twan55 wrote:Btw- can anyone give me advice on how best to photograph my cars?
My interest in vintage cars doesn't often extend beyond 1971 and Corgi. I do collect older cast iron, rubber, tin and diecast models going back further than the British heyday. The cutoff is primarily because I discovered girls and 1:1 cars. I didn't come back to diecast until 1990, when Minichamps made realistic models affordable. If more 1:43 looked like your Code 2 Lamborghini, I may have started again earlier, but you usually had to pay hundreds for white metal and often build them yourself.
So I speak mainly of Corgi and some Dinky. While I share your distaste for Whizzwheels, you may be ascribing the change to the wrong culprit. Whizzwheels began in 1969 with the "red dot" version. They weren't the most attractive wheels, but they weren't much worse than the flat disc wheels of earlier. Corgi's wheels were not accurate or realistic to start with. The wire wheels were very nice, but you can't put them on everything. The later plastic Whizzwheels were atrocious, but there was something more nefarious happening by that point.
You were born at the end of the Corgi era. For an American boy in 1968, Corgi's catalog was a bit of a drag. What the heck is a Bedford truck? Morris what? Rover? Marcos? Any foreign car that was not a sports car was a rarity on American roads. I don't think I saw an actual Land Rover until the 1990s but every other entry in the Corgi catalog was based off one. There weren't a lot of cars that a boy could relate to. America was a big market for Corgi so they had some American cars and sports cars, but those were more expensive than a Renault Floride. Corgi started with the gimmick cars and those did phenomenally well. So they headed toward more cars from TV and movies and away from realism. We began getting more cars with stickers and "mod" paint jobs. Then Hot Wheels showed up. They had American cars, and they were the hot rod muscle cars that every red-blooded American boy wanted. You may not feel that strongly about American cars but you matured in the era when those cars were at their worst. It was different in the late Sixties. The "greed is good" era of the Eighties was a big influence on your interest in flashy foreign cars.
In March of 1969, a warehouse fire destroyed a large portion of that year's stock, as well as some tooling for models. This was a harsh blow, and the timing was unfortunate because Hot Wheels had been introduced the year before and had acquired a strong following in the US. Hot Wheels were smaller, you could carry them to your friend's house more easily for play. You could buy one with a week's allowance, when it might take two or three weeks to afford a Corgi. They were fast. They were advertised on Saturday morning cartoon shows
and I don't think Corgi or Dinky ever were.
So you've got competition from Hotwheels in your biggest market on both price and content, a demand for gimmicks and tie-ins, and most of your stock has been wiped out. What do you do? You turn to Asia to fulfill orders. Asia has a different esoteric design sensibility even today. The toy companies there were making their money doing knockoffs of existing molds and building a market through cutting prices. Hotwheels destroyed Matchbox, Corgi destroyed Dinky, but the the Asians destroyed Corgi. The appearance of Whizzwheels was only coincidental. That Bond Aston Martin was the first shot to the heart for the old Corgi, but your beloved Batmobile was the one that did the real damage, and the warehouse fire assured it was fatal.
Corgi had introduced the Husky line in 1964 for Woolworth. They were cheaper and smaller than the standard Corgi. If Mettoy hadn't needed to move production to Asia, Husky may have been the one to take up the fight with Hotwheels. But since they were weak all around, they decided to increase the scale to 1:36 and try to conquer a new market while rebranding Husky as Corgi Jr.
Mercury, Politoys, etc. were not in toy stores. They must have been adult collectibles so it's not surprising that they were able to resist the trends in the toy market. By the time I discovered Solido, they were was for kids and people just starting diecast collecting while Minichamps had the adult market. The Asians that killed off Corgi are now keeping the entire diecast market afloat.