Wednesday 28 July 2021

Transition and export edition in 1971


Two lovely models arrived from Germany today. Each illustrates how the words transition and export edition add massively to the value of a Corgi model. And they each happen to come from the same era around 1971.

I now have two of the 'transition' 387 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray models available. Both are the metallic blue colour. I have still to find one in pink, the one in my collection just having the rather sad 'blobs' in the holes

One is now for sale, therefore. A very scarce item and in superb condition with both plastic roof panels in place.

From my friend in Germany also comes this super VW 1200 ADAC edition, only available as an export edition in some European countries for a short period in 1971. This one is in very nice condition and has all the original stickers, which have usually fallen off or become damaged over the last 50 years! 

Both these models arrived today and, despite having the dreaded Whizzwheels, will find a place in my display cabinet!

Corgi Model Club: the next issues

The next issues of 'new old Corgi Toys' will be:

417 Land Rover Breakdown Truck

325 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback Competition

271 Ghia Mangusta De Tomaso

224 Bentley Continental Sports Saloon

It remains to be seen which version we get of the Mustang but I expect it will be the wire wheels edition and without the red sill stripe. But chalky blue or chalky green interior? Original or revised rear shelf? Numbers in the box to apply if we wish?

There were just two variations of the Ghia - so will it be the original 'Ghia' logo on the bonnet or the later 'T' type? I am aware that the box will have a header card too, a scarce item that I don't think I have ever seen for sale to date. I can see that being detached and buyers may need to be particularly aware of the possibility of these being sold with 1969 issue boxes as the real thing, such is the quality of the form's new production. However, to date their boxes have been noticeably reproduction and I don't mean because of the 'China' panel but the printing process gives an unnatural sheen to the finish that is clearly not from the 1960s. Perhaps the header card will also suffer this fate and, therefore, not be so readily sold at a vast sum later this year.

The Bentley Continental will be the green and cream (or maybe very pale pea green with pale green or even white with pea green!) edition, not the black over silver one. I think i would have said do the latter as the 'classier' finish but there is also something particularly 60s and Corgi about the green and cream which does make it quite iconic.

We are also told that the 261 James Bond Aston Martin is to be produced. If the above four models, as I believe they will, come in August, September, October and November then that may leave December free for the Christmas buying period and, if they do get the timing right, we may see many old people getting a repeat Christmas present! I am a little surprised, though, that this model is being included because Corgi already have a plethora of similar models. There have been several gold editions produced, including metallic gold paint finishes as opposed to the obviously different gold-plated ones. However, all these have had the revolving number plates and tyre slashers which 261 did not have and they are based on a revised casting to correct the 'DB4' mistake of the original issue. So a re-issue of the 261 as an exact copy will be a new item and I suspect it will be very popular and should ensure the series is well-funded to continue to what I will personally find more interesting in 2022 when they look at possibly making variations of existing models to make more money from their castings as well as more new models.

While these issues remain available directly only to UK buyers, I do have spares of all the issues to date available as a colleague decided not to keep his and these can be shipped anywhere abroad. 

Monday 26 July 2021

Minis 4 My Birthday

It's my birthday today so here's a post on one of my favourite Corgis. The little Austin Seven, as it was first named in 1959, first appeared as a Corgi model in January 1961 when it was listed as an Austin SE7EN. By then the actual car's name was being changed to Austin Mini but Corgi's stayed as Austin se7en on the box. In catalogues it started as an Austin 7 Saloon in the 1960 catalogue, where it appears in primrose, a scarce early colour and without any 'Available Later' tag despite not being in the shops, according to the Great Book of Corgi, until 1961. I wonder now whether that launch date is right?

It stays, somewhat inaccurately, as an Austin 7 Saloon in the 1961 catalogue but is now red and it remains red in future catalogues but with just the name Austin 7 in the 1963, 1965 and 1966 catalogues, disappearing in the 1967 one, somewhat later than the Great Book's suggestion of withdrawal in 1965.

It starts with fixed smooth wheels, then gets fixed shaped wheels and finally free spinning wheels from around 1963.

I happen to have just four models on my desk this morning and each is different, something which makes these models quite interesting to collect.


You'll see that these are, from left to right,

  • type 1a text on angled sides, holes in base
  • type 1c text on angled sides, no holes in base
  • type 2a text all on flat surface, no panels
  • type 2b text all on flat surface, no panels, post near sump.

These have free spinning wheels except for the first which has smooth fixed wheels. The base types are the most frequently encountered and I have written more about these across the mini range, for which there is a link on the front page of the news blog.

To the best of my knowledge, all the Austin minis have the first type of body, Type 1 which shows smooth front wings as the most obvious of several casting features. Type 2 of the Mini body has a distinct horizontal line and angle line on the side of the front wings and this can be seen on the later Morris editions. If, as I believe, this casting began to be used in around 1966 then it would seem that production of the Austin would have ended earlier. However, it remains something I always look out for, like the 226 mistakenly painted red and 225 mistakenly painted blue which do appear from time to time.

I only have a US 1960 catalogue to hand but the 1961 catalogue prices it at 3/5d whereas the 1966 catalogue has it at just 3/3d.

The one box that I have shows the higher price of 3/5d. Later catalogues, however, all have the 3/3d price for both the Minis.

Friday 23 July 2021

Six shades of Ghia L6.4


Having had to get the boxes out to check the text for the previous article I had to take a photograph of the six different models I have at this time.

There are one or two missing - a metallic blue in the deeper shade with red seats. That's actually the commonest too so I must try and find one and retake the picture.

The lemon gold edition also has two varieties, one with bright yellow interior and another with a sort of fudge colour. I had originally thought that the bright yellow faded to fudge or milky coffee in the daylight over the years, but it seems this may not be the case.

The lemon-gold edition and later editions of some blue models have a different base and there are two sizes of dog in the rear window. I have yet to figure out when either of these changes was made.

A tale of two boxes


We start with a box for the 241 Ghia L6.4 but there's no mention of the dog. The illustration of an opening door is a bit strange too but I can only guess that the poor fellow was told that he also had to show the folding seat backrest!

On the other side there are some helpful lines and numbers which he forgot on the first side and a rather more attractive and realistic model illustration.

So far so good. OK. let's add the dog.

Er . . . 8 is a driving mirror as well as a wheel and the suspension is at the back somewhere? (Actually, bearing in mind how many of these models would lose their front suspension after a few weeks, this would have been strangely prescient it it had been deliberate!)

I was hoping to show you a box with the correct 1 -9 special features but none of mine have them right. What they did do, however, was delete the list on the side with the open door. Now, that was actually correct; it just lacked the dog. This is the other side of the second box.

Does anyone have a third correct box? I am sure it must have been changed as these were sold in massive numbers and stayed in production from 1963 to 1969, a long time, the model getting a different base and stronger suspension and, last of all, in 1967 a new shade of yellow-gold with cast wheels. I'm sure it must've had a new box along the way.

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Cast wheels on a pale blue Buick Riviera!


So the hook's broken and this Buick Riviera has been well played-with, for sure, but look - it's got cast wheels! These are almost unknown on the pale blue model. Usually it is just the late turquoise blue and some normal metallic blue models that have them. They're not that common on the gold editions but really scarce on the pale blue.

I would not have even known they existed if it had not been several years ago when I saw them on an immaculate edition in an original Riviera Gift Set. I tried very hard to buy the set but someone else clearly had seen what I'd seen and I had to drop out when the bidding went past £500 for the set. Add auction fees and heaven knows how much for postage and something approximating to packing and there'll have been little change out of £650 for a set which would usually peak at around half that, and that would be on a good day for the seller.

Since that disappointing experience I have looked high and low for another and finally I am the proud owner of a pale blue Riviera with cast wheels. And a broken hook and grotty paintwork, but I don't care.

The screens are clear and undamaged and the suspension is sound. The Trans-o-lite tubes are all OK and there's even quite a bit of chrome left on the bumpers. That'll do for me.


Saturday 17 July 2021

The Corgi Model Club: Lotus-Climax F1 Racing Car


The fifth new 'old' Corgi is now being sent out to those who have ordered it in the UK. It is another remarkably good reproduction and I cannot see anything to distinguish this from the original (apart from the very shiny axles and Made in China on the base!)

As I have remarked for previous issues, this is almost too perfect. One almost needs to find a blemish in the casting or crack in the Racing Number transfers! 

Above is my original. This has exhausts that point up slightly whereas the new one has them parallel. I suspect that that is a result of time and play on mine. The only other difference I can detect is the slightly better defined eye protection / goggles on the driver.

The packing is a rather too shiny, but otherwise accurate, box with the usual 'CE' data on one panel. There is a stiff piece of card that wraps around the front and a piece of polystyrene-like material to protect the rear end.

The flaps are annoying and I really would prefer that the production people revert to the original box style. These flaps incorporate two slits which provide a locking effect but this, in turn, makes them extremely difficult to open without damage in the area of the slits. I can understand that they like cars to stay in the boxes whilst being moved around and the simpler style of folding flaps are more likely to come undone but just how much a problem is this in reality?

The only other item in the large box in which this is delivered is the square Certificate of 'Authenticity'.

I am inclined to take issue with this text but somewhat reluctant as one would assume that the people involved with this project know a lot more than I do. However, it states that this model was 'deleted in 1975' whereas I have always considered that the 158 model replaced it in 1969. I wonder whether the producers have simply noted that a 'Lotus-Climax' was produced through to the 1970s and it would be the last of the model with this name that ended in 1975. I have 1973 as the end date for the 158 model but larger scale models followed.

My certificate is numbered 004254 which would seem to imply that a significant quantity of these has been produced and there is no clear maximum being produced. Even 4000+ collectors, if they really have started at 000001, must be encouraging for this venture.

Friday 9 July 2021

E Type Jaguar


The 307 and 312 models of the E Type Jaguar are classic Corgi Toys. The first issue was in either plum red or dark metallic grey and appeared in March 1962. It had a detachable hard top which was made of quite delicate plastic and many got broken. 

In September 1964 a little more life was obtained from the casting when plated edition was issued. this had a black interior in place of tan, a racing stripe with racing number 2 and wire wheels. It was only the second model to be issued with wire wheels at the outset, the first being the Buick Riviera a few months earlier. I have always thought that these should also have been fitted to the 307 model and I am sure that would have also continued to sell well.

Although you can now buy replacement hard tops in black, which do look extremely smart, especially on the dark grey model, only the plum red flavour was available at the time.

There are not many variations with this model. The 312 can be found in either silver or pale gold, very much like the Studebaker Golden Hawk (although the plating is a quite different process with the E Type which seems thinner and it has remained smooth and not become roughened or corroded).

The 307 can be found without the 307 model number on the base, presumably in later editions. The model number is missing from all the 312 issues and they also have an extra rivet to retain the base.

The 312 was issued with a driver - the same chap with a blue hat that you will find in the 318 Lotus Elan boxed issue and, I think, the Marcos 1800GT.

In June 1968 Corgi would release the 2+2 model, first with a 4.2 litre engine and later, with Whizzwheels in 5.3 litre form. Although it had an array of features I never found it as an attractive model as the earlier issue and it also always struck me as too big. You couldn't park the two models net to each other as they simply looked odd. In fact the 1968 issue is said to be 1:43 scale, whereas the 1962 and 1964 issues were rather smaller at 1:46. What may sound like a small difference is actually quite marked.

I shall deal with the later issue another day. I just happened to have the five shown here on my desk today and felt inclined to write about them. I may be able to copy and paste this in March 2022 for its 60th Anniversary! Perhaps by then I will have found one of the 307s without the model number on the base. So far those that I have seen have been immaculate models in boxes at high prices but I am sure there will be others and it does not appear to be a particularly scarce variety. Less common, certainly, but not dramatically so.

Thursday 1 July 2021

Corgi Toys @ 60: Ford Consul Classic and a Chipperfields Gift Set


July sees the Ford Consul Classic arrive in our local toy shops. Number 234 in the catalogue and featuring an opening bonnet. Indeed, an automatic opening bonnet! I wouldn't have wanted this in real life, slam on the brakes and the bonnet flies up! I had enough trouble with a loose catch on the Wolseley 1500 I had in 1971 which would occasional fly open when I least expected it!

This is quite an easy model to collect. They're all the same colour - a strange shade of cream with a strange shade of red roof. This edition also has a lemon yellow interior. the only variation will be the wheels. This was first issued with fixed shaped wheels. In fact, I think it was the first model not to be issued with smooth fixed wheels. Later in its production it gets the free spinning variety. These seem to be a lot less easy to find than the fixed type but not uncommon.

Unlike the Standard Vanguard III, the change of wheel types did not come with a change of roof paint pattern. Withe the Ford, the red shade is always just on the roof, never stretching down the pillars.

Another interesting feature is the base, which, in all models I have encountered, is a cream colour similar to the body. Like the Plymouth Sports Suburban which can occasionally be found with a cream base but, unlike the Plymouth, this does not appear to have ever had a grey base which is a little surprising.

Later in the year this will be the third model to be included in the Golden Guinea Gift Set 20. For that it will get a gold (or silver) finish and a red interior but, unlike the Chevrolet Corvair, you won't find a Ford Consul Classic in its normal colours with a red interior very easily. I am pretty sure there are some out there - a seriously scarce Corgi variation, but not one I have yet seen myself.

The other item issued in July was Chipperfields Circus Gift Set 12. Nothing new here, just the earlier issue Circus Crane Truck and a Trailer Cage unit selling at £1 3s 4d. Those of us still vaguely familiar with our old British currency will see that this is a 1/- discount on the combined prices of 12/10d for the Truck and 11/6 for the Cage. Others will think I have had a glass or two to much wine when writing this article.

Both maybe right.