Saturday, January 12, 2013

#236 MAJORETTE – VW GOLF, MERCEDES 350 SL, POLICE, MATRA BAGHEERA and OTHER (1979)




Majorette 1979’s Catalogue

In this entry I will show many Majorette cars manufactured in the year 1979. We will see that some models were “new” from that year, while others are simply new decorations of already existing models. This is how Majorette worked: each year all cars were re-released, re-decorated (other colour, other decals) or retired. And for those that were retired, new casts were introduced. 

It is common to find two symbols in Majorette catalogues from the 80s: “N” for new (cast) releases and “ND” for new decorations, but during the 70s, only the new releases are marked, and it is more complicated to find the exact year in which a model was released. You can only find the release year of one miniature by checking every catalogue looking for its first appearance.

Let’s start with the catalogue this time, and then we will review a few of the cars on it. Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures, but I cannot offer anything better. It is also incomplete, because only series 200 and 300 are shown. Series 3000 are missing.

Majorette 1979's Catalogue cover

Majorette 1979's catalogue - Page 1 - Series 200

Majorette 1979's catalogue - Page 2 - Series 200

Majorette 1979's catalogue - Page 3 - Series 300

Majorette 1979's catalogue - Page 4 - Series 300
Within the many decorations of each model, some might be more difficult to find than others, but it is difficult to say which ones are most difficult or rare to find.

VW GOLF (210) and FORD CAPRI (251)

The VW Gold is, in my opinion, one of the best casts in the whole Majorette history. The car was also made by Matchbox with two surfing boards on the roof, but majorette model is superior, including "glass" headlights, opening trunk and a nice interior cast (in the boot you can see two tennis rackets).



Ford Capri is one of the cars that saw more releases through the years with many different colours. Apart from these two, I already own a blue one with white top and a red one with black top. There are also green models and each of them with different variants in the decals and the colour of the top. The white model "Radio Monte Carlo" was originally released as a 300 series carrying a caravan (see entry here).Curiously, this model was also reproduced by Matchbox, although they seem to be different versions, apart from being hardtop, the Matchbox model seems to be a slightly older version.


Ford Capri came with no practicable parts, but the VW Golf has a practicable trunk. Both models came with a towing hook.


And finally a view of the bases, all made of metal, including the reference number and the scale. Models before 1990 are all "made in France".

First releases:
  • VW Golf - 1978
  • Ford Capri - 1978
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MERCEDES 350 SL (213), MERCEDES 450 SE (249) and BMW 733 (256)

The next three models are great german cars. Two of them are Mercedes: the "350 SL" version is the cabrio model, while the hardtop is the "450". Both are made in metallic grey. The 350 SL is a rather old model and this is one of their latest decorations. It was also available in the 300 series carrying some kind of water scooter or however you call it.


The second Mercedes model, 450 SE was first released in 1979, so this should be the first version. In the 1978 catalogue it also appears as a new model, but the picture is actually a drawing and not a picture. In later years it would be released at least in brown/gold and green. The car includes Mercedes emblem on the front of the car, but, as it is made of plastic (the same piece than the "silver" radiator), it is broken in 99% of all played cars. In this model it is missing.



And finally the BMW 733, a relatively rare model in this scale, I just remember the BMW 745 made by Mira, which has the same "body". This car was also one of the new, 1979, releases. Later models would be available at least in burgundy red, silver and white.

All three models have practicable parts and towing hook, as you can see in the pictures. Note that the Mercedes 350 SL has a different type of towing hook (without the plastic part) because it is a reused cast from a very old model, and so were the towing hooks at the time.

First releases:
  • Mercedes 350 SL - 1975
  • Mercedes 450 SE - 1979
  • BMW 733 - 1979
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POLICE (216), DATSUN (229) and ALPINE A 310 (264)

I grouped these three cars because they are police cars and emergency doctor/physician, but the models are quite different. The car named simply "Police" is the yellow one. It is really a Plymouth Fury, the classic police patrol we see in many american movies from the 70s and the 80s. It is also one of the oldest models by Majorette. The first versions had plastic base. This is probably the last version ever made. The details on the roof are very fragile, because they're made of plastic, and break easily. It is therefore a very difficult to find model. In this case we do not have much variety of colours, all are blue or yellow, although there are up to three different shades of blue, and also a few different decals, all of them with the word Police on the bonnet or the doors.


The Datsun is the white model. This Datsun was also made by Matchbox, Yatming, Zylmex... Majorette made it in many many different colours and variations. One of the models with the greatest number of variations.


And finally, the Alpine A 310 is the blue model. The inspiration for this model came from a real car that the French Gendarmerie had. The model was, however, more suitable for rally. As a sport car was really impressive. Another decoration for this model was white with SOS doctor decals, but these decals are different from those we see in the Datsun.


The Datsun came with a towing hook, and had practicable doors.

First releases:
  • Police - 1974
  • Datsun - 1976
  • Alpine A 310 - 1979

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MATRA SIMCA BAGHEERA (219), VOLVO 245D (220) and MERCEDES BÉTAILLÈRE (254)

The last three cars in this entry are three new decorations for older models. The truck is referenced as Mercedes Bétaillère (French for "cattle transport"), and included two small plastic cows. Both the Matra and the Volvo are cars that were released in many different versions and colours, although the Matra is an older model, maybe due to it's sportive look it didn't age that fast.


Matra is a great great model, my favorite from these 12, and this is probably its better decoration ("Rallye"), since most of the other are plain coloured or just with some stripes at the sides. Other available colours: blue, orange, gold, light green and yellow.


The Volvo was also released in many versions, I have it also in green and red, although it was available in yellow, gold and white. This decoration from 1979 has "Touring Club de France" decals.


The truck was only released in two versions: this one plus green/red. The second one is much rarer. There were however some trucks packed with these animals (head down, no horns), and other with bulls (head high, horns). There are also some trucks with the "3-pointed star" type of wheels.


All these three models have practicable parts, the car have opening trunks, and the truck have a side gate. The truck is very difficutl to find, as every other model containing removable plastic parts. The Matra is also difficult since the plastic trunk breaks easily.

First releases:
  • Matra Simca Bagheera 1974
  • Volvo 245D - 1976
  • Mercedes Bétaillère - 1978
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If you liked this entry, you can check more cars from 1979 in this entry, including the white Ford Capri mint in sealed box.

FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: VW GOLF (210), MERCEDES 350 SL (213), POLICE (216), MATRA BAGHEERA (219), VOLVO 245 (220), DATSUN (229), MERCEDES 450 (249), FORD CAPRI (251), MERCEDES BETAILLERE (254), BMW 733 (256), ALPINE A 310 (264)
  • Company: Majorette (France)
  • Year: 1979
  • Scale: Approx. 1:64
  • Size: Around 8 cms
ANNEX:
A few picture of colour variations from the models above.

MERCEDES 350 SL (213)

MATRA BAGHEERA (219)

BMW 733 (256)

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