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The Set Box & Contents
Several changes were made to the set from the beginning of 1958 to make the assembled track more rigid and to improve electrical continuity. Most highly visible was the change to the box lid, a picturesque alpine scene (above) replacing the rather plain design used previously. Inside the box the grey plastic sleepers (MR200) were replaced by a completely new design in brown plastic (MR211). The small metal bridge approach supports (MR207) were replaced by triangular plastic piers (MR212). The fence post and railings (MR500 & MR501) were replaced a new design with spring clips (MR502, MR503 & MR504) and the separate L shaped tag terminals (MR401) were replaced a soldered on rectangular version . This changes are shown in the two pictures below.
The parts shown above were replaced by those shown below in post 1957 sets.
As well as the changes to the cars noted previously, the set instruction leaflet was frequently revised and this is another good guide to the age of a set as they generally carry a printers date mark in the bottom left-hand corner. A single car Set 'B' with a small oval of track was made available during 1958 but it sold poorly and was dropped by the end of the year.
A rare line-up of individually boxed early type MGA's
From 1957 until mid-1962 the sidewinder powered cars were available as individually boxed models under part numbers: MR 100 - Austin Healey and MR 101 - MGA. These models returned to the range in the early part of 1963 under part numbers: R64 Austin Healey and R65 MGA following a brief absence while their tooling was modified to enable them to be fitted with in-line motors. In this form they remained in production until the company closed in 1969. From 1963 until the end of 1967, Club special versions with hotter in-line motors were also available under part numbers: R64S Austin-Healey and R65S MGA. these motors are easily distinguished by their silver side plates.
Because the original sets sold a lot better than individual models, individually boxed MR100 & MR101 versions of the Healey and MGA are very much harder to find than early set cars. Conversely individually boxed R64 and R65 versions are much more common than later set cars as very few of the later sets included the Healey and MGA.
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