Mettoy a combination of the words Metal and Toy had been founded in 1933 by Phillip Ullmann. Mettoy with its experience of Diecasting where in a good position to produced Diecast Cars. Corgi Toys where introduced in 1956 a production plant was built at Fforestfach in Swansea, Wales, to manufacture the new range of Corgi Toys The name 'Corgi Toys' was chosen by Philip Ullmann in honour of the company's new home, taken from the Welsh breed of dog, the Corgi and the iconic Corgi logo branded the new range, the name was short and easy to remember, although there is no official Royal patronage there is a Royal connection!
Corgi 1957 Vanwall Racing Car
Initially, all models were issued in free-rolling form, or with friction drive motors, with the exception of the heavy commercials which would have been too bulky and the sports cars whose low slung bodies would not be able to accommodate the motors. The Mechanical versions, as they were known, were indicated by an 'M' suffix to the model number and were available in different colour schemes. They were issued with tougher die-cast bases to support the extra weight of the motor, and in far fewer numbers. Mechanical versions did not sell particularly well, partly due to a significantly higher purchase price, and were phased out in 1960 The cars had several new features including windows an opening bonnet. Steerable front wheels, jewelled headlights and rear lights and an opening boot complete with spare wheel
Corgi Aston Martin DB4 with Opening Bonnet
Best Selling James Bond DB5
Corgi decided to launch a range of heavy commercial vehicles in October 1957 with the release of the Carrimore Car Transporter featuring a Bedford S-Type tractor unit with full glazing in keeping with the rest of the Corgi range. The company's first gift set including the Carrimore Car Transporter and four cars was launched in time for the Christmas market in December 1957. Early models in the new 'Corgi Major' range were issued in sturdy two piece boxes featuring the blue and yellow colour scheme that had recently been adopted across the entire Corgi range, later models in the 1960s using clear fronted packaging.
Corgi Gift Set 1
The Chipperfield's Circus Crane Truck was the first of the highly successful and much sought after range of Chipperfield's Circus vehicles produced by Corgi Toys during the 1960s. It was based on a large International truck fitted with a metal crane, hook and pulley, and painted in the traditional Chipperfield's Circus livery of red and blue, as were all the models in the range. Corgi Toys introduced the first of the many film and television tie-in models that made the company famous in March 1965, with The Saint's Volvo P1800 The most famous and best selling toy car of all, James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 from the film Goldfinger, was issued in October 1965.
Corgi Chipperfields Circus Vehicles
The range continued to expand until Mettoy went into receivership in 1983, There were many reasons for the decline of Corgi Toys, and indeed the British toy car industry; not least the changes in tastes of youngsters, the spiralling cost of developing new features that would capture the imagination, and the emergence of computer games consoles, sales slumped continually into the 1980s. The increasing costs of UK based production and decreasing sales revenue meant that there was not the funds available to develop the ingenious toys of the past, and the models now sold in their thousands rather than in the millions that they achieved during their heyday. The end finally came in 1983, when Corgi Toys were forced to call in the Official Receiver after years of staving off the inevitable. however a management buyout saved the Corgi Range. The new management concentrated on collectable toys such as their Corgi Classic range, a range of cars from the past aimed at adult collectors. In 1989 Corgi was taken over by the giant Mattel company, however in 2000 the company was sold to Hong Kong based Zindart. Corgi cars continue in production today.
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