Friday, March 15, 2013

Pocher -The Definitive Classic Car Model

Saturday,  March 16, 2013

(The Definitive Classic Car Model)


   About  6-8 weeks ago, I came across the name Pocher when I was looking on a website for future posts to write about.  I never heard of the name before, but   I could say the same thing for 99% of the toys and models that I write about. Transferring the skills of writing about toys from having written books for my photography courses has come easier for me than I thought.   Furthermore, the education that I get and the skills that I have picked up in using Photoshop have been wonderful.

  I thought I'd have had a local model builder here in Montreal help me out, but he bailed out.   That's part of writing. One day, it's a yes, and the next day it's a no!

   However, as I mentioned in yesterday'd blog, I did find someone who would allow me to use his fine photos. I then wrote back to Mr. Gary Hunt, asking if I could write a post first about his store on E-Bay, and his other store on the Net. After all, Just going for the Pochers wasn't  proper" by my standards. If you ask for something, you should always try and return the favour. So Gary said yes, and I found plenty of interesting toy and models to write about yesterday. 

  But today, finally, it's a Pocher post! If you do a search, you can come across a few sites that have people who belong to a group dealing with Pochers. One of them , I tried to get permission for, but was denied. Wikepedia has a fine article about Pochers, and I'll briefly use some of their story.
It's best though to just click on this address:

The Pocher Story ( 1951-1970's)

   Mr. Arnaldo Pocher apprenticed and trained as a goldsmith engraver in Italy , and went to work in Turin (Italy).  After WWII he had then an interest in model railroading, and in 1951 created a company Micromeccanica S.n.c. together with Mr. Corrado Muratore. Together they produced very advanced train signals and platforms for model railroads. At the time (1950's) modelrailroading was and even today still is a big hobby. 

    The company later changed its name to The Corrado Muratore and Arnaldo Pocher Company, and started to produce finely-crafted and very detailed freight and passenger cars in white metal. Later, they produced engines, as well as model cars.

    The momentum for the company came in 1966 at the Milan Toy Fair.  The Corrado Muratore and Arnaldo Pocher Company astounded everyone at the Fair with their model of a car, but nut just any model.

    Here was a 1:8 scale model (very large by all standards up to then). The model was a Fiat F2 130 HP car that won the French Grand Prix in 1907. What was meteoric at that point in time was the model itself.  The model came as a kit that needed to be assembled. It has 144 heavy-duty plastic parts, 173 parts made of brass, and 506 parts made from steel, copper, leather, rubber, and aluminum.

1:8 scale is very large for a model.  A model Pocher could be up to 22" long (559MM) and weigh  as much as 16 pounds ( 7.3 kilograms)! 

   There were spokes wheels that you had to assemble piece by piece, and the engines also had to be assembled. The crankshaft and the piston assemblies actually moved and worked!  The company was eventually old, first with Mr. Muratore selling his portion, then Mr Pocher leaving the company. Sadly, the company went bankrupt. Many kits were purchased by a department store chain in the USA. However, many kits were not complete, and also purchased were the "lock, stock and barrel" of the factory.  What inevitably happened was that the kits often had mismatched parts.
The good point was that these kits sold for a mere $ 35.00 US at the time (early 1970's).

* Paraphrased from the great resource:

The Pocher Story ( 1970's- Present)

   As it turned out, these Pocher models began to to have people discover them only after the demise of the company. Kits were bought and sold, and if you check today, you can find these exemplary models changing hands in the thousands of dollars.  Not only that, but  there are people who will pay model makers additional thousands just to professionally build these models for them!

   The company that went bankrupt was called the Lima Group. In 2004, Horny, the famous British toy manufacturer purchased the Pocher brand, and in 2012 Hornby announced that they would produce a Pocher model. Their announcement was made on January 30, 2013 at the Nureberg 
 International Toy Fair - one of the finest and largest toy, games, and model fairs in the world!

   I write Hornby (UK) to ask for use of their photos. They passed me on to Hornby (Spain) who then have me passed me on to the Canadian distributor. You would think that  a company selling  these model kits for $ 700.00 Us could use additional free publicity! I will be returning to Hornby (UK) for another try!  Furthermore, they don't even present the details and parts that made the Pocher company famous in the first place - You would think! 

     I would like to thank Mr. Gary Hunt for having allowed me to use his excellent photos of the Pocher models that he has sold. You can also find a few models at the Wikipedia site, but I prefer not to use other sources when I have 1 person who has helped me. So below, are the Pocher models that I have been able to use from the past latest sales of  Gary Hunts E-Bay site:  oldtoystoreusa

   Imagine the work, research, time, and money that had to go into the development of the original Pocher models? And all of this was before the computer! Researchers from the company would have to track down either the original car plans or the original car in order to do detailed drawings, then scale them down to 1:8. Then there were all of the different parts from different materials to be made.  

   One person whom I e-mailed said that it takes some people up to 2 years to finish these models. It's no wonder that people who are well off can hire a master model maker to build these great models for them. At a final cost of 4 - 5000.00 US you can have a super-detailed scale model for a fraction of the price of the real model. Ralph Lauren - the  famous American clothier has an original Bugatti, of which there are only 2 of them in the world. He paid millions  for it, and then much more to restore the model to its original condition! By the way, that model is the  1938 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic 34. If you do a search for "Ralph Lauren Bugatti", you'll get about 4, 380,000  results!

If anyone out there has some nice Porcher model photos, please send them to me. I'd enjoy building up this particular post to include all of the original Porcher models. However, I'm  probably "dreaming in Technicolor".

Thanks for dropping by,
and as always, have a great weekend or part of the day (depending when you read this post).


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