Exclusive New Model Announcements and the Classic Motor Show
We have so much new and exclusive model information to bring you in this latest edition of Die-cast Diaries that it is already looking like being something of a bumper edition. You can look forward to seeing new 2017 range exclusive announcements, a closer look at one of the most anticipated Aviation Archive models from the current Corgi catalogue and the latest pre-production model images in our popular ‘What’s on the desk’ feature. As the latest heading suggests, we will also have exclusive images of a very special new 2017 model which was unveiled at last weekend’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, where the real car was being exhibited. To commemorate the announcement, the owner of the vehicle was presented with a beautiful hand decorated sample of the Vanguards release by the Corgi brand manager, which is certainly a unique piece of die-cast memorabilia. Finally, we are really excited to share the final 20 models in our Ultimate Corgi Top 10 model poll with you as we continue our search for the most popular Corgi model of all time, and open the final voting to reach our Top 10 in December.
Before we begin, we would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has voted in our Ultimate Corgi Top Ten poll and for the many fascinating stories that accompanied your entries. We are extremely passionate about our models, be they Lancaster Bombers, or Lady Penelope’s FAB 1 and it has been humbling to hear how much they have also meant to you over the years. More on this later, but for now let’s head off to the NEC in Birmingham and the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show.
New Corgi Vanguards model debuts at the Classic Motor Show
VA07006 is the first Vanguards model to be announced from the forthcoming January – June 2017 range
Last weekend’s Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show saw motoring enthusiasts from all over the world descend on the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for a feast of motoring delights. As the UK’s largest classic motor show, the event attracts visitors from all over the world in the expectation of seeing some of the most desirable (and expensive) motor vehicles on earth and the personalities behind them. The Corgi team had a stand at the NEC for the duration of the show and amongst the die-cast delights on display was this beautiful Sunbeam Alpine prototype (VA07006) which was exclusively revealed at this year’s show.
The Sunbeam Alpine is a two-seater sports drophead coupé, built by the Rootes Group from 1953 to 1955 and again from 1959 to 1968. The car was the first model from Sunbeam-Talbot to bear the Sunbeam name alone, following the Rootes Group's acquisition of Clément-Talbot and later acquiring Sunbeam from its receiver in 1935. It received its Alpine name following Sunbeam-Talbot's success in the Alpine Rally during the early 1950s.
The big reveal - enthusiasts and members of the press were in attendance for our new Sunbeam Alpine model unveiling
In early 1959 when Rootes were developing the Alpine at Ryton, Coventry, they constructed only eight pre-production prototypes. The car modelled (XRW 302) is the third and only surviving prototype, making it the oldest extant example. It survived because, rather than being thrashed to breaking point in testing, it was allocated to the company's design department to be used in the development of new styles and trim. The car was later sold to Rootes development engineer Bernard Unett in 1961, who had worked on the Alpine programme and wanted to go racing. He debuted the car at Silverstone in September 1961 and was deemed to be so dangerous that he wasn't allowed to start the second race!
This unique hand decorated sample model was presented to the owner by the Corgi team
After its racing career, the car passed through several owners before being bought by Simon Goldby in 1972, who at the time had no knowledge of the car's history. After falling into disrepair, Simon began a full restoration in 1995 and the car returned to roadworthiness in 2000. In 2005 the car was acquired by its current owner, John Willshire, who has shown the car at events such as the Silverstone Classic meeting, the Goodwood Revival and the Classic Motor Show where the car was awarded runner-up in 'Classic Car of the Year'. You can read all about the car and see fascinating photos of its restoration on John's website. The Corgi team presented John with a unique hand decorated die-cast example of his magnificent Sunbeam at the Classic Motor Show and the production release of this notable car (VA07006) is scheduled to arrive in March 2017. It is available to pre-order on the Corgi website now!
Die-cast Diaries Exclusive – New 2017 model announcements
Following on from the Nicolson Hawker Hurricane Mk.I (AA27605) announcement made in the previous edition of Die-cast Diaries, we are pleased to be in a position to bring our readers an exclusive first look at two more models from the forthcoming January – June 2017 Corgi range. The launch of a new Corgi catalogue is always a time of great excitement and as we bring our 60th Anniversary celebrations to a close, we are expecting the next catalogue to be one of our most popular of recent years. With a fantastic collection of new models to look forward to, we can now reveal two more models from the January – June 2017 range.
VA02540 Austin Mini Cooper S, Durham Constabulary
The Cooper S modelled was a Durham Constabulary Traffic Car and was usually operated by a female crew of two. It was one of several Mini Cooper S vehicles on their fleet, as period photographs prove, but the car itself no longer exists. Mini Coopers were popular traffic cars in the North East as their size and spritely performance made them very agile in both the urban and countryside topography that makes up County Durham. Their front-wheel-drive configuration also provided good traction in harsh winter conditions on the North East's hills. They were rarely used for dual carriageway or motorway work though as Durham Traffic Police used more powerful Jaguar Mk2s in this role.
The Mini Cooper's potential as a police car was obvious immediately the 997cc model was introduced in 1961. However, it really came into its own in February 1964 when the 1275cc Cooper S version arrived. Its greater engine capacity meant extra torque so less performance was sacrificed when the vehicle was carrying the weight and aerodynamic penalties police traffic patrol cars incur when fully equipped. It became a popular vehicle in this role with police forces all over the UK, especially those in the North, and was used in a basically standard form except for the fitment of an alternator to handle the Police vehicles greater electrical load and often, but not in this car, motorsport derived twin fuel tanks to give greater range.
Engine: 1275cc 4-IL OHV
Max speed: 97mph
AA37907 – SPAD XIII, S2900, Major Francesco Baracca, 91a Squadriglia, Italian Air Force, Italy, 1918 – Italy’s ‘Ace of Aces’
When discussing the famous fighter pilots of the Great War, names like Manfred von Richthofen, Werner Voss and Billy Bishop are familiar to many people. Rarely do the aces of the Italian Air Force receive recognition, even though around 42 of them qualified for ‘ace’ status. When Italy finally entered the war in May 1915, they joined forces with the British and French, initially fighting against the Austro-Hungarian empire. Without suitable fighter designs of their own, they used older, or licence built French designs, but their air force was woefully ill-prepared for war and suffered from poor organisation and tactics. They had to learn fast and the newly trained Italian pilots proved to be some of the most accomplished aviators of the Great War.
At the head of this group was Francesco Baracca, son of a wealthy landowner and former cavalryman. Qualifying as a pilot in 1912, Baracca was already an accomplished airman by the time Italy entered the war and despite the fact he was flying older French designed aircraft, he managed to claim Italy’s first aerial victory of the war on 7th April 1916. Baracca’s aircraft carried his personal emblem on the port side of the fuselage, a black prancing horse, which was the Arms of the Baracca family and in recognition of his time as a cavalry officer. Duty and compassion were driving forces in his life and he found it difficult to cope with life away from his Squadron – he would, however, make a point of visiting injured airmen he had engaged in combat, or laying a wreath at the grave of those who perished. As with many of the great aces of WWI, Baracca would not survive the conflict, falling to ground fire whilst strafing enemy trenches on 19th June, 1918. His score of 34 aerial victories earned him the title of Italy’s ‘Ace of aces’ and celebrated national hero, whilst also becoming one of the highest scoring aces of the Great War.
Some years after the end of the war, a motor racing friend of the Baracca family was asked if he would do something for the mother of Francesco Baracca. ‘Use my son’s prancing horse motif on your cars – it will bring you good luck’. That friend was Enzo Ferrari.
Look out for both of these new models in the forthcoming Corgi January – June 2017 range launch in the next few weeks.
Falklands Raider - a future Aviation Archive Classic
Evocative image of AA27203 ‘Black Buck’ Falklands Raider
An impending 1/72nd scale release in the Corgi Aviation Archive range is set to commemorate not only one of the most famous aircraft ever to serve with the Royal Air Force, but also its involvement in one of the most significant bombing raids in the history of warfare. Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 currently watches over the airfield activities at RAF Waddington, preserved as a runway guardian and visible from the nearby A15 Sleaford Road. Although she now serves to commemorate the Vulcan’s illustrious service career and its association with RAF Waddington, on the night of 30th April/1st May 1982 XM607 was arguably the most important aircraft in service with the Royal Air Force at that time, as Britain prepared to take back the Falkland Islands.
At midnight on 30th April 1982, two RAF Vulcans left the runway at Wideawake airfield on Ascension Island, each armed with twenty-one 1,000lb general purpose bombs. Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 piloted by Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers was selected to fly as reserve aircraft to the primary bomber XM598 on this highly complex raid, but quickly found himself promoted to lead aircraft on ‘Black Buck 1’ following technical difficulties encountered by the other Vulcan. As the aircraft embarked on what would be an 8,000 mile round trip to the Falkland Islands and back, the plan was to drop the bombload sequentially over Port Stanley airport, ensuring that at least one bomb landed on the runway, putting it out of action. This would be the first, surprise attack on the Island, in advance of the Task Force launching their operations.
Having made seven in-flight refuelling transfers on the way to the Falkland Islands, Vulcan XM607 successfully released her bombs over the target and cratered the runway at Port Stanley, sending a high profile statement of intent to the Argentine military – Britain was determined to take back the Falkland Islands and had the capability to achieve it. Following a further rendezvous with a Victor tanker on the homeward leg of the mission, Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 returned to its base on Ascension Island and a place in the aviation history books – Flight Lieutenant Martin Withers and his crew had just completed the longest bombing mission in history.
In all, the RAF planned seven Black Buck raids against Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands, with five taking place and the remaining two being cancelled. Of the five missions flown, two were aimed at destroying Argentine anti-aircraft defences, using ‘Shrike’ missiles and three targeted Port Stanley Airport with conventional bombs. All three of these bombing raids were carried out by Avro Vulcan XM607, which must be considered as one of the most significant aircraft to have ever served with the Royal Air Force.
Corgi’s magnificent 1/72nd scale die-cast model of Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 (AA27203) is currently scheduled to be released at the end of December 2016, you can check the latest status by heading for the Corgi website.
The Ultimate Corgi Top Ten
As we approach the end of our 60th Anniversary year, our search to find the Ultimate Corgi Top 10 enters its final stage. Over the course of the next four weeks we are asking all Die-cast Diaries readers and Corgi model fans everywhere to vote for their favourite model from amongst a list of the 20 most popular suggestions we have received over the past seven weeks. We have received thousands of model suggestions, photographs and collector stories since we launched our ‘Ultimate Corgi Top Ten’ campaign and are extremely grateful to everyone who has already taken part and helped to make our search such a resounding success. It is turning out to be a truly fantastic way to bring our 60th Anniversary year to a close.
We are pleased to bring you our list of the 20 most popular Corgi models, as voted for by the most important people in our 60 year history – our collectors:
#270 James Bond Aston Martin DB5
AA32601 Avro Lancaster ‘S for Sugar’ 1/72nd scale
#266 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
#803 Beatles Yellow Submarine
AA34601 De Havilland Mosquito 1/32nd scale
US33306 Boeing B-17G ‘Bit O Lace’ 1/72nd scale
#1143 American LaFrance Rescue Truck
#268 Green Hornet Black Beauty
AA27501 Short Sunderland 1/72nd scale
#497 Man from UNCLE ‘Thrush Buster’
#1142 Ford Holmes Wrecker Truck
US36604 Lockheed P-38 ‘California Cutie’ 1/72nd scale
CC00601 Thunderbirds FAB 1
US60501 German Tiger 1 Michael Wittmann 1/50th scale
#258 The Saint’s Volvo P1800
#336 James Bond Toyota GT 2000
AA39301 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I 1/72nd scale
#269 James Bond Lotus Esprit
AA36904 Junkers Ju-52 Eastern Front 1/72nd scale
All of these magnificent models have been voted into our Top 20 list
There are just four weeks left for you to register your vote and make sure that your favourite makes it into our 60th Anniversary Top Ten list. The model which receives the most votes will be crowned the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’ and will be unveiled in our 2016 review edition of Die-cast Diaries to be published on Friday 30th December. We will also include some of the collection photographs and personal stories we have been sent over the past few weeks, which is going to make this an extremely memorable edition of Die-cast Diaries. Every vote counts, so please help us to find the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’.
What’s on the desk?
BAC Lightning F.6 AA32315 has proved to be an incredibly popular model
We could not end this latest edition without taking our customary look at some of the latest pre-production models to have arrived on the development desk at Corgi HQ.
BAC Lightning F.6 XR770/D (AA32315) has been one of the most heavily pre-ordered models this year, and the website allocation has completely sold out - contact your local stockist to enquire about availability. Collectors who placed a pre-order for this model will be feeling pretty pleased with themselves now, especially when they see these final production sample images of this magnificent model.
Final production sample image of the much anticipated Lightning F.6 AA32315
If you were to ask aviation enthusiasts of a certain age “What was the most exciting aircraft that you ever saw display at an Airshow?”, many would undoubtedly reply the English Electric/BAC Lightning. Built purely for speed, the Lightning was designed to protect UK airspace from encroaching Soviet bombers which dictated that the aircraft had a phenomenal rate of climb and blistering performance. Lightning pilots described flying this aircraft as being strapped onto a rocket and having the mighty Lightning in your logbook was certainly something to boast about. The lack of range was always something that plagued Lightning operations, and successive upgrades were always attempting to cram more fuel into the thirsty aircraft. It was fast though and anyone who saw a Lightning put through its paces will never forget this spectacular aviation experience. The estimated arrival date for this model is late December.
CC14124 DAF 105 of Slough International Freight and Packaging Limited
Although we have previously featured both of these beautiful Hauliers of Renown models in our popular ‘What’s on the Desk’ feature, we have received some final production sample images which we simply had to share with you. Both of these beautiful cabs not only showcase two of the most widely used and visually appealing tractor units on Europe’s roads, but both also feature stunning aviation related airbrushed artwork to further enhance their appeal. CC14124 is a DAF 105 cab, owned and operated by Slough International Freight and Packaging Limited – it features spectacular Battle of Britain artwork, which includes not only the famous aircraft that took part in the battle, but also some of the pilots and political figures involved. Looking absolutely resplendent in this striking livery, many Aviation Archive collectors will also be tempted by this stunning release.
CC16007 is a Volvo FH cab operated by Maxwell Freight Services
The second model, CC16007 is a Volvo FH cab operated by Maxwell Freight Services of County Antrim and features similarly spectacular aviation inspired artwork. Both sides of the cab have been decorated to commemorate separate aviation related stories connected with the people of Ireland, all of which was covered in edition 17 of Die-cast Diaries and is well worth re-visiting. The spectacular artwork applied to both of these vehicle models has ensured that each of them have received significant pre-order support and many collectors will be looking forward to adding them to their display cabinets. With both models estimated to be released at the end of this month, you can keep up to date with all the very latest release information by heading for the Corgi website and selecting the trucks and lorries section – for now, here is a beautiful image of these two distinctive models sitting side by side.
Both of these truck models make poignant aviation tributes from the haulage industry
That’s all we have for you in this latest bumper edition of Die-cast Diaries. With just four weeks left to vote before we prepare to crown the ‘Ultimate Corgi Model’, we still need your vote to ensure the right model is given the title. Please don’t forget to place your vote and we look forward to bringing you the result of our poll in the next edition of Die-cast Diaries.
As always, we are keen to hear your views on Die-cast Diaries and any ideas you may have for future blog content. There are a number of ways you can get a message to us - as well as our dedicated Diecastdiaries@corgi.co.uk e-mail address, we also have our Die-Cast Diaries forum and our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter using #CorgiDiecastDiaries. Please do join in the discussions, or why not start your own Corgi related thread?
New Vanguards Sunbeam Alpine Prototype model VA07006
Until the next edition of Die-cast Diaries, thank you very much for reading our latest blog, which we sincerely hope you enjoyed. We will leave you with this final image of the recently announced Sunbeam Alpine prototype model, which was announced at the 2016 Classic Motor Show.
The Corgi Team
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