RAMBLER (US) 1902- 1913, 1950-1970
During the late
1800s, partners Thomas Jeffery and R P Gormally manufactured Rambler bicycles.
company was the second largest US bicycle producer.
Car manufacturing interest developed in 1900 to produce a motorized 4 wheel
vehicle. And by 1902, the efforts led to introduction of their first car;
sometimes called the Rambler or "G +J " car. The Rambler name
was accepted as the correct marque and production began in Kenosha Wisconsin.
This vehicle was advertised as "The right car for the right price" and
sales continued to increase up until the marque name change in 1914 . The Thomas
B Jeffery Co decided to rename their product as the Jeffery
which later became the Nash . In 1950 Nash resurrected the Rambler name
to use for their newly announced economical compact car line. This new Rambler
continued in production during the merger of Nash and Hudson . Both of these
name badges were used on the Ramblers that were produced during the establishment
of the emerging American Motors Corp. Thus there were many new Hudson Ramblers
in addition the the existing Nash Ramblers.
But after 1957, AMC dropped the Nash and Hudson monikers and all products
were called Ramblers until 1970. Even the top of the line Ambassador model
carried the Rambler badge!
But in 1970 the AMC cars were assigned new names such as AMX, Javelin
and Hornet and the Rambler marque was finally put to rest! Since then, AMC
was purchased by Chrysler Corp which then merged with Mercedes- Benz to
become DaimlerChrysler. Models of this marque in small scale sizes were
made by Johnny Lightning, Tootsietoy and Widea, plus plastic models by Minix.
1960 Rambler Rebel Wagon by Tootsietoy
RANGE ROVER (GB) 1970-PRESENT
The Land Rover division of British Leyland introduced the Range Rover
as a new kind of off-road vehicle with an emphasis on luxury. This formula
has remained successful for more than thirty years and three generations
of vehicles, the outward appearance of which has changed only very little.
As a section of the Land Rover company, Range Rover has survived several
bankruptcies and mergers, finally separated from the Rover passenger car
company in 2000 and nowadays belonging to Ford.
Small-scale models of the first generation Range Rover have been made
by Matchbox, Corgi, Hot Wheels and Siku in diecast and Herpa in plastic,
whereas models of the more recent types are available from Hongwell.
Range Rover - Siku
RELIANT (GB) 1953-2001
Reliant Engineering was founded in 1934 by Tom Lawrence Williams (from
the bicycle and motorcycle company Raleigh) in the town of Tamworth. The
firm started out making light three-wheeled vans, to which passenger car
versions were added after WW II. With the plastic-bodied Regal, Reliant
became the most important producer of three-wheeled cars in Europe. From
1964 onward four-wheeled cars were added to the range, including the Scimitar
sports wagon. In addition Reliant developed various cars to be produced
in other countries, such as Greece, India (Sipani, San), Israel (Sabra,
Rom) and Turkey (Anadol). In 1969 Reliant took over its main competitor
Bond. During the 1990s the company suffered a series of bankruptcies, which
led to the end of the four-wheeled sports cars in 1995, followed by the
end of three-wheeler production in 2001. Nowadays the company acts as the
UK distributor of microcars by Ligier and Piaggio.
The Corgi Juniors range included a model of a Reliant Scimitar concept
car designed by Ogle. While Corgi also made a model of the Reliant TW9 pick-up
truck, no small-scale models of three-wheeled Reliant passenger cars are
Reliant Ogle Scimitar - Corgi
RENAULT (FR) 1898-PRESENT
The company founded by Marcel, Fernand and Louis Renault in Billancourt
concentrated on light cars (voiturettes) originally, but quickly diversified
into various classes of motor vehicles, including successful racing cars.
Eventually it became one of the most prolific French producers of mid-sized
cars for the masses. After WW II Renault became a state-owned company, which
it remained until 1994. It enjoyed continuous success with a series of popular
small cars such as the 4CV, R4 and R5. Over the years Renault cars have
been made by subsidiary companies or under license in many different countries
such as Argentina (IKA), Australia, Belgium, Brazil (Willys-Overland), Bulgaria,
Canada, India, Iran, Ireland, Japan (Hino), Mexico, Portugal, Romania (Dacia),
South Africa, Spain (FASA), Turkey (Oyak) and the USA. In the USA Renault
controlled the AMC company from 1979 to 1987, at which date it sold out
to Chrysler and retired from the North American market while continuing
to compete elsewhere. In 1999 Renault took an important step to reinforce
its position in the world market by merging with Nissan.
As with the other French brands, the biggest variety of small-scale Renaults
is provided by Majorette and Norev, but many other producers have occasionally
made Renault models, e.g. Matchbox, Corgi, Hot Wheels, Guisval, Giodi, Polistil
and Universal Hobbies.
Renault 17TS - Majorette
REO (US) 1904-1936
This firm was originally called the R E Olds Co and was located in Lansing
Michigan. It was founded by Ransom E Olds who had just left the Oldsmobile
firm he had previously established. The company name for this new marque
was officially changed to REO Car Co later the same year! This name is derived
from the founder?s initials! These cars were successfully produced up until
the Great Depression. In 1928 a companion less expensive make was also offered.
It was called the Wolverine but did not succeed and production ceased the
following year. But the REO continued to be manufactured into the mid 1930s.
Their final offering featured bodywork from Graham. Although automobile
production ceased that same year, the company continued to produce buses
and large trucks for many years. In 1957, REO was purchased by White Corp.
And in 1967, REO was amalgamated with competitor Diamond T Trucks and the
new company became known as Diamond - REO . In 1971 this company was sold
and again became an independent truck manufacturer for a number of years.
In 1975 the firm was reported to have entered bankruptcy, but trucks made
as late as 1988 are shown for sale on different Internet sites. In 1996
at least part of the company was sold by Osterlund of Harrisburg PA to a
parts dealer trading as Bill Snyder in Somerset PA. It appears that this
firm met a very slow and depressing demise. The only known model of this
marque in small scale was made by High Speed with model # 210. It was offered
by Readers Digest as a promotional , but unfortunately is no longer in stock
at the present time.
RILEY (GB) 1899-1969
Riley started with bicycles in 1890 and moved then on to three-wheeled
motor vehicles. In 1902 the first four-wheeled Riley car was made. The company
concentrated on light cars including sports versions which enjoyed some
success in racing. In 1939 it went into receivership and became a part of
the Nuffield group, which in turn became a part of BMC in 1952. During the
following years Riley was gradually reduced to just another badge-engineering
brand under which the same cars were marketed which were also available
from Morris and Wolseley. Soon after the big merger of 1968 which created
British Leyland, the new group stopped using the Riley name.
The German company Lion Models produces handmade pewter models of the
Mini-based Riley Elf in H0 scale. The only other small-scale Riley we are
aware of is a plastic model of the 1930s MPH sports car found in Kinder
Surprise eggs, which is apparently a downsized copy of the larger Matchbox
ROLLS-ROYCE (GB) 1904-PRESENT
Car salesman Charles
Stewart Rolls and engineer Henry Royce founded their company in the town
with the aim of producing cars to the very
highest standards. The famous Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost became known as the "best car in the world" and
created a unique reputation which lasts to this day. From WW I onward the company
also made aircraft engines,
and this part of the business was to overshadow car production most of the
time. From 1921 to 1931 Rolls-Royce operated an American car factory in
Springfield, Massachusetts, the products of which did not differ much from
those made in England. In 1931 Rolls-Royce took over the Bentley brand,
and from 1933 onward cars made under both brands were very similar. After
WW II production moved from Derby to Crewe. The aircraft engine and car
businesses were separated in 1973, with the car business eventually being
taken over by the aircraft company Vickers in 1980. In 1998 the company
was sold on and split between the new owners VW and BMW. VW took control
of the Bentley brand and the factory at Crewe, whereas the Rolls-Royce brand
went to BMW, who started producing the new Rolls-Royce Phantom in a new
factory at Goodwood in 2003.
Small-scale diecast models of Rolls-Royce cars have mainly been made
by Matchbox, with others coming from Impy, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning,
Lintoy, Tomica etc.
1964 Silver Cloud III by Impy
ROSENGART (FR) 1928-1955
This firm was
founded at Neuilly-sur-Seine by Lucien Rosengart (who had been associated
Citroën and Peugeot before) to produce the
Austin Seven under license. This was only the starting point for independent
developments, and from 1933 onward a line of larger front-wheel drive cars
was added which were first based on the Adler Trumpf, later on the Citroën
11CV. Production of outwardly modernized versions of these cars was resumed
after WW II, but the quantities made turned out to be too small for production
to remain profitable. The last vehicle made at the Rosengart factory was
a microcar branded Marathon, which was not very successful either.
Matchbox made a model of an early Rosengart in 1992 as part of a three-piece
Models of Yesteryear set containing variations of the Austin Seven. Although
in 1:43 scale, these models are small enough to be regarded as small-scale
ROVER (GB) 1904-PRESENT
First established in 1861 at Coventry, this company originally made sewing
machines and bicycles. As a car producer, Rover made small and mid-sized
models with a focus on better quality yet higher prices and smaller quantities
compared with the competition. After WW II production was moved to Solihull.
In 1948 Rover broke away from its rather conservative image by introducing
the P4 series with drastically redesigned modern bodywork. At the same time
the Land Rover line of off-road vehicles came into being. Experiments with
gas turbine engines did not lead to production cars eventually. Another
radically new design was the P6 series introduced in 1964. After taking
over Alvis in 1966, Rover became a part of the newly formed British Leyland
group in 1968. Thanks to its quality image, Rover was the brand chosen to
eventually survive among many other formerly independent brands which were
by and by discontinued during the 1970s and 1980s. Thus the former Austin
factory at Longbridge turned into the main Rover factory. From 1982 onward
Rover collaborated with Honda but was taken over by BMW in 1994. Suffering
heavy losses, BMW gave up Rover in 2000. While the Land Rover section was
sold to Ford, the passenger car section became British-owned again for a
while and was eventually purchased by the Chinese Shanghai group in 2004.
While in the meantime cars made by Tata in India are sold under the Rover
brand in Europe, it is expected that these will be replaced by Chinese cars
in the future.
Small-scale diecast models of Rover cars have been made by Matchbox,
Corgi, Budgie, Playart, Giodi and others. However, this does not include
any models of cars from the post-Honda era, which are totally neglected
by the model manufacturers.
Rover P6 by Playart