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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lledo was established by one of the former owners of Matchbox in 1982. John "Jack" W Odell. He had created Matchbox and developed the first large scale series the "Models of Yesterday", in 1956. Odell initially retired in 1973, but had returned to Matchbox in 1980 to help save the fondering company. Two years later the company ended up being sold.

Between 1982 and his next retirement in 1996. He used his last name in reverse to name this new company. He and a few ex Matchbox employees began manufacturering 'Days Gone' brand models. They were still based in London and used the retained Matchbox "Yesteryears" casting molds to start production. Most of the castings produced were Vintage vehicles done in a slight larger scale than the standard 3" scale range. They also produced buses that do fit into the 3" scale range. The vast majority of the castings produced were promotional items for the applied tampo used on each casting.

Of interest to their history is that their USA distributor was Hartoy. Which was also established in 1982 as well. They were founded in Florida, by another fomer executive of Matchbox - Elliot Harrowe. Who like previous Matchbox owners lent part of his last name to the company name. As above, their first casting series to distribute was the Lledo Days Gone "Fantastic Set O' Wheels". The Lledo "Marathons" are a range of buses and lorries. They are commonly found as promotional castings. The range was discontinued when Corgi took over.

The "Vanguards" range started out as as a series of 1950s and 1960s; primaily, British cars and trucks. The cars and vans were done in 1:43 scale with the larger trucks done in 1:64 scale. Early models were sold in window boxes similar to the Days Gone Range, but changed over to the now familiar carboard, lift-off lid boxes introduced later.

In 1999, after the ownership transfer to Corgi, the Vanguards line up continued, but with the Lledo name slowly disappearing. The 1:43 scale cars and small vans from the Corgi Classics range were moved into the Vanguards line up, with many showing an increased level of added detail. A few models were found in both the Corgi and Lledo ranges. Morris Minors in partiucular, but it was the Corgi version that survived over time.

The range has grown to around 150 castings over the years, with many, including the early 1:64 lorries models now having been retired, the range continued to grow through the mid 2000s, with cars from the '70s, '80s and now '90s having been added.

In 1993, Lledo partnered with Kellogg's (UK) cereals with a set of four land speed record cars called "Land Speed Legends". These were new castings, but were never reissued or used as again as a promotional item. They ranged in scale from 1:80 to 1:100 as the real cars are very large. This 4 car set included a foldout poster with model specifications and their land speed record events. A fifth land speed record car replica of the Thrust SSC piloted by Andy Green was also made.

Lledo was eventuaully purchased by Zindart who also owned Corgi at the time. In 2005, Zindart had Realtoy producing castings for their Corgi WheelZ window boxed packaged series. Prior to 2006, Zindart was sold to a group of their own employees.

One of the designers for Lledo, George Turner, started at Matchbox and followed others to LLedo. He also stayed on at Corgi before staring his own slot car business - George Turner Models.

Odell passed away in July 2007, at age 87. He was posthumously inducted into the 1:43 Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame in 2007.

Known Series Names

1994 Promo
Cargo Kings
Days Gone Premiere Collection
French Series
Land Speed Legends - 1993,
Lledo Chevron Promotion
Lledo Days Gone
Lledo Marathons
Lledo Promotionals
The Rolls Royce and Bentley Collections
European Vanguards
Vanguards Classics
Vanguards Police Collection
Vanguards Gold

Sourced references -

Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
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