Saturday, 10 October 2020

Interesting New Arrivals

Here are some of the recent arrivals. An interesting bunch of models, starting with this nice old RAC Radio Rescue Land Rover. Those who have been reading these articles for a few years may well remember the trouble I had in trying to decide the order in which the variations on this theme arrived and how I attempted to get some clue as to the relative scarcity of each. 

This is the first type with a headboard but, with shaped wheels, it will have been produced in late 1960. The weird thing is that you'll find the second type, without a headboard, with smooth wheels too! I had to give up putting dates on these and concluded that the period covering the switch from headboard to no headboard coincided with the switch from smooth to shaped fixed wheels and that there will have been days when the ladies on the production line were getting old models with new wheel supplies or new models with old wheel supplies.

I can even imagine a production line where there were several ladies working and they may have had boxes of various bits and pieces to fit. In those days there wouldn't have been many choices; window units, drivers maybe, wheels, tyres, aerials. Maybe one lady had been away for a while and her boxes remained untouched so that when she returned to work she had some old wheels to use up whereas everyone else had moved on to the new type.

Whatever the case, this model is not at all common, with production I estimate to be in thousands not tens of thousands.

Two very nice Buick Rivieras arrived last week. One is missing a tow bar but that actually improves this car in my view! However, as I tend to use these for the Riviera Gift Sets, I shall have to fit a replacement some time. In the meantime, though, I wanted to share the different colours of the two models.

Now, you might wish to put this down to smoking and the fact that kids grew up in rooms that you could barely see from one end to the other when father was home and, even if you could, at one end would be a fire belching out smoke when it started or some damp fuel was added and not all the smoke went up the chimney either. There is, I agree, a tobacco hue to the blue but my bet is that there are two different shades of blue and the brighter, lighter shade is the earlier of the two. My logic for this is that the hook type on the Buick is the weird grab type which I am pretty sure was the earlier variety.

A model I was particular relieved to see arrive undamaged after a trip from Spain is this Fiat 600 Ghia 'Jolly'. This is the 242 model, issued in 1965 but only for a very short period. It had superseded 240, a similar model that came in shades of blue and had the silly plastic roof which I can only assume Corgi had too many of, still lying around after not selling with the Bermuda Taxi, which itself had been a desperate attempt to get more mileage out of the old Ford Thunderbird.

It was a fussy and easily damaged model, with its vulnerable screen, people who fell out on every turn and delicate chrome detailing. Not one for the boys, really. Now really sought-after and this one will make over £200.

An earlier project had been to build that mysterious Aston Martin Competition model with wire wheels, supposedly issued in late 1964. I had completed one a while ago for my own display cabinet but a nice American chap, with a massive house in Maine, bought that one. Unfortunately, it was damaged in the post but, whilst that might have been easily repaired, the chap tried to do it himself and caused more damage. Distraught, as he'd really been pleased with it, he ordered and paid handsomely for another.

I duly obliged, having a nice 309 late model in stock. It needed to be the one with the closed bonnet vent. Illustrated here is the finished job with original Corgi wheels too, not replacements, acquired from someone who happened to find a few in his pocket in the 1960s when he retired from the factory.

After all my efforts, though, the original buyer decided to keep the first one as he had decided, as he said, that 'the damage wasn't too bad after all'. So I have this one available if anyone is interested. In the meantime it will be in my cabinet.

Aston Martins are almost permanently on my desk these days. A recent post talked about how difficult to find are the 218 models with fixed shaped wheels. Here is another Aston Martin that is easier to find but not if you want it complete and fully functional! It is the first edition of 270, the second 'James Bond' Aston Martin, replacing the gold one that I think just about every boy of Corgi collecting age had. The bits work on this one but it was missing the front bumper. Many are missing this piece and look pretty dreadful with the gaping space between base and body. It was far too nice to take to pieces, though, and I have fitted new sections left and right and it looks pretty reasonable now.

[I have no idea what the red is that I now notice on the front tyre!]

I made something of an icon out of the Copper Ghia L6.4 by featuring it at the top of this site and also in many other places where I needed a particularly fine illustration. The Ghia was a superb model in any colour with so many features and a gorgeous stance, even with broken suspension. In this, the rarest of the many colours used in its production time it is a truly lovely-looking model and an expensive one to boot.

So whenever I see one I want to buy it but can seldom afford it. This one I could afford as it is a bit tatty with many chips to the paintwork and, of course, absent suspension. I might be able to do something about the suspension and the paintwork I can live with but the real problem was the missing rear tyres. Take this as a warning now - do not buy a Ghia L6.4 with missing or broken rear tyres! You simply cannot replace them unless you wish to remove axles or get involved with some other drastic action.

I tried very hard but there simply is not enough of a gap between the rim and the body, made worse by the inward facing lower edges of the body panels. I resorted to cutting the tyre and wrapping it around the rim. I had thought that I might be able to glue the tyre ends together but the old original Corgi manufactured tyres that I am using are too tough and even holding them closed is too much of an effort, never mind maintaining them that way while glue sets.

So this one is not likely to be going anywhere any time soon! Another one for the cabinet maybe.

Here is another salutary tale for you. This is a pleasant enough 470 Jeep FC-150. Nice condition with only very small chips on raised edges mostly. It's missing its canopy so it isn't going to sell for very much which is disappointing as I thought I would be getting something quite different. Below is what I thought I was buying from a lady in Spain. A bright yellow edition which she had assured me had not been repainted with original rivets in place and all the warranty I wanted that it was real. Now I look again, in a different light, I can see how my error arose. The green-grey background and white surround make it appear yellow. But it's just beige like the others.

On a happier note, here's a very well looked-after NSU Sport Prinz. You don't see many of this model which didn't sell in massive numbers at the time. It was one of those few models which did nothing. Nothing opened. Not even an aerial or transfer.

The interesting thing about this 316 NSU Sport Prinz is its colour; a sort of deep metallic red, distinctly different and a lot scarcer than the very pink cerise that you will usually find this appears in.

That got me thinking. Not many Corgis with suspension and interiors had nothing else by way of features. See if you can think of any others that weren't merely S versions of the earlier no suspension models or the A edition of the Lotus XI. I'll publish the answers in my next article.

And what was the last car issued without suspension (other than the Bluebird).

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