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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Emergency service vehicles
Carmichael are vehicle manufacturers in their own right but have used Land Rovers as a base for their fire service vehicles.
Matchbox created a version of one of them.
This was Matchbox number 57 and listed as Land Rover Fire truck.
Released in 1966 with the standard black wheels although later versions did have Superfast wheels until production on this model ceased in 1970.
Oxford Diecast have also released the Land Rover Carmichael.
This one is a scale model is 1:76 scale, and numbered, 76LRC001
The real vehicles
Picture by simoncars.co.uk
Carmichael are vehicle manufacturers in their own right therefore I have added them to the makers list under catergories.
They are still making vehicle today, for more on Carmichael vehicles Click Here
This has taken me a good few years to get, I have known of them for years but have never managed to win a bid on one or buy one from anywhere else, until recently, in fact even this one I was outbid on, then out of the blue six weeks later I was given a second chance offer on Ebay from the Spanish seller, well you can imagine my surprise, and click the pay now as quick as I could.
And here it is Mini Mira Number 127.
What made this one desirable was it was mint condition, many I have seen are badly plaworn, not only that it was in the original packaging.
It’s obviously a copy of the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha but with subtle changes, If you look at this and the Matchbox version you can see how similar they are, the main changes are the steering wheel is on the left, the glass is clear and the casting has been changed around the side windows and added a bar above, (see originals below as a comparison).
Dates of production are sketchy, between the 1970′s and 1980′s seem realistic, if you believe some of the Auction site sellers trying to sell these for between $1500 and $2500 each as they seem to list this as 1971, if that was the case it pre-dates Matchbox’s version by a year at least, the fact is this is generally known as an unlicensed Matchbox copy, making it at the earliest 1972/73.
The front, back and a lot of the detail are identical to the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha
The Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha as a comparison.
For the article on the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha, Click Here
In my recent quest to find suitable futuristic vehicles for a current wargames project, my search has led me to the Corgi 700 series, not well known or even collected by many these still form a part of the Corgi brand history.
I had one of them a while, number 700 the Motorway ambulance.
Actually, I own this by mistake, I bought it on Ebay really cheap thinking it was a small scale version like the Matchbox Stretcha Fetcha but is in fact more like 1:43 scale, I was very suprised when it arrived.
Apparently the story seems to be that Corgi produced a range of cheap diecast vehicles for younger children in the mid seventies and the 700 series was designed with that intention, this would of been 65p back in 1973 when it was released.
Not many people like the design now and tend to bypass these lowly models, but I must admit I like the futuristic look and if this was in fact from a Corgi designers imagination he should of since seen his design influence in vans like the Talbot and Renaults of the 1980′s or even the 1990′s Iveco vans, all have echo’s of these designs.
Next is number 702 the breakdown truck seen here with the ambulance.
They are similar in design especially the fronts but are completely different castings, which can be seen below from the front view.
The one thing that impresses me on the crane is the metal hook (which maybe why it’s still intact) so not bent and chewed like many I have seen on plastic hooked Matchbox and Corgi trucks.
The latest addition is number 701, the Inter-City Minibus, smaller in scale to the two above and works better with 1:64 vehicles
There is one other I know of, number 703 the Fire Engine, all have a similar looking front design and simple lines and like the Corgi Turbo truck series have few followers or collectors chasing them down, therefore are pretty cheap still, they were discontinued in 1979.
As a side note, although not strictly one of the 700 series, Corgi No424, Hi speed security van uses the same casting as the ambulance above so should be included here.
Marx did make a few diecast cars and trucks, but now are hard to find or even if you can the prices are high, they are not known for their quality and are at best simple castings without frills.
I only have the one, but I do like this particular casting of an American fire engine.
This is quite small at 60mm long and puts it into a similar size to Matchbox.
Underneath it shows how simple this was made, also of note, the printing on the casting says Made in Hong Kong.
The Louis Marx Company was one of the major players in the toy industry for decades.
Marx Toys also attempted to take advantage of the diecast market success of Matchbox and Tootsietoy. Marx short-lived effort did provide a limited line of diecast cars, produced in the early 1960′s. In 1968, Hot Wheels came on the scene and Marx attempted to re-style their diecast line to compete. Their efforts failed and today, Marx diecast are just another name in the history of diecast.
The real truck
The above fire truck is likely to of been based on the 1958/59 Ford cab and American Le France equipment as this was a common combination at this period in time, the casting probably dates from the early 60′s.