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Hongwell

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Manufacturing company of Cararama brand.

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Manufacturing company of Cararama brand.

Several years ago, collectors were enticed by a new series of miniatures in the 1:72 scale size. These diminutive gems are branded as Cararama, established by Hong Kong based Hongwell Toys LTD. A privately owned firm, they began this venture of producing highly detailed small-scale models for the world market. In addition, they also produce or have produced 1:43 and other scales.

Hongwell began operations in 1970, trading as A Cheong Plastic Manufactory LTD. Their first products were made in both plastic and metal for a select customer base. Toy vehicles were not an attempt in realism. In 1997, the company purchased a 100 plus acre site in Dongguan City, China where they were able to expand their production capabilities. In 1998 the corporate name was changed to Hongwell.

Each replica measures about 2 1/2 inches in length. These are smaller than the more prominent but relative scale size of 1:64 or 3 inches. Hongwell remarkably portrays more detail than many of the larger scale competition.

There is efficiency in producing these smaller castings through the most recent casting technologies available. Since the basic size is not too much smaller than 1:64 or too much larger than the established 1:87 scale products, it can be assumed that many collectors will also adopt this new model size into their cache of miniature vehicles.

Some of the first were sold in Germany under the "Happy People" label. The blistercard touts "Power and Speed" to grab your attention. The Bremen based firm, M. Klein and Co. GmbH was the distributor. Hongwell also arranged with Dickie-Simba, the German toy firm who is the parent company of the famous Schuco name, to offer their products. The cars were later known as Schuco Juniors. Hongwell provided baseplates identifying the Schuco brand. Additional companies importing this Hongwell product are identified as Furuta, Maruka, Toys R Us in Japan, Mori Toys and Marks and Spencer. In the Scandinavian countries, the same castings are offered under the "Joker" Junior Driver label. Furuta and Junior Driver have even been found in Southern California. The product offerings include both classical and contemporary replicas of European vehicles. However, American and Japanese vehicles are also represented. For example, there is a second-generation Dodge Intrepid four-door sedan. Although numerous diecast manufacturers produce replicas of the NASCAR racecar, no other company has ever introduced a civilian replica of this road car in small scale. It is equipped with rubber tires and does not have any hinged parts. A Porsche 904 amazingly features a hinged rear engine cover! These diecast models, especially for their size are very realistic. The plastic windshields are transparent and allow the inspection by the naked eye of a very detailed interior. Although most do not have opening parts. Paint quality is excellent. The plastic wheel hubs hold miniature rubber tires that include a mini tread on them. Plastic baseplates exhibit a great amount of detail. The bottoms of the engine housings and transmissions are quite well defined.

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