God it’s good to be back. It’s been a tough and busy start to 2023 for my diecast adventures. Weather, short days and a busy schedule have conspired to make it almost impossible to make any progress on Lamley articles. But a recent break in the rain and freezing temperatures gave me enough respite to finally look at a little car that made my top 10 diecast of 2022.
I cover old Fiats quite a bit here. I suppose it’s a bit of an accidental obsession. But I’m not sorry about it. Some of the most unique and interesting models in my collection are Fiats or indeed Fiat based. And they made some superb and fabulously beautiful vehicles. The Fiat 850 is one of my favourites but there’s never really been a proper 1/64 replica out there. Politoys/Penny of Italy replicated the Coupe body style and Mini Dalia and Guisval of Spain had replicas of the license built SEAT version. Fellow Spanish company Paya did the SEAT 850 saloon in a plastic bodied, motorised version that comes very close to 1/64, but they are nigh on impossible to find let alone secure one for a reasonable cost. And there hasn’t been a replica since. But in 2022, 1/18 scale masters Laudo Racing released this:
Laudo Racing are a brand hitherto unknown in 1/64. The firm are known for their gorgeous 1/18 scale models but this is entirely new ground for them. And they have done a wonderful job of replicating the diminutive Fiat.
The Fiat 850 was on sale between 1964 and 1973 and was effectively an evolution of the earlier 600 model. Powered by a rear mounted 843cc inline-four, the 850 spawned a range of vehicles including a people carrying Familiare variant, a panel van, a coupe and a convertible. License production was also undertaken by NSU-Fiat of Germany (who produced the 850 as the Neckar Adria), Pirin-Fiat in Bulgaria and by SEAT of Spain who continued production until 1974. The platform of the 850 was also used as a base for other brands to create their own vehicles such as Michelotti for their Shellette beach car and Lombardi for their Grand Prix model. Total sales of the Fiat variants amounted to over 2.2 million.
The Laudo miniature is a real beauty. Part of the firm’s new “Mini Laudo” range it’s been deliberately designed to evoke memories of the Mercury and Politoys diecasts of the 1960s and 70s. First of all the packaging is wonderful; a fabulously decorated cardboard box adorned with very cool retro images.
And it’s not just the box that harks back to the diecast of yesteryear. The model itself is an unfussy and simple affair which even lacks windows, another nod to vintage Italian diecast according to Laudo.
Each model is hand built in Italy and constructed using a resin body, simple plastic wheels and a lightly detailed interior. The wheels are supposed to turn freely but many buyers (including me) have found that they catch on the body. Luckily if you’re handy with some simple tools, there’s a screw on metal base that’ll allow owners to fettle the wheel fitment with ease.
It’s a glorious little thing and it’s always good to see a new brand entering the market and attempting something as unique as this. And Laudo have hinted if demand is strong enough that this won’t be the last Mini Laudo we will see.
I certainly hope this isn’t a one hit wonder, and given Laudo’s interesting range of 1/18 scale there is certainly a lot of inspiration to pick from for future releases. 1/64 Alfasud anyone?