Wednesday, December 3, 2014

#486 S.M./ SUMMER – CHEVROLET CAMARO and PORSCHE 928 (No. S8308 and 8309) (around 1983)



I just found something out, that you already might know… S.M. die-cast cars are actually early Summer. Until now, I thought these were different brands, but the S.M. initials actually mean Summer Metal Products Manufacturing, and its logo is some kind of antelope jumping in front of three trees. As a kid I got two 1:64 models of this brand with pull-back motor, one of them was a green BMW, but I cannot remember which was the second one… they were probably the worst scale reproductions I had in my collection, but still can remember the logo that was printed on its base.
Now I have found these two models, and although the S.M. (that should appear below the antelope) are covered by some casting in the base, I recognized it immediately.


I have searched today for S.M., and I arrived to this cool blog: http://diecastdestination.blogspot.com where I found an entry dealing with S.M. or Summer Metal. According to this source, the first 1:64 models made by this company appeared in the mid-70s (1976 to 1978), and carried reference numbers between S671 and S698. Later, the reference numbeing system changed, and models were numbered starting with S8001, and reaching up to S8108.

Some models seem to be copies of Matchbox, other copies of YatMing, but some other casts are unique. Some Summer have practicable parts, although these are probably the very first editions of the cars.

Following the hint, I then arrived to breithaupts.com again, were they have a incomplete listing of all Summer/SM vehicles. Steve Masson, writes there that the S80xx to S85xx series could have gone up to the mid-80s.

Doug Breithaupt also thinks, Summer are actually intended for other markets than the European and North-American, that is for developing countries, where people cannot afford more than a few cents for such a toy.


In the early 90s, the company stopped making original castings or simply disappeared. By the mid to late 90s, Summer casts were reused for making very cheap die-cast. Some of this were sold in big packs for very low prices, they had chromed plastic bases, and were made in China. If it was Summer that kept producing toys or a second company that purchased the casts from them, we will probably never know.

The S83xx series seem to be equipped with a pull-back motor, as in these two samples. The casting is correct, and the motors, powerful. I have had the chance to buy more of these, but I don’t think it is worth… they are a rare scale, something between 1:64 and 1:43, although closer to 1:43, maybe 1:50.
The year of manufacture is again orientative, because the Camaro (3rd Genearation) was available from 1982 to 1992.


FACTS AND FIGURES:
  • Name: CHEVROLET CAMARO and PORSCHE 928 (No. S8308 and 8309)
  • Scale: Approx. 1:50
  • Year: Around 1983
  • Company: Summer/ S.M. (Hong Kong)
  • Size: approx. 8 cm

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