by Jarek Skonieczny and Derek Redmond
Corgi Toys were introduced by British toy company Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. in 1956, to compete with Meccano Limited's Dinky Toys in the larger-scale (typically 1:43) diecast toys market.
The first Jeep sold by Corgi (Husky #5, introduced in 1968) was a smaller-scale (approximately 1:60), cyan-coloured Willys CJ-5 with wheels similar to the original Matchbox toy wheels.
The Corgi name did not appear on this model in 1968, as Husky was their brand name for small diecasts at the time. In 1970 it was re-released as a Corgi Jr., and converted to Corgi's new "Whizzwheels", to compete with the "Hot Wheels" introduced by Mattel in the U.S. the year before. (For a comparison, see Whizzwheels Hotter Than Hot Wheels.)
The CJ-5 had a plastic folding windshield and a driver. The tailgate had "WILLYS" stamped on it. This may be the only Jeep diecast that bears the WILLYS name on the tailgate. Several colours were issued, including civilian and military (#76) versions, until 1973. (See also a larger photo of the two Jeeps from above, 36K JPEG.)
This model was re-released in 1983 as a U.S. Army Jeep, #157 -- a rare model of an M-170. It did not have a hard top, and the star on the hood was a clear plastic decal. This model was later given larger tires (and a plasic base which no longer carried the name "Jeep CJ-6"), just before Corgi was bought by Mattel.
A few variations of the CJ-6 were sold under the Hot Wheels name (see More Hot Wheels Jeeps.)
The CJ-5 was re-released in blue paint in 1983 (#448) with spoked rims and a tubular front bumper. The Golden Eagle decal was retained although this was not prototypical for a blue Jeep (see a front view photo, 30K JPEG). The tailgate did carry a prototypical "Jeep" stamping.
From 1979 to 1981 a Spiderman version of the CJ-5 (#261) was available. It featured a plastic Spidey as the driver and a captured Green Goblin in a plastic bag-web in the rear. It's seen here with the Yogi Bear Jeep (#82), based on the earlier small CJ-5 casting and released in 1981, without the WILLYS stamp on the tailgate.
During 1976-77, as part of their Cubs line of cars, Corgi released an inaccurately detailed Corgi Cubs Jeep, #501 (24K JPEG). Due to their lack of detail, Corgi Cubs have not acquired a collector status.
Corgi had several varieties of Forward Control Jeep trucks, including this FC-150 Conveyor-Belt Loader. Photo courtesy Bill Kelsey.
See a 1966 French Corgi catalogue page (90K JPEG) showing the loader, complete with figure and bags of something for loading.
More catalogue pages: 1965 English page showing "hydraulic tower wagon" (right) and a police van, and 1966 French page showing an FC-150 and other cab-over-engine trucks (also a "Land Rover Jeep"). Thanks to J-C Guerry for the catalogues.
For more Corgi FC photos, see Danny Hartling's page of Forward Control Jeep Toys.
Also on The CJ3B Page, see Whizzwheels Hotter Than Hot Wheels.
Return to the Toy Jeeps Pages.
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