Many of the car collectors reading these lines may have not heard about Guisval. If you are not Spanish, it won’t be surprising. If you’re Spanish, you have not only heard from them; you have probably owned many of these miniatures sometime, or you have bought them as a present for children.
Guisval is the most successful die-cast miniatures manufacturer in Spain. Their models are in the market since 1967, and (specially before the 90s) they could be adquired almost anywhere: not only toy shops, but also in newsagents, or candy shops. The reduced price, the detailed models, how tought they were made, and a very wide variety of colors and decorations, were not overlooked by parents.
Francisco Guillén Verdú founded a company with his name in 1962, which originally built some toy watches, toy typewriters and some ships and submarines. This company changed its name to Guisval in 1967, when two friends of him joined to this project. Their names were: Guillén, Serralta and Valero, and the company was renamed to Guisval, using the first syllables or letters of their surnames (GUIllenSerraltaVALero). These three friends met while they were working for Payá, another toy company, that exists since 1909 in the town of Ibi (Alicante). Ibi has been the center of the Spanish toy industry during decades, and still is, although the industry nowadays is much weaker.
It all started in a basement in Ibi (1962). Picture by: Francisco Guillén Verdú, courtesy of Xavier Arumi (www.rosaspage.com)
With the change of the name, they start producing 1:64 scale cars, which is for what they are best known. This series is known as “Campeón”, and it exists even today. The quality of the models has decreased with the years (that will be commented in future entries).
To illustrate this article about the history of Guisval, I have taken two of the oldest models I have. One of them was first released in 1967, the Seat 850 was a very common car those days in Spain. The other was first made in 1970, and represents a Lamborghini Marzal.
Specially distinctive are the wheels, consisting of two parts (first version in Seat, second version in Lamborghini), the metallic basis and the “fabricado en España”, which was in later models translated to English. Note that the logo in the Seat seems to be a little older than in the Lamborghini. Both models were made in more than one color, but always sold under the reference numbers: 32 – Seat 850 Coupé/Rally and 41 - Lamborghini Marzal.
Matchbox also made a Lamborghini Marzal in approximately the same scale.
FACTS AND FIGURES
- Name: Seat 850 Coupé/Sport and Lamborghini Marzal (Nr. 32) (Nr. 41)
- Scale: 1:64
- Year: 1967 and 1970
- Company: Guisval (Spain)
- Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm