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Corgi Toys (trademark) is the name of a range of die-cast toy vehicles produced by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. The Mettoy (Metal Toy) company was founded in 1933 by German émigré Philip Ullmann in Northampton, England, where he was later joined by South African-born German Arthur Katz, who had previously worked for Ullmann at his toy company Tipp and Co of Nuremberg.
They decided to market a range of toy vehicles as competition to Meccano's Dinky Toys model vehicles, which had dominated the British market for many years.
The range was exported worldwide and sold in large numbers.
Some of the best known and most popular models were of cars made famous in film and television such as the Batmobile, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and James Bond's Aston Martin DB5 – which remains the largest selling toy car ever produced.
In 1989, the management sold the Corgi brand to Mattel and the factory was retained under the name of Microlink Industries Ltd.
In 1995, Corgi regained its independence as a new company, Corgi Classics Limited, and moved to new premises in Leicester.
However, in the early 1950s, they began producing a few products in cast metal.
The first was a large scale wind-up racer made with a cast aluminum body and tin plate wheels.
In 1964 Corgi diversified into the adult collector market and released a range of highly detailed models of vintage cars called 'Corgi Classics'.The body material was soon changed to die cast zinc and it was refitted with cast wheels and molded rubber tires.Other models followed and the product line was given the name "Castoys." These were the direct ancestors of Corgi Toys.The first American car, the Studebaker Golden Hawk (211/211M), was released in February 1958 and by the early 1960s the Corgi range was being exported widely, finding particular popularity in Europe, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and areas of southeast Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and gradually more foreign vehicles were included to appeal to these new markets.Models were issued on a monthly basis and the range grew quickly to include vehicles of all types.