By Kimmo Sahakangas
1975 AMC Pacer Sedan
AMC Pacer Wagon (Circle U version, "Civic" on baseplate, may not have been issued as Circle W)
1969 Cadillac Eldorado (Circle U version, "Eldorato" on baseplate, two wheel styles)
|The Wheeler story from last month described a series of approximately 1:66
scale exotic sports cars. The castings were identified as "Wheeler"
on the baseplate. Evidence of another Hong Kong series comprised of different
larger castings, at about 1:64 scale, identify "W" in a circle
imprinted on chromed plastic baseplates. Some of these were issued in "Road
Aces" blistercards identifying the Wheeler name. These same models
were available in a series that included many Universal castings by at least
two distributors: AMSI and Gordy. One more distributor of these "Circle
W" models was Myco and their series was also named "Road Aces".
The quality and the look of these models certainly do suggest that Universal was responsible. The Pacer sedan, Corvette and Mustang appear to be look-alikes of popular brands although I have not compared them side-by-side to their counterparts. The 1969 (headlights un-covered) Eldorado is curiously smaller in scale. In addition, the Eldorado and Pacer wagon are provided with opaque window glazing. The others are transparent and reveal an interior. Some of these models were provided with graphic labels that are still used to day. These can be found on Welly and Realtoy castings. Collectors know these dated graphics as "Flash", "Newport", and "Cosmos".
In the book, "Detroit in Miniature", Wieland and Force identify the Pacer sedan and Eldorado castings as Wheeler, or "Circle W" models. These were probably later changed to "Circle U" models. The "U" represents Universal and consists of many cars and trucks. Some of these were marketed alongside Kidco, UDC, and Nucor, to name a few. Hopefully, collectors will provide additional "Circle W" models to the list below. Mark Foster furnished the image of the AMC Pacer sedan.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette
1971 Ford Mustang
1977 Ford Pinto Van
1975 Maserati Merak
1974 Pontiac Firebird