1/43 1961-1991 Solido
French toy company Solido started making die cast toys in the early 30’s, and by the time the 1/43 100 Series was launched in 1957, the company were known for their quality and detailing. Early castings were known for their shared single baseplate chassis and also sold as kits. These models are now hard to find due to usual metal fatigue issues that concern pre war die cast toys. Several other scales were also made but it was in 1957 that the 100 series concentrating on 1/43 scale models arrived. At the time they were arguably better than Dinky and Corgi models. Like the British companies they made army, road and racing models reflecting realism and accurate paintwork. As the 60’s progressed, opening features were common and their level of realism allowed them to be seen as collectable models, when the idea was still novel. Solido maintained their 1/43 scale model format throughout their history, despite Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi ditching the format by the late 70’s yet 1/43 scale models by European rivals such as Gama, Norev, Schabak and Schuco suggested that there was still a market for modern European road and racing cars.
193 Peugeot 403 – some examples also used wind up motors.
UK supplies varied throughout the 60’s and 70’s, with the most likely sources coming from model shops, rather than toy shops. A model size pricing policy was initially used, so logically smaller castings would be cheaper than the larger models. A range of self assembly kits were also produced, mostly of racing and rally models in the late 70’s. Solido had long produced a line of commercial vehicles, which by now included trucks, buses, tractors, circus vehicles and fire engines but usually produced in the smaller scale of 1/50. Finally, during this period a select number of cars were also produced in the then unusual scale of 1/32, they were primarily sold as toys with a trailer/caravan. These were not commonly seen in the UK and can be hard to find.
1/18th Scale Actua series Peugeot 605, Citroen XM and Renault Safrane
The 100 1/43 series remained until 1980 by which time financial survival downgraded the quality, relying more on plastic and outlandish decals but counter balanced by the usual range of realistic models. Solido also produced six models from this range for the ailing Dinky brand. Solido continued a reduced range throughout the 80’s having been bought by Majorette, at this point relying on military and commercial vehicles. Solido also continued their long established range of Golden Age models in the same vein as Matchboxes’ Models of Yesteryear models. Solido’s market share increased further by the introduction of the Hi-Fi series of cars, a mix of new and old road cars very similar to their 100 series of the 70’s. By the late 80’s Solido dedicated much of their output towards the collectors market, further strengthened by the 1/18th ‘prestige series’ scale models to compete with Burago. The main difference was that Burago produced mostly supercars and sporting models, while Solido opted to start their range with vehicles like the 1930’s Ford pick up and VW Beetles. The range soon expanded to include Minis, Citroen 2CV’s and then eventually 60’s/70’s road cars suggesting that there was indeed a market for such models. More recasts and re-branding and better distribution meant more models were available in UK stores. In recent years (like their rivals Norev) Solido have used magazine subscription models to sell their castings, the most noticeable example has been shared with Corgi for the ‘Century of cars’ series in 2003.
Typical mid to late 70’s Solido Renault line up
With the exception of the earlier 50’s and 60’s produced 1/43 castings, Solido models are generally under valued compared to their rivals. Perhaps the continuous recasting or the occasionally careless finishing has diminished their collectability but it does then offer a wide range of models for the non-investment buyer.
The following images are a selection of models in my collection, starting from the earliest castings.
Series 114 1961-1965 Citroen Ami-6
Series 121 1961-1967 Lancia Flaminia Coupe
Series 127 1963-1967 Prinz IV
Series 133 1964-1971 Fiat 2300S Ghia Cabriolet
Series 141 1965-1968 Citroen Ami-6 Break
Series 143 1966-1968 Panhard 24 BT
Series 157 1968-1971 BMW 2000 CS
Series 164 1967-1974 Simca 1100
Series 171 1969-1977 Opel GT
Series 183 1971-1979 Alfa Romeo Zagato Junior
Series 184 1970-1978 Citroen SM
Series 188 1971-1976 Opel Manta
Series 185 1971-1977 Maserati Indy
Series 190 1972-1975 Ford Capri 2900
Series 193 1972-1980 Citroen GS
Series 196 1972-1980 Renault 17TS
The 10 Series was nothing more than an extension of the 100 Series, as the numbers had run out by 1972. These models underwent continuous number changes, with several castings lasting decades. Vintage models from the 30’s and 40’s were also included in the line up. Like the 100 series, the range was replaced by the 80’s 1300 series.
Series 10 1972-1980 Renault 5 TL
Series 12 1973-1980 Peugeot 104
Series 16 1973-1980 Ferrari Daytona (decals missing)
Series 19 1975-1980 Volkswagen Golf
Series 21 1973-1980 Matra Simca Bagheera
Series 22 1975-1980 Renault 12 Break
Series 23C 1977-1980 Peugeot 504 Break
Series 24 1974-1980 Porsche Carrera RS
Series 26 1974-1980 Ford Capri 2600 RV
Series 27 1974-1980 Lancia Statos
Series 28 1975-1980 BMW 2002 Turbo
Series 29 1975-1980 Citroen CX 2200
Series 30 1975-1980 Renault 30 TS
Series 36 1975-1978 Porsche 914/6 Rally
Series 39 1976-1980 Simca 1308GT
Series 40 1976-1980 Peugeot 604 V6 SL
Series 42A 1976-1980 Renault 4 Mail Van
Series 43 1976-1980 Renault 14
Series 45 1976-1980 Ford Escort L
Series 47 1977-1980 Mercedes-Benz 280E
Series 49 1977-1980 Porsche 928
Series 50 1977-1980 Peugeot 504 Rally
Series 52 1977-1980 Lancia Beta
Series 53 1977-1980 Ford Fiesta
Series 54 1977-1980 Fiat 131 Abarth Rally
Series 56 1977-1980 Citroen 2CV6
Series 58 1977-1980 Renault 5 Gordini
Series 61 1977-1980 Ford escort Rally (decals missing)
Series 63 1977-1980 Porsche 911 Turbo
Series 65 1978-1980 Citroen CX 2400 Break
Series 69 1978-1980 Alfasud Trophee
Series 70 1978-1980 Opel Kadett GTE Rally
Series 72 1978-1980 Citroen LN
Series 73 1979-1980 Lancia Stratos
Series 73B 1979-1980 Lancia Stratos
Series 75 1978-1980 BMW 3000 CSL
Series 76 1978-1980 Simca Chrysler Horizon
Series 81 1978-1980 Peugeot 104 ZS
Series 89 1979-1980 BMW 530
Series 90 1979-1980 Peugeot 305
Series 91 1978-1980 Renault 18
In 1980 the 10 series was renumbered in the 1000 Series with several new castings added to the range. These models continued until 1982.
Series 1023 1980-1981 Renault 5 Turbo
Series 1031 1981-1982 BMW M1 Procar
Series 1034 1980-1982 Land Rover 109 Fire
Series 1055 1980-1982 Peugeot 504 V6 Coupe
Series 1059 1980-1982 Volkswagen Scirocco
Series 1062 1981-1983 Matra Rancho
Series 1094 1980-1982 Toyota Celica
The 1300 models were a range of old and new castings, with simpler components, opening parts were less common and the use of one piece plastic wheels (early models used a detailed spoke style wheels, later ones used a more toy like star type. The simplification of the castings meant that they were cheaper to make and offered far more variation in colours. Castings were stopped in 1987.
Series 1307 1981-1982 Talbot Tagora
The 1988 Hi-Fi and Today Series were a return to the detailed style models of the 60’s and 70’s with realistic bespoke wheels and use of more components. Typically for Solido the range is a mix of recasts and new models. Some of these castings are still being sold.
Series 1501 1988 Jaguar XJ12
Series 1504 1988-1989 Renault 25
Series 1516 1990 Peugeot 605 SV 24
Series 1521 1991 BMW Series 3
Series 1523 1991 Citroen ZX