The bronze Hillman Imp finally arrived this morning and I shall be selling it with the nice box that came with a blue one. The maths is simply so clear - a blue one with a box goes for about £100 and a bronze one £200 or more. But without a box a blue one is just £40 and a bronze one maybe £80. So I lose £60 but gain £120 by swapping them round. These aren't the figures actually involved as the bronze one will be a bit cheaper and the blue one a little more by virtue of their condition but you'll get the idea.
Strangely, another bronze Imp with jewels has appeared too. It also seems to be a bit of a wreck but that does make me believe that this was a real release after all. The paintwork is a shinier bronze than the one illustrated above and the 'Sunbeam' front screen is apparent on the second one too.
With the Hillman Imp came a massive suitcase! It opened too which was fun. It just looks a bit crazy as it would fill up the rear shelf completely! It is, of course, the same case as was supplied with a number of other models, notably the Jaguar Mk X which also had a small case. I am trying to remember which other models had cases. The MGB had a black one in the same style and, I think, the MGC too. The VW Karmann Ghia had two small cases. The Later Mercedes-Benz 220, model #253 had the large and small cases and the Chrysler Imperial in Bermuda taxi guise was supposed to have had a big one and a small one but I suspect the few blue ones that did appear late in the day were in #246 boxes and had golf clubs if anything, like the common red ones. Possibly the two large occupants too.. I think that's it - a lot fewer than I had thought.
Going back to the jewelled bronze Imp I am wondering whether this was a specially adapted model to go in a Transporter set? The set shows a bronze Hillman Imp on the Transporter in the 1967-8 catalogue which changes to a Sunbeam #340 Rally version in the 1969 catalogue. My guess is that they ran out of #340s and decided that the simple Hillman was not good enough value as a substitute so adjusted some, made them shiney gold and added some jewels for a while. That would sort of explain the Sunbeam-style screens as they would have stopped making the normal Hillman by then and only would have the Sunbeam screens for the Rally car and the Police car.
And yes, I have just looked and there is a big hole in the top of the screen unit where a Police beacon would have gone. Perhaps that is a mystery almost solved! All by myself.
Unless, of course, you know different...