Category Archives: Diecast Brands

I Found an old Corgi and an older Dinky at Dry Bridge Market, Tbilisi

I haven’t been hunting much for diecast cars this year because of the Pandemic restrictions and because I’ve been occupied creating YouTube content. Yesterday (9 June), I made a visit to Dry Bridge Market in Tbilisi, I wasn’t expecting anything much but then I saw a Corgi DeTomaso Mangusta.

From the Corgi Catalogue 1971-72, I have 7 of the 16 Sports Cars, the DeTomaso makes it 8. I really would like to find the Iso Grifo and the Porsche 911 Targa. These have such a nostalgia buzz.

And that was not all…on Zura’s stand I spied a couple of old Dinky Toys, a truck and a Plymouth Woody.

The Plymouth “Woody” Wagon is from about 1950, a previous owner had painted over some of the details but it is still an attractive model.

I am very happy with this small haul.

Bonanza Time!

beso haul

August was looking like an uninspiring month as far as collecting went, until Sunday that is, when I visited Dry Bridge Market in Tbilisi. I saw someone was selling some Matchbox and Majorette models from the seventies. Wow!

beso sunday
Sunday’s selection

The asking price per model was 30 lari ($9.71) , which seemed reasonable to me, there was no room for negotiation. I was quite restrained and just bought two; the Iso Grifo (Matchbox) and the Jaguar E Type (Majorette), but I also took the seller’s number as he told me he had more at home.  I asked my wife to call him as my Georgian is still rudimentary and we arranged to meet at the market on Thursday (today) at 2pm. The seller, Beso, came with a case full of Majorette and Matchbox.

Beso box
Beso’s case

Before I came to the market, I reckoned on getting around ten models, if they were of similar quality to those I’d seen on the Sunday. It was a difficult choice. Not all the boxes had cars and there were a few loose, but soon I had selected ten I really wanted.

Beso Box 3
sorting through I found 10 I had to get…

My choices were mostly Majorette, whilst Matchbox is my favourite brand, most of the Matchbox were fantasy models and I prefer regular street cars.

I chose:

  1. Citroen SM (Matchbox)… I had one in a copper bronze colour but not in metallic light blue, it is also a fantastic example of a quirky French sports car, the lovechild of Citroen and Maserati. Scale 1:63. Opening doors. I’ve since been informed that the light blue version is quite difficult to find to add to my happiness.
  2. Jaguar E Type (Majorette)…I picked up an orange model on Sunday and a blue one today, Enzo Ferrari described the Jaguar E-Type (XKE on the US Market) as “the most beautiful car in the world.” 1:60 Scale. Opening bonnet (hood)
  3. Fire Truck “Pompier” (Majorette). The ladder should be detachable, but I don’t want to detach it lest it breaks. This could be a Dodge. 1:80 scale.
  4. Plymouth Fury Police Car (Majorette). This model should have an aerial (missing). 1:70 scale
  5. Mercedes 350SL (Majorette). This model I had as a kid and it was on my Wants’ list. Beso had two: one in white, one in yellow, as I had the yellow model as a kid, I had to choose that. Scale 1:60. Opening boot (trunk).
  6. Citroen DS Ambulance (Majorette). This model has a different style box to the others. It has blue flags on the bumpers and an opening rear door. Scale 1:65.
  7. BMW 3.0CSi (Majorette). Like the Mercedes, this was also a model I had as a kid but in orange, not metallic dark red. Scale 1:60. Opening doors.
  8. Citroen SM (Majorette). The Majorette is a very similar colour to the original Matchbox model. Scale 1:60. Opening doors.
  9. Citroen Dyane “Maharadjah” (Majorette). This is a strange quirky model with a parasol that spins in Rolamatics fashion when the car is rolled along.
  10. Dodge Charger  Mk 3 (Matchbox). #52 This is a concept car from 1968 with a flip up canopy. Scale 1:62.

Beso box 2
My selection

I was surprised I was able to limit myself to just 10 models. Even so, the day witnessed the most I have spent in one day on diecast models, indeed the most I have spent in any month on such. I have very few cars with boxes, all of these have boxes, although some are missing their end flaps. The Matchbox cars are all made in England and the Majorettes are all made in France. I am very happy with this haul.

I told Beso if he still has some models in October, I could be interested in buying some more. There were also a couple of empty boxes (Saab Sonnet and Mercury Police Car) which would interest me if he finds the appropriate car. Also there was a two pack of a car with glider and trailer, but he only had the trailer, this could interest me too if he finds the rest.

I managed to cross 4 cars off my Majorette Wants’ List, of the 10 cars on the list, which I put up back in 2017, I only have two Renaults left to find. I wish it was so easy to find my Matchbox wants!

Majorette wants from Wants’ List   (published 23 September 2017):

  1. Citroen SM (found 27 August 2020)
  2. Renault 17
  3. Simca 1100 (found 18 March 2018)
  4. Mercedes 350SL (found 27 August 2020)
  5. Chrysler 180 (found 23 May 2019)
  6. Jaguar E Type (found 23 August 2020)
  7. Matra Simca Bagheera (found 2 May 2018)
  8. BMW 3.0CSL (found 27 August 2020)
  9. Renault 16 
  10. Jaguar F Type (found 24 November 2018)




I found 3 Majorette Cars at Dry Bridge Market today.

I first encountered Majorette when I visited Paris at the tender age of 9, way back in 1974. They were similar in size to Matchbox but Made in France not Made in England. The first model cars appearing  on the market under the Majorette name came out in 1964.

Today, I ventured to Dry Bridge Market not expecting to find anything much, last month I found a couple of interesting models at Dry Bridge Market, a Matchbox Super Kings Ford Sierra XR4i and a Soviet made Moskvitch 427.

P1780669 (2)
Amidst a diverse range of items, 5 model cars, three of which are Majorettes.

The three Majorette cars were all from the mid seventies: a Chrysler 180, a Matra-Simca Bagheera and a Peugeot 504. When I went to Paris as a nine year old the three Majorette cars I brought back as souvenirs included a Chrysler 180 (so there is a big nostalgia buzz there), the other two were a BMW 3.0CSL and a Mercedes 350SL. I asked the woman on the stall the price of the cars and she told me 15 lari a piece ($4.88), which seemed reasonable, then she hesitated and called her husband over and the price went up to 20 lari a piece or 3 for 50 lari ($16.26). I still considered this a good deal, the woman was apologetic her husband had upped the price, I didn’t take long to decide, I was also given a box for a Bertone Camargue, from the same era (but no car).

Chrysler 180 (orange), Peugeot 504 (pink) and Matra Simca Bagheera (green). Also a box for a Bertone Camargue.



Norev selection of French Cars
French cars by Norev

Norev is a French diecast manufacturer like Majorette and Solido. I started my Norev collection with  three models acquired on a trip to Paris in 2012 (remember the days when we could travel freely?). I now have ten Norev models.

The first three cars were “RETRO” models of fifties French cars: Citroën DS, Citroën 2CV and Renault Dauphine. Three iconic French cars, especially the Citroëns. The scales are between 1:54 for the Renault and the 2CV and 1:58 for the DS.

The models are “Designed in France” but made in China, like many other “European” brands.

Norev do other scales including 1:43 and a nice Citroen SM in 1:18.

They also have a website with some interesting but rather pricey models.

The Norev models I have found secondhand in Tbilisi have all been made in France,  usually they are of French cars like these Renaults.

Norev Renaults
4 Norev Renaults

I also found these two concept cars:  a Maserati Boomerang (1:64 scale) and a Mercedes C111 (1:43 scale).

Norev Maserati Boomerang and Mercedes C111
Mercedes C 111 and Maserati Boomerang


Looking through the collection

This time of being forced to stay at home gives us the opportunity to enjoy our diecast collections. Below a few Corgi cars I pulled off the shelf.

Corgi x 5
Here are some of my Corgis: Mini Marcos, Mini Cooper, Ford Capri, Morris Marina and Rover 2000TC

I was reading about the Porsche P-911 that Marc of  The Race Case had found on the Facebook Marketplace, Hot Ones P-911. This inspired me to find my own P-911, then I found myself pulling off the shelves some other favourite Hot Wheels, old and new, for a photoshoot. These aren’t all my favourites, some favourites like the Mystery Machine Super Treasure Hunt are still in their blisters.

Hot Wheels old and new
11 Hot Wheels cars

In the picture are some recent models like the Lamborghini Countach Pace Car’70 Ford Escort RS1600, BMW 3.0CSL, VW Kafer Racer, Lamborghini Aventador and TV Series Batmobile. Also a few older models like the P-911, Mercedes 280 SL, Rodger Dodger, Z-Whiz (Datsun 240Z) and my only “sweet sixteen” a Custom Firebird.

This period of quarantine won’t be ending anytime soon, so I’ll have plenty of time to explore my collection further in the coming weeks.

Stay safe and healthy.

Some of my favourite Corgis

Whilst the COVID-19 Pandemic keeps me stuck at home, it allows me to explore my diecast collection.

Here are some of my favourite Corgi Cars.

Corgi favourites
Citroen SM, Datsun 240Z, Porsche 917, Renault 16TS, Jaguar E-Type, Rover 2000TC, De Tomaso Mangusta, Mini Marcos, Ghia L6.4 and John Player Special Lotus

Restoration Project: Pompe a Incendie (Fire Truck): Part 1

I have been thinking for some time about expanding my hobby from just collecting diecast cars to restoring or customising some. I have watched many videos by baremetalHW and toypolloi where they restore or customise broken old toys. These guys are inspiring and skillful. I have never been very practical with my hands, but I’d like to give it a go.

Last week I picked up a Majorette fire truck : Pompe a Incendie, this is a big model at 1/47 scale it is bigger than a Matchbox King Size fire truck.

Pompe a Incendie Majorette and Matchbox fire vehicles
Matchbox Super Kings Fire Tender (K9), Pompe a Incendie (Majorette) and Mercury Fire Chief Car (Matchbox) to show size of Majorette truck

First, as I am not familiar with the model,  I need to do some research to see how the Pompe a Incendie should look. This usually entails a google images search.

Pompe a Incendie Majorette research
searching Google

It would seem I’m missing a ladder, a hose, some compartment covers and the instruments on the side should be highlighted in silver. If I lived in the US or UK, I could search ebay for parts, but here in Georgia (the country not the state) I’ll have to trawl the markets and secondhand shops looking for suitable materials. Luckily the horns and roof light are still there, I saw pictures of a number of playworn vehicles, where these parts were missing.

Pompe a Incendie Majorette

Here are some photos of a model in mint condition.

pompe a incendie detail
This is how it should look with compartment covers, a ladder and the instruments highlighted in silver (photo: todocoleccion)

pompe side view
On the other side there are two hoses (photo: todocoleccion)

Now I need to hunt down some parts. Any tips appreciated. (to be continued)



Brand Comparison: Buick Riviera: Johnny Lightning v Hot Wheels

1971 Buick Riviera HW and 1972 Buick Riviera JL
1972 Buick Riviera (Johnny Lightning) and 1971 Buick Riviera (Hot Wheels)

I don’t see many Johnny Lightning models, but this Buick is a little gem with its two tone paintwork, realistic tyres and even an opening bonnet. The Hot Wheels model is longer and lower and less realistic. The Hot Wheels interior is a shiny silver, the Johnny Lightning model a more subdued olive green.

1972 Buick Riviera JL
opening hood

Hot Wheels are designed to be played with. They have a “fun factor” that isn’t so present in detailed replica models. The Hot Wheels model will be faster on the track but the Johnny Lightning model looks better on the shelf.

Both Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning are American brands, the Hot Wheels model is made in Malaysia, the Johnny Lightning model is made in China. New, the Johnny Lightning model would be more expensive but I picked mine up secondhand for just 3 lari ($1.05).
My choice here would be the Johnny Lightning model.

Dinky Austin A40 Van from the late fifties.

I was very surprised today to find this old Dinky van at Dry Bridge Market here in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Austin A40 Van
Austin Van “Raleigh Cycles”

This model was produced in England between 1956 and 1960, it was from an era before Dinkys had windows. In 1956 Corgi had just entered the market in direct competition with Dinky and their cars were being advertised as “the ones with the windows”. The model is playworn and the front tyre is cracked but, considering it is around 60 years old, it is not in bad shape. It is one of the few models in my collection older than me.

The Austin A40 Van (#472) is advertising “Raleigh Cycles”, others advertised BP and Nestle. A rare version advertising Omnisport, a general store in El Salvador, went for an incredible £6, 400 at auction (Dinky toy van fetches £6,400 in furious bidding at auction).

I don’t have many Dinky Toys, they don’t have the same Nostalgia Buzz as Corgi and Matchbox. This model predates my birth (1964 ) and is unlike the models I remember playing with as a child. I can relate better to the slightly later Triumph Herald (#189) (1960-1964) as this has windows, independent suspension and is closer to the cars I played with as a child.

Austin A40 Van and Triumph Herald
Two Old Dinky Toys: Triumph Herald (1960-1964) and Austin A40 Van (1956-1960)