Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hard Chrome by Auto Pilen of Spain

I haven't posted for a while because I had too much vintage diecast  2 months ago and I kinda need to slow down.  I've been hunting for something to catch my fancy but the stuff I see lately is a bit on the ordinary  side.

I was looking for some film cameras and later before boarding the subway, i decided to check out some vintage stuff and I saw this set of 3 Auto Pilens for sale.  I wanted the chrome Benz the best but it was a set sale so i bit the bullet and brought them home with me.

I've never encountered this brand before and most likely the brand does not exist anymore.  I know Guisval was made in Spain and this is a good addition to my made in EU collection.

The Auto Pilens


  1. Wow.. great Chrome I ever see....Congratulation!!!

  2. I have one Pilen Peugeot 504 and it's really nice Spainish made car. By the way, do you also collect Polistil RJ?

  3. Quote from Technophobia of DCPH

    Kudos on your latest hauls, Brian! Not only are the models absolutely SPARKLING, they're replicas of some very interesting cars!

    The Monza Spyder was a concept car commissioned by General Motors in the mid-sixties. Unlike the in-house GM concept cars designed and built by GM design in the United States, if my memory serves me right, the Monza Spyder and its closed coupe variant the Monza GT were designed and built by Bertone or some other Italian coachbuilding firm. The cars were based on the platform and drivetrain of the Corvair Monza, hence the name "Monza". Before the Monza GT and Monza Spyder, there was a Corvair Bertone, which is why I have a hunch that the subject Monza pair was designed and built by Bertone. Unlike the limited-production, street legal Corvette Rondine Pininfarina of the same era, the Monza GT and Spyder were never intended to be road cars. They were strictly confined to the car show circuit.

    The Porsche Carrera 6 of the mid-sixties was the stellar precursor of the legendary LeMans racers, namely the Porsche 908, 910 and 917. I don't know much about Porsches, so this is all I can say about this vehicle.

  4. The Mercedes-Benz W111-series 250SE coupe of 1965-1967 is fondly referred to in local circles as the "Dolphy" Mercedes, because it was one of the favorite Mercs of the legendary comedian (I would presume that he still owns the car). Those big, beautiful Mercedes-Benz full-size coupes of 1961-1965 (220SE), 1965-1967 (250SE) and 1966-72 (280SE) were the flagships of the line during their time. There were also some rare variants of the coupe, namely the 300SE of 1961-1965 which had a detuned version of the M198 3.0 inline six that powered the 300SL Gullwing and Roadster (1954-early 1963), and the V8-powered 280SE 3.5 of 1969-72. Of the classic Mercedes-Benz full-size coupes, the W111 series had the longest production run (1961-1972). Like its successors the C107 coupe of late 1972- mid 1981 and the C126 (my favorite big Merc) of late 1981- early 1991, the W111 benefitted from engineering refinements rather than styling changes. Truth be told, all classic Mercedes-Benz "big coupes" are certified blue-chip automotive investments.

    Now let's talk about diecast manufacturer Pilen, also known as Pilen S.A. (Sociedad Anonima). The company was established in the mid-sixties in Spain, and as far as I know, all Pilen modelcars were manufactured in Spain, all the way into the late eighties/very early nineties, when the firm closed its doors as a result of the "globalization" trends that killed so many toy and modelcar companies during that time in the history of the world.

    Pilen concentrated on 1/43 scale cars, and some were actually very accurately rendered for their time. The company concentrated on cars available in the Spanish automotive market, hence they came out with some really beautiful Pilen Opel Asconas and Mantas, Chrysler 150s, Ford Fiestas, Volkswagens, Citroens, Seats, etc. etc. And Pilen even had some exclusive designs, like a very convincing replica of the first-generation AMC Javelin. which is the only 1/43 scale mass-produced diecast replica of that type of car. And of course, Pilen made replicas of the "dream cars" of the era, which of course included the awesome chrome trio subject of this thread.

    There's something mysterious about some Pilen cars, though. Knowledgeable vintage diecast aficionados and collectors have observed that some of their castings (again including the subject chrome trio) could be considered "knock-offs" or close imitations of models produced by other diecast manufacturers. For instance, the Pilen Mercedes-Benz 250SE is strikingly similar to the model issued by Polistil/Politoys-M. The Pilen Monza GT and Spyder are almost exactly the same as the Monza GT built by Danish firm Tekno. And the Pilen Porsche Carrera 6 a virtual "twin" of the Corgi product. It's funny, but my favorite Pilen, the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe, is a blatant copy of the Corgi 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe, down to the working "hideaway" jewelled headlights and wire wheels. The only difference is that the Pilen Corvette has opening doors, which actually makes it superior to the original Corgi car. I did a side-by-side comparison of both models, and I must say, most peeps would choose the Pilen over the Corgi. Nevertheless, the Corgi version is worth more in the vintage model collectors market, simply because "it's a Corgi".

    The Pilen chrome trio were probably the final variants of these extremely desirable diecast models. The earliest original "plain-jaine" painted variants were introduced by Pilen around 1968. I would peg the era of manufacture of these beautiful chrome variants as early-to-mid seventies. And I have a good feeling that the chrome is as deep and as shiny as the day the models left the factory. All they could use is an occasional dusting, or maybe a very, very light coat of carnauba car wax.

    Congratulations on your latest stash, Brian. Those Pilens are PRECIOUS METALS indeed! Cheers!

  5. Thanks Tom! Chrome is really cool.

  6. Go Go tomica, I have a bunch of mint in box Polistils and I still have to sort them out. Maybe I'll feature them soon.

  7. excellent castings.... congratz for that chrome collection!!!!!

  8. nice chrome collection! congrats!

  9. Brian, i have 3 Polistil RJ to date within a month. 2 bought in eBay and one bought recently in HK last week.

  10. Hi Brian,

    Cool !!!