Manufactured in the mid to late 70s as the BEC 43 series (BEC an acronym for Bandai Exact Collection), there were the usual Japanese cars, as well as Italian and German.
Benbros (Qualitoy, Mighty Midget, T.V. Series)
I've found an excellent round-up of the toys (good job, Nick and Debbie!), and I encourage you to drop by. Although it is primarily a Matchbox site, they also cover Benbros, Charbens, DCMT, Husky, and other lesser known British brands. An interesting aside is that the T.V. Series has nothing to do with TV other than the boxes, which look like small TVs.
I received a wealth of information from Jan Clevering regarding Bestbox and Efsi so I'll just go straight to his email.:
"Started around 1959. The factory was set up by the Dutch government
to get disabled people to have a job. First models consist of DAF models,
most probable promotionals for this company. Never seen boxes for these
items. The models consist of DAF 600, DAF 1600 fire truck, DAF 1600 garbage truck,
DAF 1600 (long nose or torpedo) Tipping truck, DAF 1600 (long nose) Tipping
truck DAF 1600 (long nose) delivery truck.
"Talking about your links: Holland-Oto is the same company as Compact Specials Europe (CSE), which is the mother company of JOAL (according to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce), which has ties to Pilen and AHC... Very complicated indeed! I suppose the German website is from a company which was the importer of Efsi in Germany and after the closure of Efsi they remained in business under the same name."
Big River Models (BRM) (Australia)
I have found one Big River Model of a Holden passenger car, but they seem to generally be Holden pickups and flat bed trucks. They are made out of resin, with wheels which don’t turn (this, at least, describes my BRM 017 Holden HG 1 Tonner). In the bed of my pickup is a small slice of wood as a bed floor.
Big River Models Holden
Apparently the boxes for these cars, as well as the model bottoms, say "Solido." The only defining mark is an "Industria Argentina" sticker on the bottom of the car and/or this sticker on the base of the plastic case.
Buby and Mini-Buby/Collector’s Classics
My first of these miniatures (purchased in the 80s) from Argentina was the 1:43 IKA Torino – a local version of the Rambler American. After a trip to Buenos Aires in 2003 I picked up more 1:43 and some Matchbox-sized examples. (By the way… I’ve found seller “13087” on Ebay to be fair and trustworthy -- and a nice guy to boot. I’ve bought from him over Ebay -- be warned it’s not cheap to send money or ship! -- and had the pleasure of meeting him in Buenos Aires.)
Speaking of that Torino (a 380W to be specific), I have that version I bought in early 80s, as well as two later versions I bought in Buenos Aires (for the "Edicion 1999" collection). Although the earlier version has plain black plastic wheels and grey bumpers, it does have opening doors and an overall quality look that the later versions lack (it’s the shiny wheel blobs that do the later versions in, I think). Other differences are a springy suspension on the newer versions (at least in the rear), and a multi-piece grille and headlights (new versions) versus a one-piece (older).
The models Buby manufactured will look familiar to American eyes, but ever-so-slightly off kilter, which makes them so much fun. Imagine… a 60s Ford Falcon with square headlights and rectangular taillights…
Buby also manufactured a series of American classic cars of the 50s and 60s under the Collector’s Classics name. Each car is numbered and includes the name of the person who built it (I have a 1954 convertible, number 3.09459 which was built by Susi).
You can read an excellent article on Buby on Joe's Diecast Shack site. It’s by Bob Frassinetti at the Buenos Aires Toy Museum, but I can’t seem to find the article on that site – which, by the way, is a must to visit.
Budgies were a product of Morestone (Morris & Stone) until 1966. I am told that the dies were sold at least a couple of times before they came into the hands of a company called Autocraft, though I could only find differing versions of a VW pickup on their Web site (www.autocraft.plus.com).
The most likely item you will find with the Budgie name on it is a Routemaster bus (the ubiquitous – well, until 2004 anyway – double decker English bus). I bought one in England in the late 80s or early 90s, being the tourist I was. If you’re interested in these buses, check out http://routemasterbus.home.att.net/budgie.htm.
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