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Monday, August 3, 2015

#574 VAM - RENAULT 5 (Around 1984)

VAM is a toy company that became famous in the 70s for its cheap plastic cars and trucks. They were very popular due to their low prices and their availability: you could find them almost anywhere, from kiosks, or drug-stores to bakeries and coffee shops. When I bought them in the mid-80s, the small models (1:64, 3 inches) were 5 or 10 pesetas, that's 0,03 to 0,06 Euros, so they were really affordable.

VAM takes its name from its founder: Valeriano Aguilar Monforte, who started the business in Zaragoza. First in Belchite street number 1, and later in the Carretera de Castellón without number, a industrial zone.

Each car was made of several plastic parts, for example, the chassis, the wheels and axles, the pilot, maybe some antenna. Other bigger models included body and chassis, and maybe more parts. The pieces were assembled by private people at home, mostly housewives. According to people who saw it (as recalled in, it was usual to see a small van in some quarters of the city taking big bags with parts to be assembled. The assembled toys were returned to the manufacturer and then distributed to shops around the country.

If I recall well, cars were stored in the shops in big transparent plastic bags. The bag usually hung on the wall, so you could chose any car you liked, and the seller would take it out of the bag for you.

With the improvements in the economy, and the slow introduction of foreign and quality car models, VAM started selling less and less toys, although it took many years to see it closed. When that happened, VAM casts were sold to two different companies from the same city that coincidentally were located even in the same area/region: "Baratijas Ruiz" (that is still active today) and "La Ilusión".

The model shown today is a big car, I would say it is a scale between 1:43 and 1:36, maybe closer to the first as to the second, although I should have somewhere a small bag of 1:64 scale cars (race cars, land rovers) and 1:100 scale trucks. They will be shown in other entry in the future... I need to check if they are VAM or Ruiz.

In the link above, there is a nice collection of plastic cars made by this company. Watching them, I recall how many of these I had as a kid. Recommended to click here!

  • Name: RENAULT 5
  • Year: Around 1984
  • Company: VAM (Spain)
  • Size: Around 10 cm.
  • Scale: Around 1:43

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