Wednesday 26 October 2016

A long drive in Victoria, Australia for this Chevrolet impala.

Well, this is the address but I don't see anyone around! In fact, I don't see anyone around for miles and miles in this part of Victoria, Australia. The beautiful and almost as new Chevrolet Impala suits these open roads, though, but a fuel station fairly nearby might be required!

This is the quite scarce second edition which had a chrome front, rear and side strips. This particular edition also has free-spinning wheels and must have been one of the last produced in 1967. Most you'll encounter had fixed wheels and were useless at going round corners. Not that the real thing was actually much better!

We need to go back to the Pony Club again.

Just as you might have thought it safe to get out of the farmyard, there's something else you'll need to look out for with the Pony Club Gift Set 15. 

As I have previously mentioned, the interior of the 438 Land Rover changed at some time in the early 1970s, after Whizzwheels (I believe), and so there are the baby blue editions with both types as well as the darker blue Flying Club Gift Set 19 and metallic green issue.

The missing one arrived today and I am hoping that completes the range. One thing that did strike me, though, was the distinct difference in shade between my Type I which is the normal baby blue (grey tow bar and steering wheel) and the Type II which is definitely darker. That's the one with the black hook and all yellow interior.

This came as a set but the horsebox / pony trailer was the normal baby blue colour. They may have come from different sources, though, so we need to look out for the darker horsebox now.

That is not where the story ends, though, dear collector. I looked again at the ridiculous number of these 112 Horseboxes that I now have around the house. I was looking at any colour differences but did find something else which is actually more interesting. I have one with an open vent on the top. All the others are closed!

So there is something you need to take a look at. If your model is closed you'll need an open one, or the other way round, of course. And while you're at it, you may want to get a darker blue one too (I am assuming they exist, being the later shade adopted). Surely there can be no more variations on these things? I had always considered these trailers and horseboxes to be pretty plain affairs but they've become quite entertaining.

Below are the two types of interior for the Land Rover in baby blue. I am really hoping that the normal wheels and cast wheels versions only have the Type I interior with the grey steering wheel. I am pretty sure that has to be the case but - who knows what you'll find! I should imagine that a cast wheel version (in either baby blue or metallic green) of the 438 with a Type II interior does not exist or would be very scarce indeed.

Type I lemon with grey plastic steering wheel

Type II all yellow plastic

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Six excellent models all present and correct.

508 Commer Holiday Camping Bus with luggage and cover (usually missing!)
Naploeon Solo and Iliya Kuryakin in the ThushBuster, had an original Waverley ring and first type box.

The 469 Commer Samulesons Film Service bus had the black opening case and blue packing square too.

The 440 Ford Cortina Golfing Set still had the original boy caddy who usually goes missing.

The scarce 275 Rover 2000TC in white had its original box

The 252 Rover 2000 looking very attractive, has a lovely original box.

An Oldsmobile Toronado and Glastron Speedboat in Naples

Looking slightly odd. the Oldsmobile towing a Glastron speedboat in Naples. This was a complete Gift Set 36, with all the original characters in the boat and a nice original box.

A Yellow Submaine. Somewhere In Switzerland.

And it is the rare version with yellow and white hatches, with an original box and packing. The most expensive item posted to date.

An Almighty Jam in Eilum

A Dinky Mighty Antar and a couple of old Jeeps seem to have taken a wrong turning on their way to a collector in Eilum, Germany. The 'Fred Housego' edition of the #418 Corgi Taxi is a lovely example of quite a hard to find model.

Thursday 20 October 2016

A Morris with tinted windows. Cowley, not Mini Minor!

Visiting a collector friend in Derbyshire today, I was reminded of a grey Morris Cowley that he had that I had noticed a few months ago. I had remembered that it had quite remarkably blue windows. He has let me have it to display and maybe someone out there can tell us a bit more about these early tinted windows.

A good number of these 1956 models have now passed before my camera lens but none have had such distinctly tinted windows. Indeed, many of the perspex units seem to have become very occluded, quite difficult to see through in some cases where the perspex also looks very thick compared to some others. Then there are many with crystal clear windows that seem to have survived and remain as good as they might have been when new. I am guessing that cleaning with the wrong liquid or cloth has caused the trouble with the former types - or maybe there was a type of perspex that simply has aged badly. This tinted type, though, is new to me and I can't quickly find any references to it elsewhere.

I looked again at my own Morris Cowley and there is a faint bluish hue to that one but that is really not something i would have noticed or commented upon. The other one is quite distinctly different. On the basis that this must be somewhat scarcer than the clear type I am asking a bit more for this one but really don't have much idea of its value. Suggestions or background information appreciated if anyone knows.

I have plenty of later examples of tints in the Whizzwheels Morris Mini Minor #204 but they are from a couple of decades later!

Tuesday 18 October 2016

The Land Rover that was different after all

Just as I thought it was safe to come out of the Land Rover cabinet I noticed something else. The interior changes, probably at the same time as the tow bar changes from grey to black on Whizzwheels models.

I have seen the metallic turquoise green, the light blue and darker blue (with red light) Land Rovers with both types of interior. One is the familiar old lemon with a grey plastic steering wheel and the later type is a single bright yellow moulding with the steering wheel included. The later windows would seem to have a line to depict a quarter light too. What I hadn't appreciated was that the same colour can have different interiors.

I was about to take my later turquoise green one to bits. You may recall that I only bought it because I thought it was a different colour (which it wasn't) and, with a cracked screen, it wasn't something I particularly wanted to hang on to. Now, of course, I shall have to until a better one comes in.

It would appear that I shall now also have to track down a decent example of the light blue with a grey steering wheel and a dark blue with the all-yellow interior. And a better metallic green with the all-yellow interior.

I don't think any of these are particularly difficult to find so, hopefully, it won't be long before I can update the catalogue. I wonder what else I shall find next.

It would be reasonable to assume that the Daktari model could also have the newer interior in later models, but I have not seen any so I really don't know. The Longleat issues had a red interior which I am assuming, for now, did not alter. Maybe you can take a closer look at yours at let me know if you find anything interesting.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

James Bond arrives in Ausburg.

Driving the famous gold #261 model that really shouldn't have a Royal Automobile Club badge on the grill. As with most of these models, the roof seldom sits flat. This is the version without sidelights in the casting and was one of two really very good examples I had available.

I hope he can find his way to the other end of the street where the new owner resides. Germany don't permit Google to publish their StreetView images so this the closest I could get.

When Is An International 6 x 6 Truck A US Army Troop Transporter?

I have been discussing with my collector friend in Germany the International 6 x 6 Truck models that were released as 1118 and 1133. We thought that were simply four versions: 1118 being mainly for the UK market but with some made with US transfers and a few with Dutch transfers and then 1133 produced solely as a US Army Troop Transporter with the US Army transfers.

Everything seemed fairly nice and simple - you could easily tell the 1118s apart as long as they still had their transfers and 1133s had a different canopy, with a circular indent on top where the white star transfer would go. OK, so people might swap canopies over the years but we could live with that and it needn't really complicate matters.

Then Anders sends me a link to a forum where they are sharing photos of two completely different chassis design. One has gaps above the rear wheels and another appears solid from the side view. There is a difference in ground clearance too. That forum maintains that all 1118s had one type and all 1133s had the other.

Then, as if he hadn't already caused me enough sleepless nights, Anders sends me a link to a long, long French article on Corgi's military models. After struggling with my little Collins Gem French Dictionary for best part of a morning I learn that this chap lists two quite distinct colours which he seems to call Olive Drab and English Green or something similar. The English Green could be exclusively for the 1118s with UK markings but I'm not so sure that would actually be the case. Nevertheless, there are now two shades to take into account and, conceivably, they could be across the range of different chassis types for both 1118 and 1133 models.

I was going to update my catalogue lists at the start of this but now have descended into a sort of depression and may start drinking again.

In an attempt to figure out exactly what versions may or may not exist I decided to imagine how conversations between a worker and supervisor might have gone in the factory, starting some time in 1959...

Here come the trucks in bare metal.
Let's paint them 'military green'

These are for the UK. Add the British transfers.
But leave six in that box which can go to Holland. Add the Dutch transfers. No I don't know the difference between The Netherlands and Holland or why they're called Dutch. Just get on with the job.
Oh, some chaps in the US want some too. Damn. Er.. take the next ones and add some white stars to them and some US numbers.
The paint's running out...

Get some more.
It's a bit lighter...more khaki...

Never mind. No-one will notice. Well, not until some French bloke starts writing about them.
Most of them can be UK transfers but you'd better make a few for the Americans just in case.
Someone just called from Army HQ to say that there's something wrong with the truck.

Yeah. He says it's too low and shouldn't be blocked in at the back.
Bugger. Tell Production to change the cast.

Here come the new ones.

Good. Carry on where you left off then.
The paint's run out again.

Oh for Heaven's sake. Just get some more. Don't worry about the colour. Just make sure it's sort of greeny brown all over.
Sales Dept are on the phone.

What do they want now?
They say they need lots more for America.

OK, so just do lots more for America with those star things on. What's the problem with that?
They say that the stars are not always in the centre.

Jesus H Christ! This is a ruddy American Truck not an art exhibit!! But, OK, tell Production to make a different lid for the back. Put a dent in it where the star has to go. Then the idiots in the transfer area should be able to see where it goes. And stop putting them on the bonnet.
I don't think they always put them on the bonnet anyway.

Don't confuse matters any more, kid...
Sorry. Sales Dept are on the phone again.

What do they want now?
They say that the Americans want it to be called a Troop Transporter.

I don't care what they want to call it. They can call it a Big Green Cucumber for all I care.
Yes but it will have to have that name on the box.

Don't be stupid. We can't have 1118 International 6 x 6 Truck Troop Transporter...
And they want it to be called US Army Troop....

You mean they want 1118 International 6 x 6 US Army Truck Troop Transporter written on the bloody box? There isn't room unless we write in tiny letters.
No. They want a different number and just US Army Troop Transporter.

Oh boy. I suppose we need their money...
Yes. Sales say that they haven't sold many to the Brits and need to flog a few to the Americans to make it worthwhile making.

What's the next number?
Call it 1133 then.
Er... OK.

[Later that decade]
Production just called.

They say that with all this Peace and Love stuff no-one wants great big Army trucks any more. Especially American trucks. Seeing as how they're losing the war...

Don't let them hear you say that...
Anyway, they have stopped making 1133. 

But what do we do with all the stock? We have thousands of those 1118s left over too that have been lying around since they stopped that in 64.
They said they're thinking of a Flower Power edition....

[Expletives deleted]

Saturday 1 October 2016

There's a new roundabout in Huelva, Spain

A scarce complete and virtually as new set close to their new home in sunny Spain. Strangely, the real Mary Chipperfield lives just a few miles away from there.

You may need to check your Impala's bottom.

No, I am not entering a competition for the strangest title this year! But perhaps I should. This is about taking a closer look at the Chevrolet Impala #220. Just the saloon for now.

I think the record for the shortest time spent on my desk by any Corgi Toy is held by the kingfisher blue Chrysler Imperial I acquired earlier this year but second place must surely go to Chevrolet Impalas in blue with red interiors. An immaculate one came and went a few weeks ago and now another, with just two or three nicks, arrives today and will be on the road to Germany on Monday.

While I actually had all three of the main versions of this in the same place I thought I would take a photo or so of them all together. It is often only later, when I look at them again, that I notice differences. And so it has been today.

There is what I assume is an earlier base which has axle holes and a prop shaft. Here it is the base for the blue and yellow edition with fixed flat wheels. The blue with red interior edition illustrated above has what I guess is a later base but the one I had before, which had the same reversed fixed wheels and is otherwise identical, has the earlier prop shaft style base.

My pink Impala has the very late free spinning wheels so I would expect that to have the later base style.

From above there would seem to be two varieties of interior - one with a much bigger gap between fittings and perspex. Again, the one in the middle is the odd one out, the steering wheel, for instance, being set further forward. there is a clearly wider ridge around the other two.

Lastly, the finish on the baseplate of the blue one with red interior is quite rough, with a sort of textured nature to the paint. It looks like there was a massive amount of dust in the room when it was sprayed but it must actually be the surface of the metal that is rough and not as smooth as the others.

The photo doesn't show this very well but it is quite noticeable if you hold the model at an angle to the light, showing a fine texture all across the base. Many Corgi Toy models with the familiar grey metal base have a smooth, even shiny finish underneath. Some may have poor paint finish from the factory but I haven't noticed this rough texture before. I shall now have to check others in stock and see if any are similar.

I doubt that any of these variations are particularly scarce. the Chevrolet Impala was a really popular model that sold well and most of us will surely have had one at some time. I don't have any figures for the split but I can't imagine many dads buying the pink one for their sons in the early 1960s. There do seem to be plenty available now, though, and far more pink than blue at the time of writing.

Here are the numbers on Ebay as I write, 24 in total:

Pink: 15 | Blue / red 5 | Blue / yellow 4

Pink with fixed flat wheels 12
Blue / yellow with fixed flat wheels 4
Blue / red with fixed reversed wheels 3
Pink / yellow with fixed reversed wheels 2
Blue / red with fixed flat wheels 2
Pink with free spinning wheels 1

That's mine at the end, by the way! The only one with free-spinning wheels.