Miniatures news, June 1963

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New Corgi miniatures cover a Plymouth Sports Suburban station-wagon (No. 445) and a very fine Citroën ID19 Safari (No. 436) in the colours of the Wild Life Preservation group. This Citroën miniature has all the expected Corgi features, plus drop tail-gate and lift-up rear door and means of folding away the back seat by operation of a knurled knob beneath the model. This one is a “must” for Citroën C.C. members! It even has luggage on its roof rack.

A new venture is the importation from Italy of the Rio miniatures. These are to a generous scale, accurately cast in great detail and superbly finished. At present eight Rio miniatures are available. They comprise the following models:

No. 1: A 1906 24/40-h.p. Targa Fiorio Itala with outside levers, bulb horn, bonnet strap, pressure pump and lubricator, pedals, petrol tank, starting handle, cushions, spring shackles, etc., all depicted. Two rubber spare tyres are strapped on behind, while beneath are outlined the exhaust system, engine, clutch, gearbox and transmission details. Even the radiator badge is there, the dumb-irons are correctly shaped, and this Itala replica is 4 1/4 in. long.

No. 2: The 1907 “Paris-Pekin” 24/40-h.p. 7.4-litre Itala, in extreme detail, even to gas headlamps with glasses; the third seat between the big pannier fuel tanks with their filler caps; auxiliary tank, tied-on spare tyres. and the “Parigi-Pechino” lettering. I suspect Tim Nicholson will order this one!

No. 3: A blue Fiat Tipo 501 Sport, circa 1923, with two-pane screen (the top pane open), horn, spare wheel, folded hood, tool-box, cushions, mats, r.h. levers, underslung rear springs, hinged doors, bonnet louvres, etc., all correctly depicted. The Fiat Register should buy the lot! This one is nearly 3 1/2 in. long.

No. 4: A similar Fiat Tipo 501, circa 1923, tourer, hood erect. For some unexplained reason these vintage Fiats have back number-plates but no front number-plates, but you can always add them! But why no rear brake drums?

No. 5: A 1932 monoposto P3 Alfa Romeo, with Alfa clover-leaf insignias, aero-screen, filler caps, (plated) outside exhaust, starting handle, shock-absorbers (twins at the back) and 1/2-elliptic springs shown in detail. This G.P. car is 3 3/4 in. long and if it is not quite so attractive as the other Rio Models, it is about the only P3 replica available—for which reason our Continental Correspondent bought his in Italy! Rear spring hangers, twin prop.-shafts, and (rather dubious) brake drums are there.

No. 6: A 1912 Fiat 12/15 tourer, hood up. You get head and side lamps, very realistic hood straps, tool-box, spare wheel, treaded rubber tyres, gas generator, “serpent” horn, and all the normal Rio detail, but again no front number-plate and no rear lamps. A fine Edwardian touring-car replica, 3 1/2 in. long. I love the flared back mudguards.

No. 7: A 1912 12/15 Fiat 2-seater on similar lines to the tourer. The radiator is beautifully done, reminiscent of the Fiat Register’s badge.

No. 8: The most elaborate Rio replica of them all—a 1924 Tipo SA Isotta-Fraschini coupé de ville. It has American-style front and back bumpers, two spare wire wheels, exhaust pipe, ribbed sump, twin tool-boxes, knock-off hub caps, occasional seats and “glass” rear windows. Length 5 1/4 in. It is r.h.d., incidentally.

Each model costs 30s. They are obtainable from Harrods, the Montagu Motor Museum, Hummells, Auto-Models of Finsbury Pavement, E.C., and most good toy-shops. I gather that additional models will follow, perhaps of famous racing cars, and hope to announce them in this column as they appear.

Auto-Models Ltd. can now supply the latest Solido miniature— a Mercedes-Benz 220SE coupé with suspension, opening doors and reclining seats—for 10s. 6d., or by post 11s. 6d.—W. B.