G is for Geo

Posted by: TalesofToyCars in Member Blogs

Article initially published in Mar 2004 by Dave Weber and Christian Falkensteiner, Images by Doug Breithaupt.

 

 

GAZ (SU/RU) 1932-PRESENT

This factory was founded in the town of Nishni Novgorod originally under the name of NAZ. When the town was renamed Gorki, the factory had to change its designation as well. Its first car was a licensed replica of the Ford Model A, but soon thereafter individual designs were produced. Well-known GAZ ranges include the mid-sized Volga and the luxury sedan Chaika. Off-road vehicles were also produced mainly for military use. The company still survives due to its successful trucks and vans but maintains production of its Volga models based on 1970s designs in spite of decreasing sales.

Russian model producers have made many different GAZ models over the years, but mostly in 1:43 scale. Small-scale models are mainly known of the "Russian Jeep" GAZ 67B, which are part of a series of 1:72 scale military models.

GENERAL MOTORS/ GMC (US) 1908-Present

This international automotive conglomerate began under the leadership of W C Durant and is now the largest US automobile producer . The GMC marque and badge has only been used in the truck manufacturing arena. However GM did produce the General Motors Cab from 1930-1938 which had slightly different body styling from the passenger car lines at that time. The Cab was a continuation of the Yellow Cab Co which had earlier been introduced by John Hertz; who later founded Hertz Rent-A- Car. Also a sedan styled pickup truck similar to the Chevrolet El Camino was available in the early 1970s and was called the Sprint. Besides several concept cars were shown to the public over the years under the GM marque. We included this manufacturer as a marque since many small scale concept models made by Maisto, including the Autonomy (right) carry this marque for identification.



GEO (US) 1989-1998

This marque was founded by the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. The cars were produced in a joint venture with Toyota which is identified as the New United Motors Manufacturing Inc ( NUMMI) in Fremont CA . Although these cars identified as Prizm models were assembled in the US alongside of the Toyota Corollas, the US Government considered both cars to be classified as imports. There were only very minute styling differences between the 2 cars - including separate badging. Although the Geo name has been dropped and replaced by Chevrolet, NUMMI is still functioning at present. The sister cars Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe are being made there. We have elected to mention this connection since the Corolla presently produced by Motormax/ Red Box (right) could possibly be used to also represent a Geo with little imagination.

 


GLAS/ GOGGOMOBIL (GE) 1955-1969

Originally a producer of agricultural machinery in Dingolfing, Bavaria, this company started making motorscooters by the name of Goggo in the early 1950s, and when sales of those declined, it was decided to enter the automobile market with a small 2 cylinder car called Goggomobil. This became a huge success, resulting in the company developing more and bigger car models at a very fast pace, reaching its peak in 1965 with the Glas 2600 Coupé featuring a Frua body and a V8 engine. But the growth had possibly been too fast, for the company ran into financial trouble and was swallowed by BMW in 1966. Glas models continued to be produced for a while but were gradually replaced by BMW designs. In the end the Goggomobil outlived all larger Glas models, but the body shell of the mid-sized Glas 1700 continued to be fitted to South African BMWs for many years to come.

It should be noted that Goggomobil cars were also made under license in Spain by Munguia Industrial SA of Bilbao from 1962-1966 and in Australia by Bill Buckle.

The representation of Glas in small scale is almost entirely restricted to models of the Goggomobil. This was first done by Siku in its plastic range and is nowadays featured in the Schuco Piccolo range.



GOLIATH (GE) 1922-1958

Founded by C.F.W. Borgward in Bremen, this company originally concentrated on the production of light vans with only three wheels. A few examples of those were fitted with passenger car bodies, and later on four-wheeled vans were produced as well, but only in 1950 a proper passenger car was introduced under the Goliath name - the GP 700 which formed the intermediate model range within the Borgward group between the smaller Lloyd and larger Borgward. During the 1950s versions with larger engines were added, but in 1958 the brand name of this range of cars was changed from Goliath to Hansa, leaving Goliath as a brand of vans only. The Hansa cars survived until the collapse of the Borgward group in 1961.

A small-scale model of an early GP 700 was part of Siku's plastic range. We are not aware of any small-scale metal models of Goliath cars.



GRAHAM (US) 1927-1941

The original Paige-Detroit Motor Car Co was purchased by the 3 Graham Brothers. Immediately the corporate identity was changed to Graham-Paige. In 1931 the name was shortened to Graham. In 1932 the "Blue Streak" model was introduced which featured up to the date styling for that era. This styling was again replaced with an even more radical design in the late 1930s and was referred to as the "Sharknose" . In 1936 Graham sold their less expensive body dies to Nissan in Japan who was already using Graham engines at that time. Of special interest is the final design introduced by Graham in 1940 to attempt to provide new life into the company. The body dies for this car were obtained from the recently demised Cord 810/ 812. Unfortunately this attempted venture was unsuccessful. Controling interest in the company was purchased in 1944 by Joseph Frazer, the former President of Willys-Overland. Frazer then joined with Henry Kaiser to form the Kaiser- Frazer Corp. A car carrying Frazer?s name was produced for a few years. The Graham Paige Corp later became the Madison Square Garden Corp and then became part of the Gulf + Western financial organization.

The only known models of this marque in smaller scale ( as stated above) are the replicas by Tootsietoy of the "Blue Streak" cars. These models are quite rare and when found are very costly.



GREMLIN (US) 1970-1979

This car could be considered a sub marque of AMC. It was produced to sell in the sub compact range and was intended to recall the original Rambler by Nash from the early 1950s with the same approximate wheelbase. It copied the larger AMC Hornet in style but featured a squared off rear end. It was replaced by the Spirit which had a more rounded and pleasing style. Modified models of this car have been made by Hot Wheels as the Open Fire, Greased Gremlin and Gremlin Grinder (shown right).


GRENVILLE (GB) ca. 1870-1880

We do not know much about this company. It seems to have been mainly involved with the production of steam engines for railways. But beside those a few road-going steam vehicles were made. One such example survives at the Bristol Industrial Museum, and as it has taken part in the London to Brighton run, it must be regarded as a car. Charbens has made a model of it.

 

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