Volkswagen 1200 Beetle
It's Nine years into the life of the Corgi Toys brand in 1965 when they decide to take on the Volkswagen Beetle and a fine job they do of it too. The modelling and detail on this car are superb. The last release by Corgi using this casting would be 11 years later when it comes out again as a rally car, except that the opening parts and the steering have been taken away as has the plating and jewelled lights. Also on the 1976 model the decals and paint are crude, with very poor casting. The first release is Corgi at its peak - the last is a very poor substitute.
256 East African Safari Rally Car
This is the first outing for the excellent Type 1 VW by Corgi. Steering is controlled from the spare wheel mounted on the roof, the front opens to reveal recovery gear and wellies and the engine in the back is nicely detailed. Everything on this car is done well from the mud flaps to the bumper bars. The rally Beetle was made from 1965 to 1968, always in orange with racing number 18. There are no listed variations other than right or left hand drive - one of only two Corgis found to have this option, the other one has working steering controlled from the roof too - the Austin A60 Driving School Car. A good, boxed one of these with all the box inners and leaflets, complete with its charging rhino will demand a very high price.
492 German Police Car
This is the second run-out for the Volkswagen Type 1 saloon with the opening back and front and working steering. This is an excellent model with first class detailing and engineering. This car was in the range from 1966 to 1970 with no listed variations. It is though a true, pedigree Corgi, excellent modelling, brilliant engineering, let down slightly by not brilliant production standards - the edges of the moulds are a bit too dominant.
373 Police Car; WhizzWheels
This is actually a really nicely modelled car. This example is a wreck and it has nasty Whizzwheels and it has had the opening bits taken away, but it remains a really well modelled car. In an earlier version it had opening back and front and could be steered by turning the beacon. If you look inside this one you can see a blank in the seat moulding where the steering shaft used to be. However it is probably true that by the time Corgi made this car from old moulds and models they were no longer capable of producing modelling of this quality. It is worth comparing it to the 1966 version to see how production standards had deteriorated in four years. The moulding on this one, especially on the front wings is very poor. The WhizzWheels Police VW was produced between 1970 and 1976, there are three export versions; Green & White 'Polizei', White 'Polizei, White 'Politie', there are also variations in the stickers on the UK releases.
383 WhizzWheels Beetle
All the previous Beetles on this casting have been Police or rally cars. No.383 gets with the 1970 zeitgeist and brings in flower power and da-glo colours. Bright red or orange with psychedelic design flower stickers , or not, as not all the cars have them. Also on this number are a couple of export models; an ADAC roadside recovery car and a Swiss PTT postman's car, neither of which are featured in the Museum, as I've never found them. The Flower Power Beetle was released in July 1970 and remained in the range until 1976.
400/401 Driving School Car
Another example of Corgi living its life backwards. This model had been around for years in various guises with a steering mechanism controlled from the roof. First time out steering was via a roof mount spare wheel as an East African safari rally car, then via a beacon as a German Police car. Now it has a steering wheel on the roof as it is a driving school car. However the earlier ones had opening boot and bonnet - or whatever they are on a Beetle - this final effort at a steering model loses these details, in the Whizzwheels versions it loses the steering too. Enough said. Terminal decline in model engineering at Corgi. The 1974 release was number 400, it was replaced by 401 in July 1975. The difference was that 401 was supplied with a diorama and a set of bollards to drive around.
384 1200 Rally Car
This is the end of a very long road for this casting. It first appeared in 1965 as another rally car - the East African Safari Rally car No.256. In those days it had opening boot and bonnet and realistic steering controlled from a roof mounted spare wheel - and a charging Rhino. All the features have gone including the nice rear mud flaps and we have this very dumbed down Whizzwheels car with no features at all of any sort. There are two rare versions to look for, both in this shade of blue. One is a 40th Anniversary of the Beetle commemorative and the other has stickers reading 'Caledonian Autominologists'
|Corgi Toys 256; Volkswagen 1200 Beetle; East African Safari; Right Hand Drive||Corgi Toys 256; Volkswagen 1200 Beetle; East African Safari; Left Hand Drive||Corgi Toys 492; Volkswagen 1200 Beetle German Police Car; Green & White, Polizei||Corgi Toys 373; Volkswagen 1200 Beetle Police Car; Whizzwheels||Corgi Toys 383; Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Whizzwheels; Red Green, Flower Stickers|
|Corgi Toys 383; Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Whizzwheels; Orange Black, No Stickers||Corgi Toys 383; Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Whizzwheels; Orange White, No Stickers||Corgi Toys 400/401; Volkswagen Beetle 1300 Driving School Car||Corgi 384; Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Rally; Blue, RN5 Chequered Stripes|