Die-cast models made in Portugal are relatively rare. The only brand I knew was Novacar, which I have read that it was part of the Majorette group. Another brand named Luso also built die-cast models in Portugal, but I don’t own any of their models.
Poliguri Indústria e Comércio de Brinquedos, Lda is the company we are going to talk about today. Apart from Poliguri, other names to refer to this company are "Guri" (which was also the registered trademark) and "Guricar". The company was founded in the 80s and had its base in Cacém, a city 10 kilometers west from Lisbon.
There is very few information about the company or the factory. Apparently, it was very difficult to obtain import-licenses from foreign toymakers at that time in Portugal, so a group of people thought that it would be a good idea to develop the casts and manufacture the cars in Portugal. The factory was fully automatized and had 52 employees working in two shifts.
The lifespan of the company was quite short, since it is believed, that the company closed around November 1989. In a catalogue it is mentioned that a prototype of a Lancia Integrale would be released on that date, but that never happened. Due to its short life, Poliguri only produced a handful of models, but with many variants in several colours each. Such a shame, because these cars are really quality toys, beautifully done in metal and using unique casts. I own only these three that I am presenting here.
At first look, we recognise that the Peugeot 405 could be a Siku model. The wheels are almost identical to those used by the German toymaker during the 80s. A closer look reveals that in the wheels, instead of “Siku”, we can read “Guri”. As far as we are concerned, Siku never released any Peugeot 405 Rally. Majorette did, but the casts are completely different.
A blick at the Mercedes models doesn’t reveal much, since the cast is again original. My models have a 5 or 8 radius wheels, but there are other Guri models with a three-radius wheel, that is, again, almost identical to those used by Majorette during the 80s. This Mercedes model was also released as a Taxi cab or Police versions.
These models are exceptions, since other models seems to be copied from (or maybe licensed by) Siku, for example, the Mercedes Unimog and the Mercedes 207 and 307. I do not own any of them so I cannot compare with a Siku model to confirm this supposition.
Apart from all the mentioned models, a 1:50 Fiat Uno was also made in many different colours and with different decorations. This car seems to be as well an original cast.Information for this article was obtained from this site and this other site. Note that both sources of information could actually be the same.
In the above mentioned links, a list of references can be found. It is also very interesting, that apart from the cars, small sets containing one car and some accessories were sold (a little bit in the “siku” style). These sets (named Guri Kits) mostly comprised a few traffic signs, plus some element like a bus stop, phone booth or gas pumps.
The cars were numbered according to those webs and catalogues 701, 702,… to (at least) 712, while the Guri Kits were numbered 700A, 700B, … to (at least) 700O
If you pay attention to the original packaging of the cars in the pictures, you’ll notice that all of them consist of the same blister and bubble (in which the car could be positioned over the card, or perpendicular to it). In all three cards, the reference is 700C. This does not match what I just said a paragraph above: my suspicion is that this could be because these models (or the models at this time) were the last produced ones, and they were simply sold as they could package them.
The cards are not printed on the back, and those red lines over gray background reminds a little bit of Majorette packages.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: PEUGEOT 405 TURBO 16 and MERCEDES 200
- Scale: 1:62
- Year: 1988
- Company: Poliguri (Portugal)
- Size: 6 cm