The Great Book of Corgi
I've arranged this part of the site chronologically,
using Marcel van Cleemput's Pocket Book companion to the wonderful &
essential Great Book of Corgi as a guide.
Each year gets its own page and on each of those pages I list all the new models released that year. If there's one I've had in my collection or through the Little Wheels store there's a link to pictures of it. Please browse and enjoy. You may make copies of anything on the site; all I ask in return is an acknowledgement and a link back to this website.
(September 2022) This section of the Museum has just completed an end to end makeover which has taken about two years to complete. I've revised the format to be more up to date and to be consistent with Little Wheels branding. I've also revised all the photos and text. With the photos I've filled in gaps where able and replaced with newer, better photos in some others. I've tried to correct errors in the text and have created a lot of pages where a set of models are combined where there is a relationship, such as the re-use of a casting. In the later years of the brand I have tried to create a linkage into the post-Mettoy era for Corgi, showing where I have been able how the new Corgi Toys company and its successors took forward the Corgi heritage and adapted it. As ever if you find errors or have suggestions please email me using the link above. Andrew Wood 2002
I no longer own any of these cars (well I kept just a few special ones) as they have been sold through Little Wheels
|1956||The Corgi Toys brand is launched by Mettoy with a fine range of British cars centre-stage supported by no less than 6 versions of the Bedford CA van.|
|1957||Firsts in 1957: First Major, first foreign car, first racing car, first Land Rover, first Karrier shops, first Gift Set|
|1958||The year of the missiles - two competing systems Bloodhound & Corporal, very realistic and the beginning of the military models.|
|1959||Farm machinery arrives and the beginning of 'Glidamatic' suspension and detailed interiors, Chevy Impala debuts|
|1960||Bluebird, the first Chipperfields and the first opening bonnet, S upgrade models arrive and the Mini bursts on to the scene|
|1961||Seats and spring suspension are the norm, the Bentley Continental, Ecurie Ecosse transporter, Fordson Major, Golden Guinea|
|1962||Detail, detail, detail - opening everything, more Chipperfields, the Jag Mk 10, some very sexy Americans and new versions of old friends|
|1963||Many more features, trans-o-lites, luggage in the boot, building kits & rally cars. The Ghia sets new standards in detail|
|1964||The 'Classics', the London Bus and the first Monte Carlo Mini-Cooper, fine engineering with working wipers and the Simon Snorkel|
|1965||One of the biggest years; James Bond, The Saint, musical Ice Cream vans, loads of military, VW Safari Rally, long long list, all good|
|1966||Batmobile, the Avengers, Man from UNCLE, Rally cars, Cortina Estate - all classic mainline Corgi at their peak|
|1967||Holmes Wrecker, Daktari, Green Hornet, Bertie Wooster, James Bond's Toyota, MGB, one of the best years ever|
|1968||Chitty chitty bang bang, the Monkees, take-off wheels and the Mini 'Magnifique' less newness, but every model is brilliant|
|1969||London to Sydney Hillman and a few other great new models - the beginning of Whizzwheeels|
|1970||Whizzwheels take over, working features begin to disappear. There are still some great new products but the decline has begun.|
|1971||Dragsters & Beach Buggies, appearance of the 'Corgi Technocrats'. Mazak models begin a new era of poor modelling|
|1972||Products sourced from Hong Kong, Whizzwheels models, no clever engineering, nothing worth much at all.|
|1973||More dumbed-down models and fewer recognisably 'Corgi' products, Nothing new, just rehashes of mediocre stuff.|
|1974||As last year, nothing new worth a mention.|
|1975||Another fallow year with little fresh to see|
|1976||A few Corgi Majors showing newness here, but nothing much else to get worked up about at all|
|1977||The year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee and there were still some decent new products being released, the brand hit a low point at the end of the year though with the release (escape?) of Corgi Cubs|
|1978||There was little new in 1978.|
The year of character merchandise - almost half the
new releases are TV, comic & movie themed and most of the rest are
rehashed old models.
There are probably more gaps in my pictures for 1979 than any other year, probably because so few of these models were sold and consequently fewer survive
|1980||There were some decent models in 1980, some new and some were warmed-over products from previous years, the move to 1:36 scale is almost complete.|
|1981||The toys released in 1981 were showing a significant reduction in engineering and quality of modelling|
Corgi are struggling to survive against the
unstoppable rise of electronic games, they even attempt to bring in
some electronics themselves, not very successfully.
The products on offer have gone into a bit of decline now.
This is where it all came to an end for Mettoy
Playcraft Ltd. Mettoy had been
founded in 1933 by German émigré Philip Ullmann and
launched the Corgi Toys brand in 1956. In 1983 after a few years of
indifferent trading the company went bust.
The company was sold in 1984 with the assets of the company transferred to a new Corgi Toys company which folded shortly after.