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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Corgi Rockets
Today we look at another of the small Corgi Rockets range from the early 1970′s this mad little hot rod stake truck was called Ole Macdonalds truck and was numbered 931, as with all ‘Rockets’ the production run was very short and released in 1970 and withdrawn a year later.
This was, I believe also made as a standard Corgi Juniors for a while and also released mainly in red but yellow has been seen, the Corgi Juniors version was numbered as 78.
Corgi Rockets were short lived and had a unique removable chassis by using a key.
To see more of on Corgi Rockets Click Here
OK, a bit more subdued but still a nice truck
The Corgi Rockets Superstock cars wasn’t one’s I had as a kid but remember them well because my brother had both.
Corgi produced two during the Rockets production years of 1969 to 1971, Number 919 was Todd Sweeny and number 920 was Derek Fiske both real cars and drivers in the late 1960′s.
The third one in the picture on the left is a later Whizzwheels issue No75 and is the same body casting as Todd Sweeny’s car.
The Derek Fiske car had an opening bonnet revealing the power plant and the number 304 was the actual number of the real car.
The Todd Sweeny car also had the real car number of 531, the third car is numbered 404 but when I got these three cars all the number stickers were missing so I made new ones, 404 was made up but have since found out this one was numbered 864.
The difference between the Corgi Rockets car and the Corgi Whizzwheels car can be seen in the picture below.
The real cars
Superstox is a type of single seat formula racing, similar to Sprint car racing developed in the 1960s in the United Kingdom. Racing is ‘contact’ whereby drivers can use the front bumper to help dislodge any car in front. Like most other forms of short oval racing, the higher rated drivers normally start at the back of the grid for each race.
Its original roots come from the mid-1950′s, it derived as a cheaper alternative to BriSCA Formula One Stock Car Racing, where a smaller junior forumula was raced nationally before the Southern ‘Spedeworth’ short oval tracks broke away from the main promoting body in 1961 to run their own version of Juniors which they called Formula Two. The cars were originally standard or ‘stock’ but became more modified over the years until 1968 when a new ‘stock’ car formula was introduced and the original much modified class became known as Super Stock Cars. This was later shortened to Superstox. Today the class bears no resemblance to a road going car. Chassis are generally built by specialist companies and all the components are special racing ones. The cars are all of front engine design although rear engine was allowed up until the mid 1970s.
The names on the Corgi Rockets cars did actually exist and drive, here are a few pictures from the www.superstox.org.uk website
Both raced at Wimbledon, Todd Sweeny won first place in 1967 and Derek Fiske was placed third in 1968, see full list here
I found this video on UTube showing both Todd and Derek racing in the late 1960′s
For more on Superstox now and the past drivers and cars Click Here
There are two types of concept car, one that makes it off the paper it was designed on and one that doesn’t and remains just an idea.
The Alfa Carabo was based on an Alfa Romeo and designed by Marcello Gandini, working for the Bertone design studio.
Matchbox released their version in 1971, 3 years after the 1968 Paris Motor Show where this concept car was first shown, the one below is the most common colour available but has been issued with a plain diecast metal baseplate rather than yellow, also a white baseplate version has been seen for sale on Vectis as a pre-production and red version has also been seen based on the same casting.
Matchbox numbered this one, No75.
A later casting came in many colours when Matchbox were made in China and known simply as Super GT Racers, the casting also included the back grill rather than a seperate plastic insert, the glass was also made black to save cost on fitting an interior.
The Corgi Rockets version had a finer casting, especially around the windows , the Rockets number was No916 and was named the Carabo Bertone and released in 1970, as with many of the Corgi Rockets the production was short lived and was withdrawn in 1971 and was later to become one of the Corgi Juniors range.
Both the Matchbox and Corgi Rockets together.
Other models were also released by Hotwheels and others.
The real car
The Alfa Romeo Carabo is a concept car first shown at the 1968 Paris Motor Show. It was designed by Marcello Gandini, working for the Bertone design studio. Carabo name is derived of Carabidae ground beetle , as evoked by the car’s iridescent green and orange colouring.
The prototype was built on the chassis of the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, a mid-engined V8. The Carabo engine made 230 bhp (172 kW; 233 PS) at 8800 rpm, which made it possible to achieve a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
For more on this car visit the websites below.
Also of interest is this built replica of the car
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.