Ok, here is a new monster, that is quite new in comparison with what I am used to write here on Lamley. As some people might now, I used to deeply collect the Norev brand, with the 3 inches collection, that started back in 2003. With more or less 1.500 models in the basement, the collection is quite huge and quite complete, even if some parts have been sold.
I love to dive in it from time to time, and looking at them. They are so many. Last day, I was speaking with a friend of mine about Norev 3 inches (he also has a very huge collection, see Mininches if you’re interested), and I decided to do something with it.
I have chosen to highlight a casting that started in 2007 and which is very French related, because it’s a Peugeot and a 24h of LeMans car : the Peugeot 908.
Before we dissect the casting in it’s 5 years of existence, I want to make an introduction in the introduction that is more like a warning message.
Be aware of several things if you want to jump in :
- collecting Norev 3 inches might drives you crazy because of all the variations known and unknown
- if you are a completist person it will be hard
- prices have grown up through time
- even Norev doesn’t know the number of cars produced
- a Norev 3 inches is normally produced at 5,000 units
- there is a wonderful database hold by my friend Mike here : mjrttnrv.nl
- first models have started in 2003, and some models have oxidation on the chassis when it is metal base
- there are very few known cases of zamac or paint reactions, overall models are good quality
- first models had metal chassis, then plastic
- more than half the production had been released for manufacturers and sold trough their networks
- boxes are made of cardboard and transparent plastic that can be fragile
- I own my collection in boxes (and sets) at 100% – which is a exploit – but blisters do exist (not for manufacturers models)
Alright, still there ? If yes, thank you, the dissection will begin. This new format is quite new for me, such as the subject, so please tell me in the comments if there is any interest and if you want me to focus on others cars as deep as this.
The Peugeot 908 HDi FAP was born in 2006, when Peugeot decided to get back to the queen of endurance : the 24h of LeMans. At this time (not so far away) engines were diesels (!) ; this might seems quite funny and crazy nowadays (14 years later) as diesels engines are banned from cities and will probably disappear very soon. Times change. Anyway, back in 2006, Peugeot brought this machine (that will be a winning machine a few years later), fighting mainly with Audi.
You have to consider that back in time, Peugeot come back was really something : a French manufacturer bringing a new car at the most known race of the world, at the highest level, held in France. Imagine the promotion for the sales of the cars with diesels engines.
The name 908 is in the legacy of the winning Peugeot car from the 90’s, the Peugeot 905.
Norev naturally released the 908, surely on Peugeot demand, and here begins a long story.
An illustration of the variety of versions and dealer boxes :
First model was the 2007 car, n°8. It came in a Peugeot dealer box, with name 908 HDi FAP on it.
Norev also released this car in the mainline, that you can find in supermarkets, toys stores or hobby dealers. This is the case for almost all the versions.
In this case, it is the n°8 too that arrived in the Racing series in a yellow box with chequered flag. The models are identical.
Back in time, models were very highly detailed in both lines (manufacturers and mainline). Imagine that those minicars were sold for €2 and had full tampo, full sponsors, and even marked tires with “Michelin” logo. Wheels are plastic, such as chassis.
One year later, in 2008, Peugeot lined up 3 cars but was unlucky again and Audi won LeMans. The Norev dealer reproduction was a super underrated set of 3 cars made for Peugeot, that you could buy in dealership and in Peugeot flagship store of Champs Elysées. 3 cars with numbers 7,8 and 9. I always keep prices under the boxes, to keep in mind inflation, and this set was sold €7. This is almost the price for 1 model today. Uh.
This little set proposes the 3 versions lined up on the victory lane. Sadly they never won.
The Norev mainline version is the n°7 in a Racing series yellow box, that is the same as the dealer.
2008 was also the year of the concept car 908 HY, in this silver color with blue electrical stripes. This model was shown in the 2008 Salon de l’Automobile de Paris. A dealer version was released, and a very ugly racing version too with stupid black wheels. Peugeot name was missing on the spoiler too.
2009 will be a better year for Peugeot, that will finally win the race for the first time since 1993. That was the occasion to have a very nice winner style box for the dealer version with the n°9 car.
The car that finished second was released too for Peugeot (n°8).
Strangely, none of the cars are exact as the black paint should be more of a mat black than a brilliant one.
In the mainline, this is of course the winning car (n°9) that was released but this time, degradation of the details begun. There is less decoration, as you can see that the number and the flag on top of the front wheels have vanished. Also, this racing version sports plain plastic grey wheels, and not chrome ones.
I know I’m missing some variants of the 2009 908 HDi FAP.
In 2010, Peugeot got the n°1 for the 908 but once again, luck was not there ans none of the cars saw the finish line. Though, as a consolation, the rest of the season was more successful for Peugeot.
Peugeot dealers sold the n°1 car in a very nice deep blue livery, with Total sponsor.
Mainline versions are numerous, and many variants do exist. For example, this mainline version looks pretty much the same. But if you look closely, you’ll see that the side red Total sponsor is missing. In the same fashion, sometimes the wheels were plain gay, painted of chromed. Different variants for different years. One model was even released in the quite rare 10 square pack, with others models highlighting the variety of the Norev 3 inches range.
To be complete, let’s have a look at the 2010 Peugeot 908 Matmut livery (an insurance company), that I absolutely adore. Again, it’s a really nice job for a €3 car.
Our Peugeot 908 story comes to an end, with the 2011 season. This Peugeot 908 must not be confused with it’s predecessor (V12 diesel), as it is a V8 diesel with electric Hybrid4 technology. This car was very competitive and won almost everything during the season … except LeMans. Then, Peugeot retired in 2012 while the engine and the car had been developed for the new hybrid regulations.
This final season gives us the most beautiful car Norev did release, with this atypical lateral shark wing, and sponsors such as Total, Peugeot Finance and PlayStation. This model is though a one shot and was never released elsewhere. The paint is superb, the weight too thought it’s plastic base.
A quick bit of off-topic with a comparison with a €65 Spark resin model in 1:43 highlights how a €4 car can be nicely done.
The Racing series of the mainline did propose another Matmut version, that was a 908 HDi FAP of 2010 upgraded. This version is very nice and quite rare as never seen elsewhere too. The roof should be in silver and not in blue.
That is quite a story, and a good illustration of how a Norev collection can be hard to follow. Add to this that there is absolutely no official production listing from Norev, and that variants vary from lots numbers or years, with hazardous distribution. In the end, it is fun (sometimes stressful), but always a pleasure to dive into a good Norev collection.
If you read this post till the end, congratulations, and thank you. I hope you liked it, and please don’t hesitate to feedback for me to know if I give a sequel with another focus on Norev 3 inches history, or not. Cheers.
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