Husky Models NSU Ro80
Husky Models 1967 NSU Ro80
Colour Metallic blue featuring opening bonnet with detailed Wankel engine and chrome hubs with separate tyres
Made in Great Britain
Scale around 1:66th
This miniature NSU Ro80 is a star not just within the Husky Models series but throughout all small scale diecast model ranges not only in the past but in the present. More of my rationale for this claim a little later. There is no doubt that Husky have captured the stance of the NSU Ro80 perfectly and the body casting provides a wealth of detail. All the detailing on the real car has found its way onto this miniature including air grille on the bonnet and there is even representation of the roof gutters. To combat contemporary competition this model needed to have play features. On the blister pack Husky made sure the youngster was aware that this model had an opening bonnet with detailed Wankel engine. Other features not advertised but certainly gave the model an air of realism were the chrome hubs with separate tyres. As the model was blister packed these could easily be viewed before the lad made a purchase. One feature that wasn’t highlighted on the packaging was the wonderfully replicated spring suspension. On the early red card packs Husky made a point about this feature but seemed to neglect this on the later yellow card packs which were used for the NSU Ro80.
Husky Models were designed at a price to undercut contemporary Matchbox models and this resulted in some ingenious manufacturing techniques to provide detailing but maintain a cost advantage. In designing their NSU Ro80 model one component formed not only the interior but also the front and rear bumpers and the engine. Having this component chrome plated provided realistic bumpers and engine detail but a totally unrealistic interior. In addition this component also provided suspension utilising the design seen on earlier Husky Models where this feature was combined in their chrome plated baseplates. A truly multi purpose one piece component. There will be comprises when trying to use a multi-faceted unit and although the seats have neatly replicated upholstery the steering wheel is solid with no representation of spokes. Of course when an object is made to a price point allowances will have to be made. Another Husky design feature is due to the curving in of the lower edge on the full-size R080 they cast the base-plate to incorporate the upper body section up to the lower door line. This takes a certain finesse in casting but by this time Mettoy who owned this brand and their bigger cousins, Corgi Toys, were past masters.
Now going back to my earlier claim this is an amazing small scale miniature with manufacturing innovations providing detailing with an eye on costs. Therefore, I personally consider this model a must have for all collectors interested in miniature toy vehicle history especially relating to around 1:64th scale.
The background is a:
Corgi Toys Limited
J3002 24 hour Services Set comprising building, petrol pumps and three vehicles
Colour red, two types of yellow and white.
Issued circa 1986
Made in Great Britain
Scale - suitable for small vehicles circa 1:64th scale
Thank you Chris for this great article.
Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. did a very nice work in creating this NSU RO80 model. It proved very popular and continued into the Corgi Junior range. I prefer the Husky version which appeared only briefly as a Corgi Juniors before coming out in to me, a series of less attractive colours. My earliest Corgi Juniors version in blue has a paper level on the base with the name 'Corgi Juniors'. The was added at the factory. If I find where I put it, I'll show it here.
Below is the purple version sold as a Corgi Juniors Whizzwheels.
Thank you David. I find it amazing that Mettoy Playcraft in the need for speed can turn a swan into an ugly duckling!
Moving from realistic chrome hubs with separate tyres to 'Whizzwheels' didn't do the original Husky NSU Ro80 casting any favours.
Interesting that the first Corgi Juniors NSU Ro80 rendition kept the realistic wheels and finding one with the paper 'Corgi Juniors' sticker still attached must be a hard to find item.
For these two images I added contemporary Husky figures. These were just part of a range of accessories Husky were introducing in the late 1960's to add realism to playtime.
Husky Models Garage Personnel Set containing 6 figures in various poses
Designed in Great Britain
Made in Hong Kong
Scale 1:64th - note the two standing figures measure 27mm