Saturday, July 28, 2012

#176 SCALEXTRIC – AUDI 90 IMSA (Ref. 8362) (1993)


THE TYCO ERA OF SCALEXTRIC SPAIN


When Exin closed down in 1993, Tyco Toys (who had their own Slot Cars toy-line “Formula Tyco”) bought the license to produce Scalextric for 5 years. The Formula Tyco was in H0 scale and had a different system for the tracks and the style of playing (some tracks included even loops, cars could not leave the tracks,...), something completely different from Scalextric, which is closer to a real “driving” experience.
During previous years to 1993, Tyco and Scalextric were concurrence in the Spanish market, if we can use this term for so different types of toys.

Formula Tyco was also part of the Scalextric's 1996 catalogue

This American company had to reduce the manufacturing costs, which were too high to be maintained. During the last years of Exin, the price of cars and tracks increased exponentially. First decision was to move the production to China, reducing the quality of the product (most notably the quality of the car replicas). With this decision, the price of the cars decreased, but not as much as expected. As Scalextric’s customers noticed the lower quality of the product and the sales decreased instead of increasing, and many Tyco models had to be sold off at very low prices. The Bugatti I’ll be showing in the next entry was acquired for only 2000 (12 Eur) pesetas in a model shop, and there were many other models to choose. A few years earlier, Exin cars were sold for 3200 pesetas, or even more (Vintage series’ price was around 5000 pesetas).


Accordingto Arumí, Tyco manufactured only the standard series, the SRS2 series (competition, lightweight cars) and the "Vintage" series, although they distributed the last STS cars that they had in stock from the Exin-era (in original Exin boxes). Once that stock was over, they discontinued the line.

After 5 years, in 1998, Tyco left the company in the hands of Tecnitoys, after having failed in many marketing decisions that didn’t got to keep the customers satisfied.



Not everything was that bad during the Tyco era. Some models were well produced and have become some kind of “classics” after these years.

Among the most remembered models are:
  • A series of Mercedes trucks released in 1993 (models “BP” –green- and “Antar” –white-) and 1995 (models “DEA” –white- and “Esso” –light blue-)
  • Seat Ibiza Kit Car, released for the first time in 1996 (models “Repsol” –light green- and “Mercader” -white/orange-), but released many more times, even in the Tecnitoys-Era.
  • Renault Megane released in 1997 for the first time (models “Costa Brava” –grey/yellow- and “Diac” -blue-) and released many more times afterwards.

Apart from those models, some other are also much appretiated by collectors:
  • The vintage models: Jaguar E (1994, green), Seat 850 (1995, white), Ford GT 40 (1996, light blue) and the Chaparral GT (1997, white).
  • The “Scalextric Club” cars: Ferrari F40 “Club 94” (red – very rare), Porsche 959 “Club 95” (orange - rare), Mazda “Club 96” (yellow), Bugatti EB-110 “Club 97” (dark blue – very rare) and the prototype that was substituted by the Bugatti, the Audi 90 “Club 97” (green – mega rare).

And talking about the “Scalextric Club”, it had disappeared sometime in the mid-80s, and Tyco decided to start it again in 1994. I am a member of the club since 1996. I will talk about this in a future entry.

Catalogue image from 1996 - Audi 90 "Imsa".

The Audi in this entry is one of the cars produced in 1993, and we can already see that the finish is not as good as it used to be. It is a little poor in details (note for example, that there is no emblem on the front of the car). Even the decals are not very good. Note that with very few use, the stickers are a little peeled off. This one is a car that most people wouldn’t mind not having it in their collections (and maybe because of this), a rare, difficult to find model. It came with lights


In the chassis of the Tyco models a "Made in China" can be found instead of a "Made in Spain"


[continues in #177]

FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: AUDI 90 “IMSA” GTO (Ref. 8362)
  • Scale: 1:32
  • Year: 1993
  • Company: Scalextric Tyco (Spain)
  • Size: approx. 14 cm

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