Short history of the Seat 600 and Payá Coop.
I think I never talked about the Seat 600 in this blog before. It was the most popular car at its time, because it was the first car that was affordable for middle-class families. It was first produced in 1957 and there were several versions made until 1973.
The base, of course, is the Fiat 600. Some units were imported from Italy, but Seat soon started producing them under Fiat license. In 1957, its price was 65000 pesetas, that’s 390 Euros. There’s almost no family in Spain that hasn’t had one of these cars at some point, new or second-hand, a gift from an uncle who bought a new car… they were very common until the mid 80s, and now are have cult-status. There are hundreds of owner’s clubs all over the country, and from the 800.000 units ever made, there’re still around 10.000 out there (Wikipedia).
The car was not cheap at the time, but the 60s are the years of the “SpanishMiracle”. The income of families raised spectacularly as a result of the industrialization of some regions, the development of infrastructures, rural exodus and mass tourism.
The first 600 (named simply “600”) was manufactured between 1957 and 1963, and replaced by the “600D” model, that was manufactured between 1963 and 1970. There are several differences between these two models, mostly in a more powerful motor and a higher top speed. Both models are easily identifiable because of the doors opening in the opposite direction to all cars nowadays. This type of doors are called “suicide doors”.
|Note the "suicide doors" typical for models 600 and 600D|
Models 600E (1969-1973) and 600L (1972-1973) were already manufactured with the doors opening in the “normal” direction and with many technical improvements.
The only Seat 600 I have ever known belonged to my aunt, although my grandfather bought one back in 1960. He always told, they had to wait around one year until they received the car, because the demand was so great, that the factories could not satisfy it. In some cases, that waiting time, could go over two years. That car later belonged to my father, until it was sold by the mid 70s.
In “normal” conditions, the car was paid in two instalments. Half of the price when the order was placed, the other half 6 months later, and 6 months afterwards, you could go and get the car.
There have been many Seat 600s toys, and even today, there are many collectors or nostalgic people that look for reproductions of that car that they once had, knew or drove. In most collections, a Seat 600 is always the “star”. It is the most searched car between the whole Scalextric collection or the model made by Pilen are much more difficult and expensive to find than the other models in the same size and characteristics, just to name two examples.
This toy was made by Payá Coop. around 1984 (some sources say 1985). Payá history was already told here, let’s just remember, that when the company had to close, it didn’t disappear, because Payá Coop. continued making reproductions of old Payá toys, in a traditional style and producing in Ibi. This company doesn’t have any relation with the new Payá reproductions made for some newspapers or kiosk collectibles, these new ones are made in China.
The original Seat 600 in 1:20 scale was made by Payá in 1959, it already included a friction motor. It had a tin chassis with plastic body, and didn’t have windshields. The wheels were made of metal too and had rubber tyres. Shortly afterwards appeared the 600D version, with a less detailed body and plastic wheels.
The second version was reproduced in 1990. The model shown in the pictures is the "reproduced" model, not the original. It was available in 12 different colours. The box is original, and the price in the year 1990, was around 2000 pesetas (12 Euros). The production was so big, that it was common to find it under that price during the following years. Now it is gaining value, because of the difficulty of finding the original toy from 1959.
In second hand, played toys, the hubcaps are sometimes missing.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: SEAT 600D (Ref. 1600)
- Year: 1990
- Company: PAYÁ S.C.V.L. (also PAYÁ COOP.) (Spain)
- Size: Around 15 cm.
- Scale: 1:20