The Corgi brand was created in 1956 by the Mettoy Company of Northhampton, UK, which had been making pressed steel toys since the 1930s. From the beginning, Corgi toys were different than their competition in that they had windows. Later innovations included spring suspension, opening hoods (bonnets) and trunks (boots), and jeweled headlights. After almost a 30-year run, the company went into liquidation and was reformed as Corgi Toys Limited in 1984. In 1989, the Corgi brand was sold to Mattel and in 1995 it was sold again in a management buyout. These days, the company is called Corgi International Limited and is owned by Hornby.
There were a few nice Corgis in the box of cars I got from RR and they all appear to date from before the Mattel era.
I rarely come across Corgis in my car hunting, but interestingly, I now have three of the Super Heroes series, including the Joker, Supermobile and this sharp Shazam!
These two versions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are both missing their plastic wings and figures, but they provide an opportunity to show the difference in wheel variations. The first version has rubber tires which fit the model well.
This second version – a Corgi Junior – has Whiz Wheels, which were introduced in 1969 as a response to the popular and free-rolling Hot Wheels.
Here’s an old ad image of the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in all its glory. Incidentally, the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is currently in the running for ‘The Ultimate Corgi Top 10’.