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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 ALPS Lowlight Karmann Ghia VW Coupe W-357 has a stamped tin body that looks very accurate and has cutout windows. The body appears to be lithographed and not painted. The body colors are a two-tone scheme of blue/cream or orange/cream. There are seam lines for the doors, front hood and rear hood with 11 indentations for air louvers. Lithograph details include headlights, taillights, front air grilles, hood emblem and lower side molding. The windshield and rear window are also raised in the body stamping and lithographed silver. The rear license plate of W-357 is also part of the lithograph design. There are shiny tin door handles, front and rear bumpers. The colorful tin lithograph interior insert is not of the Karmann Ghia design.

The stamped tin chassis is painted black and is equipped with a friction motor. The tires are real rubber and have a colorful lithograph design hub cap. The chassis stamping resembles a motor, drive shaft and a round differential.  The chassis attached to the body with 8 bent over body tabs.

This W-357 Ghia is believed to be a later version of the ALPS Lowlight Ghia because the manufacturing cost are lower with less tin parts such as no tin headlights, lower side molding, windshield or back window and license plate. Those parts mentioned have been included in the lithograph design itself lowering production costs.

Additional Info

  • Manufacturer: ALPS
  • Scale: 1/25
  • Length: 160mm
  • Production Era: 1960-61
  • Country: Japan
  • Materials: Tin Lithograph
  • Color: Blue/Cream, Orange/Cream
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