Sunday, September 30, 2012

#199 MATCHBOX – CHEVROLET IMPALA TAXI, 8-WHEEL CRANE, LINCOLN CONTINENTAL, CADILLAC S&S AMBULANCE, FIAT 1500 and MERCEDES COACH (Nr. 20, 30, 31, 54, 56, 68) (1964 and 1965)



MATCHBOX 1964 to 1966: EXPANSION YEARS

For this entry, I will present a nice bundle of Matchbox cars made in the year 1965, plus the Lincoln Continental that was released at the end of 1964.

This years are important in the Matchbox history, because at this point, Matchbox was selling more than half of their production outside the United Kingdom: mostly in the United States, and also in Europe. This fact was observed by Matchbox, and then, they decided to manufacture the first American cars in the 1-75 series ever. The new approach would bring slightly bigger toys, plastic interiors and plastic windows. By 1968, the whole 75 references had been replaced.

The politics of reproducing foreign cars was a great success, and by 1965, the company was producing over 2 million cars per week, and employing more than 3000 people. It is very interesting to note, that this year, Matchbox started working with more than one cast for each model. Each cast has a lifespan of around 5 million units, and that wasn’t enough, so it is not rare to find some cast variants in several 1-75 models.

In 1966, nothing changed much, each time more and more foreign vehicles, replaced the older references… up to 20 references this year. A nice model from this year was the Greyhound Bus, the first American bus model in the British die-cast company. Although most of these new 20 were American models, there were also new British (MG 1100) and German models (Opel Diplomat, Mercedes-Benz 230SL)

Nr. 20: Chevrolet Impala taxi was one of the very few models including the driver in the plastic interiors of the car.








Nr. 30: 8-Wheel Crane is an undetermined truck model, which replaced in 1965 a similar Magirus-Deutz crane. It was discontinued in 1970, so there are versions with superfast wheels too.




Nr. 31: The Lincoln Continental was probably one of the most beautiful models from that year (1964). The real model, however became famous for the assassination of the U.S. President J. F. Kennedy. Early Matchbox models were released in dark metallic blue, since they were planned before that tragedy. Later models were released in a turquoise (see pictures above), that were much different to the presidential car. This model survived a few years, and in 1970 it was released with superfast wheels in metallic gold color.







 
Nr. 54: The Cadillac S&S Ambulance was the first American Ambulance released by Matchbox. In the 1-75 catalogue, coexisted with a Bedford ambulance, that sold better in Europe.



Nr. 56: The Fiat 1500 is a extremely nice model, a sample of the first foreign (not-american) cars ever made: this model plus a Ferrari Berlinetta, both Italian.






Nr. 68: The Mercedes Coach appeared relatively late. The real bus (O 319) was in production between 1955 to 1965 approximately. The bus however looks great (and looked modern in 1965) with all those windows. The lower body is die-cast metal, while the upper body is made of plastic. 








Most information for this article has been taken from the chapter 5 of the book “Matchbox Cars: the first 50 years” by Mac Ragan. Although the book is out of print now, this chapter can be read for free in Google Books.

To finish, I’d like to recommend the following website, which is the only one that clearly indicates the years of release and discontinuation of the Matchbox 1-75 series, as well as many interesting catalogues (British, American and German editions) for free: http://www.hgm-matchbox.de/default.htm



FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: CHEVROLET IMPALA TAXI, 8-WHEEL CRANE, LINCOLN CONTINENTAL, CADILLAC S&S AMBULANCE, FIAT 1500 and MERCEDES COACH (Ref. 20C, 30C, 31C, 54B, 56B, 68B)
  • Scale: 1:64, 1:100 the Bus and the 8-wheeled truck (approx.)
  • Year: 1964 (Lincoln) and 1965 (rest)
  • Company: Matchbox-Lesney (United Kingdom)
  • Size: 6 to 7 cm (approx.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

#198 ROMÁN – MOTO RECORD FRICCIÓN (V-100) (Around 1982)

JUGUETES ROMÁN / ROMÁN TOYS


This nice tin motorbike was a present I received as a kid and I have kept it ever since. Just two or three years ago, my father found another one, and bought it in its original package, so I now own two of them: mine and a new (bagged) one.

If we start from the beginning, I have to say that this Román motorbike is really a copy of a Japanese motorbike made probably in the late 60s... The casts are almost the same, but there are a few minor differences, that make me think, that the motorbike is a simple copy. Note that the Japanese model has a few more details than the Spanish model and that “made in Japan” is stated in the exhaust pipes.

Original Japanese friction motorbike

The same motorbike had an alternate decoration as a race-motorbike. Note that the cardboard that "closes" the bag has two sides: in one of them is a policeman, in the other one there's a race pilot, the same cardboard was naturally used for both models.

There seems to be a similar motorbike in a slightly bigger scale that was sold boxed instead of bagged. This other one seems to be more difficult to find than the small one. 



By the way, the plastic wheels are originally black, as well as the lower part where the friction motor is fixed, I painted it sometime during my childhood in silver.
 
Juguetes Román - Made in Spain
Román is another Spanish toymaker, one of the most important during the 70s and the early 80s, although not as important as Payá or Rico. The company was also based in Ibi, like the two that I just mentioned, and to my surprise, it seems to be still active and producing/importing toys.

Their factory is located in 15, Cordoba Street, Ibi (Alicante) Pic: Google Maps.

The only difference is that the whole production/import of toys is being made under the brand “colorbaby”. This second company was founded in 1985 (so at some time, both companies co-existed), and now it's specialized in toys, both traditional and inflatable, as well as in gift articles. Colorbaby has licenses from more than 20 international companies, including Mattel’s Barbie and HotWheels!, Disney, Hello Kitty! or F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid. You can visit them in www.colorbaby.es

Among Román´s most renowned toys, there’s a series of tin cars very similar to those made by “PayáMetal”, also with friction motors, or even cable-controlled. I own one of them that I’d like to show some other time. For girls, Román also produced toy sewing machines, plus many other toys, made of tin, plastic and even wood.

Logos of the company - Pic courtesy of Raimundo Payá (Juguetes Antiguos de Ibi).
 
FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: MOTO RECORD FRICCIÓN
  • Year: Around 1982 (Probably sold during many years)
  • Company: Román (Spain)
  • Size: 6,5 cm

Monday, September 24, 2012

#197 FX SCHMID – SUPER MINIS: HORROR, SPUK and PINOCCHIO QUARTETTE (1979)



 
I just acquired (two or three weeks ago) this three card decks and I can’t wait to share it with you,. They are quite a rarity, and I think some of you will find them very interesting.

And it’s the theme, what I find amazing: One of them is Horror-Quartett and a second one is Spuk-Quartett (Spuk = Spook in German). The third one is Pinocchio, that belongs to the same series, but is more ordinary, because there are so many quartets dealing with tales and fables. The first two sets can also be played like a “trumpf” game.

Instructions for the Horror and Spuk Quartetts

The first one is a collection of monsters and horror movies’ or novels’ characters… the pictures are amazing, because they are not drawings, they seem to be real pictures of silicone or latex masks… very funny, I wonder where did they take them!

SUPER MINI: HORROR QUARTETT:





The second one is, in my opinion, even better because it has very good drawings from monsters, ghosts, witches, and more. This artwork-style was very common from the 60s to the 80s, and I find it fascinating. Some of these artworks are really scary, so the deck could not be suitable for very small children. Please click on the pics to enlarge them (eventually with right click and then "see picture").

The families are: 1) Witches, 2) Beasts, 3) Demons, 4) Monsters, 5) Idols and 6) Avenger Ghosts.
The characteristics of each monster are: height, weight and “dangerousness rank”. Each card includes a short description of who or what it is depicted.


SUPER MINI: SPUK QUARTETT:




The Quartetts were made in 1979 by the company FX Schmid from Munich. We already talked shortly about them in the entry #131. These quartets are released under the “mini” series, so its size is approximately one half of the size of a standard playing card. The cards are a little small for adult hands, but perfect for small children (who, otherwise have problems with keeping all cards in their hands). The Pinocchio game is really adapted from a “normal” quartet released in normal size a couple of years before.
 
Another peculiarity, is that these quartets have only 6 families (that’s 24 cards), much less than the usual quartets with 8, 9 or 10 families, and the trumpf-game variables are only three instead of the normal 6.


SUPER MINI: PINOCCHIO QUARTETT:




Instructions for Pinocchio Quartett

In the second picture of this article, we can see that the case is marked with a Kästner & Öhler (Austrian department stores) price tag of 15 Schilling... that's around 1,05 Euros.



FACTS AND FIGURES
  • Name: SUPER MINIS: HORROR, SPUK and PINOCCHIO QUARTETTE
  • Year: 1979
  • Company: FX-Schmid (Germany)
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