by Doug Breithaupt
Silver Ghost - High Speed
Phantom I Roadster - Hot Wheels
Phantom 1 Roadster - Rhino
Silver Cloud I - Matchbox
Phantom V - Matchbox
Silver Cloud I - Matchbox
Silver Cloud I - Matchbox (World Class)
Silver Cloud III - Summer
Silver Cloud III - Impy Lone Star
Phantom VI - Tomica
Phantom VI - Yat Ming
Phantom VI - generic
|The history of Rolls Royce is one of the more interesting stories in automotive
lore. The 'Worlds Best Motorcar' is an appropriate topic as this story enters
a new phase with BMW now producing this famous marque.
In small-scale toy cars, the history of Rolls Royce is far from complete. With less than 20 individual castings, mostly thanks to Matchbox, it is clear that far too few Rolls have been produced in 1:64 scale. At the same time, the quality of some of these castings makes up for the lack of quantity. Perhaps with BMW in the picture and new models due soon, we will see more models in the near future.
High Speed begins the Rolls Royce story in diecast with a crude but identifiable Silver Ghost model. The Silver Ghost deserves better than this. Lledo did a very nice model but it is closer to 1:48 scale.
Few would pick Hot Wheels to produce a stock Phantom 1 Roadster from the early 1930's but that is the case. it is curious that this nice casting has seen so little use by Mattel since it's introduction 20 years ago. Perhaps a licensing problem occurred. The blue color here seems to be the only one ever offered. The Rhino model is a crude copy of the Hot Wheel.
The next model is #44a from Matchbox. This is the Silver Cloud I model and represents the first, 6 cylinder version of the Silver Cloud line. In 1964, #44b was offered, the Rolls Royce Phantom V. The Phantom V represents the top of the RR line for this period (image courtesy of Donald Major).
In 1985, Matchbox released a second model of the Silver Cloud in series II form. The series II was produced until 1962 and featured a V8 motor. This model also appeared in the World Class line, complete with 'FORTUNE' on the license plates.
Summer offered the Silver Cloud III, identified by dual headlights. The casting is crude and the tampos match but it is the only example of the '63-'66 Standard Saloon. A much nicer Silver Cloud III comes from Impy Lone Star. The Park Ward Cabriolet has opening doors, bonnet and boot and features the curious 'Oriental eye' headlights used on these models. Tomica offered one of their usual fine models of the Phantom VI. Opening doors and a crisp, elegant casting are Tomica trademarks. Yat Ming certainly liked the Tomica and did one of their 'too close copies' of this casting. A generic Asian casting is a further copy and pretty sad.
Matchbox offered the new Silver Shadow model in 1967 with an opening boot. In 1970, this casting gained Superfast wheels and metallic red paint. in 1969, the same Silver Shadow nose was used for the lovely Convertible Coupe, #69c, one of the first Superfast models. As a child this was one of my favorite Matchbox models and in my garden highways, shared time with the Citroen SM as my personal cars of choice. The blue metallic paint is still eye-catching although the tinted windshield was a curious choice. By comparison, Summers Silver Shadow Convertible Coupe is plain and very basic.
Hot Wheels also offered the Silver Shadow in their early models. This was a heavy casting and did well on the gravity track races. Ertl produced one of the nicest Silver Shadow models in their Replica series. The bonnet opens and shows the V8 motor. This same casting was later offered with a plastic base and non-opening bonnet. This casting was also copied by an Asian company, perhaps Universal, without interior. Playart produced the Silver Shadow Coupe and it even has the 'flying lady' on the radiator. Zylmex did the same car in the late 1970's (image courtesy of Mark Foster).
Matchbox returned to Rolls Royce in 1979 with the Silver Shadow II. The doors open on #39e and it look quite nice in silver. With the introduction of the new Silver Spur, Matchbox again produced the new model in 1990, #55n. It again offers opening doors and chromed, dish wheels. Under Mattel, Matchbox has failed to offer the new Rolls Royce model for the first time in their history, a real shame. Edocar of Holland also offered the Silver Spur. This appears to be a Maisto/MC casting but may have been an exclusive model to the Edocar range. Has anyone ever seen this as a Maisto model?
The most recent Rolls Royce model is one of the finest ever offered in small-scale. It is the Corniche and was one of the short-lived Deluxe Edition models from Majorette. Produced in both burgundy and tan, this model provides amazing detail. The bodies were special color-molded plastic and not painted. The opening doors include interior inserts, a first in 1:64 scale. The chrome grill, badging, bumper inserts and lights are individual pieces and the rubber tires have correct hub-caps. The dash is even detailed with a decal representing the wood inlays that would be correct for the Corniche. These models were sold on a chromed display, covered with a plastic dome (shown below).
It has been over 10 years since a new Rolls Royce model was done in 1:64 scale. Let's hope we don't have to wait much longer.
Silver Shadow - Matchbox
Silver Shadow - Matchbox (Superfast)
Silver Shadow Coupe - Matchbox
Silver Shadow Coupe - Summer
Silver Shadow - Hot Wheels
Silver Shadow - Ertl
Silver Shadow - Ertl copy by Universal?
Silver Shadow Coupe - Playart
Silver Shadow Coupe - Zylmex
Silver Shadow II - Matchbox
Corniche - Majorette
Silver Spur - Matchbox
Silver Spur - Edocar