I have been looking at some models made by Auto-Pilen, a Spanish company who produced die-cast models from 1969 until the 1990s. My attention was first drawn by a fabulous-looking Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray that looked almost identical to a Corgi 310 model but was finished in metallic green. Then I found this beautiful Oldsmobile Toronado and a Mini-Cooper.
The Oldsmobile is almost identical to the Corgi 264 or 276 model but with opening doors, a detailed interior and slightly improved headlamp operation system. It also has tremendously attractive (and accurate) wheel covers.
I have also acquired a Mini-Cooper and this is to most intents and purposes the Corgi 334 Magnifique model but missing the sliding roof, jewelled headlamps and corner bumper embellishments. This model, like all Auto-Pilens I gather, has super wheels that reflect so accurately a typical real model.
Looking around I have found ten models that appear to have come from Corgi original castings:
Adams Probe 1.6 (384)
BMC Mini-Cooper (334)
Chevrolet Astro 1.6 (347)
Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray (310)
Citroen SM (284)
Ghia 5000 Mangusta de Tomaso (203)
Mercedes-Benz C111 (388)
Oldsmobile Toronado (264 / 276)
Porsche 917 (385)
Porsche Carrera 6 (330 / 371)
I may be wrong about one or two of these as Dinky may have produced similar models and Auto-Pilen used or copied their casts instead. As and when I see the actual models or find out more I will update this list.
Whilst it is another brand and not 'Corgi' as such, I do think collectors will be interested to learn more about these, especially those that appear to be very close indeed to the Corgi originals.
There are several editions of the Oldsmobile and also what appears to be a wide range of colours so the list of 10 may develop into a catalogue of rather more in due course! I have a suspicion that I will not be able to resist the temptation to acquire all of them and prices seem very reasonable too at present. They seem to be very well manufactured and, particularly nice when compared to the Whizzwheel versions!