Christmas isn’t just about the presents, but when you are under 10, it pretty much is. Also, some of us were lucky enough to be around during the absolute golden age of the scale model toys. That’s when Corgi was Christmas.
When it comes to stocking fillers, the gadget laden James Bond Aston Martin DB5, ‘flying’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Saint’s subtle Volvo P1800, and the amazing Batmobile all became legendary toys. Nothing sold today comes close to them for value, quality and playability.
Imagination was always the key, even though the Chitty couldn’t actually fly, you pulled the handbrake to make the wings flick out. The James Bond Aston’s DB5 had an ejector seat with a blue suited, gun toting baddie that you would lose within minutes of opening the box. Machine guns popped out of the lights and a bullet proof shield sprang up to protect the rear. It was all a boy could want. Even your sister could sort of play along with her pink Lady Penelope Rolls Royce as that famous grille could be folded down and a rubber tipped rocket would fly out when the suspension was depressed.
What these particular models delivered was gadgets, but even without them, they were mostly metal, with rubber tyres, plus an opening bonnet, boot and doors. It felt like you owned a real car, just a bit smaller.
So if you wanted to relive your youth, or perhaps experience what your dad has been droning on about, what will it cost you? Well it depends. Used Corgis vary from just a few quid for a charity shop find, to many, many hundreds. Yes really.
However, there are brand new Corgis. You can go to their website https://uk.corgi.co.uk and buy a box fresh model. The James Bond Aston Martin collection comprises a V12 Vanquish, DB5 and DBS all for £35.99. If you are a Wallace and Gromit fan then an A35 van in ‘Cheese Please’ livery is £31.99. Some proper classics are still available and that includes Thunderbird 2, which was originally a Dinky model, with the aquatic Thunderbird 4 on board at £27.99. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 1:32 scale is yours for £32.99. Also the magnificent ten wheel Captain Scarlett SPV, Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle for £29.99 which was also originally a Dinky. Hold on though, it’s out of stock. Relaunched in 2023, everyone has only gone out and bought them all.
If you want an original to play with, well there are some options. Go to the auction sites and actually find that brand new SPV for £44, however scrappy originals made by Dinky are £20+ but boxed ones are hard to find and some dealers are asking over £100 for quite tired examples with £300 as the going rate for clean ones in the original packaging.
When it comes to collector item examples they have to be mint and boxed. The trouble with small children is that they do tend to chuck away the box, then actually play with the car, chip the paint and lose bits. That’s called, having fun. Collectors want them as they were on the toyshop shelf, back in the day.
Recently I was happy to oblige. As an odd 8 year old I put a brand new Corgi Chitty in a Cigar box and more than 50 years later sold it to a specialist scale model dealer for over £200. It was more than I was offered directly on auction sites. I had the ‘long box’ version rather than the more rare ‘short box’ which would have been worth more. I could have kicked my childhood self. Clearly this is a marketplace that needs some research because a reissued Chitty from 20 years ago is just £20 to £30 in a box. That would be the same amount of fun as a £300 original plus you can actually play with it.
In all this excitement, we haven’t really mentioned Dinky, Matchbox, Solido and Husky model cars to name just a few famous model makers. We’ll save those for next Christmas.
5 Costly Classic Corgis Mint & Boxed
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Model 266 £300+
Batmobile Model 267 £640+
James Bond DB5 Model 261 £1700+
Beatles Yellow Submarine Model 803 £500+
James Bond Lotus Esprit Model 269 £550+