Sunday 12 February 2023

Ferrari changes


Two Ferrari F1 models arrived this weekend. I hadn't really wanted two. I saw one at a reasonable price and bought it but, before paying, I had a look at what else the seller had available, something I usually do where the cost of postage of a single item is a hefty proportion of the value of the item and buying two or three items can spread that cost a little. On this occasion the chap had a second one which I had been following, better but at a higher price. Unknown to me at the time, he'd sent me an offer of quite a bit off which, coupled with what would now be effectively free postage, I couldn't resist. So I finished up with two 154 Ferrari F1s.

There's something nice about having several similar models side by side and I  often spend a while seeing if I can spot any differences. Usually I find nothing of particular note but today I had quite a surprise.

Firstly, the 36 decals caught my eye. I am quite fussy when it comes to font styles and get quite annoyed at whoever makes most of the repro decals for the Monte Carlo Gift Set 38 cars as they're quite wrong.  Here they're both 'right' but they're different. There is a larger gap between the sections of the numbers, most noticeable at the top right of the number 6. At first I thought it might be due to the transfer breaking up but that is not the case. It is a different product.

Secondly, the Ferrari badge is larger on the model with the broken transfer.

The model on the left is a late production, evidenced by the type of tyres that are fitted. This model did, in fact, have a remarkably long run, lasting from January 1963 all the way through to 1972. It is understandable, therefore, that there would have been changes along the way to things like transfers.

What I did not expect was a difference in the body itself. It took a while but eventually I had to conclude there is, thirdly, quite a big change in the shape of the nose of the car. The newer model is slimmer and there is a more obvious casting line.

Finally I thought I'd better have a look underneath and, at first, thought they were pretty much identical. Then I saw the two rectangular shapes on the rear axle of the newer edition. That's difference number 4.

I am aware that tyres can simply be switched so they may not be totally firm evidence of one model being later than the other but I would be prepared to bet that they are original and will amend my catalogue entry and it was only last month that I celebrated the Ferrari's 60th birthday with a brief summary, believing it to have remained the same throughout its life.

Thursday 9 February 2023

The Corgi Model Club: Ford Zephyr Motorway Patrol


Here's the latest issue from the Corgi Model Club, the #419 Ford Zephyr Motorway Patrol car.

It is a nice model to hold and sits quite purposefully on the table, although the suspension wires holding the axles seemed to allow more movement than usual on my model before any resistance was felt. Apart from the size of the text on the front POLICE transfer, however, this model is really hard to fault.

It really is one of the best 'copies' so far in terms of accuracy. The wheels on all the free-spinning shaped wheel models produced still don't look quite the right design and this is accentuated by the very new-looking bright axle ends which are unfamiliar to collectors like me who seldom see perfect shop-fresh stock. That is a minor matter, however.

The font for CORGI TOYS on the base is a bit large this time. I don't remember it standing out as so obviously different with previous issues but I may just have missed that. However, as the base gives the whole game away anyway, I'm not too bothered about what's there.

In the package is the usual Certificate of Authenticity and a shiny but otherwise very good box with a single piece of foam to protect the blue lamp on the roof.

The original was issued in August 1960 but the original version of this example with shaped, free-spinning wheels would be more likely to have been produced at the factory a couple of years later. This was also the first Zephyr Estate to be issued. The saloon would not appear until February 1961. I expect that will also be on the list for future Club issues, requiring only a little adjustments to the casting. Having said that it may well be the case that the Chinese teams are so efficient that they can knock out a completely new cast faster than it would take to adjust an old one. 

Friday 3 February 2023

Corgi Toys @ 60: More Volkswagens


The new arrivals in February 1963 were both from Volkswagen. First the 433 Delivery Van gets 'Trans-o-lite' headlamps, a coat of light blue paint and a big advert for Toblerone chocolate on the side. One has to assume that the chocolate company will have contributed generously to the Corgi coffers for this bit of advertising! A popular model with collectors, there are no known variations of the 441 model. It has free-spinning wheels and a lemon interior, left-hand drive.

The other model was the Volkswagen 1500 Karman Ghia, a stylish two-door car which in real life is highly sought-after now. The 239 model had an opening bonnet where a small plastic briefcase was stored and there was a spare wheel slotted in vertically at the front. At the back, the engine compartment had not only the outer lid that could be opened but also a clear plastic cover which could be lifted up too.

It always has free-spinning wheels and can be found in cream with a red interior and red with a lemon interior as well as two scarcer gold issues, one with yellow interior and one with red.