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Shite in Miniature II


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Also found some of these strange "key" cars,I'd previously found the Renault before,but also found a Datsun,Porsche,and the least obvious to identify the yellow Toyota.

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The "Toyota" has a sticker on the rear wing bearing the legend RX-7,so it looks like the manufacturer was confused by it too.

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Not really my thing, but they weren't that expensive.

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21 hours ago, eddyramrod said:

Transit, a model already six or seven years old, was pretty good apart from a couple of niggles, and was even updated at least twice.  The much younger CF was much poorer play value with no opening features; it was also significantly less accurate and made to an oddly smaller scale. 

What happened there?

Essentially, it all came down to money.

By 1960, the Dinky brand was in full swing under Meccano, a company which took the view that accountants weren't really needed so long as the money kept flowing. And it did, with the company still basking in their 1920s and 30s adulation as Britain's biggest toy manufacturer. Throughout the 1940s and 50s the company, now chaired by Frank Hornby's son Roland, continued to enjoy huge sales at home and in export markets for their Hornby, Meccano and Dinky Toys ranges. Dinky, in particular, accounted for half of the company's profits by 1956. The following year, Dinky made and sold 12 million models, including a million exports to the USA - their absolute peak.

But under the surface, not everything was so rosy. Frank Hornby had been an inventor and a shrewd businessman from the era of brass and steam, willing to innovate and take risks (and, in the case of the Tootsietoy/Dinky toy cars, flirt with patent infringement) - whereas Roland simply presided over a period of seeming never-ending growth. With few serious competitors for much of their existence, there had been little incentive for the company to innovate or change. Shareholders were happy, and the Hornby family continued to own 14% of the business.

Dinky had made a mild effort to diversify their offering with the launch of the Dublo Dinky range in 1957, positioning these small 1/76 cars and commercials as both a rival to Lesney's recently-arrived Matchbox range and as track accessories for their Hornby Dublo train sets. Sales were slow, however, and some castings were axed after less than eighteen months. Only a few models were available at any given time, with a grand total of fifteen different castings sold between 1957 and 1966. It was a pity, as these were decent, detailed little models - and also why they tend to fetch high prices amongst collectors nowadays.

Part of the problem remained Meccano's extremely old-fashioned approach to marketing. Believing themselves to be purveyors of the finest playthings, Meccano would only sell their Dinky Toys to 'approved' toy shops and department stores, who undertook to display and stock their entire range. Mettoy and Lesney were far less choosy about their stockists, with the result that by 1962, Matchbox and Corgi cars could be obtained through 23,500 outlets across Britain - while only 6,500 outlets stocked Dinky.

Little cars and lorries made under the Corgi and Matchbox names could therefore be picked up as impulse purchases at newsagents, tobacconists, corner shops and railway stations, while buying a Dinky Toy probably required a special trip into town. The Depression-era 1930s and Austerity 1940s had passed; quality toys were no longer just for the children of the rich. What price exclusivity? Dinky was about to find out.

One of the first cracks was the arrival of Corgi. Dinky had more or less had the entire diecast car market to itself for over two decades, but Mettoy's arrival  in 1956 suddenly created a direct rival, followed soon after by Tri-Ang's Spot-On range of diecast models in 1959. From that point on, Dinky would never reach the same sales heights as their 1957 peak again, as their near-monopoly market share became split multiple ways.

As the 1960s began, other changes started to come to the toy industry as wartime trade sanctions on Japan were finally lifted, allowing them to export toys again. Suddenly, cheap tinplate toys built in Japan started to appear in UK toyshops, including cars and trains - not terribly durable, perhaps, but often quite detailed and very appealing in their size and colourways. Around the same time Hong Kong, a British colony, increased its industrial output and used its minimal taxation and close administrative links to the UK to export large amounts of very affordable toys. These may not have had a direct impact on the Meccano portfolio, but it heightened the perception that toys could be cheap, frivolous and largely disposable - rather than expensive pieces to be bought mainly for birthdays and Christmas gifts.

In 1961, Meccano Ltd posted a shock loss of £10,000. This was partly due to a drop-off in diecast toy sales, but more to do with other factors such as retooling costs and a series of poorly-timed product diversifications, such as the acquisition of the plastic construction toy Bayko in 1959, the year before Lego launched in the UK, putting a huge dent in the homegrown construction toy market.

In a panic, Meccano laid off half its workforce, going from 3,000 employees in 1960 to around 1,500 in 1962 - but by January 1964, their losses had ballooned to £250,000. Unwilling, or unable, to re-engineer their entire business model for the modern era, a chastened Meccano Board accepted a lowball offer of £781,000 from Tri-Ang's owners, Lines Brothers - less than half the company's stock market value at the time.

The rapid reversal of fortunes had underscored some of Meccano's more deep-seated problems - short-sighted management with no other industry experience, inefficient and labour-intensive production lines, and models designed, built and sold with little regard for profit margins. As the late-lamented Junkman was fond of saying about some of the marvellous Dinky Supertoys on this very thread, they couldn't even have been covering the costs of the metal for the price sold.

A persistent stubbornness to change didn't help - although Corgi launched as 'The Ones With Windows!', it had taken Dinky another two years to copy even this relatively simple innovation of adding a moulded plastic insert to their shells.

However, with Lines Bros now at the helm, and the Hornby family sent packing, sales increased again from 1965. Much of this was down to the extensive distribution network that Lines operated in the USA for their core range of Pedigree dolls and prams, bicycles, sailing boats, pressed-steel toys, and pre-school wooden toys, as well as the Scalextric brand - and which was now able to get Dinky Toys into many more stores, to the point that demand exceeded supply.

Efforts were made to meet the renewed US demand by outsourcing some diecast production to Hong Kong, where it was hoped that modern factories could produce toy cars faster and more cheaply than the pre-WW1 factory at Binns Road in Liverpool. However, subcontractor HKI's initial run of models for Dinky in 1965 - a range of six US sedans and wagons originally designed as Spot-On models in an effort to break into that market - suffered from various quality control issues, and options to increase the production lines were put on hold. The small range was discontinued by 1967. Two of these Hong Kong models were apparently sold in the UK - the Chevrolet Impala and Buick Riviera - but not through the usual toyshop channels, instead being dumped at low cost with discount distributors, away from the main Dinky range.

Despite this negative experience, rather perplexingly a decision was taken the following year to produce most of the new Mini Dinky range in Hong Kong. Seemingly designed as a premium product to compete with Lone Star's pleasing but expensive Impy Roadmaster range, Mini Dinkys were slightly larger than Matchbox and Husky models of the time and boasted multiple opening features, as well as being housed in a clear plastic 'garage'. Sadly, this range suffered even worse quality problems, including zamac alloy contamination which caused the castings to crack and crumble, ultimately killing off the entire range in less than two years.

Further efforts were made to modernise the lines at Binns Rd, with middling results - changes to production processes from the Hornby years were not well-handled, and industrial relations became increasingly strained throughout this period between newcomer managers and time-served production staff.

Although Corgi's sales remained ebullient at the tail end of the 1960s, the Spot-On range had never quite achieved the sales success hoped for when it was conceived as an upmarket Dinky rival - and so the brand name was wound down following Lines Bros' acquisition of the original market leaders, and then killed off entirely after a catastrophic fire at the Belfast factory in 1967. 

However, it should be mentioned that the design and production methods from their fallen rival Spot-On found their way onto Dinky's range rather quickly - suddenly, new Dinky Toys came with heavy diecast bases, number plates and chunky ribbed tyres on spun aluminium wheel hubs, instead of the 'traditional' punched tinplate bases and skinny tyres on diecast hubs, as seen on Dinkys at the turn of the 1960s. Spot-On's influence remained, even if the name had vanished. And I have to say, these mid/late 60s Dinkys really are some of the best models out there. That AEC tractor unit with the Hoynor car transporter trailer I found at the market over the summer was absolutely sublime, and incredibly heavy.

So the Ford Transit of 1966 is perhaps an excellent example of where Dinky was by the mid-60s - producing substantial, detailed models packed with working features. All the doors opened (except the passenger's door), and the accessories provided with the Police Accident and Fire versions were even better in terms of playvalue. Unusually, Dinky even went so far as to remanufacture the Mk1 Transit after only a few years to make it slightly bigger and perhaps better proportioned; and as mentioned this larger version then went on to receive two subsequent facelifts, to reflect the real-life changes to the Ford's front end.

By the late 1960s, Dinky should have found its groove again. But the gap between this high water mark, and the murky lows of the 1970s Bedford CF era came all too quickly.

Firstly, Dinky's parent company Lines Bros unexpectedly called in the receivers in 1971. Despite their toy ranges doing well, a number of foreign investments had gone sour and suddenly it found itself on the brink. In the ensuing break-up of the venerable Lines Bros business, for the first time in its history the Hornby brand found itself separated from Meccano, being sold off to Dunbee-Combex-Marx and renamed Hornby Railways Ltd, while Dinky and Meccano found themselves bought out by Airfix.

Initially, this reorganisation seemed like a good fit. Lines Bros had been all about toys, but Airfix had a reputation for detail and high-quality modelling. Surely this could only result in better diecast Dinky models?

Well, you'd think so - but Airfix were all about rationalisation of their new acquisition. Overall diecast car sales were on the slide, after the Hot Wheels mania of 1969 and 1970, as the gravity track car fad died away (and which Dinky had played no part in). Although Dinky made an operating profit of £335,000 in 1972, their core customers were getting younger and younger, and therefore had less buying power than older teenagers. Looking through the books, the high complexity of many Dinky products deemed them unsustainable as Airfix looked to survive during a period of sales contraction, not expansion.

The 1970s in Britain remain an era characterised by strife, and while inflation and industrial strikes tend to be the public perception of the time, it's maybe worth remembering that these didn't just come out of nowhere. The Oil Crisis of 1973 was preceded by a quadrupling of the price of zinc, causing a huge rise in raw materials for diecast manufacturers. Unable to pass the full costs on to customers, Dinky engaged in a round of frantic cost-cutting, simplifying existing models by removing opening features and adding plastic bases and those rather nasty plastic 'speed wheels'. However, Dinky's prices continued to reflect a premium status which was no longer demonstrated by the models themselves. A number of early 1970s releases had appeared fairly clunky-looking in terms of proportions, and now they just looked cheap as well. However, increasing the use of plastic instead of zinc proved a bit of a busted flush anyway, as the cost of oil-based plastics shot up from 1973.

By the mid-1970s, many Dinky Toys were looking distinctly unappealing to consumers, and the Bedford CF was one of the stinkers. Designed without much care for proportions or detail, it seemed to have been deliberately shrunk to use as little metal as possible, and wore the same small speedwheels as the Mini Clubman.

Dinky used the casting extensively for Code 2 promotional models, which perhaps indicates just how desperate times had become - it was a better prospect to sell a thousand promo models to a chain of plumbers merchants as giveaway novelties, than to try to sell the same items to children in a toyshop.

At the same time, Corgi was innovating in a way in which Dinky seemingly could not - having brought out a range of new, authentically detailed Formula 1 racing cars in the larger scale of 1/36, it then introduced passenger cars and commercials in the same scale, reasoning that bigger models could be sold for a higher price, but with no increase in the costs of tooling or design, thereby cancelling out some of the rising raw material costs. And it worked, with Corgi's sales increasing from £9.3 million in 1972 to £19.9 million by 1976.

Dinky tried aping Corgi with a range of larger, 1/36-ish models such as the Princess 2200, the Volvo 265, the Jaguar XJ12 Supercat and the Rover SD1, but they had nowhere near the finesse or charm of the Corgi equivalents. The last two were yet another disastrous exercise in Hong Kong subcontracting - Dinky seemed to be exceptionally unlucky in this respect, as Corgi had subcontracted manufacture of all their military vehicles, aircraft and a few lifter-loader cranes to HK for years without any quality issues.

It was a sad way to go, but the plug was pulled on Dinky in November 1979. The name was bought by Palitoy, and used on some rebranded Solidos produced in Italy by Polistil, as well as a handful of other castings such as the Volvo 265 (painted bright orange and sold in a plain brown box) and the Space Chariot, which may have been assembled from parts made at Binns Rd or maybe from tooling shipped to Italy - no-one seems to know. But after 1984, the name seemed to just fade away as a toy brand. Not long after, Universal Toys bought the rights to the Dinky name after Palitoy's owners, General Mills, decided to leave the toy business...

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17 minutes ago, Datsuncog said:

Essentially, it all came down to money.

By 1960, the Dinky brand was in full swing under Meccano, a company which took the view that accountants weren't really needed so long as the money kept flowing. And it did, with the company still basking in their 1920s and 30s adulation as Britain's biggest toy manufacturer. Throughout the 1940s and 50s the company, now chaired by Frank Hornby's son Roland, continued to enjoy huge sales at home and in export markets for their Hornby, Meccano and Dinky Toys ranges. Dinky, in particular, accounted for half of the company's profits by 1956. The following year, Dinky made and sold 12 million models, including a million exports to the USA - their absolute peak.

But under the surface, not everything was so rosy. Frank Hornby had been an inventor and a shrewd businessman from the era of brass and steam, willing to innovate and take risks (and, in the case of the Tootsietoy/Dinky toy cars, flirt with patent infringement) - whereas Roland simply presided over a period of seeming never-ending growth. With few serious competitors for much of their existence, there had been little incentive for the company to innovate or change. Shareholders were happy, and the Hornby family continued to own 14% of the business.

Dinky had made a mild effort to diversify their offering with the launch of the Dublo Dinky range in 1957, positioning these small 1/76 cars and commercials as both a rival to Lesney's recently-arrived Matchbox range and as track accessories for their Hornby Dublo train sets. Sales were slow, however, and some castings were axed after less than eighteen months. Only a few models were available at any given time, with a grand total of fifteen different castings sold between 1957 and 1966. It was a pity, as these were decent, detailed little models - and also why they tend to fetch high prices amongst collectors nowadays.

Part of the problem remained Meccano's extremely old-fashioned approach to marketing. Believing themselves to be purveyors of the finest playthings, Meccano would only sell their Dinky Toys to 'approved' toy shops and department stores, who undertook to display and stock their entire range. Mettoy and Lesney were far less choosy about their stockists, with the result that by 1962, Matchbox and Corgi cars could be obtained through 23,500 outlets across Britain - while only 6,500 outlets stocked Dinky.

Little cars and lorries made under the Corgi and Matchbox names could therefore be picked up as impulse purchases at newsagents, tobacconists, corner shops and railway stations, while buying a Dinky Toy probably required a special trip into town. The Depression-era 1930s and Austerity 1940s had passed; quality toys were no longer just for the children of the rich. What price exclusivity? Dinky was about to find out.

One of the first cracks was the arrival of Corgi. Dinky had more or less had the entire diecast car market to itself for over two decades, but Mettoy's arrival  in 1956 suddenly created a direct rival, followed soon after by Tri-Ang's Spot-On range of diecast models in 1959. From that point on, Dinky would never reach the same sales heights as their 1957 peak again, as their near-monopoly market share became split multiple ways.

As the 1960s began, other changes started to come to the toy industry as wartime trade sanctions on Japan were finally lifted, allowing them to export toys again. Suddenly, cheap tinplate toys built in Japan started to appear in UK toyshops, including cars and trains - not terribly durable, perhaps, but often quite detailed and very appealing in their size and colourways. Around the same time Hong Kong, a British colony, increased its industrial output and used its minimal taxation and close administrative links to the UK to export large amounts of very affordable toys. These may not have had a direct impact on the Meccano portfolio, but it heightened the perception that toys could be cheap, frivolous and largely disposable - rather than expensive pieces to be bought mainly for birthdays and Christmas gifts.

In 1961, Meccano Ltd posted a shock loss of £10,000. This was partly due to a drop-off in diecast toy sales, but more to do with other factors such as retooling costs and a series of poorly-timed product diversifications, such as the acquisition of the plastic construction toy Bayko in 1959, the year before Lego launched in the UK, putting a huge dent in the homegrown construction toy market.

In a panic, Meccano laid off half its workforce, going from 3,000 employees in 1960 to around 1,500 in 1962 - but by January 1964, their losses had ballooned to £250,000. Unwilling, or unable, to re-engineer their entire business model for the modern era, a chastened Meccano Board accepted a lowball offer of £781,000 from Tri-Ang's owners, Lines Brothers - less than half the company's stock market value at the time.

The rapid reversal of fortunes had underscored some of Meccano's more deep-seated problems - short-sighted management with no other industry experience, inefficient and labour-intensive production lines, and models designed, built and sold with little regard for profit margins. As the late-lamented Junkman was fond of saying about some of the marvellous Dinky Supertoys on this very thread, they couldn't even have been covering the costs of the metal for the price sold.

A persistent stubbornness to change didn't help - although Corgi launched as 'The Ones With Windows!', it had taken Dinky another two years to copy even this relatively simple innovation of adding a moulded plastic insert to their shells.

However, with Lines Bros now at the helm, and the Hornby family sent packing, sales increased again from 1965. Much of this was down to the extensive distribution network that Lines operated in the USA for their core range of Pedigree dolls and prams, bicycles, sailing boats, pressed-steel toys, and pre-school wooden toys, as well as the Scalextric brand - and which was now able to get Dinky Toys into many more stores, to the point that demand exceeded supply.

Efforts were made to meet the renewed US demand by outsourcing some diecast production to Hong Kong, where it was hoped that modern factories could produce toy cars faster and more cheaply than the pre-WW1 factory at Binns Road in Liverpool. However, subcontractor HKI's initial run of models for Dinky in 1965 - a range of six US sedans and wagons originally designed as Spot-On models in an effort to break into that market - suffered from various quality control issues, and options to increase the production lines were put on hold. The small range was discontinued by 1967. Two of these Hong Kong models were apparently sold in the UK - the Chevrolet Impala and Buick Riviera - but not through the usual toyshop channels, instead being dumped at low cost with discount distributors, away from the main Dinky range.

Despite this negative experience, rather perplexingly a decision was taken the following year to produce most of the new Mini Dinky range in Hong Kong. Seemingly designed as a premium product to compete with Lone Star's pleasing but expensive Impy Roadmaster range, Mini Dinkys were slightly larger than Matchbox and Husky models of the time and boasted multiple opening features, as well as being housed in a clear plastic 'garage'. Sadly, this range suffered even worse quality problems, including zamac alloy contamination which caused the castings to crack and crumble, ultimately killing off the entire range in less than two years.

Further efforts were made to modernise the lines at Binns Rd, with middling results - changes to production processes from the Hornby years were not well-handled, and industrial relations became increasingly strained throughout this period between newcomer managers and time-served production staff.

Although Corgi's sales remained ebullient at the tail end of the 1960s, the Spot-On range had never quite achieved the sales success hoped for when it was conceived as an upmarket Dinky rival - and so the brand name was wound down following Lines Bros' acquisition of the original market leaders, and then killed off entirely after a catastrophic fire at the Belfast factory in 1967. 

However, it should be mentioned that the design and production methods from their fallen rival Spot-On found their way onto Dinky's range rather quickly - suddenly, new Dinky Toys came with heavy diecast bases, number plates and chunky ribbed tyres on spun aluminium wheel hubs, instead of the 'traditional' punched tinplate bases and skinny tyres on diecast hubs, as seen on Dinkys at the turn of the 1960s. Spot-On's influence remained, even if the name had vanished. And I have to say, these mid/late 60s Dinkys really are some of the best models out there. That AEC tractor unit with the Hoynor car transporter trailer I found at the market over the summer was absolutely sublime, and incredibly heavy.

So the Ford Transit of 1966 is perhaps an excellent example of where Dinky was by the mid-60s - producing substantial, detailed models packed with working features. All the doors opened (except the passenger's door), and the accessories provided with the Police Accident and Fire versions were even better in terms of playvalue. Unusually, Dinky even went so far as to remanufacture the Mk1 Transit after only a few years to make it slightly bigger and perhaps better proportioned; and as mentioned this larger version then went on to receive two subsequent facelifts, to reflect the real-life changes to the Ford's front end.

By the late 1960s, Dinky should have found its groove again. But the gap between this high water mark, and the murky lows of the 1970s Bedford CF era came all too quickly.

Firstly, Dinky's parent company Lines Bros unexpectedly called in the receivers in 1971. Despite their toy ranges doing well, a number of foreign investments had gone sour and suddenly it found itself on the brink. In the ensuing break-up of the venerable Lines Bros business, for the first time in its history the Hornby brand found itself separated from Meccano, being sold off to Dunbee-Combex-Marx and renamed Hornby Railways Ltd, while Dinky and Meccano found themselves bought out by Airfix.

Initially, this reorganisation seemed like a good fit. Lines Bros had been all about toys, but Airfix had a reputation for detail and high-quality modelling. Surely this could only result in better diecast Dinky models?

Well, you'd think so - but Airfix were all about rationalisation of their new acquisition. Overall diecast car sales were on the slide, after the Hot Wheels mania of 1969 and 1970, as the gravity track car fad died away (and which Dinky had played no part in). Although Dinky made an operating profit of £335,000 in 1972, their core customers were getting younger and younger, and therefore had less buying power than older teenagers. Looking through the books, the high complexity of many Dinky products deemed them unsustainable as Airfix looked to survive during a period of sales contraction, not expansion.

The 1970s in Britain remain an era characterised by strife, and while inflation and industrial strikes tend to be the public perception of the time, it's maybe worth remembering that these didn't just come out of nowhere. The Oil Crisis of 1973 was preceded by a quadrupling of the price of zinc, causing a huge rise in raw materials for diecast manufacturers. Unable to pass the full costs on to customers, Dinky engaged in a round of frantic cost-cutting, simplifying existing models by removing opening features and adding plastic bases and those rather nasty plastic 'speed wheels'. However, Dinky's prices continued to reflect a premium status which was no longer demonstrated by the models themselves. A number of early 1970s releases had appeared fairly clunky-looking in terms of proportions, and now they looked cheap as well.

By the mid-1970s, Dinky Toys were looking distinctly unappealing to consumers, and the Bedford CF was one of the stinkers. Designed without much care for proportions or detail, it seemed to have been deliberately shrunk to use as little metal as possible, and wore the same small speedwheels as the Mini Clubman. Dinky used it extensively for Code 2 promotionals, which perhaps indicates just how desperate times had become.

By the early 80's even Matchbox and Corgi were at the end of the road. As somebody spawned in the early 70's  I remember the  popularity of electronic toys and the like of Star Wars toys were the nail in the coffin. Also by this time home computers were becoming more popular.

I have quite a few Gerry Anderson Dinky toys - the box on my UFO interceptor is dated 1978 - 8 years after the series premiered. They simply didn't have enough money for anything new.

The late dinky stuff is not a patch on what went before - the cheapness is apparent. I like early corgi juniors with the pictured blister card and all metal bases - these were soon replaced with plastic bases and uninspiring packaging.

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1 hour ago, Bren said:

By the early 80's even Matchbox and Corgi were at the end of the road. As somebody spawned in the early 70's  I remember the  popularity of electronic toys and the like of Star Wars toys were the nail in the coffin. Also by this time home computers were becoming more popular.

I have quite a few Gerry Anderson Dinky toys - the box on my UFO interceptor is dated 1978 - 8 years after the series premiered. They simply didn't have enough money for anything new.

The late dinky stuff is not a patch on what went before - the cheapness is apparent. I like early corgi juniors with the pictured blister card and all metal bases - these were soon replaced with plastic bases and uninspiring packaging.

I'd argue that they hadn't quite reached the end of the road, as far as their products went - as evidenced by the fact the core businesses of Matchbox and Corgi were able to adapt and thrive selling diecast cars, post-bankruptcy.

I agree that Dinky went to the wall because they failed to develop their product line effectively. They were on the way down from the early 1970s, when they decided that cost-cutting was the key to survival, rather than a product-led recovery.

A grab-bag range of superannuated models from old TV shows and undercooked new products in all sorts of scales was incoherent, and made a mockery of what the name once stood for. They could have repositioned themselves as makers of more affordable pocket money toys (as they tried to, right as the very end with their Matchbox-sized Hong Kong-made range), but it seems that their management had no real plan to put them back on track.

For whatever reason, production costs for Dinky Toys remained 20% more than at Corgi or Matchbox, despite looking quite naff, and that was a price premium the market couldn't stand.

Toy fads have always come and gone, and you're quite correct that toy cars had their day in the sun during the 1950s and 60s, only to fade a little when the winds changed, and games consoles and action figures like Star Wars came in.

But kids still like toy cars, and if my reading of the situation is correct both Mettoy and Lesney fell over due to problems which were more to do with the wider financial climate of the early 1980s than simply with their product offerings.

Lesney's collapse in June 1982 was linked substantially to its rather unwise purchase of US-based model kit maker AMT in 1978. Not only did a further squeeze in oil prices increase raw material costs, but the popularity of model kits seemed to be in decline - and so Lesney found itself operating in a perfect storm of having to meet crippling interest rates to repay this debt for a loss-making company, coupled with a collapse in their core export sales as the strong pound at that time hobbled UK-based businesses.

Lesney had already begun partnering with Universal Toys to produce their Disney range of diecast toys in Hong Kong - it's possible that if this partnership had been more advanced, production could have shifted offshore, out of the Hackney factory. This would have freed the company from some of the global currency issues arising when making cheap, price-sensitive goods - and is one reason why the UK tends not to make products like this anymore. This is exactly what happened in the end, but only after Universal Toys bought most of the diecast business from the receiver, restarting production in Macau.

Mettoy suffered similar issues by overreaching themselves in trying to develop its Dragon home computer; despite reasonably strong sales in the the UK market for the Corgi range, when their critical export toy sales dried up due to the strong pound, they had limited reserves to carry on. Help never arrived, and they folded in October 1983.

Corgi's former managing director, Peter Katz, recalled in 2012:

"Mettoy was the last to go, largely because of the Dragon computer. In the years 1979-81 [...] you had I think 25% inflation, which doesn't help if you're exporting. Usually if you have that sort of inflation your currency will devalue, but it didn't devalue because we hit North Sea oil at the same time. So you had the miserable business of cutting back, cutting back, cutting back to try and maintain your viability. But there's just so far you can go. Toys are pretty simple products but you couldn't automate assembly, for instance, because each little car would have needed quite different fittings. What we didn't do is transfer a big chunk of our production to the Far East and close a factory. That would have been an abomination to the Board at the time." 

Freed from the moribund Mettoy group, Corgi's operations were bought out by their management from the receiver in March 1984, and they succeeded in building up the diecast business again from the Swansea factory, with a greater focus on promotional models and collectables rather than relying purely on toyshop sales. Perhaps unfortunately, the revamped Corgi did so well that Mattel took notice, buying it out in 1989 and swiftly transferring production from Wales to its factories in China. And that was that.

You're right that the last Corgi Juniors were pretty unappetising - they just seemed crude and a bit naff, compared to the 1980s Matchbox offerings. But the early ones with the metal bases and hub-type wheels are tremendous; I'm still looking for a few of those for the collection.

If it weren't for the mad scramble to compete with Hot Wheels resulting in the hastily-assembled Whizzwheels and Rockets ranges, it would have been interesting to see what Corgi Juniors could have given us...

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2 hours ago, junkyarddog said:

Also found some of these strange "key" cars,I'd previously found the Renault before,but also found a Datsun,Porsche,and the least obvious to identify the yellow Toyota.

20211122_151938.thumb.jpg.57f6944f53e9782fab009aa639340a94.jpg

20211122_152010.thumb.jpg.4aa858ece8607a47b0921c8d56678ccb.jpg

20211122_152021.thumb.jpg.092553a46f3068d39f48ec2f414a3448.jpg

20211122_152030.thumb.jpg.55c0bb660246ca00fc9a2974277355a4.jpg

20211122_152039.thumb.jpg.f6508059a60e6ab895444a904bfeaa82.jpg

20211122_152107.thumb.jpg.8ec10b60e0a6cef8d80f00cf4653a0b1.jpg

The "Toyota" has a sticker on the rear wing bearing the legend RX-7,so it looks like the manufacturer was confused by it too.

16375949866837600242728824463042.thumb.jpg.d6d3624adb4d94ad4b5affd5fe99edc8.jpg

Not really my thing, but they weren't that expensive.

Gun of a car! Usually only the Renault appears, great find. I have the gun

Screenshot_20211122-173849_Flickr.jpg

IIRC they're all no.901...

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3 hours ago, Datsuncog said:

Tootsietoy

Funny you should mention Tootsietoy (a company I know very little about), as the postman finally delivered a slightly embarrassing pile of packages today, one of which contained this

20211122_172137.thumb.jpg.d4f892af7d99547a1db294f3dcd8aa3a.jpg20211122_172142.thumb.jpg.6057c17c0aa81f4e023525d19df5cf2c.jpg

I do have a Tootsietoy Beetle already, which was subject to a repaint in yellow instead of the tattered purple it was originally. I need to dig that one out as I'm sure the blue one is smaller - I might be losing the plot on that one though.

Other exciting* arrivals include:

Another Beetle!

20211122_172232.thumb.jpg.e11a26d522818f724ad071cfbf567cf6.jpg20211122_172237.thumb.jpg.b22c69db822e1a392a24b67db2302ac4.jpg

This is small scale (model railway) by Ingap(?), an Italian company. I'm guessing it's quite old going by the 1953-57 era rear window

Next up - Zylmex Super Van

20211122_171739.thumb.jpg.6be33f69b1c19e183abc1b22ea056bd1.jpg

One for @eddyramrod. Still looking for an SD1

20211122_171903.thumb.jpg.6abca16d6c98120cabb4f9152a349104.jpg20211122_171907.thumb.jpg.ab9d9f8b8419b4ce6614eeea5869d565.jpg

Another Matchbox - a Road Blaster

20211122_171845.thumb.jpg.12e81aee84b6255d2a8dca2e9a4ed821.jpg

A Politoys "Marzal Lamborghini"

20211122_171630.thumb.jpg.4ab62b97f12b833268acf2a31fb579a4.jpg20211122_171636.thumb.jpg.5b54b35350af51d39ff4a3d24e502ea0.jpg

Grabbed another K-7 with an unusual clear canopy

20211122_171503.thumb.jpg.1b9ee1f16165e3641b05e5eede466e1e.jpg

Staying with Superkings, I think this is the last variation of the K6/11 in Shell livery

20211122_171426.thumb.jpg.7db18da29f0ebb6f4c7cef4433796762.jpg

Lastly, another black AMX Javelin, just because it was cheap thanks to the first picture being of the base rather than the body...

20211122_171335.thumb.jpg.bd5ee03c5b097c0ba5555c3f16d1acf1.jpg20211122_171348.thumb.jpg.2275721eede3dd82a549b34481aa4c08.jpg

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Heard the muffled diesel clatter of a 5 year old Hiace and the thudding of work boots on the doorstep about an hour ago, whereupon this was dropped off:

20211123_073007.thumb.jpg.bf42c9fcfa75eee88704fc7b86aef485.jpg

Shown here in a spare room, emptied post-flood damage repairs.

 

UK sourced contents within:

20211123_074459.thumb.jpg.d0b353fd4460a24dd0c4960ee6f92c80.jpg

 

Mostly stuff for Mrs_Jon's broken Clio but this package is of interest here:

20211123_074815.thumb.jpg.aae383ac35428eff976f98013933fd7b.jpg

The sender's address is hidden for super internet security reasons but it has a BT postcode, so you know it's going to be good!

 

Getting closer:

20211123_075032.thumb.jpg.0e073d5889eff1a09068d0d43dc97bee.jpg

 

And we're in!

20211123_075121.thumb.jpg.fcb37f0c6bbe83e718ee93524726accb.jpg

 

As of right now, this is where I'm at.

20211123_075348.thumb.jpg.6c15a613c5bccec696201e4646eab1ff.jpg

Feel free to ID what you can, as I'm going to be busy opening them, so it won't spoil any surprises!

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5 hours ago, junkyarddog said:

Also found some of these strange "key" cars,I'd previously found the Renault before,but also found a Datsun,Porsche,and the least obvious to identify the yellow Toyota.

20211122_151938.thumb.jpg.57f6944f53e9782fab009aa639340a94.jpg

20211122_152010.thumb.jpg.4aa858ece8607a47b0921c8d56678ccb.jpg

20211122_152021.thumb.jpg.092553a46f3068d39f48ec2f414a3448.jpg

20211122_152030.thumb.jpg.55c0bb660246ca00fc9a2974277355a4.jpg

20211122_152039.thumb.jpg.f6508059a60e6ab895444a904bfeaa82.jpg

20211122_152107.thumb.jpg.8ec10b60e0a6cef8d80f00cf4653a0b1.jpg

The "Toyota" has a sticker on the rear wing bearing the legend RX-7,so it looks like the manufacturer was confused by it too.

16375949866837600242728824463042.thumb.jpg.d6d3624adb4d94ad4b5affd5fe99edc8.jpg

Not really my thing, but they weren't that expensive.

The Toyota is a Celica, Bburago made a similar one in 1/24 scale and it resembled no Celica I had ever seen.

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2 hours ago, Jon said:

Heard the muffled diesel clatter of a 5 year old Hiace and the thudding of work boots on the doorstep about an hour ago, whereupon this was dropped off:

20211123_073007.thumb.jpg.bf42c9fcfa75eee88704fc7b86aef485.jpg

Shown here in a spare room, emptied post-flood damage repairs.

 

UK sourced contents within:

20211123_074459.thumb.jpg.d0b353fd4460a24dd0c4960ee6f92c80.jpg

 

Mostly stuff for Mrs_Jon's broken Clio but this package is of interest here:

20211123_074815.thumb.jpg.aae383ac35428eff976f98013933fd7b.jpg

The sender's address is hidden for super internet security reasons but it has a BT postcode, so you know it's going to be good!

 

Getting closer:

20211123_075032.thumb.jpg.0e073d5889eff1a09068d0d43dc97bee.jpg

 

And we're in!

20211123_075121.thumb.jpg.fcb37f0c6bbe83e718ee93524726accb.jpg

 

As of right now, this is where I'm at.

20211123_075348.thumb.jpg.6c15a613c5bccec696201e4646eab1ff.jpg

Feel free to ID what you can, as I'm going to be busy opening them, so it won't spoil any surprises!

Ah, I do love a Cogbox!

I get a few similar sized and weighted parcels delivered which contain parts for real cars, so as you say, seeing the BT postcode always comes with a little exciting anticipation!

I usually forget what I have bought, so some of the individually wrapped cars are a surprise. I also usually find I've bought more than I thought!

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I see a lot of overpriced models on Marketplace but £150 for something described as 'very rare' which is both broken and one of the most common 1/18 Bburago issues (they're all utterly undesirable anyway and only a few rungs up from Days Gone) is a lesson on why you should check sold listings on eBay to get a frame of reference.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/360690549191533/

I hate to speak ill of someone I don't know but....plonker.

Screenshot_20211122-221121_Facebook.jpg

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Here's a few shots snapped off from the Cog Box:

51698412481_475e770543_b.jpg

Despite this being one of the cheapest items, for some reason it stuck in my mind that this rather sparse F-150 was on the receiving list and was quite anticipated, despite the fact that it's some unbranded random, and that I don't collect 1/64s as a rule...

 

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Yes, I tend not to collect 1/64s, as you can see. My brother had the Matchbox Challenger growing up and and I'm sure we both each had a more lairy version, also. I feel like I have a bit more affinity to the casting, now that I've actually seen an original in the metal.

Yellow no-name civilianised version of what must have been a cop car casting was a welcome surprise and it's all the better for being so generic!

 

51699087824_d65590e5d0_b.jpg

Yeah, I don't collect 1/64s as a rule. However, another nice cheap item added to the pile to include in my US backdrops.

 

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And a project to undertake some day. No idea if I'll try and do a spray job or use Humbrol paint instead, as there's a bit of charm to the old thick gloopy coat it gives.

Anyway, a massive thanks to @Datsuncog and I'll be sure to update further!

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17 minutes ago, Split_Pin said:

I see a lot of overpriced models on Marketplace but £150 for something described as 'very rare' which is both broken and one of the most common 1/18 Bburago issues (they're all utterly undesirable anyway and only a few rungs up from Days Gone)

Bburago must be the biggest hit or miss model maker out there.

I really like some of their models. They can do some really well done, nicely detailed, decent quality models, some of it produced around the same time is absolute half arsed undetailed junk with the thinnest, cheapest plastic castings you'll ever see.

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He's selling a 'Maisto' Mercedes 300SL Gullwing for £175 which must be the most common 1/18 Bburago model ever.

I love the old 1/24 Bburagos, I might even be slightly obsessed with them, but the 'vintage' 1/18s, not so much.

I'll make an exception for the unashamedly crude 1/22 scale Rolls Royce Camargue which is where it all started in terms of Bburago moving upscale from its original Martoys roots. The Roller was the most exciting gift I ever received. Having no clue in 1988 that a model of a Camargue even existed, I asked Santa for one after seeing a picture of the real car in my David Bellamy 'I spy' Cars book. I suppose it intrigued me because although it had a recognisable front, the rest was quite different to any other Rolls Royce I had seen before. When I unwrapped it I was amazed by the size and  presence of what was really just a big model of a beige saloon car. 

I'd love to find the executive  desk tidy version in copper ot the early issue in green with the card box.

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I have a Bburago gullwing somewhere... Nice to know i'm sitting on so much money....not! 😂😂😂

Some of the early 90's 1/18's are junk. Some of the vintage Alfa's etc are fine, but some of the Ferraris are just weird, the proportions look a little off and the interiors so lacking in detail, they look broken as new. No door cards etc.

i like their 1/24's too. Still have tons of them lurking in cupboards.

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1 minute ago, Datsuncog said:

Great book, that - I must have worn out the copy in my local library during the late 1980s.

Found my own copy in a charity shop a few years back, otherwise I'd be all over it!

Yeah I paid a bit more for it at a car boot but as I say its a bit older than I collect.

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15 hours ago, Split_Pin said:

I see a lot of overpriced models on Marketplace but £150 for something described as 'very rare' which is both broken and one of the most common 1/18 Bburago issues (they're all utterly undesirable anyway and only a few rungs up from Days Gone) is a lesson on why you should check sold listings on eBay to get a frame of reference.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/360690549191533/

I hate to speak ill of someone I don't know but....plonker.

Screenshot_20211122-221121_Facebook.jpg

The 1/18 E Type is a lovely model. Built 2 from the kits they did in the 90’s. I’ve got the commercial toys version of that book as well, liked the TR7 pedal car by Triang in the back, one of those must be worth a bomb now. 

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On 11/22/2021 at 7:23 PM, Jon said:

Heard the muffled diesel clatter of a 5 year old Hiace and the thudding of work boots on the doorstep about an hour ago, whereupon this was dropped off:

20211123_073007.thumb.jpg.bf42c9fcfa75eee88704fc7b86aef485.jpg

Shown here in a spare room, emptied post-flood damage repairs.

 

UK sourced contents within:

20211123_074459.thumb.jpg.d0b353fd4460a24dd0c4960ee6f92c80.jpg

 

Mostly stuff for Mrs_Jon's broken Clio but this package is of interest here:

20211123_074815.thumb.jpg.aae383ac35428eff976f98013933fd7b.jpg

The sender's address is hidden for super internet security reasons but it has a BT postcode, so you know it's going to be good!

 

Getting closer:

20211123_075032.thumb.jpg.0e073d5889eff1a09068d0d43dc97bee.jpg

 

And we're in!

20211123_075121.thumb.jpg.fcb37f0c6bbe83e718ee93524726accb.jpg

 

As of right now, this is where I'm at.

20211123_075348.thumb.jpg.6c15a613c5bccec696201e4646eab1ff.jpg

Feel free to ID what you can, as I'm going to be busy opening them, so it won't spoil any surprises!

Great to see they all arrived safely - and to tell the truth, I can't even remember what's beneath the paper there!

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