Tuesday 27 October 2020

Ghia varieties


A very nice example of the Ghia L6.4 in gold arrived this week. As well as having only the slightest marks on the paintwork, this one has good suspension all round. I shall not tempt providence, though, by racing it around the carpet. Not many of the older models have survived 57 years so well, the brittle plastic which provides the suspension being very prone to breaking.

Having to press down on the front to open the bonnet tends to ruin the chances of the front end staying up so that's often the first to go.

Incidentally, the piece of plastic that pushed up through the air filter to lift the bonnet and the piece that is visible when the boot is open are both cream, as the interior, on this model. Many metallic blue editions, and some gold ones, that I have seen have had red in those two places although still cream interiors.

A later edition lemon gold model sold for £176 on Ebay this week, a quite remarkable price, even with a box, as I had never regarded that later shade as being particularly scarce. My 'order of scarceness' and hence value would be:

1 Copper
2 Sage green
3 Gold
4 Metallic silver-blue
5 Metallic blue with cream interior
6 Lemon-gold
7 Metallic blue with red interior

There are many variations of 'blue' in 7 but I have yet to distinguish any obvious groups. There seems to be a possible group in a deep blue-turquoise shade and another in just plain deep blue but one tends to merge into the other and I can't draw a strong enough line between them yet and, in any event, all the 'blues' (as opposed to 'silver-blues') are still the most likely models that you'll find, vastly outnumbering the others.

And do remember what I said in the earlier article about the rear wheel tyres!

Another Ghia also arrived today as I was writing this. It is the Ghia Mangusta De Tomaso which, despite only being around for about a year in this form, also has three notable varieties. Early editions have a Ghia logo on the bonnet which was replaced by a T (De Tomaso) logo at some point. There are also two types of chassis. One has an all steel engine unit, the other has a gold unit. 

I have one with the T logo and an original intact aerial in a good original box which will be added to the shop and listings in a few days.

The similarly short-lived 203 model with Whizzwheels is also due in soon and that will be the first of those that I have had with an original intact aerial too! It also will have a good original box. Although quite a lot more scarce, the Whizzwheels edition has yet to match the prices people are prepare to pay for the 271 model with an aerial. Without an aerial both remain cheap - at least until someone comes up with a good replacement that can be fitted reasonably simply.

The other Ghia models are the little Fiat 600 Jolly in Ghia form which has light and dark shades of metallic blue as well as a mid blue non-metallic finish for the 240 model and just the one yellow for the 242 model. All of these are expensive now. Then finally there is the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia 1500, the first Ghia from Corgi, which you'll find in cream, red and gold. There are yellow and red interiors for the gold model and the red may have cream or yellow. Finding models in good condition that still have the little brown case and the spare wheel is not that easy and the gold models seem the scarcest. To date I have only had fairly well-worn examples of the gold Volkswagen.

I have yet to find a lighter blue metallic Fiat Ghia Jolly and I have to say that I am not a great fan of the 240 model with its ridiculous roof! So the idea of paying more than a few pounds for the missing model goes against the grain. 

So you'll see that you could have quite a task on your hands if you decided to get a complete 'Ghia collection' together - and it is something that I have not achieved yet myself!

Monday 19 October 2020

Models you really wish you'd kept when you were young!

Three wonderful additions to my collection that may be available to buy. But warning: they're not going to be cheap!

211M Studebaker Golden Hawk
Nice working motor, original box.

205M Riley Pathfinder
Mechanical edition in red, working motor, original box.

273 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
  Golden Jacks edition in scarce late colour scheme, original box.

Wednesday 14 October 2020

More Spanish Delight From 1970s Alicante


Corgi got the rear lights right on the Adams Probe 1.6, one of their more attractive Whizzwheels offerings, but the Spanish Auto Pilen version just has more presence. Look at the deail in the wheels with the spinners nicely detailed in the wheel casting. 

The models really are almost exact copies. Apart from those rear lights - and I have no idea why the Spaniards did that - this is a fabulous item and only made me want to find more.

Probably the Corgi model of a production car that I dislike most has been the Mercedes C111. The heavy, little-detailed casting and round rather than sharp edges just made this so unattractive and the heavy orange paint only served to hide more detail and round edges even more. And that's without mentioning the ubiquitous and so inappropriate Whizzwheels.

Corgi did get the colour almost right, though, the only examples I have ever seen being in a metallic orange and certainly not metallic olive green. Nevertheless Auto Pilen have transformed the model with their lighter touch to the edges, paint that doesn't fill every crack and far more pleasant overall stance and appearance.

They even add jewels to the front, a nice touch, and a far more subtle logo. The headlamps pop up too!

Jewels at the back too and lower reflectors or fog lamps are in place.

The rear compartment also opens to reveal a detailed engine and the 'gull-wing' doors operate smoothly. This is another excellent model, surpassing by a long way what Corgi had done with the casting.

Next, another model I tended not to pay too much attention to. It was odd and the way those two characters were raised by opening the rear compartment always rather confused me as I am not sure that made it much more easy to get out after all. However, it was still well-made and was originally issued with reasonably decent red spot Whizzwheels. Now see what Auto Pilen managed to do with the casting.

They left out the passengers which was probably a good idea and let the seats stay in situ. Maybe the experimental car did have them raising in some way but I'm happy with it as it is.

You'll see that the two models are virtually identical, even down to the polished gold coloured panel and mirrors.

Lastly in this Spanish instalment, here are a couple of Chevrolet Sting Rays. It seems that Auto Pilen released a chrome edition of most (maybe all) of the models that I am hoping to acquire and here is their chrome Sting Ray, looking quite indistinguishable to a Corgi 310 model.

It has the same swivelling headlamp units and you'll also see that the chrome suffers from the same problem that many of the 310s did too, peeling off quite easily and leaving, in this case, a white plastic bumper which would often be bright yellow on the Corgi.

the nice thing about the Spanish version, though, is that it can be replaced easily without damaging the base which is simply attached by a couple of screws. I suppose you can, therefore, never be sure of a model's originality but that's a price I don't mind paying as this aspect also tends to maintain a lower price level across the range than for comparable Corgis.

Incidentally, not everyone will have noticed that the silver Sting Ray was also an Auto-Pilen! The opening doors give that away, and the red interior. The wheels, however, whilst slightly different to the Corgi are a pretty similar wire wheel type as on most 310 models.

I don't have a silver 310 in stock to compare with this but will add some photos just as soon as one comes along.

In the meantime, I am looking for the others that I listed as being likely candidates for using Corgi castings (or copies of them) and hope they prove to be as similar;y impressive as all that I have discovered so far.