MERCURY 1/43

Made in Italy - 1/43 scale
1962-1969
Updated on 2018/07/13
ITALIAN

The Mercury Turin-based company began producing toys immediately after the war, resulting fairly successful in the field of small-scale car models. During the decade from 1953 to 1962 the production of 1/48 scale models (just a bit smaller than the Corgi, Dinky etc.) was a huge success and those models are now highly sought after by collectors around the world.

In the early sixties the most important companies began to enter into a serious and fair competition and began churning out models with many openings, fitted with windows, interior trim and suspensions, metallic paint, rhinestones in headlights and reclining seats. Some had their steering front wheels, others boasted fantastic gadgets, such as headlights which light up (eg. the well-known "Trans-o-lite" of Corgi Toys) or working wipers (Mercedes Benz 600 Pullman, of Corgy Toys, which had also sliding windows).

At that point there was the need to keep up the production with that of “the fierce competition”, therefore, in 1962, also Mercury made a great leap forward in quality, by adopting the more common 1/43 scale and producing the wonderful Fiat 2300 S coupé Ghia, which even without the little puppy crouched under the rear window could easily keep up with another beautiful reproduction of a Ghia car: the Chrysler 6.4L V8 of Corgy Toys (art. 241, 1963). The comparison between the two models is shown on the right.

Once the situation improved, Mercury produced, in my opinion, a series of beautiful models, among which I would especially like to remind the Lancia Flavia Coupé Pininfarina, the Maserati 3500 GT, the Mercedes Benz 230 SL "Pagodina"...


Then, it was the turn of the Fiat Models, among them stands out the "family" of 850, produced in different variants: sedan, coupé, spider, Abarth etc. In the big picture above, the family of the 850 shines in many different colors, more or less rare to find. It is such a great joy to see them all together, so much that you almost feel the urge to lie down among them like Scrooge McDuck with his heaps of dollars hoarded in his crowded store.

It is true, the Mercury did not skimp out on the colors and this makes the hunting of its models even more fascinating. I am referring, for instance, to some Corgi models that have been produced in only one or two colors: the Chevrolet Corvair (usually blue), the aforementioned Mercedes 600 (always in metallic red), the R 16 (always in metallic dark red), the Oldsmobile Super 88 (almost always in light blue and white) and so on .... how boring. Mercury, however, changed the paint color very often: just think of the countless variations of the Flavia Coupè (here below, left) or the 2300 Coupé (here below, right). Not to mention the Ferves Ranger (big picture, more down). Sometimes eBay shows color variations never seen before and the relentless desire to have it in the garage sets off.


Of course, Mercury as well, like all other brands, has sought to reduce costs by using models already known to produce special versions: just think of the Pagodina, which after the open and closed versions created the original Safari version. Or the series of the Ferrari 330 P, produced in different versions: Silverstone, Monza, Nurburgring Sebring and so on. Or, again, the Maserati 3500’s competition version, which, unlike the others just mentioned, was not considered worthy of a box of its own, and was sold in the box of the GT road version, with the word "COMPETITION" overwritten with an ink-pad on the closing flap. The laws of the market are always tough.

The same Fiat 2300 S Coupé Ghia has led to a rethinking of the manufacturer two years after its debut: a simplified version was produced, with the silver painted headlights (rather than applied) and with other simplifications. The first set was too expensive, but the simplified version today is sold at a price which is higher than that of the original series: a small revenge.

After 1969, however, all the companies showed signs of crisis and many have closed down or have started producing cheaper series. Politoys produced the Export series (horrible in comparison to the M series), Mebetoys produced the Europe series (same bad review), Solido produced the series 10 (unacceptable if compared with the series 100), Corgi produced the Whizzwheels series (which, to be fair, were beautiful models, if you pretend not to notice those fast but squalid small wheels).

And the Mercury? It produced the series 300, namely the "Special", which also includes some very interesting models, but of lower quality than those manufactured from 1962 to 1969. For this reason, I wish to devote this website page to remember the only models produced during those years. There will be other opportunities in future to extend the classification to the later models.

  Alberto Spano

 


TWO GHIA MODELS
COMPARED




MERCURY #23/1962
FIAT 2300 S COUPE' GHIA
V
CORGI TOYS #241/1963
GHIA 6.4L CHRYSLER V8 ENGINE


Engines are very different, 2300cc for the FIAT and as much as 6400cc for the Chrysler, but the two cars do not hide to be related as for their style: the rear window divided into three parts shows their similarity as a common DNA.


The two models are both beautiful: fully openable, equipped with suspensions, interior, metallic painting and etc.. The Corgi one is more solid and better finished, with the usual riveted base that prevents the disassembly and with a thicker high quality painting. However, the Mercury is every bit as good as the Corgi: the paint is more fragile, but the bumpers are chrome metal, very sturdy (the Corgi ones are made of plastic and the chrome plating tends to peel off).

The seats have reclining backs, but the Corgi ones boast the most exquisite workmanship (the FIAT back seats move just a little due to the elasticity of the plastic, while others are more pliable). Both have also the lining on doors and dashboard, decorated with decal (2300) or with a coated adhesive paper (6.4L).


Only the Mercury though has the TO (Turin) plate and the headlights made in transparent plastic. The trunk has a plastic coating on the bottom. The Corgi model has an easy opening in the engine hood: you just need to push the front suspension and a piston comes out of the air filter and lifts the lid a few millimeters, just enough for you to easily lift it. It has jewel headlights and under the rear window there is the puppy who waits for his owner. It’s a bad habit that of leaving the dog locked in the car, and the puppy takes his revenge: it is responsible for the spinning on the rear window, very common defect in this model. When you inadvertently press the rear window, pressure is distributed unevenly and this breaks the plastic right where the pretty puppy is crouched.



THE MERCURY 1/43 CATALOGUE (1962-1969 production)
I'm progressively upgrading the data-sheets to the new format. Already updated sheets show the bigger icon.


Art. 4
Art. 12
Art. 14
Art. 17
Art. 21
Alfa Romeo Giulia TI
Fiat 850 Spider Bertone
Fiat Abarth 595 SS
Fiat 500L
Ferves Ranger

Art. 22
Art. 23
Art. 24
Art. 25
Art. 26
FIAT 128 Berlina
FIAT 2300 COUPE'
Maserati 3500 GT
Fiat 125 Berlina
FIAT 130 Berlina

Art. 27
Art. 28
Art. 29
Art. 30
Art. 32
Lancia Fulvia Coupé
Ferrari 330 P2
Alfa Romeo Canguro Bertone
Chaparral 2F
Lancia Flavia Coupé

Art. 33
Art. 34
Art. 36
Art. 37
Art. 38
Lancia Fulvia Berlina
Maserati 3500 GT Competiz.
Mercedes 230SL
Mercedes 230SL Hard Top
Fiat 850 Berlina

Art. 39
Art. 40
Art. 41
Art. 42
Art. 44
Ferrari 250 LeMans
Alfa Romeo Giulia GT
Fiat Abarth 1000
Fiat Abarth OT 1000
Fiat 850 Coupé

Art. 45
Art. 46
Art. 48
Art. 50
Art. 51
Ferrari Dino Sport
Fiat 124 Berlina
Ferrari Dino Pininfarina
Mercedes Benz 230SL Safari
Lancia Fulvia Coupé Rally

Art. 53
Art. 57
Art. 58
Art. 59
Art. 60
Alfa Romeo 33 Pininfarina
Ferrari 330P Monza
Ferrari 330P Sebring
Ferrari 330P Silverstone
Ferrari 330P Nurburgring

Art. 61
Art. 63
Art. 64
Art. 65
Art. 68
Porsche Carrera 6
Fiat Dino Coupé Bertone
Alfa Romeo 33 Prototipo
Ferrari 330 P4
Bertone Panther

Art. 69
Art. 70
     
     
Jack's Demon Dragster
Fiat Balilla Coppa d'Oro
 
 

GIFT SET 1962-1969

Art. 84
Art. 85
Art. 86
Art. 92
Art. 95
Gift Set Ferrari Corse
Gift Set Fiat 850
Gift Set Grandi Successi
Gift Set Bisarca+rimorchio
FIAT 682N Bisarca