Monday 31 May 2021

Corgi Toys @ 60: Chevrolet Corvair

June 1961 saw the Chevrolet Corvair appear on the toy shop shelves. This was quite a strange-looking model and the smaller scale used seemed to make it look very modest in amongst both the other American cars that had preceded it and even some of the British models. As you'll see at the end, though, despite the smaller scale of 1:47, this was, indeed, a less grandly-sized car in reality.

The model is #229 and lasted several years, starting with fixed small-size smooth wheels and then getting fixed shaped wheels until late models can be found with free-spinning wheels. This is the first model, after the Minis to get the smaller size of wheel and I think this adds to its rather diminutive stature. Illustrated above is a version with red interior, comparatively scarce, most have the lemon variety.

There is a range of shades of blue for this model, from a pale blue through to quite a deep, bright blue so several to look out for, especially with the different interior and wheel types.

Although not listed in the features on the box, there is a Venetian blind in the rear window. This was the first time this feature appears and it will get used again in a month or two for the Fiat 2100.

Later in 1961 a Golden Guinea Gift Set 20 is issued in small numbers through Marks & Spencer. Three cars are included with a gold-plated finish and the Corvair is one of them. The sets sold poorly, only 30000 or so according to the Great book of Corgi which makes this quite a scarce edition. However, they don't seem yet to have acquired much by way of scarcity value, all editions of this model seeming to be quite modestly priced, apart from the free wheel edition which is particularly hard to find.

Below is an illustration of a real one, courtesy of It looks quite small here too!

Saturday 15 May 2021

The Corgi Model Club: The Saint's Volvo P1800


Here is the third in the Corgi Model Club's programme of releasing models from the 1956-70s era. It is a really very impressive reproduction, especially as I believe the had to start from scratch with no old casting moulds to help them.

Everything seems to be exactly as it should be. My only criticisms are that the jewelled lights don't look quite right. they may be glass but the lack of matching facet cutting makes them appear more plastic and, although it hardly a fault, the silver and red paintwork is just too perfect!

It is a simple model and comes with just a box, including a valuable piece of stiffening card - and that would have been a good idea across the board for the originals - and a certificate. With mine numbered 012190 I suspect there will be plenty of these being produced! The question now is how much will we see people selling them for on Ebay!?

I have to say that I think this is £20 very well spent.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Corgi Toys @ 60: Fordson Tractor and Plough

 May 1961 saw the arrival of the first Fordson tractor, the Power Major model. This was much more interesting than the Massey Ferguson. You could steer it with the steering wheel - a super feature that added a lot of play value - and a very realistic lift mechanism was included at the back.

This mechanism was quite complicated and attaching the other issue in this month, a plough, was not that simple. Once you had figured out how to do it, though, it worked a treat.

This first Fordson Tractor had headlamps mounted on the outside of the radiator grille and the steering was not particularly realistic, being a simple axle that rotated around a central point. Three years later the model would get much better parallel steering on a model with the headlamps mounted inside the grille and a slightly revised rear mechanism.

Early issues had red metal wheels but these were quite quickly replaced by an orange plastic wheel.

The plough was finished in red, more suitable to a Massey Ferguson brand, but the attachment would not work on the earlier tractor so it had to be used with the Fordson. It had four yellow plastic shears. Like the tractor, this would be replaced too, in this case by a blue, much simpler type, with silver shears in 1964.

No Farmer George was included with this edition.