VW Beetle 4 x 4, Dashbashi Canyon

When I go on an excursion or trip, I like to take a model car with me, as there may be some interesting photo opportunities. On Sunday, I went on an excursion to Dashbashi Canyon, in my pocket I took this Matchbox VW Beetle 4 x 4. The off road vehicles look best when visiting nature.

VW Beetle 4 x 4 Dashbashi Canyon
Matchbox VW Beetle 4 x 4

Strangely, the first time I visited Dashbashi Canyon, I also took a model of a  Matchbox VW Beetle 4 x 4 and posted about it in a previous blog: VW Beetle 4 x 4 in Dashbashi Canyon

VW Beetle 4 x 4 Dashbashi Canyon 2

In a previous post, I showed images of some of my models in the snow: Snow Fun

I maybe in my fifties now, but I am not too old to play with Matchbox cars!


’70 Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels)

Possibly my favourite casting of the current Hot Wheels line up is the ’70 Ford Escort RS1600, I have four variants the latest being the ’70 Ford Escort RS1600 “Gumball Rally”.

'70 Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels) Gumball rally
’70 Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels) “Gumball Rally”

My dad had a Ford Escort Mark I back in 1970, it wasn’t an RS1600, just a humble 1100, but the characteristic shape gives me that nostalgic buzz, which sparks my collecting.

'70 Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels) x 4
’70 Ford Escort RS1600 (Hot Wheels) x 4

The first I found was the Castrol model, the colours are like the Italian national colours often sported by Fiats and Lancias in rallies. The yellow model, whose decor makes it look like it has an opening hood from certain angles, I found in a three pack. The blue model is a Hot Wheels 50th anniversary special. There are a few variants I have missed, I’d like to find the Fast and Furious model in blue with a thick white stripe, there was also a red Castrol model. I also hope Hot Wheels continues to put out more variants of this casting.

Fast and Furious 6 Escort
The Escort in Fast and Furious 6

Related posts: My Dad’s Cars
Reflections on Why I collect diecast cars?

Today’s finds: JPS Lotus (Corgi) and Peugeot 504 (Norev)

Peugeot 504 (Norev) and John Player Special (Corgi)

If I want to save money, I should avoid visiting Gocha’s stall on Dry Bridge Market. In recent weeks he has had a few Corgis from the seventies. Today he had the John Player Special, this model graced the cover of the 1974 Corgi catalogue.

corgi catalogue 1974

The John Player Special was one of Corgi’s best-selling models, at school in the seventies Formula One models were popular as you could race them across the playground without them tumbling over because of their low centre of gravity. I wonder how many of my school mates went on to smoke the advertised cigarette brand, the Marlboro McLaren was also very popular. The model I found today is without the chipped paint from playground racing. It is 1/36 scale.

Corgis on Gocha's Stall
some Corgis on Gocha’s stall last month (two of which are now in my collection)

He also had a Peugeot 504 in East African Rally guise. This model was made by Norev in France. It is 1/43 scale. My brother once had a real Peugeot 504, he has had many real cars, I remember him visiting me at university in the mid-eighties in his 504, his was red.

Monthly Acquisitions : April 2019

April’s haul

Three Corgi models pushed me way over my hundred lari budget this month. I spent a total of 219.85 lari (of which the three Corgi models accounted for 150 lari), this is the most I have spent in a single month since May 2017. But it was definitely worth it…


Corgi Porsche 917, Rolls Royce Silver Shadow Convertible and Datsun 240Z

These three Corgis are from the early seventies with the Speedwheels, which were relatively new at the time. The Datsun and Porsche are in very good condition and have their boxes, the Rolls is more playworn and has no box.  They are all made in Great Britain. Two Delightful Corgis


Corgi is my second favourite brand after Matchbox. The Matchbox selection this month were more recent and made in the far east.

Matchbox Ford Model T Van, VW 4 x 4 Beetle and Preston Tramcar

The Preston Tramcar (scale 1:87) is a Yesteryear model, made in Macau. It is the first tramcar in my diecast collection.  The Ford Model T Van, I got because it advertises “Mars”, I grew up in Slough, where one of the major employers was the local Mars Confectionery factory. I even had a tour of the factory, when I was in the scouts. The model was made in China. The VW Beetle 4 x 4 was a gift from a student, who found it in his yard in the village and thought his English teacher might like it…the back axle is broken. It wasn’t the only gift this month.


Gifts VW Beetle 4 x 4 and VW Classic Bus “Peace and Love”

“Never look a gift horse in the mouth” is an oft told English idiom. When given a horse, it would be bad manners to inspect the horse’s mouth to see if it has bad teeth. I am always happy to receive diecast gifts, although they often wouldn’t be those I would have chose for myself. Nikoloz found the VW in his yard in the village and thought I’d like it. I like VW Beetle 4×4s, I already have four in better condition. Elene, another student got me the VW Bus with “Peace and Love” decorations. This is a Chinese model similar to the offerings of Kinsmart and Welly but the brand is not marked on the vehicle.

Majorette and Norev

Renault 12 (Norev) and Porsche 918 Spyder (Majorette)

Norev and Majorette are French brands, the Norev model of a Renault 12 is made in France, it is the first Renault 12 in my collection, I like French cars generally, I never had a real Renault but I did have a Citroen and a Peugeot . The Porsche 918 Spyder is made in Thailand. Both are welcome additions to the collection.

Hot Wheels



The Hot Wheels models were mostly new, the Fish n Chip’d is an old model but still in its blister. The Volkswagen SP2, I released from its blister. The Mazda Repu and Land Rover Series III Pick Up were on my Wants’ List



Totals: 14 Models:  4 Hot Wheels, 3 Matchbox, 4 Corgi, 1 Majorette, 1 Norev and 1 Unidentified brand

4 bought new,  8 bought secondhand, 2 gifts

Outlets: 2 Secondhand Toy Stores,  1 Pepela, 2 Biblus, 6 Dry Bridge Market, 1 XS Toys and 2 gifts

Net expenditure: 219.85 lari ($81.28)

1 lari = 37 US cents

Brand Comparison: Porsche 918 Spyder : Hot Wheels v Majorette

Porsche 918 Spyder brand comparison
In their blisters

The Porsche 918 Spyder is a fantastic looking car. The Hot Wheels model was on my Wants’ List from when I first saw it on an unboxing video. I wasn’t aware Majorette also made a model of the Spyder until I saw it on the pegs at XS Toys.

The two models are the same size and weight, with metal bodies and plastic bases. The Majorette is made in Thailand and the Hot Wheels model is made in Malaysia.

Hot Wheels packaging has attractive card art, I remove the blister carefully so I can keep the card art, the Majorette packaging is generic, all the models in the “Street Cars” series have the same packaging. I won’t be keeping the Majorette card.

Porsche 918 Spyder brand comparison 2
Majorette v Hot Wheels

The Majorette model is in a metallic blue, the Hot Wheels in a matt black with red stripes and a #4 racing number. I like the decor of both models. The Majorette model has plastic inserts for the headlights, the Hot Wheels model has just printed on lights. The windscreen of the Majorette model has a barely noticeable windscreen wiper. I think the wheels of the Majorette model look more realistic than the 10-spoked chrome wheels of the Hot Wheels model. Both cars have a Porsche badge incorporated in the tampo.

Porsche 918 Spyder brand comparison 4
from above

The steering wheel of the Majorette model is more realistic, not being completely closed like the Hot Wheels model. The Majorette model has some red back lights, the Hot Wheels model has no rear tampo.

Here the two models are priced the same at 7.90 lari, there is little to choose between the two, I’m happy to have both, if I were to just choose one it would be the Majorette by a whisker or a subtle windscreen wiper.


The Inner Algorithm

Choosing a model, I weigh up a number of variables in my head. Now, I am trying to make a viable algorithm.

Desirability=size x brand x car make x age x condition x type x price x country of manufacture

Size : 3 inch x3            1:43 x1.5  Other scales  x1

Brand: Matchbox x3 Corgi x2 Majorette x 1.6 Other brands x1 unspecified brand x 0.5

Car Make: Maserati x 3 Citroen x2 Porsche (rear engined) x2 Lamborghini, Iso, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Jaguar x 1.5, BMW x 0.5 Ferrari x 0.5

Age: 1968-1974 x4  1960-1967 x 3 1975-1982 x2 other years x1

Condition: very good or better x 3 good x 2 playworn but wheels okay x1 buckled wheels x 0.5 missing parts x0.5

Type of vehicle: sports car or convertible x 3, estate x 2, other cars x 1, SUVs x 0.5, trucks/buses x 0.5, plane/boat/other x 0.3

Price: 1 lari or less x 5, 1-2 lari x4, 2-3 lari x 3, 3.01-10 lari x 2, over 10 lari x 1, over 100 lari x 0.2

Country of Manufacture: Great Britain x 5, France x 4, USSR x 3, other European x 2.5, USA or Japan x 2, Malaysia or Thailand x 1.5, China and other countries x 1

Iso Grifo
If the price were reasonable this would rate very highly in my calculations…Matchbox Iso Grifo from 1968





Two Delightful Corgis

Porsche 917 and Datsun 240Z

I found these two lovely Corgi models, dating from the early seventies, at Dry Bridge market in Tbilisi. The Datsun 240Z had been on my Wants’ List for a long while. Gocha had 5 Corgi models in boxes, the Datsun was an easy first choice, but the second model was more tricky. I would have picked up any of these Corgis had they been alone on the stall.

Corgis on Gocha's Stall
Corgis on Gocha’s stall

The V12 Jaguar E Type is a lovely model of a fantastic car, but I already have the regular wheels version. The Lotus Elite was also tempting, as was the Ford Mustang Mach 1 but in the end the choice of my inner algorithm was the Porsche 917.


Lamborghini Murcielago, Mercedes SLK and Jaguar XK Coupe

Welly is a Chinese diecast manufacturer based in Hong Kong, they were established in 1980. They produce a range of diecast cars, motorcycles and trucks at different scales: 1:18, 1:24, 1:32, 1:38, 1:43, 1:60 and 1:87. Like many other Hong Kong manufacturers they took advantage of lower labour and property costs in neighbouring China, opening a plant in Guangdong Province. The models were usually distributed in trade boxes of a dozen models fitted with pullback friction motors.  Welly still make the pull back friction cars, cheap enough to sell as children’s toys but Chinese diecast manufacturing has made great advances and even the cheapest models can be finished to a high standard of detail.

Welly selection
Some Welly diecast

Welly has some interesting models I haven’t found in other brands like a Peugeot 403 Cabriolet and an FSO Syrena. Finding Polish classics (Polskie Modele Samochodów) at 1:43 by Welly was something of a surprise, I would think their appeal would be rather limited here in Georgia, where we don’t see any Polish cars on the road and they aren’t the stuff of dreams like Lamborghinis and Jaguars. They can be found loose, in boxes, in blisters and even in mystery eggs.

Welly Surprise Egg and jaguars
Welly Jaguar XK180 found in mystery egg

I have a few of the larger scale models but I prefer to collect the smaller 1:60-1:64 scale.

Welly larger scale
Larger scale (1:43, 1;38 and 1:32) Porsche 911 Carrera, Peugeot 403 Cabriolet, FSO Syrena and VW Karmann Ghia

At the three inch size, detail is comparable to Matchbox or Hot Wheels and better than Maisto. Prices vary but tend to be similar to Matchbox and Hot Wheels here.

Welly lamborghini aventador and hw
Lamborghini Aventador: Welly (left) and Hot Wheels (right)

The cars are not covered in tampos like many Hot Wheels vehicles, I generally prefer plainer decoration except on rally cars.


Welly porsche and lamborghini aventador
The wheels of the Porsche 964 and Lamborghini Aventador are the same

The same style of wheels are used on a number of models and they are not as robust as those of the Mattel brands.

VW Bus T1 Welly
VW T1 bus

After perusing their  website, I have added a few Welly models to my wants’ list.

  1. Citroen DS19 Convertible
  2. Ford Mustang
  3. Peugeot 404 Cabriolet
  4. Peugeot 504
  5. Pontiac GTO
  6. 1973 Citroen DS23
  7. 1969 Ford Capri
  8. Jaguar F Type
  9. Renault 5





Monthly Acquistions: March 2019

Towards the end of every month, I look back on the models I acquired during that month and see an interesting array of model cars. They would interest me, I guess, as I picked them. This month is no exception, I did reflect in a post at the start of the month that maybe there were some I wasn’t so happy with, which maybe I’ll pass on to another collector somewhere in the future. This month I picked up 20 cars…well, they weren’t all cars there were a few trucks and even one helicopter. Most were of the three inch (Hot Wheels-Matchbox) size which I prefer.

Monthly acquistions March 2019
My haul of 20 diecast models

Only two were bought new, a Batmobile in silver and a Hot Wheels Lamborghini Aventador Miura Homage. The others were secondhand, the majority from the secondhand toy shops near Tbilisi Central Station and three from Dry Bridge Market.

There were 9 Hot Wheels models in the haul.

Monthly acquistions March 2019HW
Hot Wheels models
  1. Lamborghini Aventador Miura Homage, This had been on my Wants’ List for many months. The Aventador is my favourite of the recent Lamborghinis and pays homage to the Miura, which is my favourite Lamborghini of all time. I found the model at East Point Mall in XS Toys, I rarely visit this mall as it is out of the city, towards the airport.
  2. Ford GT LM. Iconic design, I find these hard to resist particularly when they show up in a cheap secondhand toy shop.
  3. 65 Ford Mustang Fastback. Since I was a child and saw this design of Mustang in the Lesney Matchbox series, I have been a fan. I must have at least 50 Mustangs in my collection now. This is also in white with the classic twin blue stripes.
  4. Ford Escort Rally. My dad had an Escort (My Dad’s Cars), not this design but like the Mustang and the GT, this is a Ford I find hard to resist.
  5. Ford Anglia 105E. My dad’s first car was an Anglia and this is the first Anglia I have found for my collection. I would have preferred a plainer decoration.
  6. Batmobile TV Series. In the TV Series the Batmobile was black, I guess Hot Wheels are tired of black Batmobiles and are trying other colours, it looks cool in silver. The TV Series Batmobile is the most iconic of the various Batmobiles, I’d love to find a Corgi Batmobile from the sixties. Batmobile
  7. Subaru Brat. Like the Aventador this was on my Wants’ List for a long time.
  8. 70 Chevy Chevelle Wagon. I regret getting this slightly as I already have the same model in better condition.
  9. 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. When I play Gran Tursimo  on Sony Play Station , the first car I usually get is a Lancer and then modify it to the Max.
Monthly acquistions March 2019 MBX
7 Matchbox Vehicles

The Matchbox haul was more varied in age and type.

  1. Euclid Dump Truck. An older Matchbox from the mid sixties. I found this at Dry Bridge Market for 10 lari from Karo, who I was expecting to ask more. It is in better condition than the Euclid I had before. Made in England.
  2. 1962 VW Beetle. Iconic design, I have several Beetles, I would like to find the Matchbox Beetle I had in my childhood, one of the transitional models, which transitioned from regular wheels to Superfast.
  3. Ice Cream Van. This model has a lot of plastic, a cost saving measure in recent times. The cab and base are diecast.
  4. Ford Transit Paramedic. I liked the purple colour. I also have a soft spot for ambulances as reading the book Blood, Sweat and Tea about a paramedic, inspired me to start blogging.
  5. Honda Insight In Tbilisi hybrid cars are very popular because of gas mileage and the reduced import duties. I like Honda usually but I find this model ugly.
  6. Rescue Helicopter. This is a Matchbox Skybuster. I don’t usually collect aviation but I might occasionally pick one up.
  7. International Pumper. Matchbox fire truck from 1999, colour variations of which continued in the range until 2015.

Aside from Hot Wheels and Matchbox, other diecast brands occasionally grab my attention. This month there were four others.

Monthly acquistions March 2019 other brands
Other brands
  1. Brent Mustanger is a character from the movie Cars 2 based on a 1964 MustangCars with Faces
  2. Jeep Cherokee (Majorette). At 15 lari ($5.58), this was the most expensive model I bought this month. The tailgate hatch opens and there is a dog in the back. the model is “Made in France”.  I found this at Dry Bridge Market
  3. VW Golf (Siku). This model comes from the eighties and is “Made in West Germany”. I found this at Dry Bridge Market.
  4. Simon Snorkel (Husky). I found this for just two lari in a secondhand toy store. I added the ladder, which is from another vehicle, so I guess that makes this model a code 3 (Basically, any model intentionally altered in appearance from it’s original manufactured look, without the consent of the aforementioned manufacturer). Made in Great Britain.


Totals: 20 Models:  9 Hot Wheels, 7 Matchbox, 1 Majorette, 1 Siku, 1 Husky and 1 Unidentified brand

2 bought new, 18 bought secondhand

Outlets: 15 Secondhand Toy Stores,  1 Pepela, 3 Dry Bridge Market and 1 XS Toys

Net expenditure: 91.05 lari ($33.85)

1 lari = 37 US cents


Front Engined Porsches

front-engined Porsches
Some Porsche models 924, 944 and 928

I have a lot of Porsches in my collection but most are rear-engined 911s and the like. When you think of Porsche you think the engine should be behind the driver. In the seventies Porsche executives and engineers were considering replacing the iconic 911, with a front-engined V8 powered fastback. They were looking to combine the power and handling of a sports car with the refinement, comfort, and equipment of a luxury saloon. They wanted a car to compete with the Mercedes SL, which enjoyed phenomenal sales in the US. Porsche executives believed such a flagship car would have wider appeal than the compact, quirky and sometimes difficult to drive 911. Sales were dependent mainly on the US, so when the US market had a blip, Porsche was worried. New noise and emissions limits had been proposed and the engineers at Porsche were uncertain if it would be possible to adapt the classic flat six engine of the 911 to pass the new regulations.

Porsche 928 Bburago x 2
Porsche 928 (Bburago) 1:43 scale


The Porsche 928 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1977 to critical acclaim but sales were slow as the price was high and the new design alienated Porsche purists. The 928 won the European Car of the Year award, the only sports car ever to have done so. The body, styled by Wolfgang Möbius under guidance of Anatole Lapine, was mainly galvanized steel, but the doors, front fenders, and hood were aluminum in order to make the car more lightweight. The 928 was the first model in the company’s history that Porsche had designed entirely on its own. It was, in point of fact, the first real Porsche sports car. It contained no VW parts, no Audi engine or suspension, no major component invented outside of Zuffenhausen or Weissach.

Porsche 928 x 3
Porsche 928 (the cream and gold models are Hot Wheels, the black one is an unidentified Chinese brand)

History shows us that the 928 didn’t replace the 911, which continues to be made to this day. The 928 was eventually discontinued in 1995.

A smaller front-engined Porsche was also designed, the 924, which was introduced in 1977.  From the time of the 924’s introduction, there were rumours among Porsche enthusiasts, that like the earlier 914, it was a Volkswagen in Porsche clothing. And it was true, more or less. The 924 had originally been developed for Volkswagen by Porsche AG as a cheaper successor to the 914 in Europe, but when VW decided not to build it, largely because of the global energy crisis Porsche AG took over the project. It was criticised by enthusiasts for its mediocre performance, but was a sales success with just over 150,000 produced during a 1977-1988 production run. I loved the design, as a teenager, this along with the Maserati Bora were my dream cars. There were sadly far fewer diecast versions than for the 911. I was very happy recently to find a Majorette model of the 924.

Porsche 924and 944
Matchbox Super Kings Porsche 944 Turbo and Majorette Porsche 924

The 944 was introduced in 1982 on the the 924 platform and later morphed into a 968.

Now Porsche has many front-engined models like the Cayenne, the Macan and the Panamera, not only are they front-engined but they are also have four doors. These are not my idea of what a Porsche should be.  I have a Siku model of the Cayenne minus its tyres and a Hot Wheels Panamera but I much prefer the iconic 911.

Porsche x 79 3
79 model Porsches

Though, it might not be one of the more famous cars in Porsche’s rich history, the 928 did bring new customers to the brand. Some say the Porsche 928 is the best Mercedes-Benz built by Porsche.