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ALPS LOWLIGHT KARMANN GHIA 357 VW

ALPS SHOJI Ltd. made battery-operated mechanical toys (robots, cars, musical chimps, clowns, wind-up animals) and produced some of the better quality Japanese toys throughout the post-war years. Alps Shoji Ltd. Tokyo, Japan was founded in 1948 and was specialized in toy vehicles and novelties. A lot of their toys were battery operated; made of mixed tinplate and tin. Space toys are among the most popular. The distinctive logo (the word "ALPS" printed on top of a mountain peak) of this Japanese company makes it easy to identify. Many of their toys had multiple actions, for example, a convertible car would not only move forward and back, but the top would also roll down and go back up. This ingenuity ensured the toys' popularity, and for a time, they were in great demand.

However, despite their success, the company abandoned toy making some time in the early 1970s to become a manufacturer of consumer and industrial electronics and remains in the electronics business today.

This Lowlight Karmann Ghia VW Coupe stamped tin body looks very accurate and has cutout windows. There are seam lines for the doors, front and rear hoods and there are indentations for the two louvered front air grilles. The detailed shiny metal trim pieces included the headlights, taillights, front hood emblem, door handles, side body, front and rear bumpers. The front bumper has a license plate with numbers 357. The windshield and rear window had a trim piece but no clear window insert. There was also a tin lithograph interior insert that was colorful but not the design of a Karmann Ghia. The body was painted either grey or burgundy red.

The chassis was also stamped tin, has a black lithograph design with silver outline detailing of a big engine mounted in the front along with rear wheel drive shaft, differential, exhaust system and a heavy-duty frame, etc. Certainly not of a Karmann Ghia design. The chassis does have a friction motor, rubber tires with shiny hub caps. The body attached to the chassis with several bent over body tabs.

The artwork drawing of the car on the shipping carton looks like a toss-up between a 1950s Rometsch Coupe or a 1960s Studebaker Silver Hawk. It has "VOLKSWAGEN" printed all over the box but is far from looking like a Karmann Ghia Coupe.

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer: ALPS
  • Scale: 1/25
  • Length: 160mm
  • Production Era: 1958-1960
  • Country: Japan
  • Materials: Tin Plate
  • Color: Grey, Burgundy Red
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