Volume VII, Number7

O F F - T H E - S H E L F

The following editorial reflects the personal thoughts of Doug Breithaupt relating to our common hobby of miniature cars. It is intended to generate discussion
relating to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail.

It's time for Bentley, Maserati and Volvo

We all have lists of real cars we would like to see as toy cars. You have seen my list before and I'm sure we will share our list again. There are three specific automotive marques that deserve our special attention.

The re-birth of Bentley is one of the great automotive stories today. While this cherished British company is now over 70 years old, for many years it languished as a less-glamourous sibling to Rolls Royce. In the 1980's, Bentley finally began to gain a new reputation for style and performance. With the purchase by Volkswagen, Bentley left the Rolls Royce marque to once again be seen as a unique company in it's own right. Success and outright victory at LeMans in 2003 for the Speed 8 was a very special moment and Bentley is once again the darling of entertainment and sports celebrities.

Bentley has never been the darling of 1:64 scale toy car makers. In fact, leaving out a few plastic 1:87 scale models, only one Bentley, the first Model of Yesteryear by Matchbox in 1:60 scale, actually qualifies. The 4.5 litre Le Mans winner is harder to find than the larger 1:53 scale version the Matchbox later produced for the same series. There are plenty of 1:43 scale and even several 1:18 scale Bentley models but no other small-scale diecast examples. Surely the original Bentley Continental R type or S type deserve to be done. The newer Mulsanne Turbo, Arnage and Continental GT would also be obvious choices. The 2003 Le Mans winning Speed 8 has to be done by someone. The original Speed Six and 8 litre models including the famous 'Blue Train' Bentley would also be most welcome. How Corgi, Matchbox, Impy or Budgie missed doing any more small-scale Bentley models is a real mystery. Perhaps it will now be Norev or Siku that finally help collectors fill this need.

Maserati is also back in good health. With new models and a racing program underway, the trident is once more pointing up. While Maserati has done much better than Bentley in the small-scale toy car arena, many of their best cars are still missing. The fact that the beautiful Ghibli remains un-done is beyond explaination. How did Polistil, Speedy and others miss this classic Maser. The Mexico and original Quattroporte are also missing while the Indy, Quattroporte III and 3500GT are barely represented. The Mistral, Bora and Merak are the most common Maserati models in 1:64 but have not been offered in many years. Hot Wheels is offering the new Quattroporte and perhaps we will see the new coupe and spider models as well. Racing success might be the best chance to see the new Maserati race cars.

Volvo has a strong following of owners and collectors, including U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Outside of the P1800, 245 and 760 models, few Volvo models in 1:64 scale have been done. Playart and Matchbox added a few and thanks to Hongwell and Siku, the newer Volvos are available. Where is the classic P4 or 122? Why have Hot Wheels, Tomica, Johnny Lightning or Racing Champions never done a Volvo? Where are the famous Volvo rally cars of the 1950's and 1960's? Volvo deserves more respect.

Let's hope the new success of these three companies will lead to more toy car models. A starring role in the next 'Fast and Furious' movie might not hurt either.

Bentley S3 - Praline (plastic, 1:87 scale)

Maserati Mistral - Hot Wheels

Volvo 245DL - Majorette