I’ll be forever grateful for my friend Dave. He single handedly started my journey in modifying, repairing and restoring diecast. He’d always been bugging me to get into modifying Hot Wheels, and in December 2015 he sent me a package containing some drill bits and a post-it note that read something to the effect of “now get going”. And I did. Between now and then my skills have improved, but they are nowhere near the mind blowing work of some diecast customisers out there. But they have improved enough for me to attempt repairs and restorations on stuff that would normally leave collectors recoiling. Take this for example.
This is what confronted me a few weeks ago on one of my Ebay trawls. One could easily see the damage and just keep scrolling past but this isn’t just some battered truck. It’s a Buby, made in Argentina and anyone who has read this far will know that they fetch a hefty price. This one was $30, so once I’d made repairs I had a fantastic bargain.
Buby was founded in 1955 by Haroldo Nicholas Mahler. At first Mahler was simply re-packaging and painting cars to order, and the actual castings were produced by a number of other companies. By 1968 the company had struck a deal to produce cars for the French firm Solido. To keep costs low Mahler opted to import disassembled models which were then rebuilt and sold in Argentina. The operation flourished and Mahler was able to begin producing his own castings, at first limited edition 1/43 cars but then later into other scales including the 1/64 “Mini Buby” line that this Mercedes is from. At it’s peak Buby had over 200 workers at the factory in Don Torcuato and was making over 200,000 models per month. Despite being hugely popular in the home market, the company sadly ceased production in the late 1990s. Oh and the Buby name? It’s the nickname Mahler’s Father gave to him, a German word meaning “boy”.
The Mercedes 1112 is part of the bigger family of “Kurzhauber” (“short bonnet”) trucks that were introduced in 1959. Originally built at the Mercedes factories in Mannheim and Gaggenau, the truck became a huge export success and production lines were started as far away as Brazil. Brazilian built Kurzhaubers were still being sold in South and North America until 1991 and licensed production in Iran (by the Iran Khodro company) ceased in 2022, an astounding 63 years after the first examples were built!
These trucks have also been a bit of a fixture of my trips back to my wife’s home in Greece as there’s a few examples dotted around the area including a few still earning their keep!
In terms of giving this model a review…. is there really much I can say? There’s not a great deal of detail but it’s very very cool. It’s a simple model in both design and construction, and that simplicity made it very easy to repair. The plastic base which I had expected to be riveted in place was actually clipped in, with an axle that was easily removable. The base itself was badly bent, I suspect the result of being pushed inwards and then left for a very long time under tension. My fix? Boil a kettle. Make coffee. Chuck the base in the remaining hot water. Wait a few. The base became soft and pliable enough for me to reverse the damage by hand, and after cooling was back to being rigid.
The tipper bed functions and should have a tailgate but considering the model is probably around 30 years old the very least, it’s done remarkably well to survive with the tipper bed intact at all. It needs a little repair still at the hinge, but I’ll get to it.
This is just one of those models you just have to admire and bask in. A model that makes you enjoy being a collector. And speaking of Kurzhaubers, I thought I’d share with you some quick snaps of this Lego version I picked up. Resplendent in a battered Shell livery, it’s one of the coolest models I own.
And yes, that’s Lego who make the plastic bricks. Before they ventured into the blocks they made wooden and plastic toys which included vehicles. And it’s a great model on which to end this geek out!
(Find Buby diecast on Ebay)
4 Replies to “An easy fix: Mini Buby Mercedes 1112 “Kurzhauber””
Great job! Nice to save something like that. Keep up the nice job on other projects!
Thanks Steve, if you’ve followed me on Insta or Facebook I’ve fixed some odd little bits here and there recently. Mehanotehnika Citroën Visa and a Paya SEAT 600.
So much kool history to absorb, finding “tranquil collecting” suits me well. Thank you!
Thank you! 😊