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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Corgi Toys began operations in the UK in July 1956, as a division of Mettoy Playcraft Industires. They were made in Swansea, South Wales, for twenty seven years before the company went bankrupt in 1983.

Their line of Corgi Juniors were launched in 1970, as a rebranding of the Mettoy ex-Husky range of diecast cars. Many of the Husky models continued in production with new releases being added as production continued under Corgi. Eventually this line would adopt the 'Whizzwheels' design that had been introduced with the "Corgi Rockets" line of diecast. Around the 1980s, Corgi Juniors dropped the Junior part of their series name with only Corgi being used thereafter.

As noted above, a sub-range of the "Corgi Juniors" line up called "Corgi Rockets" quickly followed, in the early 1970s. This line up had a removable chassis and were now fitted with the 'Whizzwheels' design. The castings were primarily made up of cartoon and film related vehicles with a small assortment of street cars included. As new street car models were added to the line up, they were often released at the same time as - or soon after - the real cars were introduced during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

In the early 1980s, "Corgi Cubs" were introduced as a basic range of toy cars designed for young children. These included a range of generic cars, vans, trucks and commercial vehicles with bright colors made in the 1:43 scale range. The upper part of the model was diecast, while the lower interior/baseplate piece was made from plastic. Most vehicles did not have windows, the few that did - used a clear plastic piece.

Hartoys (USA) began using some of the Corgi (Junior) castings - along with Welly vehicles, in their marketed individual and set series for Hersheys Chocolate, Domino's Pizza and Coca Cola.

Reeves (USA) distributed Corgi Toys in the early 1980s.

In Brazil, A Kikoler contracted with several brands, including Corgi, to make diecasts for distribution in Brazil. Branded as Kiko with the Corgi name included on the base and production as made in Brazil. Castings included vehicles from the 'Corgi (Juniors)' series as well.

A series featuring lights and sounds was also issued by MC Toy which would eventually become Maisto.

New castings nearly stopped being added in 1984, with the existing line up being produced in a series of different colors, promotions and other liveries applied to the existing models as updates. Most new castings that were added, were vans, that could also be used as promotional Code 2 type castings. By the late 1980s, an increasing range of new cars was once again being introduced.

When the Corgi managmeent team sold themselves to Mattel in 1989, they retained the factory location in Wales under the name of Microlink Industries Ltd.

Under Mattel UK ownership from 1989 to 1995 there came an exchange of Hot Wheels models to the line. (?)

In 1995, in another Corgi management buyout this time from Mattel UK ownership, a new company was created and named Corgi Classics Limited. Mattel retained all the smaller scale products and molds and the "Corgi (Juniors)" line disappeared from production.

In 1998, Johnny Lightning provided the castings for Corgi's line of James Bond 007 series distributed in Europe.

At some point in time, Corgi contracted with Metalbox (who may also have been known as Metalcar) to re-issue castings from their Corgi (Juniors) line up. They also had contracted with Metchy (Poland) (?) to make licensed vehicles for the Polish market labele as Metchy.

The Diecast Encyclopedia also makes reference to Corgi Collectible being owned by Zindart at the time they bought Lledo in the late (?) 1990s.

In the early 2000s, Hachette distributed a line of vehicles under the "A Century of Cars" series. This line up included simplified casting models from the ex-Corgi line up in a variety of scales. Most of these were primarily from the ex-Lledo Vanguards range of models and including at least one "Days Gone" model. Some of them were from the aquired Solido and Norev line ups.

In 2003, Corgi launched the "Boy Racers" series under their Vanguards range as a series of 'souped up' cars and vans featuring bright colors, stripes and other design details. This included different wheel designs, extra antennes, spotlights and other add ons typical of that era. They also made the Batman Collectibles Corgi Series of 8 vehicles from the DC Comic Book Series

In 2006, a range of castings similar in size to the ex-Corgi Juniors line up was being sold again as Corgi Toys by Zindart. They had Realtoy make these castings and presented them in a window box package.

On 1 May 2008, Corgi Classics was bought by the international models and collectables group Hornby.

Another entry from The Diecast Encyclopedia, notes Play Me (Spain) as another company who distributed (reissued?) Corgi Jr models at an unspecified time. Available models were #ed as from the 400 series and included the beach buggy, BMW, Ford GT and pick up truck


Corgi Cars - 1956 to ?;
Corgi Classics - 1960s, series of classic cars
Corgi Juniors - 1970 to 1980s; replaced Husky brand
Corgi Rockets - 1970;
Corgi Kiko Juniors - produced in Brazil by A Kikoler Com INd De Plasticos S.A., under liscense

Building Britain - work trucks
Classic Models
All Winners - 6 car boxed sets
Classic Thunderbirds - TV Series group
Collectible Icon Figures - James Bond & Toy Soldiers
Colour Trial - 1950s Ford Thunderbirds TV Series Cars
Corgi 1/36 - 1:36 scale street cars, race cars and trucks
Corgi DriveTime
Corgi Freeway
Corgi Major Toys - large scale construction and farm equipment

Corgi Solido
Corgi Super Juniors
Corgi Truckers
Corgi TV/Film Models
DC Comic's Batmobiles
Fire Heroes
Golden Jacks
Hauliers Of Renown
Heavy Haulage
Kellogg's Collection
Muppet Show Vehicles
Road Services Of Ireland
Stage Musical Edition
Super Haulers
The Aviation Archive
The Bronze Age Collection
The Original Omnibus Company
The Premiere Collection
Corgi Classics - 1980s, a series of 1950s cars
Corgi Cubs -1980s, young childrens toys
Corgi Metalbox Juniors- 1980s; Corgi Junior Models made by Metalbox GMK in Hungary from dies shipped by Corgi to them
Corgi Auto-City -
Hacchette "A Century of Cars" - early 2000s
Corgi Colin McRae Collection - a series of Rally cars
Corgi 50th Anniversary Series - 2006,

Casting List (Incomplete)

Ford Consul
Austin Cambridge
Morris Cowley
Riley Pathfinder
Vauxhall Velox
Rover 90
Hillman Husky
Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond)
1966 Batmobile
Lotus Formula 1 John Player Specia Racing Car
Ghia L 6.4 (which had a moulded Corgi dog lying on the rear parcel shelf)
1965 Monte Carlo Rally Mini Cooper S
1966 Oldsmobile - The Man from U.N.C.L.E's 'Thrushbuster' 1
959-61 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop
1969 Noddy Car

Sourced references -

Corgi | Homepage
Husky Toys - Wikipedia
Corgi Toys | hobbyDB
Metalbox | hobbyDB (?)
Mettoy - Wikipedia
Fforestfach History - Mettoy
Mettoy | hobbyDB
Corgi | Homepage
Husky Toys - Wikipedia
Corgi Toys - Wikipedia
Corgi Toys | hobbyDB
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)

· Administrator
51,291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I still need to go back thru all the Mettoy>Corgi resources, but, I believe - I have an accurate history time line now posted in the OP. The series names still need ordering by release dates and the casting list completed.


· Administrator
51,291 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I ran across another ownership reference to Zindart today as having been in ownership of Corgi when they purchased Lledo in the late 1990s.
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