, ribbed roof and different grille (as well as many more minor changes). 412 is the update of the Daily Express van, now featuring the Evening Standard. This will usually be split 50-50 silver and black as in this example but there are also models with a black body and silver just on the roof. Although shaped wheel editions will be around, they are scarce, the vast majority having fixed smooth wheels.

The 423 Fire Service edition is in the same red as the 405M model and many people get these confused when they're selling them. The one illustrated is the scarce edition with fixed, shaped wheels but the first models released in 1960 will have had smooth wheels. The ladder was black and one unit, both sections solidly adjoined as in the Type I models, and the crude metal tabs on the roof to hold it remain unchanged.

Coming out alongside models with suspension and interiors, these looked very dated even then and sales were not great. Good examples are now sought after across the Bedford CA range.

Often missed by collectors, and another that may have appeared with these two, is the 412 Ambulance with the revised casting (but no model number change).

May 1960 saw another revision, this time the 210 Citroën DS19 getting suspension and an interior and becoming 210S. Always bright red, this was a popular model and stayed in production through to 1965 with a Monte Carlo edition in blue and white with jewelled foglamps and, finally, it seems that the Monte Carlo casting gets re-issued in red with Mazak filling the holes for the jewelled lights in a quite scarce late edition.

The casting does get cut down later for a Coupé edition and even more for a Whizzwheels Cycle Race Manager's vehicle and ends up as a car (a loose use of the word) for Dougal and some Magic Roundabout characters

Corgi didn't often make big mistakes but the position of the rear axle on the Citroën DS was one of their particularly annoying ones. Dinky and others got it right but Corgi's was nowhere near far enough back.

This might have been a good time to have fixed it but sadly that was not to be the case.

The only really 'new' item was the extraordinary addition of a Hovercraft to the Corgi catalogue. It's a smart-looking and nicely detailed model of something that was the talk of future transport across the Channel for many commentators. My mother bought me one but she was one of only a small number, sales being poor. It just didn't really fit in to most children's layouts or play scenes at the time. It had four ball bearings on springs underneath and these enabled it to be moved along with some attempt at realism but it would sink like a stone, of course, in water.

Despite the low numbers sold, they are not too difficult to find in good condition as they did tend to live their lives on shelves or in the box as opposed to being whizzed around the carpet.

The real thing only had seats for a couple of people.

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