Volume VIII, Number 4


by Dave Weber and Christian Falkensteiner, images by Doug Breithaupt

It?s now "T time" for A-Z! A question has developed. When is a production car an actual marque instead of a model name only (?) This problem appeared with our review of all possible marques for this section. The Argentinean Torino produced by IKA is such an example of this dilemma! But since the Torino was manufactured before Renault took over IKA , perhaps Torino should be considered as a separate marque. One of the main source books used for this review edited by expert G N Georgano (1981) does include this product to be in the same category as Jaguar and Bugatti, etc.

TALBOT (FR/GB) 1903-1959, 1979-1985

The Talbot name was was first used on cars made by the French Clement company for sale in Great Britain. Soon thereafter production commenced in London as well. In 1919 the company was merged with Darracq of France, and one year later Sunbeam of Great Britain joined the group, which continued to use the Talbot name for both French and British products. In the 1930s the group was split, and the British part joined the Rootes group, which eventually dropped the Talbot brand in favor of Sunbeam. Talbot of France continued as an independent company led by Anthony Lago and produced a range of expensive luxury cars fitted with custom bodies. This company, which was sometimes referred to as Talbot-Lago, was taken over by Simca in 1958, and the brand was then discontinued. Both Simca and the Rootes group were later purchased by Chrysler.

In 1978 Peugeot took control of all European factories formerly run by the Chrysler company in France, the UK and Spain, and decided to replace the Chrysler name with the re-born Talbot brand. The descendants of former Simca, Hillman and Sunbeam cars were then by and by pushed aside by Peugeot's own products.

Small-scale models of classic French Talbots have been made by Hot Wheels and Yat Ming. In the early 1980s Norev issued a few models of contemporary Talbots.

1937 Talbot-Lago - Hot Wheels

TALBOT-MATRA (FR) 1979-1984

The sale of the European Chrysler brands to Peugeot and their renaming to Talbot also affected the joint venture Matra-Simca, which was consequently renamed Talbot-Matra. Two different lines of vehicles were produced under this brand: the sports car Murena and the unusual pseudo-off-road vehicle Rancho, which had started life as a Matra-Simca. After a few years Matra departed from Peugeot and developed the Espace minivan for Renault, but the Matra name did not appear on production cars anymore.

While there is no small-scale model of the Murena, the Rancho was made by Corgi, Matchbox and Siku.

Talbot-Matra Rancho - Corgi

TATRA (CS/CZ) 1920-1998

The ancestor of this company was a factory producing railway cars and horse-drawn carriages which had been founded in the town of Nesselsdorf in 1850. It first fitted an engine to one of its carriages in 1897, which led to the occasional production of motor cars branded Nesselsdorfer. When the formerly Austrian region became a part of Czechoslovakia after WW I, the town was renamed Koprivnice, and the company was renamed Tatra. Designed by Hans Ledwinka, Tatra cars were distinguished from their competition by unusual features such as air-cooled engines and single-tube chassis. In 1934 the Tatra 77 was introduced featuring aerodynamic bodywork and an eight cylinder engine mounted in the rear. All subsequent Tatra passenger cars followed this concept. After WW II Tatra was nationalized and concentrated on truck production, but continued to make its luxury cars in small quantities alongside the trucks, mainly for government use. When the Czech market was opened after the end of the Communist regime in the 1990s, car production was no longer economically viable and was eventually discontinued. Tatra trucks are still made nowadays though.

While there are some small-scale plastic models of Tatras (e.g. Wiking's Tatra 87), it is almost impossible to find a small-scale diecast version. The Hong Kong company HW featured a picture of what seems to be a Tatra 87 in one of its blister pack designs, but it is unclear if this model was actually put into production.

Tatra - HW

THOMAS (US) 1902-1919

The E R Thomas Motor Co was located in Buffalo NY. This firm initially produced the Autotwo in 1899. Then they only produced engines until 1902. But they did provide licensing to the Buffalo and Auto-Bi Co to produce light cars and motorcycles during this period of time. But in 1902 Thomas took control of production of the Buffalo operations and introduced their first touring car in 1903. In 1905 it was renamed as the Thomas Flyer. This car is known as the winner of the famous New York to Paris Race in 1908. Also in 1906 Thomas introduced a less expensive companion marque called the Thomas-Detroit which was produced in Detroit Mich. Production of this second marque ceased 2 years later when it became the Chalmers-Detroit. Hugh Chalmers had bought a large portion of controlling stock from Thomas and this part of the firm became the Chalmers-Detroit Motor Co. This firm in turn was taken over by Maxwell in the early 1920s. In actuality it was a predecessor to the newly founded Chrysler Carp; now known as DaimlerChrysler. The only known model of the Thomas in small scale was made by High Speed. It was only available as a promotional by Readers Digest and unfortunately is no longer available. However Matchbox Yesteryear Models also issued a replica of this marque - but it is quite a bit larger than the scale size parameters we previously set for this series of articles.

Thomas Flyer - High Speed


Industrias Kaiser Argentina (IKA) produced a diverse collection ofautomobiles that evolved from designs from other countries. In 1966 IKA intrduced this car as a companion to the existing Carabela ( formerly the Kaiser Manhattan from the US).

The Torino design showed influence from the AMC Rambler American but the grille and some other identifying features differed. This is explainable since both cars were designed by Pininfarina in Italy. In 1968 IKA partnered with Renault and the firm became known as IKA-Renault. But by the early 1980s Renault became the sole owner and all previous production lines were discontinued. The only known model of this car was produced by Buby in Argentina in the late 1970s.

Torino - Buby


The Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, previously established in 1926 began experimental production of automobiles in the mid 1930s. Their first production models were a Tourer and 4 door sedan reminiscent of the Chrysler Airflow styling. Following WWII, the cars were marketed with the Toyopet trademark. Later the Toyota name was first used for exporting identification. Production was successful and new models were introduced to enhance export sales. These included the Crown and Corona. In 1966 the Hino enterprise was absorbed and a year later they acquired Daihatsu. By 1980 Toyota had usurped Chevrolet as the world?s largest maker of private cars. Manufacture and assembly plants were reported to be located in 40 foreign countries. During the 1990s, Toyota entered into a joint venture with General Motors in the US to produce Geo Prizm cars to be sold by US Chevrolet dealers. These cars showed slight design modifications from the regular Corolla line which was produced in adjacent assembly lines. The firm is called NUMMI. The New United Motors Manufacturing Inc is located in Calif. With the discontinuance of the Geo line, Nummi is now producing a Pontiac Vibe SUV / SW Crossover vehicle adjacent to the Toyota Matrix. Models of Toyotas in small scale have been produced by almost all known toy producers at one time or another. Included are Tomica, Motor Max, and many others. With the advent of the "Tuners" models Toyota sports cars are very plentiful.

2004 Toyota Celica - Welly

TRABANT (GDR/GE) 1955-1991

The Trabant was made in the former Horch factory at Zwickau and replaced the last of the IFA cars based on pre-war DKW designs, carrying over their two-stroke engine. It was destined to become the East German people's car. The P50 and 600 models led to the 601 which was introduced in 1964. For political reasons this car ceased to be developed any further and remained mostly unchanged well into the 1980s. In 1988 the two-stroke engine was replaced by a four-stroke engine licensed from VW, but following the German union of 1989, the car proved unable to compete against the much more modern products of other companies in the now open market. Eventually the Trabant gave way to the VW Polo.

Small-scale Trabants are available from Maisto in diecast metal and from Herpa and others in plastic.

Trabant - Maisto

TRIUMPH (GB) 1923-1984

This company was founded in Coventry in 1883 by German immigrant Siegfried Bettmann. It made bicycles and added motorcycles in 1902. Production of light cars began in the early 1920s, and in 1936 the motorcycle and car businesses were separated. Competing against mass-producers such as Austin and Morris proved more and more difficult, which led to the eventual failure of the company and its purchase by Standard in 1945. By and by Triumph overshadowed the parent brand's popularity, resulting in Standard cars being phased out and replaced by new Triumphs. This process was completed in the mid-1960s, by which time the company had been swallowed by the truck manufacturer Leyland. This turned Triumph into one of many divisions of British Leyland, which still had some success with its Spitfire and TR series of sports cars but had trouble competing with its regular sedans. The last Triumph, the Honda-based Acclaim, was eventually discontinued in favor of Rover.

Surprisingly few small-scale models exist of Triumph cars, and most of those which do exist are of sports cars. EFE made the 2000 Roadster and Vitesse Convertible in diecast, Johnny Lightning made the TR3 in diecast, Wiking made the TR4 in plastic, and diecast TR7 models were made by Corgi and Majorette. A plastic model of the Triumph 2000 sedan was part of the Triang Minix range.

Triumph TR-8 custom - Kenner Fast 111's

TUCKER (US) 1948

The Tucker Carp in Chicago IL was founded by Preston Tucker in 1946. He had previously been involved with Miller Racing cars in the 1930s. His design was originally planned to be called the "Torpedo" model, but by the time production began , it was renamed the "Model 48". Some people still refer incorrectly to this car as the Tucker Torpedo. There was a major emphasis on safety. This was not only in the mechanical operation, but also in the body design as well. Such features included disc brakes, a streamlined body, a padded dashboard and front passenger crash protection with a pop out windshield. The car used a third headlight situated in the middle of the hood above the combination grille and bumper. This light turned in conjunction with the steering. Power was provided by a 6 cylinder rear mounted engine - originally designed to power helicopters. Unfortunately only 51 cars were ever assembled.; of which 47 are known to remain . Most are either in private collections or museums in the US. Although Tucker was later vindicated of fraud charges and Federal Security Exchange Commission irregularities, the company had already closed due to lack of operating funds. Tucker proposed to produce a second car in 1952 in Brazil but negotiations were still pending in 1956 when he died. Models in small scale have recently been made by Johnny Lightning and Summer.

Tucker - Johnny Lightning

TURCAT-MERY (FR) 1898-1929

Turcat-Mery was a brand of expensive sports and touring cars made in small quantities in the city of Marseille. This company was one of the many victims of the big economy crisis in the late 1920s.

The only small-scale model of a Turcat-Mery we are aware of is a plastic model issued by Ferrero in one of its Kinder Surprise chocolate egg series.

Turcat-Mery - Ferrero


The TVR company was founded by Trevor Wilkinson in the town of Blackpool as a manufacturer of plastic-bodied sports cars originally sold in kit form. Later on the company supplied fully finished cars using mechanical components from Ford or British Leyland. Although never widely known outside the UK, TVR sports cars remained popular in their home country, and from 1996 onward they were even fitted with high-performance engines produced by the company itself. In 2004 TVR was purchased by Russian billionaire Nikolai Smolensky.

The only known small-scale diecast model of a TVR is the Tuscan S by Matchbox.

TVR Tuscan S - Matchbox