Ok so I know I’ve covered Mercury diecast a few times now here on Lamley. Thing is I adore them, and I’m always hunting for the unique (or in most cases the cheapest!) pieces to add to my hoard. The most recent addition that arrived is this Fiat 697 rather resplendent in the original packaging.
The 697 was a commercial truck built by Fiat’s Veicoli Industriali (or Fiat VI) industrial arm and was produced between 1970 and 1980, though in South America (where the truck proved immensely popular) production continued until 1994. Powered by a colossal 13 litre straight-six diesel engine producing 260bhp (and 900nm at only 900rpm!) the 697 was available in a raft of different variants from tractor unit to tipper. From what I can gather the 697 moniker was reserved exclusively to 3 axle trucks and I couldn’t find any reference to a road train variant like the Mercury model. The Fiat 619 however was the identical 2 axle sister of the 697 and was available as a roadtrain, so perhaps the designation is an error? Maybe someone can put me right.
The model itself is very simple in its construction, with a minimum of pieces used to cut down on costs. There’s no interior visible behind the windows and there’s pretty much no detailing whatsoever but the casting is very accurate, replicating the trademark Fiat “Baffo” cabin of the 619/697 series perfectly. “Baffo” is Italian for mustache and referred to the distinctive front bumper which was a necessity due to Italian road regulations.
The trailer and load covers are both removable which would have added to the “playability” and no doubt many Italian children had a lot of fun with these toys.
I’m not sure exactly on scale but I’d say it’s close to 1/72. Like many other toy brands, trucks were sold as part of a broader “3 inch” line up.
It would make a great addition to a collector of working vehicles or trucks as well as just for people like me who collect anything and everything. Rare factor is guaranteed either way and resale values are only ever going up on these things.
A great addition to my collection and one that I thoroughly enjoyed building an article around. That old Lamley phrase “tranquil collecting” is very appropriate here….
(Find the Mercury Fiat 697 on Ebay)