Details of known die cast, remote control and small scale Mk3 Cavaliers
#163707 by Lowrider Dave
Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:28 pm
Corgi Vanguards

A number of Vauxhall vehicles have been produced in a wide variety of scales and manufacturers, one of the most recent of interest to us in particular, is the Corgi Vanguards range. 

Corgi Toys was introduced to the British public in 1956 and manufactured in Swansea, Wales. The company went into liquidation in 1984 and through a series of buy outs and new owners it now resides in Leicester under the name Corgi Classics Limited. Corgi has a range of brands and one of the most popular is Vanguards, a series of die-cast 1:43 scale model vehicles spanning half a century of motoring in Britain. It covers many of the cars we love and remember such as the Mini, Capri, Cortina, Granada, Anglia, Allegro, Carlton, etc. Each model carries a detailed, authentic livery and comes complete with a limited edition certificate detailing the history of the vehicle, and is presented in a plastic display case. This collectable series of cars represents various areas of motoring including police cars, standard road cars and motorsport.

Corgi employed MPiD Design Ltd to propose, research and design the models for them in 2011. They chose to base the Vanguards model on the 4 door saloon as this would give the most scope for the number of models that could be make, including some of the most significant and popular cars of the time such as the BTCC cars, GSi, Turbo, and Police models. Although in real life the hatchback version sold more, the expense and difficultly tooling up for another body shell and interior could not be entertained. It was decided, however, to tool up for an additional left-hand drive dashboard which would allow accurate Opel Vectra A models with German Reg plates to be produced.

The next thing to do was to find an actual car to go and measure, Andrew at the Vauxhall Heritage Centre in Luton was contacted and was happy to help. In the Heritage collection they have an immaculate 1995 2.5 CDX saloon (reg) which was perfect as a point of reference. Mark Pinnigar (MPiD Design Ltd) and Terry Fox, the then chief Corgi engineer, went along to Luton in June 2011 armed with tape measures, plumb lines, spirit levels, and cameras and then spent the next two days photographing and measuring the car in great detail, it was even raised off the ground so measurements and photographs of the underside could be taken. The Heritage Centre also provided an invaluable collection of period literature and brochures from the Vauxhall archive to help the project along.

Although the Heritage car was great for the standard road cars, when it came to BTCC versions an accurate representation was required. After a few phone calls contact was made with Jim Pocklington, owner of John Cleland's 1990 BTCC car. A visit enabled further measurements and photographs to be taken to gather important information about rollcages, interior, wheels, etc - all obviously different when compared to the standard road car. The same effort was taken over the police version as well, Mark had to call on the services of the Police Vehicle Enthusiasts Club, who were very helpful and managed to supply them with very good reference for many police Mk3s from across the country.

Due to accurate modern CAD designing processes, all of the components would have fitted together very well from the start, thus very few pre-production samples were actually produced, those that did have been destroyed once they’ve served their purpose.

The Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 range kicked off in January 2013 and tooling was only made for the saloon variant. I shall run through the known models that were produced and available to the general public.

Model list:
VA13100 - Limited to 2000 models.
The first model was a 1990 Carmine Red SRI, showing a registration of G909 SMJ and retailed at £20.99.

VA13101 - Limited to 1000 models.
Second model out of the gates was the BTCC liveried GSI raced by John Cleland. A popular driver and livery for many manufacturers.

VA13102 - Limited to 1000 models.
A police car was next on the list, released in Jan 2013. This Merseyside SRI was based on a real vehicle - a photo can be found here:

VA13103 A and B - Limited to 700 (A) models.
Both released in April 2013. Both were visually identical, but VA13103A was a UK registered Vauxhall Cavalier GSI 2000 16V in Westminster Blue and VA13103B was badged as a German variant: Opel Vectra A 2000 16V, German registration plate, in Westminster Blue (Baikalblau) and left-hand drive. Retailed at £22.99

VA13104 - Limited to 1000 models.
Vauxhall Cavalier 2.0 16V LS Ministry of Defence police released Oct 2014. Registration is M992 YOO and the DVLA shows this car as being untaxed since 2001.

VA13105 - Limited to 1000 models.
Another GSI, this one in the patriotic Scottish/Ecurie Ecosse livery worn by David Leslie’s car during the 1993 RAC Auto Trader BTCC season. Like VA13101, it features a sparse racing interior and a roll cage.

VA13106 A and B - Limited to 750 (A)  450 (B) models.
Another two-parter. Again, visually they look identical but VA13106A is a UK registered Diamond Black Turbo, where as Corgi made use of their left-hand tooling and produced VA13106B, a German registered Opel Vectra A Turbo also in Diamond Black. Both of these models were slated for release in December 2014, but issues with sea deliveries meant they were issued in February of the following year. The real car used as a base for the model is owned by Cavalier Turbo Owners Club organiser Allan Kendall from Aberdeen.

Summing up:
Overall these die-cast models represent the Cavalier shape very well and cover the popular variants, however true fans will find areas that could be improved - the BTCC models in particular. Nevertheless, they are the best of what is currently available and cover more of the range than ever before. Although not easily available, many can be found on eBay but prudent shopping is required as some have laughably high mark up prices. Although they all had a limited run, it has not stopped some people from altering, detailing and improving the model, this is classifies the model as a Code 3. See here for a run down of the Codes: viewtopic.php?f=85&t=15803

Sadly, no new models have been slated for release. I wish to thank Corgi who enabled me to talk directly with Mark Pinnigar of MPiD Design Ltd who provided a lot of the background information in this article.

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