Finding niche brands is a bit of a love of mine, as you may already know. I’m always searching out forgotten diecast makers and unique castings, trying to learn about their origins and history. Portuguese brand Poliguri have been on my radar for a while now and when I found this Mercedes recently on one of my endless Ebay trawls, I knew I had to have it.
The W124 series Mercedes was sold in various bodystyles from 1984 until 1997. Blessed with bulletproof reliability across the range, the W124 became a popular taxi and examples are still omnipresent at taxi ranks across the world. Some W124 taxis have covered eye watering distances: a Norwegian example hit 3.4 million kilometres in 2019, a German car a shade over 1.3 million, and fittingly for this article a 1.9 million kilometre Portuguese taxi from the city of Porto sits in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart. And they may not even be close to the highest mileage for a W124: a taxi driver on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria claims to have covered over 5 million kilometres in his. Portuguese W124 taxis were either beige or black/turquoise, both schemes that were modelled by Poliguri.
Poliguri were based in Cacém near the Portuguese capital Lisbon and were one of a small number of Portuguese diecast companies that have now all but vanished. I’ve looked at Novacar before and as well as Poliguri the Metosul and Luso companies also did 3-inch models which I hope one day to be able to cover here on Lamley. Poliguri had a small range of diecasts marketed under the “Guri Car” name that included (as well as the W124) copies of the Siku Mercedes Unimog and 307 Truck, a Peugeot 405 T16 and Fiat Uno all in various colours and liveries. They also offered play sets with road signs and accessories for their vehicles under the “Guri Kit” brand and planned more models (including a Lancia Delta Integrale) before the company folded in 1992.
And I’m rather gutted they faded so fast. The W124 is a solid, pleasant model despite sparse detailing. And at 1/62 scale it’s got great proportions.
There’s scarcely any real detail past the taxi logo, Mercedes 3-pointed star and “200” badging on the rear, but it’s still faithful of the real thing. There’s working suspension but that’s about all the features this thing has. The paint suffers from some bad “orange peel” effect, but it’s as to be expected in diecasts from this era and I’ve seen worse on contemporary Hot Wheels mainlines.
But this is just the sort of model that keeps me collecting, and a perfect companion on my trip to Lisbon!