Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars

And now for something completely different. This would usually be a Lesney Matchbox day, but I have decided to change gears for a day. Today we examine the Schuco Examico II 4004, a tinplate wind-up/clockwork car from 1957. It’s technically not diecast - but some of the parts are, so that’s good enough. It looks like what one would expect for a 1950s toy:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004

It’s not a model of an actual car (as far as I know), but a mix of early-mid 50s styling themes - the slab sided pontoon-ness of the design especially. The wraparound windshield is a nice touch. It’s not small - it’s hard to precisely know scale as it’s not based on a real car, but I estimate just over 1:18 - maybe 1:14 or something. It is an extremely high quality piece, with lenses, a nice badge, etc:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004

Front and rear, as expected, high quality - old German toys were built to last:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004

Base is pretty basic, but nicely finished. You can see just a little detail of the relatively complex rack and pinion steering system:

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Observant viewers might have noticed something odd on the dash of this car - this is what makes the car remarkable. The car has a working transmission - 4 forward gears, reverse, and neutral. It also has a working handbrake, at right:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004

If I was lucky enough to have a box, it would look like this:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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But I still feel lucky, as it is a really cool piece:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Schuco Examico II 4004
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This was the childhood toy of the father of a longtime friend of mine. They were having a downsizing yard sale about 10 years ago, and he noticed this was going to be put out in the sale - for $5. He knows I like old cars, so he took it for me - and charged me $5 for it. Bargain.

It also still runs and drives just fine, after almost 60 years. I should make a video, here’s a video someone else made of one in action:

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