|Volume VII, Number 2|
Expanding the Collection
FEATURE CAR - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
After all, this is the car featured on every page of this Webzine. For many years I have watched for a decent example of the original Husky version. I was hoping to find one that did not require me to sell one of the real cars in my collection in order to add this classic to the collection. When I received an e-mail offering this model at a fair price, I did not hesitate.
This maketwo month in which my record price paid for a single toy car has reached new levels. Again, no regrets. When the right car at the right price appears, never hesitate.
Perhaps the recent re-issue of this model by Corgi has softened the market for the original. This may be true as the new casting is in many ways bettere than the original. Only the addition of the characters give the Husky version something not offered in the new model.
Somehow, this is a magic car, from it's abilities on land, sea and air to the famous GEN II number plate. One can also visualise the many hours of play-time offered by the features and figures in this model. The occupants of our fine four-fendered friend are truly the envy of all they survey.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Husky $25
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (re-issue) by Corgi
It's hard to beat the original but Corgi has done it with their recent re-issue of this famous car. The wheels have better detail, the bonnet features painted lines and belt and best of all, the metal body comes up and around the back seat, unlike the original.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sports Cpe - trade
Mercedes-Benz SL 500 - trade
Peugeot 206CC - trade
Peugeot 406 Coupe - trade
Porsche 928 - gift
1967 Cadillac Eldorado - trade
1963 Corvette C2 - gift
Nissan 350Z - $2.49
Mitsubishi Eclipse - $2.49
Mazda RX-8 - $2.49
Vantastic - gift
Jeep CJ6 - $2.00
Pontiac Solstice Concept - $.50
T.R. Terrific (Triumph TR8) - $.25
Yugo - trade
Corvette C3 - gift
Corvette C4 - gift
1965 Pontiac GTO - $2.99
Auburn Speedster - $1.00
Holden Torana - trade
ADDITIONS THIS MONTH
What a month! For the first time, I have run out of room to show all of the models that joined the collection in the past month. With a dozen images to load, my Web design application is out of memory for this page. Sure, I could fix that but perhaps this is a good sign that the rest can wait until next month.
I could easily select one of six or so models for the 'Car of the Month'. The Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG is one of the best new Siku models with excellent lines, inserted head and tail-lights, rubber tires and realistic details. The Swiss-only Sauber F1 race car is as close Siku has come to a collector model. How about the first new Polistil model in about 20 years. Sure it is actually made by Real Toy but that may be why this Alfa Romeo 156 Carabinieri is so good. Just about anything from Norev is worthy of nomination and even the delightful small-scale Yugo could be considered.
Perhaps my reputation as one of Hot Wheels' sharper critics helped make the final choice. When Mattel does a good thing, I'm happy to give them credit. Their collector version of the Ferrari 250 Testarossa showed how much good wheels and correct paint can improve a casting that has been around for 13 years. The model is painted to look like the car that won Sebring in 1958, Of course the HW casting is actually the 1957 model but I'm feeling generous. The only distraction worth noting is that the tires are undersized for the large wheel wells, designed of course for larger plastic wheels. Even so, the wheels look far more authentic and are the same ones used on the collector Jaguar 'D' type. Curiously, the original casting of 1990 was altered some time ago with a revised nose that is less correct.
A trade with a German friend finally brought some of the missing Welly models to the collection. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sports Coupe and SL 500 are quite good. The Peugeot 406 Coupe is also a very nice model. The Peugeot 206CC provided a surprise. If you look close you will note that the interior has been reversed! The seats face to the rear. To correct this mistake would require drilling the rivets and opening the model. I've decided to leave it as it is. As a reminder of what Welly used to be, the Porsche 928 shown here is a good example. This is a copy of the Tomica model and even has the opening doors.
One of the more unique models to arrive in trade is the Giodi version of a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado. The cabin has been shortened to a 2-seater, a variation not offered by Cadillac although Oldsmobile did do a Toronado concept car in this way. Giodi was better know for their larger scale models. This Italian company is no longer active.
Road Champs did some nice models years ago and the 1963 Corvette Stingray is one of them. All-diecast, the Vette features opening doors.
Jada's tuner models are much like those of Funline but with less detail or opening parts. The Mazda RX-8 is the best to my eye although the quality is just as good on the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Nissan 350Z.
Two older Matchbox came my way with the Vantastic proving that big motors and custom body-work are nothing new. The Jeep CJ6 was a nice find for just $2.
Maisto is the first to offer the soon to be produced Pontiac Solstice. The convertible will be the model built while Maisto has so far done the coupe version.
Kenner's Fast 111's did the T.R. Terrific, a Triumph TR8 custom. This can be one of the harder models to find from the Fast III's series. When I saw it for just a quarter, I was surprised and happy. That's the joy of toy shows.
What could be better than a Yugo made in former Yugoslavia? Thanks to Kimmo Sahakangas, I now have a Yugo in the collection. This model by GMK Metalbox is quite well done and the quality is equal to that of many large toy car companies.
The Tin Toys Corvette C3 has seen plenty of playtime but is still ready to roll, This and many other 'kid-tested' cars were given to me as a Christmas present from a friend who found a box full at a local garage sale. The Sohbi Corvette C4 is another that came from this surprise gift.
It's impossible to resist another numbered Johnny Lightning version of Hot Wheels' Spoilers. This time the 1965 Pontiac GTO gets #18. I'm still missing #10.
Rhino is another odd duck in the diecast world. Their simple model of the famous Auburn Boat-tailed Speedster looks more like the Ford-based replicas of the 1970's. The wheels seem to be Matchbox copies.
Another Beautiful Biante, the Holden Torana, came in trade courtesy of one of those generous Aussie collectors. It is great fun to discover these unique muscle cars.
At a recent toy show, a box of .25 cent cars included the Kenner TR8 mentioned above and the Hot Wheel Malibu Grand Prix model. I like the graphics on this race car as they look perfect for the early 1980's. Other new Hot Wheel models include the Gov'ner, a 1960's custom with a touch of Studebaker in the tail. This is a plastic bodied HW but it is also a very unique and period appropriate design. The regular-line version of the 'Batman Returns' Batmobile is much better than the generic Batmobile also released by HW. Another Lotus from HW is fine with me. This time the racing version of the Elise is offered in restrained graphics. The collector version of the Lamborghini Murcielago sports new wheels and little else to make it different from the regular-line model. The Meyers Manx dune buggy is another fun period piece and represents a real vehicle. Finally, the Rapid Transit is a modern update on the 1970 Hemi 'Cuda AAR.
Realtoy is currently producing some of the best budget diecast on the planet. It's no surprise that Polistil decided to have Realtoy product their new line of 1:64 scale models. The first is the Alfa Romeo 156 in police colors. This model is so far an exclusive Polistil offering and it is as good as anything from the major toy car makers. Perhaps the Polistil name can once again become known for great little cars. Realtoy's Mini Cooper, Ford Focus and Peugeot 206 are perfect examples of how Realtoy is raising the bar for $1 toy cars.
Any company that wants to know the secret to toy car success should look at Siku. Every year they continue to do what they have done since the early 1960's. A modest selection of new models are offered with care and consistent quality. Prices are realistic and customers are happy. Two new Mercedes-Benz models arrived recently. The E500 is a model that looks as solid and sober as the real car. The SL 55 AMG on the other hand is a striking version of the latest Benz SL in tuned form. Plastic headlights and tail-lights, correct badging and wheels and an excellent casting makes this one of the best from Siku. Rubber tires make it even better. Perhaps Siku is responding to new competition from Norev, who is also doing Mercedes-Benz models. Remco Natrop sent the Swiss exclusive Sauber F1 model my way. This model shows how good the Siku F1 castings are. Too bad that the other castings cannot receive realistic tampos too. Also received was the Rover Mini promo model for http://surf.to/siku. One click takes you to Remco's amazing Siku site.
Speaking of Norev, more great models came my way. How Norev has managed to do so much in so short a time is a story that should be told. Regardless, six more Renault models are shown here. The Laguna Break comes in stock and fire service colors. The Espace van also comes in stock and ambulance trim. The Megane Coupe is an innovative car and the Norev model is spot-on. The Megane 3-door model shows that the French are not afraid to be different, vive la difference! The Laguna sedan is more main-stream.
Norev is certainly challenging Siku for the rights to the 'realistic' Euro-market in toy cars. With Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW models out or on the way, Norev is not afraid to challenge Siku as the king of small-scale German cars. Lancia and Fiat are also Norev marques, joining Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. How far can they go with this concept? Will other diecast companies mount a challenge? If there is money in it you can bet Norev will not be allowed to corner this market for long.
Malibu Gran Prix - $.25
The Gov'ner - $.94
Batman Returns Batmobile - $.94
Lotus Elise racer - $.94
Lamborghini Murcielago - $2.99
Meyers Manx - $.94
Rapid Transit - $.94
Alfa Romeo 156 Police (Polistil) - Trade
Mini Cooper - trade
Ford Focus - trade
Peugeot 206 - trade
Mercedes-Benz E500 - trade
Mercedes-Benz SL 55 AMG - trade
Rover Mini - gift
Sauber F1 (Swiss special release) - trade
Renault Laguna Break - trade
Renault Espace Ambulance - trade
Renault Megane - trade
Renault Laguna Break fire - trade
Renault Megane - trade
Renault Laguna - trade