I was only one year when
the Mercury began producing cars in the original scale 1:48.
In fact, in 1953 the Turin-based company, already present in
the market for several years, began producing the FIAT 1100/103,
with the round-shaped trunk. What a beautiful 103, with bench-shaped
front seat and gear-shift at the steering wheel. It reminds
me of the many trips taken in the summer to go on holiday to
my grandmother's house, in Isili, a village at the heart of
Sardinia. We did not own the 103 (the first car in my house,
a grey Skoda Octavia, arrived in 1963), but we used to take
advantage of the courtesy of a wealthy neighbor who for business
reasons traveled to Cagliari on a regular basis. Officially
it was a six-seater, but we children traveled on the lap of
adults and the 103 fitted as many as 8-9 people at a time and
a lot of luggage on the roof. On narrow and bumpy roads, honking
at every turn. Upon arrival I was happy to see my grandmother,
but my eyes followed the black 1100 that went away grumbling.
Many other cars of my childhood
have been reproduced by Mercury in this scale. Some relatives
had the Fiat 600 of the first type, an aunt had a dark gray
1300 (what a luxury!), some family friends had a Lancia Appia
first series (as well as a Topolino Belvedere with sunroof)
and a neighbor owned a light gray Appia third series. And again
other friends had the red Beetle, with reinforced bumpers in
American style, others had a 500 with suicide doors. In this
neighborhood, you could always see a dark blue Innocenti 950S,
that was so low that it wasn't very difficult for me to see
the interior and its rich instrumentation, and a red Giulietta
Sprint, a spectacular car, whose owner did not even want us
kids to get near it. I wonder if he had had as many as you can
see here below ...
These Mercury models are
very beautiful, much more beautiful now, half a century later
than at their time. And, above all, painted in different colors,
as if the company had had a premonition of the demand of the
future collectors for those who were in reality just toys. Note,
in fact, that with a few hundred lire (the price of a pair of
daily newspapers) you could buy a brand new Cadillac with its
box. Today the same model, if you find it, is sold at the equivalent
of 150-200 daily newspapers. A substantial appreciation. Of
course, if you consider the color of the bodywork, of the seats
and of the roof covers, the rear badges (gold or silver) and
of tires, the variations are so many that the poor collector
(in the sense that his commitment is heavy) easily becomes poor
(in the sense that he needs a fortune to buy them all). But
it is great to see them all together.
The simple Fiat 600 Multipla,
two-tone, and in good condition with the original box can easily
exceed 100 euro, while originally was bought with about 500
lire. It is this same model, always made in a two-tone livery,
that holds the record of color variations. In the big picture,
on the top of this page, you can count 31 pieces, all different.
Looking at the picture you might think of some duplication,
but it is not true: some variants show different interiors,
others do not have them at all. You can get crazy! And these
models are mostly without windows, without suspension, without
rhinestone headlights, no decals, no interior... There is only
the shell of zamak (what is more, it is poorly finished and
smudged), the base and the wheels. Is it possible to have, apart
from the different colors, many other variations? The answer
To help my fellow collectors
to view the various series in chronological order, I reported
on the right side some useful tips about dating and classification,
without claiming to have offered a comprehensive discussion,
which remains open to contributions from everyone.
the information sheets of the individual models will be
found less generic elements of cataloging.
Thanks, dear friends, for visiting this page.
The models in
this series have very similar characteristics (apart from the
scale, which often falls outside the declared 1:48) and they have
evolved, over time, depending on taste, competition and technological
developments. In general, models produced up to 1956-57 don't
have glasses and interiors. They haven't suspension and the axles
of the wheels are held in place by two narrow transversal plaques,
one at the front axle and one at the back. The base (without any
mechanical parts in relief) is painted silver and riveted to the
bodywork. The transversal plaques can be painted or not. The bumpers
are fused together to the base or to the bodywork and to the front
grille. The headlights are made of silver painted metal, and fixed
with a tack. The rear lights are painted red or orange. The number
plate is painted as the bodywork. Tyres are gray or black, but
it is possible to find white tyres in some models. Below, you
can see the base of a 1100/103 of the first series, with painted
transversal plaques, and that of a Giulietta Sprint with unpainted
Later (from 1957
onwards, depending on the models) models are fitted with windows
and interiors. In some cases, we only find the interior (600 Multipla)
and in other models just the windows. The base, of the same kind
as the first series, is now chromed instead of just painted. See
below the chrome plated base of a Studebaker Golden Hawk.
After a few years,
1959-60, the Mercury tried to reduce costs by eliminating the
chromework of the bases, which became silver painted again, and
adopting the headlights included in the molds of the body and
then painted in silver. Some models did not have suspensions for
some time. Since 1960-61, however, the competition imposed to
install the suspension on the car models and this necessitated
the study of new bases for fix them.
The new bases are first silver painted and then painted in matt
black. See below, the base of a Flaminia (black, without suspension),
and the base of two Giulietta TI, first chrome plated and then
black, with suspension and no plaques.
On some models
we begin also to see some embossed mechanical parts, as you can
see below in a Fiat 1300 with a smooth base, which precedes the
Fiat 1300 with embossed mechanical parts..
Unlike other brands
such as Dinky Toys or Politoys Plast, the color of the tires says
very little about the chronological development of the models.
In fact, many models have always been produced with black tires,
while others were produced mostly with gray tires. When a model
had both types of tires, generally, the gray tires preceded the
blacks ones, but ... tires are not riveted, and can easily be
In the specifications of the individual models will be found more
precise cataloging elements.