Article initially published by David Cook and Doug Breithaupt in Aug 2002.
Ferrari 308gt/4 or Lotus Esprit?
Alfa Romeo GT Racer
Galgo is not a houshold name for diecast cars and Argentina is seldom thought of as a toy car producer. Actually, Galgo and Argentina have done more for the toy car collecting community than is generally known.
Argentina's best know diecast cars came from Buby but Galgo, Muky and others have contributed many great toy cars. Galgo produced toy racing cars and other toys in the 1970's and 1980's. Little company history is available but Galgo diecast were sold in many countries. From the cars shown here, it is clear that Galgo diecast were focused on racing. Formula 1 and GT racing cars were produced along with some local racers like the Argentine-produced Ford Falcon. All Galgo models have diecast bodies and plastic bases. Often the base wraps around into the body. Galgo models are also distinguished by realistic racing graphics and logos.
Lancia Stratos GT Racer
Matra GT Racer
Ford Falcon (Argentina)
Copersucar F1 car and trailer
Lotus F1 car and trailer
Renault F1 car and trailer
Wolf F1 car and trailer
The most curious of the GT racing cars is a bit of a mystery. The black example shown here (#15), is either a Ferrari Dino 308gt/4 or a Lotus Esprit. The two small back seats fit for the Ferrari but the side windows are more like the Esprit. This same casting was altered into a pick-up truck and used as a tow vehicle for Galgo's F1 cars! Either a Ferrari or Lotus pick-up would be strange indeed.
Galgo produced a variety of interesting models including the Porsche 917, Alfa Romeo, Matra and Lancia racers shown here. The Lancia Stratos came is racing and rally form.
It is not clear when Galgo toy car production ended but the last models appear to be from the mid-1980's. They are not easy to find. Even Argentine collectors seem to have difficulty. They are worth searching for, especially for the racing collector and prices are not usually very high.
The following is a review of some of Galgo's F1 cars from David Cook.
Galgo's Formula 1 Cars by David Cook
I recently ran across a batch of small-scale F1 cars made by Galgo of Argentina. These are all from around 1979-1980 and while the detail work on these cars is not the best, they include some real obscure marques that are unlikely to be repeated elsewhere! Many of the models came on a trailer towed by a shop truck labeled like its cargo.
The first picture is of the Lotus 80; the Galgo is on the left next to the Polistil version shown for comparison. As noted in other articles, this model Lotus was a giant flop after the overwhelming success of the previous season's model 79 that took Mario Andretti to his world title. With or without front wings, little was achieved here!
seven Galgo F1 cars
Galgo (left) Polistil (right) Ligier F1
Galgo (left) Polistil (right) Lotus F1
Galgo (left) Polistil (right) Renault F1
Galgo McLaren F1
Next is a Ligier model JS11/15; again Galgo is on the left, Polistil on the right. This car was fairly successful in its day, winning some races and contending for the championship in both 1979 & 1980 in the hands of Didier Pironi and Jaques Lafitte. Guy Ligier ran the team into the 1990's with mediocre results and eventually sold out. The ultimate buyer, four-time champion Alain Prost, promptly ran the team into bankruptcy after the 2001 season!
The differences in the two Renaults pictured are fairly distinctive (again, Galgo on the left) with the edge in detail to the Polistil. Renault introduced turbocharged engines to racing and won many F1 races as well as LeMans but fell short of their goal of a world championship before pulling out of F1 after 1983. They have recently returned to F1 by purchasing the Benneton team.
The car labeled Copersucar is actually a Fittipaldi, designed and built in Brazil and England for the great Emerson in partnership with his brother Wilson. The project was financed by the giant Brazilian sugar cooperative. Unfortunately the team never achieved the results desired and Fittipaldi eventually left F1 and retired. He of course resumed racing in this country with outstand success including two Indy 500 wins.
The car with the familiar-looking red & white paint job is of course a McLaren, in particular a model M28. This is one everyone would rather forget as its lack of results almost broke the team. The designer was fired and sponsor Marlboro forced a marriage with Ron Dennis and his Project 4 team to design and built a winning car. Dennis and company are in charge of McLaren International up to this day.
The black & white car sponsored by Denim cologne is an Osella, named for its patron Enzo who fielded F1 cars from 1980 through 1990. The team is chiefly remembered for giving American Eddie Cheever his first F1 ride.
Galgo Osella F1
Copersucar - Fittipaldi F1 car
Galgo Wolf F1
Our final Galgo is from another short-lived team, Walter Wolf Racing. The Austro-Canadian first entered F1 in partnership with Frank Williams but went out on his own in a big way in 1977 with a sharp design team and driver Jody Scheckter. The team scored three wins in '77 giving a 2nd in the driver's championship to the South African who left after 1978 for Ferrari. The team when downhill after that and was eventually sold.
There is one Galgo model I was not able to obtain, a Williams FW07. This one was driven by Argentine driver Carlos Reutemann so is of course more desirable in its home country!
It appears that Galgo made small-scale models of almost the entire F1 grid from the 1980 season, probably paying little attention to such details as licensing agreements. The models may be a bit crude in execution but most of the subjects are almost unique, at least to the small-scale world!