Volume VII, Number 5

Pennys From Italy (Part 2) - Formula 1 Racers and Their Many Rebirths
story and images by Craig Mueller

The Penny F1 models consisted of 15 different models numbering from 0/1-0/15. As mentioned in "Part 1", models 0/1­0/10 were released in 1967 with 0/11­0/15 following the next year. Twelve of the fifteen models are shown below. The following models are not shown; 0/11 Brabham Repco, 0/14 Eagle Westlake 12 cil., and 0/15 Lotus BRM H 16.

0/1 BRM­V8

0/2 Lola­Climax

0/3 Lotus-Climax

0/4 Ferrari

0/5 Brabham

0/6 Cooper Maserati

0/7 Eagle Tig

0/8 BRM H 16

0/9 Ferrari 36 V

0/10 Honda

0/12 McLaren Ford 8V

0/13 McLaren Serenissima 8 cil.

These models commonly came packaged in either an enclosed cardboard box or in a window box, which displayed the racer in a track-like setting (figure P). There were also less common five car track sets which featured either numbers 0/1­0/5, 0/6­0/10, or 0/11­0/15 in each set. The catalog photo shows all three (Figure Q) with two racers in motion as a back drop, but the actual photo (Figure R) of set 0/1­0/5, features more of a pit crew scene, suggesting multiple releases of sets. Also seen in Figure R, is a page from the catalog featuring an actual photo of a race about to start, adjacent to the 0/1­0/3 1:66 scale models.

Eight of the original Penny F1 models were "reborn" under various names by various companies, and this will be the focus of the remainder of the article. The eight models are; Cooper Maserati, Ferrari 36 V, BRM H 16, Lola­Climax, Eagle, Honda V12, Ferrari, and Lotus­Climax (see Figure S). As many of these "oddball" brand's packaging offer no indication of age, and since many of these brands continued for years, overlapping other brands, they will be presented here in no particular order.

Mego released the eight models in 1968 under the "Jet Wheels" and "Jets" names and featured an 8201­8208 numbering system. Soon to follow was the "Super Speedy brand featuring the plastic garage similar to the Megos (Figure S) and shared the same numbering system. These were the only known F1 models with sticker hubs, as opposed to the Mego two-piece hub. Both Megos and Super Speedy models were made in British Hong Kong.

Another British Hong Kong made release of the eight F1's was the "Minibox" packaging (Figure T). They featured the identical 820* numbering system as the Megos, but had the same rubber tires and silver hubs of the original Penny models. Other than the packaging, the only distinctions from the Pennys are the base verbiage and color.

Zee or Zylmex had numerous releases of the eight models in various packaging. Earlier releases say "Zee Dyna­Mite" on the bases, whereas later models have "Zylmex". Figure U shows some of the more interesting packaging including a German release, but there were countless other types of packaging for these models including Dyna­Mites, Dart Wheels, Wind Racers, Dyna wheels etc. All releases appear to be made in Hong Kong and there were at least four unique wheel types (Figure U). There were various Zee/Zylmex numbering systems including 8301-8308, 1-8, and D1-D8 and these models were sold in many other countries including Japan.

Another unique release was by a company names AHM with a series name "Miniracer" (Figure V). They were made in Hong Kong and distributed out of Philadelphia. They had the same rubber tires as Penny, but had different hubs and had a unique 001-008 numbering system.

Remco Industries released their Hong Kong made line under the "Racing Wheels" name (Figure W). I have continuously found only the same four models, but cannot say for sure that is all that were made, and I have yet to find one packaged. They have a R10* numbering system and plastic two pieces wheels. To the best of my knowledge, besides the F1's, Remco only made the four different colored Monkeemobiles with the similar wheels.

An extremely rare release was the "Mitey Mite Zip Car" distributed from New York and made in Hong Kong (Figure X). They have a two-piece plastic hub similar to early Zee and use the R10* numbering system.

Yet another interesting release was from the "Lincoln International" company under the "Pocket Pack Series" name (Figure Y). Interestingly, some of these models were made in Hong Kong and some were made in New Zealand. The Hong Kong models had clear plastic box lettering and a 1-8 numbering system, whereas the New Zealand models had gold lettering on the clear box and a R10* numbering system. Both countries versions featured two piece wheels and tires similar to early Zee and Zip Car.

Figure Z shows a Spanish made release named "Redondo" featuring a 1-8 or higher numbering system. I say maybe higher because the red Eagle Westlake pictured, is not one of the common eight rebirths, unlike the yellow Ferrari. For all I know, they may have done all fifteen Penny models. They featured rubber Penny-like tires but a unique copper colored hub and came in cardboard, as well as, clear plastic boxes.

As you can see from Figure ZZ, these Penny copies had various different tire and wheel types. There are bound to be many more brands and packaging than what was covered in this article, since these Penny casts were clearly reborn many times over the years. Covered here, are mainly the releases from the late 60's and early 70's, but I am sure there were releases well beyond.

Feel free to contact me for discussion, trade, or sale of these and other obscure diecast, especially Jet Wheels, at the following:

PHONE: (972)-731-0495  (Frisco, Tx.)

Classic Miniature Vehicles Made in Italy by Dr. Edward Force, Schiffer Publishing -1992
Pennys from Italy By Doug Breithaupt,

figure W - Remco Racing Wheels

figure X - Mitey Mite Zip Car package

figure Y - Lincoln International

figure Z - Redondo package and cars

figure ZZ - Wheel variations

figure P - Penny packages

figure Q - Penny catalog

figure R - Penny display and catalog

figure S - Mego Jet Wheels

figure T - Minibox Package

figure U - Zylmex releases

figure V - Mini Racer package