Penny didn’t mean anything to me before I bought these cars. They are beautiful reproductions of F1s from the 60s, so I decided to buy them… they were not cheap, but I bought them anyway. I knew I had a couple of similar cars at home that could be copied from them (I may talk about them in the future), but nothing else. When I came home I quickly checked what could be behind this mysterious brand, and then I found this was the name used by Politoys to name its 1:66 series.
In a previous entry, I explained that Politoys was founded in 1960, and started producing scale cars in plastic and 1:41 scale (they looked probably like these ones). After a few years, maybe around 1965, the company started producing its first diecast models in a similar scale (1:43), just like other companies, like Corgi, Norev or Solido were already doing.
By the first 60s, a new “player” comes in: Matchbox. The success of its 1:64 line is so huge, that the traditional toymakers mentioned above consider launching their own lines of 1:64 cars. Politoys introduced the “penny” line for this purpose. This series spans from 1967 to 1970, year in which the 1:64 models started being sold in Polistil boxes.
In that year, it is important to remember, that Politoys changes its name to Polistil. Many people argue that the reason for this was that Politoys was too similar to Palitoy, a british toymaker, and it misleaded the customers.
The “Penny” series didn’t have the success of its Matchbox counterparts. Its main market was Italy, it is believed that there weren’t much units exported to other European countries, so they are extremely rare to find, specially if they are mint and boxed.
Politoys/Polistil always had a great interest in F1 and racing emphasis, as we commented when talking about Polistil models in 1:55 and 1:41 scale. These Penny toys are the proof that this interest was always there and it was sincere.
In this entry I’d like to show the first 4 Penny models I own. In the next articles more cars will be shown. This F1 line consisted of 15 vehicles, I own 12 of them. I have included the name of the pilot just for curiosity. This information may not be 100% accurate.
BRM – V8 – F.1 (0/1)
Pilot: Graham Hill
LOLA CLIMAX V8 – F.1 (0/2)
Pilot: John Surtees (among others)
LOTUS – CLIMAX – F.1 (0/3)
Pilot: Jim Clark
FERRARI – F.1 (0/4)
Pilot: Phil Hill (among others)
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: BRM – V8 – F.1 (0/1), LOLA CLIMAX V8 – F.1 (0/2), LOTUS – CLIMAX – F.1 (0/3) and FERRARI – F.1 (0/4)
- Scale: 1:66 (approx.)
- Year: 1967
- Company: Penny/ Politoys/ Polistil (Italia)
- Size: 6 cm