Speedy souvenirs: Mercury Speedy Porsche Carrera and Ferrari 250LM

If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I like to travel and when I do go abroad I try to bring home diecast each time. The more obscure the better, and these cars are one of my favourite finds. I found my first two in a model shop in Milan earlier this year. It was one of those model shops where chaos had overtaken order due to the owner’s habit of regularly buying full second hand collections. Diecast cars were quite literally everywhere. Along the walls at the back of the shop were huge piles of cardboard fruit boxes stacked in rows nearly 5 feet high and 10ft long, 2 or 3 wide, filled with a myraid of old diecast in every scale. From Lesney era Matchboxes to Majorettes and Polistil rally cars, early plastic Norevs and French Dinky toys. It was the sort of place that makes me smile.

The shop owner invited me to have a look through and about 10 minutes in I came across a tray of Lesney army vehicles. In amongst the Scammells and Alvis Stalwarts was this Porsche Carrera 6:

The colour caught my eye, but I didn’t recognise the casting. Assuming it to be a Husky, Budgie Toy or Matchbox I picked it up. “Speedy – MADE IN ITALY”. My interest was piqued. In the next tray I found a broken Ferrari P5 from the same make and this Ferrari 250 Le Mans:

I’d struck gold. I love coming across this sort of thing and my next few Ebay and Google searches were aimed at finding out what else Speedy had in the back catalogue. I picked up a second Ferrari 250LM in the process….

I discovered the Speedy name was part of the product range of Italian manufacturer Mercury, founded in Torino in 1932 and renowned for producing 1/43 scale models. The smaller Speedy series was released in the late 1960s and aimed at taking on Polistil’s “Penny” series. The lineup included in its ranks not only Ferraris and Porsches but a Chapparral 2f, Lamborghini Marzal, Ford GT40, Mercedes 211 and a bit of an odd addition amongst all the supercars in the shape a Fiat 238 van.

For their age they are well finished and heavy diecasts with metal bases, grooved rubber tyres, spoked wheels and a lightly detailed interior. Lights, grilles and exhausts are well cast for the era and a cool touch is the manufacturer badging on the base.

I love the play worn patina that these 3 have, it’s the scale equivalent of the battle scars their real counterparts would have gained during Le Mans. The Ebay find 250 and the Porsche inparticular show that diecasts don’t always have to be mint condition to look cool. Scars are sexy, right?

I hope to add a few more to my collection as time goes on (including the aforementioned Fiat van!) and at some point when Covid related travel issues ease up, I am hoping to share with you all some tips on how to track down diecast for those traveling in Europe. In the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at one of the lesser known brands of the diecast world.

Instagram @alex_the_hoarder.

Alex Winson

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