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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Corgi Rockets were probably best known by their bright chrome like colours and were a step beyond the Whizzwheels and Superfast wheels of the time.
I only have a few of these so have created one article based on my models, these are also refered to as the 900 series because most are numbered from 900 upwards and started out as a small range of seven cars and was released in 1969 and after a battle with Mattel over copyright issues stopped production in 1971, in mint condition and in original packaging these can command very high prices.
The first is the Jaguar XJ6, No 902, this has the classic chrome paint finish in green and has an opening boot and was released in 1969, this had been adapted from an old Husky casting (Jaguar XJ6 No39) and was also in the Corgi Juniors range.
Next is the Cadillac Eldorado, No907, again the chrome like finish and again an old Husky casting (Husky No9) , this had an opening bonnet and also made as a Corgi Juniors.
There was also the Aston Martin DB6, No901 that came from the Husky castings, the remaining initial models were new designs, later to be added to the Corgi Juniors range:
No903 Mercedes Benz 280SL, No904 Porsche Carrera 6, No905 The Saint’s Volvo P1800, No906 Jensen Interceptor.
See also Corgi Rockets Carabo
Corgi Rockets had die-cast metal bases that featured a central channel where a separate black nylon chassis, that also held the wheel and axle assembly, would fit.
The chassis could be removed using a “Golden Tune Up Key” – a gold coloured metal tool which was supplied with each model that featured a simple key at one end to unlock the chassis from the base of the model, and a tool at the other end to remove the axles from the chassis. As such, the models could be “tuned up” and the axles lubricated using a separately available “Rocketlube” lightweight oil dispenser in the form of a felt tip pen. The “Golden Tune Up Key” supplied with each model was also labeled with the name of the individual model.
Extra kits were also available with extra wheels chassis and key.
All the models in the Corgi Rockets range also featured in the Corgi Juniors range, as well as some of the models carried over from the Husky range. A Jaguar E-Type 2+2 was featured in both Corgi Juniors and Husky ranges, but the earlier Husky version was a different casting to the Corgi Juniors version, which also featured an opening bonnet. The Corgi Juniors range was priced to compete with Matchbox models whilst the Corgi Rockets range sold for a higher price comparable (in the UK) with Mattel’s Hot Wheels. The Rockets range met with early success and was voted Boys’ Toy of the Year for 1971 by British toy industry journal Toy Trader.
The Corgi Cadillac Superior Ambulance became a bit of an icon in later years made famous by the film ‘Ghostbusters’ and used as the ghost busting vehicle.
This Corgi version is No437 and was released in 1962, it continued in this colour scheme until 1965 and was then released in two colour variations of white / blue and red / silver which continued until 1968.
The roof light is a real bulb and is connected to a battery tray in the base a good sign of missing battery tray when buying old examples of this vehicle is the missing bulb and without the tray the bulb can not stay in place.
I bought this for a conversion to a hearse but after putting in a new battery and bulb found it worked so will be renovated to original spec at some point.
Great looking vehicle as most Cadillacs are.
Corgi never made the ghostbuster version but some of the Corgi Cadillac’s have been converted to one,the one in the picture below was based on the Corgi Ambulance above, the rest built from scratch, this was built by professional builder Kev and you can find him at http://diecaststickerman.webs.com/ he also makes the reproduction boxes and decals.
Picture by kind permisson of Kev
Hotwheels, Ertl and Johnny Lighting all made versions of the ghostbuster vehicle, the actual movie vehicle was a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor based ambulance.
The real vehicle
The 1962 Cadillac based ambulance with the Superior coach works body
Superior Coach Company
The company changed its name to Superior Coach Company in 1940. And the years that followed saw hearses and ambulances styled on Cadillac, LaSalle and Pontiac chassis. By 1949, the company had added Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge chassis to its funeral coach line, offering customers a smaller investment and lower overhead. School bus bodies were built primarily on Chevrolet/GM, Dodge, Ford, and International Harvester truck chassis.
For more on Superior coach works Click Here