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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Norev was founded by Joseph Veron of the French Veron brothers in Villeurbanne, near Lyon, France in September 1945. (Norev is Veron spelled backwards.) His brother Emile was the founder of Majorette and together they are are considered to be the godfathers of the French diecast industry. Throughout the whole run of all Norev vehicles and without regard to scale or type, Norev models were sequentially numbered within in their series range from the first plastic car made as #1 to #899 a zamac diecast and beyond.


One of Norev's first products - a small service garage building - came with some 1:87 scale plastic cars included.


In 1953, Norev also began making 1:43 scale plastic cars using the new plastic product 'Rhodialite'. Most models were available as free wheeling types or with a friction motor drive fitted to them.

By 1956, this series was made up of only 12 cars. As would be expected, the first models available were all French cars. The Simca Aronde being the first Norev model issued. Followed by the Renault 4CV, Ford Vedette, Peugeot 203, Citroën DS 19, Renault Dauphine, Panhard Dyna Z, Peugeot 403 and Citroën H Van, among others.

The first non-French plastic model to be made was the Mercedes-Benz W196 race car in late 1956. This was followed by the Jaguar 2.4L MK1 saloon in 1957. As the years progressed, more foreign made cars would be added to the Norev range in rapid succession.

These early plastic models had colorful unpainted plastic bodies in semi-realistic colors and red (sometimes black) plastic wheel hubs fitted with white tires. Through the 1950s, the red hubs were gradually replaced with more detailed chrome ones and tires became predomainently black, though some white tires were used until the late 1950s.

As above the body colors were similar but not exactly what the contemporary car manufacturers of the time were offering to the driving public. Later models offered even more vibrant, less realistic colors, like bright orange and lime green. Model detail and proportion were very good. Although, early models did not have cut out window openings. The Citroen DS was the first model made with window openings.

Early base plates were unpainted diecast metal. But from 1956 onward, black plastic base plates were introduced. This made them more successful to and cheaper to make than their diecast competition like Dinky, Minialuxe and Solido.

From the beginning, Norev used creative packaging and marketing techniques. Their early models touted the benefits of plastic materials with an attached rectangular paper tag that read "Legerete, Solidite, Fidelite" "(Rhodialite), Light, Solid and Strong"). They also used very successful advertising techniques, like supplying toy shops with paper bags displaying images from the Norev line on them. Norev boxes themselves could also be very intriguing - if not rather fragile. The 1950s castings came in a card board box that mimicked the look of a wooden packing crate. Pictures of the cars were printed on their sides. Packaged cars also often came with various sweepstakes offers and a lot of printed information.

In 1957, the 500 Series 'Mciro-Norev' were introduced. These were also done in plastic as well, but in 1:87 scale size. This series was mostly the same models from the 1:43 scale line. Though the Renault Caravelle and the Peugeot 403 pick-up were unique models not issued in the 1:43 scale series.

From 1958 to 1966, Norev worked with Anguplas (Spain) to produce a 1:87 scale range of vehicles. Some even had the Norev name on their base, but are easily identified by the Anguplas body color and wheel sets.

Most models did not come with any accessories, but a few items like roof skis were used occasionally on the Panhard Dyna.


In the 1960s, opening body features began to be used more. Opening doors were found on the Renault 4 van and the Land Rover Expedition. The Land Rover also had a spare tire and roof rack.

In the early 1960s, friction motor models were discontinued.

By 1964 there were more than 96 different plastic models available.

Unfortunately, the Rhodialite plastic being used in the production process was susceptible to color fading and warping with excessive exposure to sunlight. By the mid-1970s, Norev had started using a lighter plastic compound that set to a more matte finish.

In the mid-1960s, Norev made colorless (white) plastic bodies that could then be spray-painted in metallic (? at the factory) colors. These were a short-lived series though. Only (5) models are known to have been released this way - a Ford Anglia 105E Deluxe, a Lancia Flaminia, a Fiat 2300, a DAF Daffodil and a Morris Mini 850.

In 1965, the first diecast metal models were issued. These were progressively labeled the '600', '700', and then '800' series. Each was numbered sequentially as noted above, Each series also increased in cost to make and established price points. The '600' series line was cheaply made and production ended soon. The 'Micro-Norev' HO 1:87 scale line was discontinued as well, at around the same time.

Their casting level of detail to match the 1:1 models is also notable. On the Citroën DS sedan for example, the real 1:1 car, had a separate plastic roof piece. The Norev toy model also used a separate plastic roof section that they made in a variety of colors to make many color combinations of the distributed model. Norev also released all 3 versions of the DS19, the initial 1956 version; the updated 1961 version, with its added metal hood vents, and in 1973, modifications were again made to match the deleted hood vents and add holes under the headlights that replaced the hood vents.

By the end of the 1960s, models would feature multiple different opening parts.

In 1969, the Peugeot 504 featured 4 opening doors, an opening hood and trunk.

Different companies had also began to 'advertise' on the sides of Norev truck and van models. Examples were Locatel telephone, Cibie lights,and Fleury Michon, a provider of meat products. The most common models for these promotional models were the Citroën 2CV Van and Type H, Renault Estafette & 4 Van, and the Peugeot J7.


In 1971, the famous 'Jet-Car' series appeared.

In 1974, the Jet-Car 800 series had (2) sweepstakes promotional offers.

One was for the ""Grand Jeu Norev" ("Great Norev Game"). In this game, you could find priented images of their cartoon characters - Norev, Jimmy, Tic, Costo, Comete, and Speed. After coloring them in, you then mailed them back to the Norev's 'Service Club' address to redeem prizes. Coloring them in could be hard though, as the issued illustration of 'Tic' found in the 1974 Renault 17 TS Coupe (# 823) was only about two inches square in size.

In the same casting package were coupons for a second sweepstakes called the "Grand Rallye de Norev" ("The Great Norev Rally"). In this endeaver you collected enough 'stamps' - representing accumulated 'mileage' in the rally. When a set level of milage was obtained you could then submit them to win a Norev model car of your choice.

In the late 1970s, previoulsy issued 1:66 scale Schuco made model were issued as new models in Norev brand series line called the 'Mini-Jet' series. These still carried the Shuco 800 #'ering system on their base plates. The 'Mini-Jets' though were praised for being good castings but also criticized for their cheap plastic interiors and poor packaging. A series called 'Maxi-Jet' line was made up of mostly truck models.

Norev also provided some models for Hatchette's "A Century of Cars" series.

Mehanotechnika Izola is noted to have made Norev castings under license in Yogoslavia.


Around 1980, Norev was either taken over by or restructured to be known as Ludorev. Besides repeating the last four letters as "-orev", the chosen name (or its meaning) remains unclear. Known Jet-Car packages from the late 1980s have "LudOrev locataire gerente de Norev" (tenant manager of Norev) on them. Which may indicate the same dies that were made and packaged in France were now being sold under the new LudOrev name to distinguishing them from the ones being made in China. (Is it possible this is supposed to be Lud O Rev, meaning shortend names of Lud and Rev instead?)

In 1981, a few of the earlier plastic models were again being produced. Only to then be discontinued again around 1984. Some of those series line ups were named "Plastigam". This name was also used later on their metal diecast type cars as well. During this time frame, production in France, by Norev, ended. Castings production was then being sourced from different unspecified makers (?) in Hong Kong. It is thought that the Ludorev brand name was applied only to the castings still being produced in France with the new castings being produced in China still having the Norev name brand.

In 1982, the Shuco base #ed 800 series castings were converted into the Norev 400 Series by base number with mostly just new French cars being added to the line up. Together, these became known as the "Mini-Jet" series. The last issues from this range were done with corporate logos applied in the mid 1980s.

In the mid 1980s, Norev merged with Majorette who had also already acquired Solido. Majorette itself was then acquired by Smoby And they in turn were later acquired by the Simba Dickie Group. Today, Majorette remains part of Simba-Dickie, but Norev brand was spun off and were still making castings as Norev in 2006.

Faie and Yat Ming are noted to also be two Hong Kong brands with associations to Norev, but it is unclear by the references - if they made castings for Norev or they also had their own casting made by Hong Kong factories like them. (Are these then the or just 2 of the factories were produciton was moved to when French production ended?)


In the 1990s, a Renault Scenic done in 1:55 scale by Universal Hobbies is thought to have been made for Norev as well. Other castings had Renault Toys (France) on their base plates.


During the 2000s, Norev moved to be more upscale in their production models with new collectible vehicles being marketed to adult collectors. With the new millennium, Norev had also taken several new directions while keeping its French heritage in place.

In 2002, new Norev brand production had began again - with modern era car models from Citreon, Renault and Peugeot being made in 1:55 scale. These were primarily found at the same brand auto dealers as the models in Europe. More vehicle brands from France and then brands from other countries followed. All of these castings had metal bases, except for the F1 racer.

In 2005, a line of Japanese brand name cars were introduced in addition to a new line of 1:18 scale model castings. This approach mirrors that of other companies like Solido, Corgi Toys, and Schuco Modelle at the time where 1:43 scale cars were priced in the $30 to $40 range. While their 1:18 scale lines sold for $60 to $70. Most of these newer models were marked as having been made in China.

Norev had also acquired and re-introduced several old diecast brands like the French CIJ name (C.I.J. stands for Compagnie Industrielle du Jouet) and Provence Moulage. CIJ had primarily focused on trucks and industrial model vehicels. While Norev focused on the more everyday French cars with some racing versions. Provence Moulage did more French historical and concept vehicles.

In 2006, Norev celebrated its 60th anniversary, with the creation of a customised 1:1 Chrysler 300 C with the help of tuning company Parotech.

In 2008, Norev also reintroduced the "Spot-On" brand once made by Tri-Ang in Northern Ireland.

As CIJ , Norev announced that the historic brand of JRD (?) would also be relaunched, but as of 2011, no new JRD models had been issued.


Around 2010, several former Norev castings were made and sold as Atlas Editions collectors models. Most notable were their series of French presidential limousines, like the Citroen SM Presidentielle. Whether the castings were made by Norev for Atlas Editions or the tooling was sold to Atlas (and/or other company(ies?) is uncertain.

Norev, more than the more global oriented Solido brand, has managed to remain a very French based entity. Traveling along a very nostalgic path way by reviving other lost French (and some English) toy brands.

In 2009, although production had moved to China, the company itself is still headquartered near Villeurbanne, east of Lyon, in the municipality of Vaulx-en-Velin.

Today, it still maintains many contacts in the automotive industry and supplies model cars directly to many of those full sized manufacturers. Besides diecast vehicles, Norev is also known now for their replicas of Tour de France bicycles and promotional vehicles, as well as figurines.


Known Norev Production Series

Garage Play Set (1:87 car accessories)
300 Series
500 Series
600 Series
700 Series
800 Jet Car Series (1974)

Jet Car (1:43)

Schuco Mini Jets (1:64)
Schuco Maxi Jets (trucks) (1:18)

Tour de France Collection
Dakar Rally Collection (2004)
Show Room
Renault Series
Mercedes Benze Series (2011, 2012)
City Cas (2013)


Known Seies Names

1/43 Ieme Plastique Ancienne
A Century of Cars
Concept Car La Collection by Altaya (?)
Construction (Norev)
Dealer Promotional
Emergency (Norev)
Farmer (Norev)
Gamme Actualité Renault
Hommage Collection -1:18 scale BMWs from Norev.
Jet-car - a later range of 1:43 Scale models.
Mini Jet
NAMAC Giftbox 2001
Norev City
Norev Collection - related figures & toy soldiers
Norev Collection 1/18
Norev GTI Tuners
Norev Micro Miniatures
Opel Collection (Norev)
Plastigam
Racing 1/18 (Norev)
Racing (Norev)
Renault Toys-Z.E.
Retro Racing (Norev)



Initial sourced references -

My primary information resources are first the postings made by members here at HobbyTalk.
Then The Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers by Sahakangas, Weber and Foster (2006).
Followed by the information found at the Wikipedia listing for Norev Norev - Wikipedia and
information provided by Norev at their own web site Norev - Norev .


Additional sourced references -

Norev | hobbyDB
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Today, a reworked the above Norev history to include the listed brand association information and established links to those that are also included in the diecast encyclopedia. :cheers2:
 

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Today, I ran down another Spanish based company called Anguplas who worked with Norev to make castings in the late 1950s to mid 1960s. They were later taken over by Eko who are still in business today making castings with the same Anguplas molds and now known as ToyEko. :cheers2:
 

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Over the past few days I have been revising the Norev time line and consolidating the information from the various resources into a less wordy and more concise history presentation. I also added a few more links from and to other brands that were not present previously.

Each decade of information is now grouped into blocks of time.

In addition to the Hatchette's publications parts works group link, I also identified another parts work group based in Italy called DiAgostini. That reference was for Atlas Editions but should be Editions Atlas instead. This leads back to new issues of Dinky castings as well. Both still need further research.

I was able to find a member post on JRD but further information on them is also needed.
 
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