One of the more notable offerings in recent years for Jeep toy collectors, is the colección of a dozen 1/43-scale diecast Jeep vehicles for Latin America, rolled out as a 12-week series in several countries during 2016 and early 2017. The advertisement here was for the initial offering in Ecuador, which has been followed by Peru, Costa Rica and Chile.
The twelve Jeeps are seen here in their order of release, which seems to be random. The models were produced by Ixo Models in China, and distributed by different news publications in each country. They were primarily sold through news kiosks, with a booklet accompanying each one. Many people were frustrated by being unable to find every installment, which of course has led to a thriving market online. The original price in Ecuador (which uses US dollars as its currency) was $9.99
I thought I would take a closer look at all of the Jeeps in the series, in my own random order, with photos courtesy of Colecciones Chéveres on Flickr.
As usual with Ixo, the detail and accuracy of the models is good for the price, but there are some careless errors in identification and labelling. It's not clear whether these mistakes originate with Ixo or perhaps someone in South America who did the research for them. Not only the flatfenders, but even the most recent Jeeps are confused, like this JK Wrangler wrongly labelled as a 1990's YJ.
I have shown the rear details here, including a Mexican license plate, but as you can see in the ad above, rectangular YJ headlights are nowhere in evidence. The error was corrected in the advertising for Peru (see below), but the packaging was still labelled as a YJ.
A great idea for the series was vehicle #11, the Wrangler Unlimited Papamóvil or "popemobile", which I have covered at some length in Jeepney Popemobiles and The Popemobile at Night on CJ3B.info. (Not to mention the Mahindra CJ-3B used as The First Popemobile, in 1964.)
Ixo has omitted the Vatican City flags on the front fenders, but has done a pretty good job on details like the railings, seats and papal coat of arms.
A surprise though, was the fact that this popemobile is the version used during the visit of Pope Francis to the United States in September 2015, rather than the one used a couple of months earier in Ecuador. I would have thought this US version would have required more work by Ixo, with its Mopar "Hard Rock" bumper and the curve in the plexiglass roof.
But this version does qualify as a Latin American Jeep, since it was later shipped to Mexico for the pope's visit in February 2016, and to Chile in 2018.
Argentina is represented by the Baqueano version of the Willys Jeep pickup truck. And although it was built by Industrias Kaiser Argentina, the Baqueano was indeed branded by IKA as a Willys.
IKA rated the Baqueano as a 1-ton. As included in the Colección it has some popular add-ons like the sunshade and rear railings.
Probably the most distinctive Jeep in the series, and most identifiable with Latin America, is the Willys Rural, produced by Willys of Brasil starting in 1960 (and continuing under Ford ownership from 1967-77.)
From the rear, the Rural almost looks like the Willys Station Wagon produced in the US from 1946-62, and the Ixo model has the correct and popular two-tone paint. This one is apparently a Brazilian export, since it carries a license plate from Montevideo, Uruguay.
The front end is where the Rural becomes a unique vehicle in Jeep history, with its playful bodywork designed by Brooks Stevens (which was also applied to the Brazilian version of the Pickup.) Here it's seen beside the Grand Cherokee, which still retains classic vertical grille slot Jeep styling in the 21st century.
I'm not sure why Ixo selected a 2005 WK as the representative Grand Cherokee. The WK's chief claim to fame is independent front suspension, making it a bit more of a highway peformer than the preceding ZJ and WJ Grands.
The WK model has Ecuadorian plates, and I'm also not sure if there's any significance to that.
A look in the front window of the WK reveals that these models have pretty good interior detail.
This ad announced the release of the series in Peru in late September 2016: "For the first time: adventure, design and history in a single collection."
The Wrangler was now identified as a Rubicon rather than as a YJ, but the postal Jeep was still inexplicably referred to as a CJ-7 Laredo.
It's not a CJ-7 Laredo -- it's a welcome 1/43-scale model of a DJ-5 of the United States Postal Service. More specifically, it appears to be a DJ-5G or subsequent version, built by American Motors after 1979, when the blue and white USPS paint scheme was changed to all-white (see The DJ-5 Dispatchers on CJ3B.info.)
The postal Jeep model has the distinctive protruding front grille, added by AMC to accommodate straight-6 engines in the 1970s.
Ixo has also included the correct doors, extra mirrors, roof and cowl ventilators, front fender-mounted turn signals, and US Government license plate. Can't complain about this model, but it does seem like an odd choice for a Latin American collection.
The Grand Wagoneer is the Colección's representative of the classic "full size Jeeps", the very successful Wagoneers and Gladiator trucks of the Kaiser and AMC eras.
This one actually appears to be the final iteration of the Grand Wagoneer, built from 1987-91 by Chrysler, with a 306 V8 the only engine choice. As far as I know it was not built anywhere in Latin America, but the model does have Argentinian plates.
Here the Grand is seen beside the CJ-5 with plates from Peru. The two are not true siblings because the CJ-5 went out of production in 1983, four years before the Chrysler era began.
This is the bottom of the CJ-5 model. The drivetrain and suspension are basically correct, but not highly detailed.
The squared-off rear wheel openings reveal that this is the Brasilian CJ-5, which also survived until 1983, by which time it bore a Ford nameplate (see Jeeps in Brasil on CJ3B.info.) That would have been a nice detail to include on the model, but probably wouldn't go over well with Fiat Chrysler who no doubt had to approve this series.
The Argentinian CJ-5 had similar wheel openings, but also had a step cut into the body below the doors.
The CJ-5 with its popular capota de aço ("steel hardtop") poses with its granddaddy, the Willys MB (referred to in the Peruvian advertising as the liberación de Paris edition.) No real South American connection, but it's logical to include an MB in a comprehensive Jeep collection.
I can't really comment on the correctness of all the World War II details on the MB, but I did notice it appears to have both a Marine Corps hood number and the insignia of the Army's 3rd Armored Division on the bumper.
The Willys Jeep is practically a national symbol in Colombia, and when the series was launched in that country, the advertising featured the cafetero (coffee) CJ-3B, which brings coffee beans and fruit down from the mountains in the Zona Cafetera (see a map of Colombia, (250K JPEG.)
This load of coffee beans may seem like an exaggeration, but the Jeeps do get this heavily loaded, particularly during the Yipao festivals. See The Path of the Jeep on CJ3B.info.
The Colombian flag striping is nice, while the printed WILLYS stampings and hood latches are wrongly sized and placed. The license plate is from the town of Sevilla, sometimes referred to as the "Coffee Capital of Colombia."
The baseplate detail on the model is even more limited than on the CJ-5, and the MB-style muffler and exhaust is not correct for a 3B.
The booklet (110K JPEG) that comes with each model includes specifications for the vehicle it's based on.
The CJ-3B casting makes two more appearances in the series, but unfortunately neither one of them is correct to the prototype. This one is called a DJ-3A Surrey, or turistico de México, and indeed Acapulco, Mexico was home to possibly the most famous fleet of Surrey Galas, at the Las Brisas hotel.
As a DJ-3A Surrey, this model compares pretty badly with the 2016 Greenlight release, also in 1/43 scale (see Elvis Jeep Toys on CJ3B.info.) Oddly, in that case the model was a reasonably accurate DJ-3A, but it was labelled as a CJ-3B!
The blue license plate is actually taken from a photo of an early pink DJ-3A predecessor of the Surrey at Las Brisas, found in See Acapulco in a Pink Jeep on CJ3B.info.
The striped plastic soft top was possibly based on the halfcab in that same photo, but the actual Surrey should have a fringed top, a matching spare tire cover, and of course a low hood.
The bomberos ("firefighters") Jeep is also based on a low-hood prototype, a CJ-3A in Colombia.
But Ixo has used its CJ-3B casting again for this unusual fire Jeep, with its pump located amidships, a booster reel on top of a big water tank, a shovel on the front bumper, and not much room for anything else.
I haven't seen the prototype for this model, but according to the booklet (110K JPEG) that comes with the model it's a CJ-3A, and the license plate on the front is from Cali, Colombia.
The Colección has appeared in Chile starting in April 2017 as seen here, and was also released earlier this year in Costa Rica.
Despite the many little lapses in authenticity in the Colección, this series is going to be a must-have for many toy Jeep collectors. At the moment it seems to be available mainly via online sales from countries where it has been released, but I'm guessing it will eventually be available from Ixo.
If you accept that the Willys MB, Grand Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee should be included to represent those Jeep eras, there are still a couple of models that don't really fit with the Latin American theme: the postal DJ and the JK Wrangler Rubicon. I would rather have seen a couple of Jeeps more associated with the region, like the Brazilian four-door "Jeep 101", also known as the Bernardao. Or the Argentinian military CJ-5, designated the "M101". Or even the M606 military version of the CJ-3B, sent by the U.S. in large quantities to many South American countries.
Thanks to Colecciones Chéveres on Flickr for the photos. -- Derek Redmond
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Last updated 19 January 2018 by Derek Redmond firstname.lastname@example.org
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