In collaboration with Christian Falkensteiner, images by Doug Breithaupt
Instead of "watching our Ps and Qs", maybe we should concentrate on the automobiles known as the 3 Ps of prestige US automobiles as well as other contributions from the automotive world of manufacturing. The 3 Ps are identified as the Packard, Peerless and Pierce-Arrow. All 3 are no longer in existence, but each marque was a special car in its heyday! Thankfully, the toy companies have replicated these marques in small scale. Also, recently discovered is the Piranha which was produced by AMT so that they could produce model kits replicating the full-size production cars! Usually a model company attempts to replicate an existing marque and not vice versa! We have not been able to identify any marques in small scale beginning with the letter "Q". So next month we will move on to the letter "R" for discussion!
PAGANI (IT) 1999-PRESENT
The company founded by Horacio Pagani in the Modena area produces an exclusive super sports car called Zonda, equipped with a Mercedes 12 cylinder engine, at a rate of about twenty-five cars per year.
A small-scale diecast model of the Pagani Zonda is available from Motormax.
PACKARD (US) 1899-1958
This marque began when the Packard Brothers decided to improve a recently purchased Winton. Their efforts resulted in the production of a dependable prestige automobile that lasted for over half a century. The sales slogan for much of the duration of this marque was " Ask the man who owns one"! In approximately 1906, the first car to carry the traditional Packard radiator design was made. This classic radiator and later grille design continued with modification until its final demise over 50 years later. It is noted that this firm successfully survived the Great Depression. They even produced some noteworthy Classic collectables during this time of economic struggle. During WWII the larger body dies were sold to the USSR from which the famous Soviet ZIS vehicles originated. A smaller less expensive Clipper model replaced the former more expensive car. This model was produced into the 1950s. In 1954 Packard unfortunately decided to merge with Studebaker for economic reasons. This attempt to rejuvenate financial profits was unsuccessful. Part of the cause may have been because the Packard was given a Studebaker styled body in 1956. This action was also unsuccessful and within 2 years bankruptcy was declared. Models in small scale of this marque have been made by Racing Champions/ RCErtl, Budgie, Summer, Johnny Lightning , Lledo, Guisval, Hot Wheels, Rhino, Tomica, Larami and Mini-Lindy.
1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible - Racing Champions
PANHARD & LEVASSOR (FR) 1889-1967
The company founded by René Panhard in Paris in 1866 originally made tools for woodwork. After Emile Levassor had joined in 1873, the focus shifted to the production of engines and then vehicles driven by those engines, which made Panhard & Levassor one of the most important pioneers in this field. While in the early days Panhard was among the most prolific and commercially successful of any car brands existing at the time, the company later chose a different path, concentrating on luxury cars made in small numbers, utilizing valveless Knight engines until WW II. Besides it developed a successful business making armored cars for military forces. After WW II passenger car production resumed with a new small front wheel drive car called Dyna, which was the basis for a model range enjoying some success in the early 1950s. But starting in 1955, Panhard was by and by swallowed by Citroën, who pushed back production of Panhard's own cars in favor of Citroën products. After passenger car production had ceased, the Panhard name survived only on armored cars, which are still produced nowadays in the military division of the PSA group.
A diecast model of an early Panhard was made by Charbens. Models of later Panhards, particularly those made after WW II, can only be found in H0 scale plastic coming from French manufacturers such as Jouef and Norev.
PANOZ (US) 1989- PRESENT
The Panoz Auto Development Co is located in Hoschton GA. A sports car roadster was first introduced in 1990. In 1997 Panoz began participating in sports car racing and became an immediate dominator in the American LeMans series in 1998. In 2001 the very modern looking and style pleasing Esperante road car was introduced. The companion company Panoz Motorsports is located in Brasselton GA and also operates a race driving school. Also this firm controls a few big name race tracks in the US Southeast. An interesting sidenote is the father Donald Panoz owns the Motorsports Division. He originally developed his financing from previous pharmaceutical manufacturing profits. The son Daniel is the vehicle manufacturer. This father and son team have made a successful contribution to automobile history. The only small scale model of a Panoz is the Hot Wheels LMP Race Car which was offered in both closed and open form by Hot Wheels..
Panos LMP - Hot Wheels
PANTHER (GB) 1972-1990
This company was founded by Robert Jankel with the aim of producing cars styled similar to sports cars from the 1930s. The Panther J72 resembled the SS 100 Jaguar, while the smaller and cheaper Panther Lima was not based on any particular vintage car. Panther started a few other projects which did not reach production, including an unusual six-wheeled sports car, the Panther 6. After a bankruptcy in 1979, the company was purchased by a South Korean group of investors who restricted production to just one model called Kallista, which was similar to the earlier Lima. Development of a new sports car called Solo turned out too costly for the company to survive.
The only known small-scale model of a Panther is the Panther 6 by Tomica. In addition, models of the SS 100 like the one by Matchbox might be regarded as models of the J72, although the similarity is not too great.
PEERLESS (US) 1900-1931
This marque was developed by a firm that originally built clothes wringers and bicycles since 1869 in Cleveland OH. Naturally the first car was a horseless carriage with bicycle wheels. By 1905 this marque was recognized as a prestige product manufacturer. By the early teens, this company became a chief competitor to Cadillac and the other elite cars. The company failed during the Great Depression. The final production cars before their financial demise were the sleekest and best looking products Peerless ever produced. The only representative model of this marque in small scale is a 1911 model by High Speed # HP-211. It was a Readers Digest Promotional a few years ago. Unfortunately, it is no longer available.
Peerless - High Speed
PEGASO (SP) 1951-1958
The truck company Pegaso was established after WW II in the former Hispano-Suiza factory at Barcelona. During the 1950s it produced a range of exclusive high performance sports cars called Z 102 and Z 103. Afterwards it concentrated on producing trucks only. In 1991 Pegaso was integrated into the Iveco group.
Anguplas made an H0 scale plastic model of the Pegaso Z 102.
PEUGEOT (FR) 1889-PRESENT
The Peugeot company was originally founded in 1812. It was already famous for coffee and pepper mills, bicycles and other industrial products when it ventured into motor vehicles. Based in the town of Sochaux, Peugeot went on to become one of the major French car producers, providing reliable small and mid-sized cars to the masses. It increased its market share by taking over Citroën in 1974 and the European Chrysler factories in 1979, forming the so-called PSA group. While Citroën cars were allowed to retain much of their identity, the former Chrysler products were first renamed Talbot, then merged into the Peugeot range and phased out in the mid-1980s. Also during the 1980s Peugeot retired from the North American market but continued to compete in most other areas of the world. Over the years Peugeot cars have been made in Argentina, Belgium, China, Great Britain, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal and Spain, and currently a new Peugeot factory is under construction in Slovakia.
Not surprisingly the most prolific providers of small-scale Peugeot model cars have always been the French-based brands such as Majorette and Norev, but there are many others too. Small-scale diecast Peugeots have also been made by Buby, CIJ, Gisima, Guiloy, Guisval, Guri, High Speed, Hongwell, Hot Wheels, Impy, Maisto, Matchbox, Mira, Pilen, Saico, Seba, Siku, Singafund, Solido, Summer, Welly and Zylmex, and even more can be found made of plastic.
1964 Peugeot 404 - Impy Lone Star
PIERCE-ARROW (US) 1901-1938
This firm began as the George N Pierce Company in Buffalo NY. They originally produced bicycles and birdcages. The corporate name was changed in 1909. Various products had used the Arrow badge after 1903 including the Great Arrow model. The practice of having the headlights attached to and above the front fenders as a recognizable trademark began in 1913. This design continued until the demise of the company. During the earlier years most other manufacturers chose to place their headlights independently in front of the radiator. The company began to experience financial difficulties even before the Great Depression. With continued annual deficits, the company was temporarily taken over by Studebaker in the early 1930s. This action did prolong the life of the company. In 1933 the Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow was produced as a styling exercise. Only 5 cars were reportedly made. That same year new financial life was pumped into the firm which again became independent. But the success was short-lived and with minimal production quantities, the firm closed its doors just before WWII. The only known model of this marque in small scale is available from High Speed. However, the casting is the same as that which they used for the 1906 Rolls- Royce. But the box container does indicate the car as a Pierce and shows the Rolls-Royce image! This condition is similar to the aforementioned Oakland / Peugeot situation.
Pierce Arrow - High Speed
PIRANHA (US) 1966-1970
This marque was a limited production plastic bodied vehicle. It was produced by the model kit company AMT. It had previously been introduced as an experimental vehicle by Marbon Chemical, a division of Borg-Warner as the CRV ( Cycolac Research Vehicle). These prototype bodies were composed of a new plastic compound- which is similar to the material now used for telephones. AMT became so impressed that they took over production of the real car. The name was changed and the cars were produced at the Speed and Custom Division in Phoenix AZ. This action then gave AMT free reign to produce 1/25 scale model kits of the full-size car! The car was powered by an aircooled Chevrolet Corvair engine and was hand assembled. No doubt, the most famous product was the car that appeared in a few of the "Man From Uncle" TV programs. With the cancellation of the Corvair by GM, the production of this unusual make also ceased. The only producer of this marque in small scale is Corgi Jr.
PLYMOUTH (US) 1928-1999
Chrysler Corp introduced this new make and placed it at the base of their hierarchy of marques. It became an immediate chief competitor to Ford and Chevrolet. During the 1930s it was also exported to England where it carried the Chrysler Kew and Wimbleton badges. During the late 1950s, the company produced the attractive and powerful Fury model. In 1960, they introduced the newly designed compact Valiant model which was also available in Australia and Argentina. This in turn resulted in the development of the Barracuda "Muscle Cars" in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Plymouth offered the English import Hillman Avenger as the Arrow and the Simca-based Horizon. The latter was also offered by Dodge as the Omni. Later, products from Mitsubishi in Japan were offered in a joint venture arrangement. These were known as the Champ and Sapporo. But following the merger of DaimlerChrysler this marque met a slow death.
Small-scale models of Plymouth cars were made by many companies catering for the US market, such as Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning and others.
1958 Plymouth Fury - Ertl
PLYMOUTH PROWLER (US) 1997-2000
This sub-marque was a retrostyled 2 passenger roadster. It was produced to be a companion sports car to the already successful Dodge Viper. But the retro and radical styling no doubt resulted in a diminished customer appeal. Plus the 2 seater coupetype styling provided storage problems for the driver. For a while, a companion styled trailer was available. Although the parent Plymouth marque stopped production in 1999, this car continued to be available under the Chrysler name for one additional year. Models in small scale have been produced by Matchbox, Johnny Lightning, Maisto, Ertl and Racing Champions. Motormax also produced a p/up truck concept version called the Howler which never entered production by Plymouth.
Plymouth Prowler - Matchbox
PONTIAC (US) 1926-PRESENT
This marque originated as a lower priced companion to the already existing Oakland in the GM lineup. It is noted that this marque succeeded its former division parent manufacturer. In turn, Pontiac found its hierachical niche between the lower priced Chevrolet and moe expensive Oldsmobile. In the late 1950s, this make introduced the widetrack wheelbase trademark. The Grand Prix model was subsequently introduced and was joined by the famous and recently reintroduced GTO " Muscle Car". During the early 1970s, a companion car to the Chevy Vega subcompact, called the Astre was produced in Canada until 1978. Models in small scale have been made by Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, Matchbox, Muscle Machines, RCI (Revell), Welly, Siku, Road Champs, Ertl, Racing Champions, RC2/ RCErtl, Mini-Lindy, Topper, Zee-Toy and Maisto.
1971 Pontiac Grand Prix - Johnny Lightning
PONTIAC FIREBIRD (US) 1967-2002
This sub-marque was produced as a companion to the successful Chevrolet Camaro. It first appeared as a 2 door coupe and later was also produced as a convertible during part of its lifetime. The top of the line model was the Trans Am. For many years it featured a large stylized eagle logo on the engine hood. Small scale models of this car have been made by most toy and model companies. Included are Racing Champions, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Ertl, King Star, Larami, Tac Cheong, Yat Ming, Universal Assocs (MB Bulgaria), Action Performance, Tootsietoy, Zeetoy, Maisto and Kidco to name a few!
1967 Pontiac Firebird - Hot Wheels
PORSCHE (GE) 1948-PRESENT
Ferdinand Porsche, who was of Bohemian-Austrian origin, worked as a car designer for several Austrian and German companies before he founded his own firm in Stuttgart in 1931. There he continued to develop cars on behalf of others, first and foremost the Volkswagen Beetle. After WW II the first cars under the Porsche brand were manufactured in Gmünd, Carinthia, but soon thereafter production commenced in Stuttgart. Originally based on the Beetle, Porsche's sports cars quickly gained a worldwide reputation which was second to none, not least due to successful participation in motor racing. Porsche continues as an independent company producing sports cars and more recently also off-road vehicles.
1964 Porsche 901 - Siku
Due to their immense worldwide popularity, models of Porsche cars have been made by almost all producers of small-scale diecast models.
PRINCE (JA) 1952-1966
This Japanese marque was an independent manufacturer until it merged with Nissan. It is considered to be the forerunner of the "Fairlady Z cars". Prince was the result of a merger of the Nakajima and Tachikawa Aircraft Companies following WWII. They had previously produced the renowned "Zero " aircraft. The newly formed company was called Fuji Sangyo. In 1950 it was divided into smaller segments. One of these was Fuji Precision Machine Co LTD.
In 1952 this firm founded subsidiary Tama Motors Co. Their car was marketed as the Prince in honor of the country?s Crown Prince. In 1955 the company name was changed to Prince Motor Co. A small scale model has recently been issued by Tomica.
PROBE (GB) 1968-1972
Dennis and Peter Adams had produced several car designs for other companies, most notably Marcos, before they started their own kit car projects under the name of "Probe". All Probes featured extremely low bodywork and were based on VW or BLMC components. Both Probe 15 and Probe 16 did not reach production, but a production kit car called Concept Centaur was based on the Probe 16. The later Probe 2001 was eventually produced in a quantity of sixteen.
A model of the Probe 16 was included in the Corgi Juniors range and was produced by Yat Ming.
PUCH (A) 1906-1931, 1979-1999
The main products of this company located in Graz were bicycles and motorcycles. While it was still independent, it ventured into car production on several occasions but with only limited success. In 1931 it merged with Austro-Daimler, and in 1935 Steyr joined the group. These mergers put an end to Puch's own car production, and the Puch badge was to be seen only on bicycles and motorcycles for a long time. After WW II, some of the group's vehicles were branded Steyr-Puch, but only in 1979 the Puch brand alone was associated with a four-wheeled motor vehicle once again. This was the G Wagon, produced in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz and sold in some markets under the Puch brand. During the 1990s the Steyr-Daimler-Puch group was split into several parts, with the Puch name and bicycle production going to Piaggio of Italy. The G Wagon continues to be made in Graz by what is now called Magna-Steyr, but is only sold as a Mercedes-Benz nowadays.
Several diecast manufacturers have produced G Wagon models, among them Matchbox, Realtoy and Siku. All of them are normally regarded as Mercedes-Benz models, but can be seen as Puchs just as well. Models of proper Puch-branded G Wagons are made in H0 scale plastic by Roco.