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Shite in Miniature II

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Another sunny morning, another trip to the boot sale before work. Not a huge amount of interest but having read some of the posts upthread I did keep an eye out for Escorts. As it were. None to be found, very light on 80's Corgis in general really. However I couldn't leave empty-handed. 

 

IMG_20190522_222455.jpg

IMG_20190522_222516.jpg

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Blimey! I didn't realise there was so many variants!

I think I will just pick up whatever I can, as and when they become available. When I get my ass in gear I think a thorough review of my collection is in order and I will begin to off-load the models I don't really want to free up space and funds for my Escort obtaination...

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15 hours ago, Amishtat said:

And also these. The CX is identical to my childhood example which got lost over the years and the Vauxhall just because it's a new one on me. I mean, a Vauxhall for God's sake! 

The Guildsman has quite an interesting story behind it...

By 1970, the recently-launched Hot Wheels were making serious gains in the UK diecast market with their Spectraflame-painted 'California Customs'; wild-looking concept cars such as the Beatnik Bandit and Dodge Deora.

1026719092_BeatnikBandit-EdRoth.jpg.286c14b63b26683ba504ce9db8f339ef.jpg

945492304_MattelHotWheelsBeatnikBandit.thumb.jpg.02e4aa21ae4c2420518aee14a95edde0.jpg

1740887509_DodgeA110Deora.thumb.jpg.9ffad20678b7ae3e26b0b43f0bb486ea.jpg

1292965300_HotWheelsDeora.jpg.9ddb7c177f841f8b3e99f98a75bb3076.jpg

Mattel had approved a massive advertising budget to put their far-out wares in front of young buyers in the UK, with TV and magazine spots plus sponsorship tie-ins that the 'old guard' of Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox had never wanted (or needed) to consider.

This was a game-changer. The market had suddenly shifted away from faithful realism and multiple opening features as the primary goal of a diecast toymaker. Even though Corgi had produced a replica of Dean Jeffries' Pontiac GTO- based Monkeemobile, it was part of Corgi's expansive TV tie-in range and didn't really mark the start of a dalliance with the 'kustom kar' scene.

Along with the others, Lesney were concerned at being left behind - churning out their technically accurate, but slightly humdrum, 'grey porridge' models such as the Foden Cement Mixer and Ford Zodiac MkIV.

Losing market share and with no homegrown 'name' customisers like George Barris or Ed Roth to draw on (both already famous to kids through Revell and AMT's range of licenced plastic model kits), Lesney hurriedly turned to recent car design competitions in an attempt to find something, anything, they could add to their lineup to show they were also cool and hip. Preferably in a very eyecatching colour.

As part of this search, Lesney contacted Vauxhall to ask if they could take a look through the many thousands of entries received for their annual Vauxhall Craftsman's Guild Design Competition, aimed at school-age students.

vauxgld7.jpg.a8bab4b3f6b24ce97f03d904eb6f737f.jpg

One particular design from the 1969 competition, penned by a young fella named Phil Gannon, really stood out. Lesney obtained permission from Vauxhall to make a model based on his 3rd-place design.

vauxgld8.jpg.fe0042ee8c9476bbb7bdeb4e36136a13.jpg

vauxgld3.jpg.fe326818d52b2388390d28a8685bfbc9.jpg

vauxgld1.jpg.a7ecbeb02b2d972b6fd83a523d06aa04.jpg

Phil's design was thought to be sufficiently modern and futuristic to compete with Mattel's line, and it does indeed appear a very harmonious, balanced piece of design work. I'd drive one.

vauxgld2.jpg.50bd82779d7263778be82786c0c514b0.jpg

vauxgld5.jpg.061bfb2ad713c2a86fd86a635470809f.jpg

The idea was it would also be one of the first all-new models to showcase the Matchbox range's new (Hot Wheels inspired) Superfast wheels, and was among many that appeared in the artwork for their Superfast Track sets. This was the future!

125040101_MB40VauxhallGuildsman.jpg.a259a8aeb1fe05c2c86472495d6ae203.jpg

Even though Vauxhall owned the legal title to the design under the terms of the competition and could do with it as they pleased, Phil received a gratuity payment of £25 from Lesney.

Since a 1:1 version of his design was never built, having these on the shelves must have been the next best thing for him.

The name chosen by Lesney for the model came from the newsletter Vauxhall circulated to aspiring young designers involved in the Craftsman's Guild Design Competition. Oddly, although the base said Vauxhall, the box never did.

1404481813_VGwinner.thumb.jpg.2486a8c61cf909155e40e9ff1636b336.jpg

Incidentally, the somewhat bulbous winner of the 1969 competition looks a smidge like a 3-dr Nissan Juke to my eyes. Prescient, maybe, but nowhere near as lithe as Phil's design, with its uniquely shaped wheelarches and glass roof.

First glimpses of this 'futurism' angle within Matchbox had initially appeared with the 1969 release of the Pininfarina BMC 1800, the larger of the two 1967 Berlina Aerodinamica styling exercises by the noted Italian design house. Unfortunately the full-size cars didn't go down overly well with BMC's top brass (though, in a case of waste not, want not , these prototypes, ahem, 'inspired' Citroen's Robert Opron to create the GS and CX not very long after). Nonetheless, this model appeared as part of the first Superfast releases, and was unusual as it wasn't a car you'd ever see on the road in real life.

1476419021_MB56BMC1800Pininfarina.thumb.jpg.97e5052f2ae34a252e271a6877d50de1.jpg

The Freeman Inter-City Commuter, another Matchbox release from the same period, had a similar genesis to the Guildsman, as it derived from a 1967 Daily Telegraph 'car of the future' design competition.

1249980220_freemancommuterprototypesketch.jpg.e4de6318f8ac0cd5f88d1176c2ec3fce.jpg

1060519292_MB22FreemanCommuter.thumb.jpg.3182172ba58ecfa9f9426ee5fbd8934d.jpg

The writing was on the wall, though, and 1970 did seem to mark a breakpoint in Lesney's corporate philosophy. Even standard production car models introduced after this date, such as the BMW 3.0 CSL, always seemed a bit blocky and slapdash when compared to the fine level of proportions and detailing seen in their 1960s output.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, around this time the elegant models from the new Matchbox King-Size range - conceived to compete in the same scale 1/43 as Corgi and Dinky - were quickly overhauled as the eyepopping 'Speed Kings' range, emerging with oversized engines and flared arches to accommodate huge dragster wheels. The kids, it seemed, loved them - and volume sales were what counted. You can hardly blame them.

Within a few years though, Lesney's own draughtsmen were cooking up their own lurid 'fantasy cars', drawing heavily on the increasingly bizarre glassfibre candyflake creations adorning custom mags up and down the country... some of which had definite links to actual vehicles, as Vulgalour pointed out the other week on this very thread, while discussing Matchbox's non-prototypical offerings.

Toe Joe?

555794483_CoolRodsTurnpikeHauler.jpg.f86b757095eda8814c785b5b7d23f08c.jpg

1063409646_MB74ToeJoe.jpg.e83c4e505c07a667ef06dcdd315093b1.jpg

Stretcha Fetcha?

417671363_CoolRodVan.jpg.b4ad40fb963a5be9656b09937d678f64.jpg

441052271_MB46StretchaFetcha.thumb.jpg.ec285d17085fad693f9e87df60cb462c.jpg

Erm…

353268551_CoolRod3.jpg.7074ab0d40ddcd9449a41e9b232f464a.jpg

WTF

1446216553_CoolRod1.thumb.jpg.5c1202a42e0fe58a4302c84e5857fc18.jpg

I'm done here.

1688459869_CoolRod2.jpg.27e84611be3002cd0ae0ecded4be0aff.jpg

 

At least no-one would be stupid enough to model that.

 

1831528583_HotWheelsHotSeat.thumb.jpg.5e0d14cda38a26e225e56803d23a24d2.jpg

647907984_HotWheelsHotTub.thumb.jpg.c222027f5b1250f66d95ce61a0fcfa7d.jpg

Daaaah.

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2 hours ago, Tenmil Socket said:

Blimey! I didn't realise there was so many variants!

I think I will just pick up whatever I can, as and when they become available. When I get my ass in gear I think a thorough review of my collection is in order and I will begin to off-load the models I don't really want to free up space and funds for my Escort obtaination…

I found that having a massive clear-out last year has massively helped me focus on those models I'm really interested in collecting.

It feels kinda brutal, but I'd recommend it.

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4 minutes ago, Datsuncog said:

I found that having a massive clear-out last year has massively helped me focus on those models I'm really interested in collecting.

It feels kinda brutal, but I'd recommend it.

Yeah that's the idea but at the same time I'm a bit of a hoarder 🤣

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1 hour ago, Tenmil Socket said:

Oh dear... that's fantastic!

BTW... PM me your address and I'll send you something Datsun related that's been part of my car related hoarding for years and may be the first step in my clear out...

Heh, cheers dude...

PM incoming, I'm intrigued...

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1 hour ago, Datsuncog said:

Proof, if it were needed, that Corgi pre-fucked the axles on their models prior to them even leaving the factory...

Quite a lot of my Corgis of both scales came with a droopy arse.

Except the Buick Regals that always had a jacked up rear end. 

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1 hour ago, paulplom said:

Just bought this from a large local 2nd hand shop. Bagged it for £20 the detail is fantastic.

Now THAT is nice. ERTL I/18 version?

Well scored, dude - even without a box, you won't find one much cheaper online...

2019505145_ERTL1-18DodgeMonacoBluesBrothers.thumb.png.edb6a181c2de5ebb74ca90bced933f86.png

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On ‎5‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 5:04 PM, sierraman said:

Does anyone remember Matchbox Glo Racers? They were luminous plastic models, one of them was a Triumph TR7?

 

On ‎5‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 6:47 PM, Datsuncog said:

Aye, that rings a bell... I seem to remember a Porsche 928, Chevrolet Corvette and Datsun 280Z in that weird, sickly yellow colour, but the Triumph is a new one on me... must have a hoke through my Matchbox catalogues later on.

 

On ‎5‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 5:32 PM, stuboy said:

Charity shop 50p

Had one as a child..

20190517_172004.jpg

20190517_171956.jpg

Just been doing a bit of digging on these, as nothing was coming up in my old Matchbox catalogues. Also, a Matchbox TR7 seemed... weird.

Seems that the Glo-Racers were derived from the short-lived Matchbox Powertrack range, a small-scale Scalextric/AFX/Tyco competitor, of which the TR7 was one of several cars available.

292786555_MatchboxPowertrackTriumphTR7.jpg.db7510e90e9be9d7a79e52ff2ca73a68.jpg

https://powertrackshak.blogspot.com/2008/02/triumph-tr7-pt-111-uk-143753-us.html

It seems at least some of the old Powertrack mouldings were shipped to Hong Kong not long before Lesney hit the buffers in 1982, and reused as the Glo-Racers range, with some minor modifications.

This appears to have been originally released as a Powertrack Racer:

1122940473_MatchboxGlo-RacersChevroletCorvetteStingray.thumb.jpg.42b3af8179f50f2c106e820f269eaa07.jpg

Like this...

1728594033_MatchboxPowertrackChevroletCorvetteStingray.thumb.jpg.1ed0e1f9b039c90075fa9894a4cbe4e0.jpg

In this set...

853999195_MatchboxPowertrack2000Set.thumb.jpg.9b1cc75f37d12e135db66ac319dab188.jpg

This one wasn't - though maybe there was the intention to release it as a Powertrack car before the whole range was binned off, and losses cut?

852764809_MatchboxGlo-RacersDatsun280ZX.thumb.jpg.00f2bd3133803d4516a619012d8b6c45.jpg

Interesting stuff!

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3 hours ago, Datsuncog said:

Now THAT is nice. ERTL I/18 version?

Well scored, dude - even without a box, you won't find one much cheaper online...

2019505145_ERTL1-18DodgeMonacoBluesBrothers.thumb.png.edb6a181c2de5ebb74ca90bced933f86.png

You jammy sod, I've been chasing those on ebay for years!  It doesn't have to have the speaker on the roof; it doesn't even have to have a box!  One day... (yeah, keep telling yourself that, Edward, you might even believe it eventually)

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10 hours ago, Datsuncog said:

The Guildsman has quite an interesting story behind it...

By 1970, the recently-launched Hot Wheels were making serious gains in the UK diecast market with their Spectraflame-painted 'California Customs'; wild-looking concept cars such as the Beatnik Bandit and Dodge Deora.

1026719092_BeatnikBandit-EdRoth.jpg.286c14b63b26683ba504ce9db8f339ef.jpg

945492304_MattelHotWheelsBeatnikBandit.thumb.jpg.02e4aa21ae4c2420518aee14a95edde0.jpg

1740887509_DodgeA110Deora.thumb.jpg.9ffad20678b7ae3e26b0b43f0bb486ea.jpg

1292965300_HotWheelsDeora.jpg.9ddb7c177f841f8b3e99f98a75bb3076.jpg

Mattel had approved a massive advertising budget to put their far-out wares in front of young buyers in the UK, with TV and magazine spots plus sponsorship tie-ins that the 'old guard' of Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox had never wanted (or needed) to consider.

This was a game-changer. The market had suddenly shifted away from faithful realism and multiple opening features as the primary goal of a diecast toymaker. Even though Corgi had produced a replica of Dean Jeffries' Pontiac GTO- based Monkeemobile, it was part of Corgi's expansive TV tie-in range and didn't really mark the start of a dalliance with the 'kustom kar' scene.

Along with the others, Lesney were concerned at being left behind - churning out their technically accurate, but slightly humdrum, 'grey porridge' models such as the Foden Cement Mixer and Ford Zodiac MkIV.

Losing market share and with no homegrown 'name' customisers like George Barris or Ed Roth to draw on (both already famous to kids through Revell and AMT's range of licenced plastic model kits), Lesney hurriedly turned to recent car design competitions in an attempt to find something, anything, they could add to their lineup to show they were also cool and hip. Preferably in a very eyecatching colour.

As part of this search, Lesney contacted Vauxhall to ask if they could take a look through the many thousands of entries received for their annual Vauxhall Craftsman's Guild Design Competition, aimed at school-age students.

vauxgld7.jpg.a8bab4b3f6b24ce97f03d904eb6f737f.jpg

One particular design from the 1969 competition, penned by a young fella named Phil Gannon, really stood out. Lesney obtained permission from Vauxhall to make a model based on his 3rd-place design.

vauxgld8.jpg.fe0042ee8c9476bbb7bdeb4e36136a13.jpg

vauxgld3.jpg.fe326818d52b2388390d28a8685bfbc9.jpg

vauxgld1.jpg.a7ecbeb02b2d972b6fd83a523d06aa04.jpg

Phil's design was thought to be sufficiently modern and futuristic to compete with Mattel's line, and it does indeed appear a very harmonious, balanced piece of design work. I'd drive one.

vauxgld2.jpg.50bd82779d7263778be82786c0c514b0.jpg

vauxgld5.jpg.061bfb2ad713c2a86fd86a635470809f.jpg

The idea was it would also be one of the first all-new models to showcase the Matchbox range's new (Hot Wheels inspired) Superfast wheels, and was among many that appeared in the artwork for their Superfast Track sets. This was the future!

125040101_MB40VauxhallGuildsman.jpg.a259a8aeb1fe05c2c86472495d6ae203.jpg

Even though Vauxhall owned the legal title to the design under the terms of the competition and could do with it as they pleased, Phil received a gratuity payment of £25 from Lesney.

Since a 1:1 version of his design was never built, having these on the shelves must have been the next best thing for him.

The name chosen by Lesney for the model came from the newsletter Vauxhall circulated to aspiring young designers involved in the Craftsman's Guild Design Competition. Oddly, although the base said Vauxhall, the box never did.

1404481813_VGwinner.thumb.jpg.2486a8c61cf909155e40e9ff1636b336.jpg

Incidentally, the somewhat bulbous winner of the 1969 competition looks a smidge like a 3-dr Nissan Juke to my eyes. Prescient, maybe, but nowhere near as lithe as Phil's design, with its uniquely shaped wheelarches and glass roof.

First glimpses of this 'futurism' angle within Matchbox had initially appeared with the 1969 release of the Pininfarina BMC 1800, the larger of the two 1967 Berlina Aerodinamica styling exercises by the noted Italian design house. Unfortunately the full-size cars didn't go down overly well with BMC's top brass (though, in a case of waste not, want not , these prototypes, ahem, 'inspired' Citroen's Robert Opron to create the GS and CX not very long after). Nonetheless, this model appeared as part of the first Superfast releases, and was unusual as it wasn't a car you'd ever see on the road in real life.

1476419021_MB56BMC1800Pininfarina.thumb.jpg.97e5052f2ae34a252e271a6877d50de1.jpg

The Freeman Inter-City Commuter, another Matchbox release from the same period, had a similar genesis to the Guildsman, as it derived from a 1967 Daily Telegraph 'car of the future' design competition.

1249980220_freemancommuterprototypesketch.jpg.e4de6318f8ac0cd5f88d1176c2ec3fce.jpg

1060519292_MB22FreemanCommuter.thumb.jpg.3182172ba58ecfa9f9426ee5fbd8934d.jpg

The writing was on the wall, though, and 1970 did seem to mark a breakpoint in Lesney's corporate philosophy. Even standard production car models introduced after this date, such as the BMW 3.0 CSL, always seemed a bit blocky and slapdash when compared to the fine level of proportions and detailing seen in their 1960s output.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, around this time the elegant models from the new Matchbox King-Size range - conceived to compete in the same scale 1/43 as Corgi and Dinky - were quickly overhauled as the eyepopping 'Speed Kings' range, emerging with oversized engines and flared arches to accommodate huge dragster wheels. The kids, it seemed, loved them - and volume sales were what counted. You can hardly blame them.

Within a few years though, Lesney's own draughtsmen were cooking up their own lurid 'fantasy cars', drawing heavily on the increasingly bizarre glassfibre candyflake creations adorning custom mags up and down the country... some of which had definite links to actual vehicles, as Vulgalour pointed out the other week on this very thread, while discussing Matchbox's non-prototypical offerings.

Toe Joe?

555794483_CoolRodsTurnpikeHauler.jpg.f86b757095eda8814c785b5b7d23f08c.jpg

1063409646_MB74ToeJoe.jpg.e83c4e505c07a667ef06dcdd315093b1.jpg

Stretcha Fetcha?

417671363_CoolRodVan.jpg.b4ad40fb963a5be9656b09937d678f64.jpg

441052271_MB46StretchaFetcha.thumb.jpg.ec285d17085fad693f9e87df60cb462c.jpg

Erm…

353268551_CoolRod3.jpg.7074ab0d40ddcd9449a41e9b232f464a.jpg

WTF

1446216553_CoolRod1.thumb.jpg.5c1202a42e0fe58a4302c84e5857fc18.jpg

I'm done here.

1688459869_CoolRod2.jpg.27e84611be3002cd0ae0ecded4be0aff.jpg

 

At least no-one would be stupid enough to model that.

 

1831528583_HotWheelsHotSeat.thumb.jpg.5e0d14cda38a26e225e56803d23a24d2.jpg

647907984_HotWheelsHotTub.thumb.jpg.c222027f5b1250f66d95ce61a0fcfa7d.jpg

Daaaah.

Brilliant write up!

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13 hours ago, quicksilver said:

Oxford Diecast have added a Maxi to their range of BL chod. Naturally I had to buy one and do a review.

maxi2.thumb.jpg.4b8e3d9fec9dc42b2208384476cdfc0d.jpg

 

Great review... hoping to pick one of these up tomorrow!

Despite the usual Oxford limitations, it's an appealing wee thing in a nice colour - and finally, it's a diecast Maxi. Bizarre that it's taken so long for one to turn up.

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7 hours ago, eddyramrod said:

You jammy sod, I've been chasing those on ebay for years!  It doesn't have to have the speaker on the roof; it doesn't even have to have a box!  One day... (yeah, keep telling yourself that, Edward, you might even believe it eventually)

You're welcome to buy it if you'd like to make an offer ;-)

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Well I'm kinda late to this thread, but I collect Hot Wheels, and lately I've been picking up a lot of older Matchbox/Corgi/Majorette etc too. I'll upload some pics when Flickr stops messing about.

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13 hours ago, Sudsprint said:

Brilliant write up!

 

12 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

Agreed on the Lesney fantasy cars write up, nice one Tim.

I can't say I ever cared for them, preferring models of cars that I could see on the road, but I can appreciate them now and will definitely look out for the 'Vauxhall'.

 

12 hours ago, 155V6 said:

+1 for the write up on the fantasy cars.The one that looks a bit like the Stretcha Fetcha is the George Barris SuperVan .I've got a Zylmex model of it,but could I find it? 

Cheers, folks - glad you got something out of it!

Yeah, the hate was always strong in me for fantasy cars - from any manufacturer - because hey, every Woosh 'n' Push and Mod Rod in the range was a waste of good metal that could have been a Mk3 Cortina or Austin Allegro instead...

But Vulg's top-notch restorations/modifications have given me reason to look at these omnipresent childhood automotive irritants with fresh eyes - and also do a spot of research into why they even came about. And, you know, I kinda get them now.

Like David Cassidy and jeans with tartan turn-ups, I can't fully grasp why certain things were so amazingly popular in the early 1970s - but I guess a bit of context kinda helps.

It makes sense to me now that, in an effort to fend off the threat from Mattel and woo youngsters back through greater novelty and excitement, Lesney skipped rapidly from manufacturer prototypes, to speculative cars of the future, to off-the-wall customs inspired by some of the wildest and most cutting-edge designs from the pages of hot rod magazines (as above).

It was a bold move, but it worked. Their designers grasped that making toy cars was no longer simply about making a decent replica of Dad's grey Austin to push around the carpet. Mostly.

For kids like me, it was still about the realism - but I guess I would have been in the minority. I'd love to know what the year-on-year sales figures were for each model in the 1-75 range. How did the Soopa Coopa sell against the Renault 17?

Corgi responded in a similar manner, consolidating their brand by refining  and retooling their smaller Husky range as Corgi Juniors with Whizzwheels - and also modelling motor show concept cars, like the Alfa Romeo Carabo and the Mercedes C111. They didn't commit as fully to the fantasy route of Matchbox - though continued to develop their valuable TV-franchise toys with increasingly bizarre and unique vehicles. As their 1970 brochure indicated, the future was looking bold and exciting...

75104115_CorgiToysCatalogue1970.thumb.jpg.a4df1f2ebfd1343157fa878dfd4c8ff1.jpg

Essentially, Hot Wheels' competition forced other manufacturers to change their game, rightly or wrongly. Action and Playvalue suddenly became buzzwords for UK diecast makers - and they could see their cars needed more than just opening doors to qualify as 'exciting'...

Matchbox had offered their Motorway tracks since the 1960s - but how exciting was that, to basically watch traffic circulating?

1060371962_MatchboxMotorwaySet.jpg.c6ceb3e95c345492280158f0d080172f.jpg

1876714827_MatchboxMotorwaySet-up.thumb.jpg.db44d3bd9e672758c8fe37d629203845.jpg

When you could have jumps, loop-the-loops and battery powered drag racing? Within a year or two, both Matchbox and Corgi were offering dizzying, gravity-defying racetracks featuring eyecatching vehicles - the fun was in the motion and the spills; what the cars could do, rather than just what they were.

1202965722_MatchboxSuperfastAlpineSet.thumb.jpg.492f9fdbbad359139b799b75ed4cca18.jpg

559607412_MBSuperfastTrack.jpg.3cfbca2196dff890a037684b43638e26.jpg

 

22078234_CorgiRocketsTrackAd.jpg.212c8048198d08638e3e99119331d051.jpg

Ah now. Basically, this diecast era which I'd written off as 'stupid' has come to interest me a bit, and I'm doing a bit of digging to educate myself, while also popping the results up here - just in case anyone else is interested.

(This is what happens when you work as a government researcher but there's no current government... )

And by all means, add to this stuff! I know bog-all, but I'm sure you lot have collective knowledge and memories that knock Google into the proverbial cocked hat.

Thanks to all for the encouragement, and stay tuned!

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