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By Brian Willloughby

Majorette 261 Morgan Plus Eight (Earlier French Casting)

Majorette 261 Morgan Plus Eight (Earlier French Casting)

Article published by Ivan Delgado, images by Doug Breithaupt.


In 1992, Matchbox offered an interesting theme in their 'Show Stoppers' packages. Each package came wit two cars and a plastic base identifying the featured manufacturer. The bases could be connected to form what matchbox called, "your own auto showroom." These 'Show Stopper' bases have continued to provide a delightful backdrop for different themes. The original packages contained two newer models from each car-maker. For example, the Ferrari package had an F40 and Testarossa and the Porsche set had a 911 and a 959. I was recently looking at Porsche racing cars and realised that the 910 #68 and the new 911GT1 made a nice contrast of old and new GT racers. After a little thought, I realised that Ferrari also had old and new GT racres in the 1977 308GTB in correct Pioneer racing colors and the new F50. Jaguar offers an earlier sport/GT car in the XK120 of 1948, contrasted by the XJ220 of 1990. All of these cars ran at LeMans and other sports car events with great success. It is nice to see examples of these classic racers compared to their modern siblings. Few other diecast manufcturers could offer a contrast of GT racing cars like this. Perhaps this is part of the reason why Matchbox cars continue to be favorites of so many collectors. Here's hoping that Mattel allows Matchbox to build on this great heritage. As a foot-note on the Show Stoppers concept, I understand that Mercedes-Benz and BMW Show Stoppers were offered outside the USA. I have an extra Ferrari and Jaguar set, mint-in-package and would love to trade for the MB and BMW sets. The remaining sets are Lamborghini, Ford and Chevrolet.

1977 308GTB and 1997 F50 by Ferrari - 1948 XK120 Roadster and 1990 XJ220 by Jaguar - 1970 910 and 1998 911 GT1 by Porsche

By Brian Willloughby

A little more than 50 years ago, on a rural Welsh farm, the idea was born of necessity and desperation. In a time of rebuilding and forced austerity, the durable goods industry in postwar Britain quickly found that it would not be able to survive purely off the scant purchases that were being made by British patrons. Consequently, several manufacturers, particularly those of automobiles, concluded that their futures, at least for the moment, would be dependent upon exportation. While this presented no problem for the sports car makers that had found favor with American GIs, the reserved Rover Company Limited, long accustomed to building respectable cars for the British upper middle-class, appeared to be drifting toward imminent doom as long as it relied upon its traditional products and clientele.

To encourage its automakers to export as much product as possible, His Majesty's Government imposed rations on steel whereby those companies that sold more goods outside of Britain received more raw materials from which to build its products. In the meantime, a Rover engineer named Maurice Wilkes had purchased a surplus World War II Jeep that he had discovered to be ideally suited to any multitude of tasks on his farm in Wales. As with most decommissioned items, the Jeep had had its best miles driven out of it years before, leading Wilkes to ponder what he would do, other than buy another, when it required replacement. Suddenly, it all came together: he was an automotive engineer, he had found several areas where the Jeep's design could bettered and expanded upon and Rover was in dire need of a product that would increase sales abroad. Thus was born the Land-Rover.

1965 275 GTB by Siku (Hungarian)

Every Ferrari production and racing cars has been done at some time as a model. Over 20 different Ferrari models have been done in 1:18 scale with as many or more in 1:24 scale. Entire books have been done on the amazing selection of Ferrari models in 1:43 scale. What model manufacturer can resist adding a Ferrari to the line-up?

In 1:64 scale, hundreds of Ferrari miniatures have been offered. Unfortunately, the variety of models is nowhere near as complete as in 1:43 scale. Of the 200 odd small-scale Ferrari models in my collection, only 21 different body styles can be found. Of course this does not include the Ferrari Formula 1 cars, the subject of a separate story in an earlier issue. GT race cars are included in the count. It should not be a surprise that 20 of the 21 have been done at some time in Ferrari Rosso. Only the 275 GTB by Siku, pictured above, is in a color other than red. This silver example is actually one of the Hungarian Siku production models.

1959 250 TR by Hot Wheels
1962 250 GTO by Maisto

By Remco Natrop

The next big change for Sieper Werke began in 1974. All the administration had always been done by hand but now became automated. It was found better to keep track of production numbers, offset and price ranges this way. The Ludenscheid factory was updated with new automatic paint installations (all metal V series are spray-painted by hand!). By 1975 Sieper Werke introduced their new models which were now categorized based on the new 4-digit price system. This is the start of the so-called 'Super Series' also known as '1000's Series'.

The four digits of the identification numbers are composed of two sets of two digits: two for the price range the model is in, and two for the model number. I.e. model number 11 in price range 13 would be 1311. Sieper Werke uses the following price ranges based on production costs ('Club Series' are not discussed here!):