On the application form for the Wrenn Formula ‘152’ Drivers’ Club it stated that ‘Formula 152 Motor Racing was already popular in 40 countries’ so at least from 1962, and possibly even earlier, Wrenn was being exported to other countries expanding their markets. In a recently discovered letter from 1964 in which the Wrenn sales team recognised that there were already bouyant sales in the UK and abroad, they state that they were experiencing extra heavy export commitments.
It seems as though the local importers ultimately had the responsibility to produce any marketing and documents required in different local language versions as necessary for their country. Since this area is so large, to provide a comprehensive appraisal of this aspect is extremely difficult and probably impossible to collate since obviously items can only be confirmed when they are discovered. What can be confirmed at this time are the following local importers:
- Denmark – Scantoy, Copenhagen
- France – Exico, Paris
- Italy – Alessandro Zeni, Milan
- Netherlands – Neef-Sport, Amsterdam
- Sweden – Wentzels, Stockholm
- Switzerland – Waldmeir, Basel
- United States (West Coast distributor) – A. B. Boyd & Co, Los Angeles
An AC version of the Transformer was manufactured with an input voltage of 100/125V for the international markets and subsequently a DC version was made available later.
Overseas Patents were stated as pending on the first UK Retail Price List and not mentioned again on subsequent Price Lists although the later Price Lists from November 1962 did state ‘other Patents pending’.
Scantoy of Copenhagen seem to have been the in-country distributor for Denmark although the only item relating to their involvement seems to have been a local language version of a Price List. This was printed in Green on both sides of White paper 210mm x 149mm and which even includes illustrations and photos of some of the items.
From what evidence has been seen to date it seems as though Exico in Paris seems to have embraced Wrenn Formula 152 the most amongst all of the in-country distributors from the advertisements, leaflets through to the necessary information documents all produced in the French language. Exico even introduced a unique brand title for this new range of slot racing products renaming it ‘Micro Racers’. The following items have been seen and therefore confirmed but presumably other items could have been produced.
A10 – ‘152’ Instruction Manual
Exico had a French language version printed of the first AC Instruction Manual which included 14 pages with a full colour front and rear. This lavish booklet was 210 x 89mm overall and included the code number 6207. The contents tend to date this after November 1962 since it includes the Vanwall, Maserati and Lap-Counter which had only just been introduced. The cover featured an illustration by ‘Roche’ on the front and a coloured photo of a Wrenn 152 landscaped circuit on the rear.
There was a later French language equivalent of the DC version printed. This was on glossy White paper with Black printing and a separate accompanying similar booklet detailing the wiring options to provide the triple car operation. This was 201mm x 90mm, it contained 12No stapled pages and carried the code EO 6504. All of these were printed for Exico in Boulogne (Seine) France seemingly by Livesque in Mortagne Orne and appear to be dated 1965 with codes 01/65 and 02/65 on the reverse.
G43 – Bottle of Oil
A variant of these have been seen with the ‘Exico’ logo and name printed on the front panel in place of ‘Wrenn 152’ for the French market to be included as replacements in their Sets.
A variant of the standard first generation of set box lid has been seen for the French market featuring a White printed paper label which included the text ‘MICRO RACERS’ in Black capital letters between two horizontal Black stripes and this was stuck over the large Wrenn text on the lid and on the two box sides on these first generation of set boxes.
Again there was a variant of the later standard second generation set box which has been seen for the French market featuring a Black printed adhesive paper label which included the text ‘CIRCUIT MICRO RACERS – EXCLUSIVITE EXICO FRANCE’ in White capital letters and this has been seen stuck to either the top or the bottom of the box lid. A second Black and White label was provided to cover the lower ‘Exciting lane changing..’ text on the bottom of the lid stating ‘…6 VOITURES INDIVIDUELLES sur la MEME PISTE avec le déflecteur vous puvez DOUBLER!’. There was also a Deflector instruction sheet included which was translated into French, see details below.
For the French-speaking market Exico had a number instruction sheets and booklets translated and printed for their customers. A small single-sided sheet, 75mm x 80mm, was printed for inclusion in the sets carrying a code EO 6301. which featured details of the option of the Collector positions itemised for the independent control of the cars. A later folded leaflet was printed with some additional information on the maintenance of the Collectors, 213mm x 95mm, which was also printed in Black on White paper with a code EO 6212 these were printed in Blue on a Pale Grey sheet of paper and having a blank rear and were included within the set boxes. Some of these sheets were produced later with details of the Lap Counter printed on the reverse, again all in Blue on a Pale Grey sheet of paper, but these retained the same code.
A very early advertisement has been seen for ‘Micro Racers’ which was reproduced in the Tintin magazine. This included a very simple line illustration of three racing cars showing the unique Wrenn Formula 152 overtaking feature. ‘Nouveau…! MICRO RACERS. A l’echelle des trains électriques HO. Le seul qui permet de doubler sur la même piste. Le pure perfectionne. Le plus rapide. Exico.’
Alessandro Zeni in Milan was the in-country distributor for Italy and they produced a number of Italian language leaflets and documents, those seen are listed below.
A10 – ‘152’ Instruction Manual
Alessandro Zeni had a 32 page Black & White AC booklet printed which was 142 x 104mm overall and was just typeset and did not include any diagrams but referred to the relevant pages in the standard A10 Instruction Manual. So it is assumed that this was also included in the Sets for the Italian speaking market.
C1 – Catalogue
Alessandro Zeni produced an Italian language version of the C1 Catalogue which featured the standard layouts and illustrations but with translations for the all of the texts on the pages except the front page which was exactly the same as the English version. It seems as though they had access to the original artworks which Wrenn used to produce this Catalogue.
An Italian language version of the Price List was produced by Alessandro Zeno and is dated 1963. This was a single piece of folded White paper with simple Black typeset printing and did not include any illustrations and was the same size as the C1 Catalogue.
Neef-Sport of Amsterdam seem to have been the in-country distributor for the Netherlands although the only item relating to their involvement seen seems to have been a local language version of a Price List. This was printed in Black and Red on Orange paper 214mm x 274mm and this does not includes any illustrations or photos of any of the items.
Wentzels of Stockholm were the in-country distributor for Sweden. They had produced a number of different types of Catalogues produced for their Swedish market. The majority of the following information has kindly been supplied by Sven Nilsson.
C1 – Catalogue
What is assumed to be the first Catalogue produced in Swedish is printed just in Black on a piece of single folded White paper and features the first AC cars, just listing the Ferrari and Cooper. A second version seen is printed in Black and Red on White paper but this time with a double fold and is obviously later since it includes the Ferrari, Cooper, Maserati and Vanwall cars. Another version that has been seen is obviously later still since this one includes the full range of six cars. This is the same size as the previous Catalogue, again being printed in Black & Red on White double-folded paper but this one includes a new illustration on the cover. Within the Catalogue is a photo of a very large, impressive Wrenn landscaped layout, 4500mm x 1300mm! Because of it’s overall size, I think that it is safe to assume that Wentzels actually had this produced for themselves since it does not seem to have appeared anywhere else and would have been very difficult to transport especially if it was constructed on a single baseboard.
Maurice Gunter has kindly supplied the information about this country’s importers from one of Wrenn’s ‘Export Order’ Invoices that he has discovered, this itemises Cars and Spares sent up to March 1967.
Due to it’s obvious expanse, it seems initially as though the United States had a number of local distributors. The West Coast distributor was A. B. Boyd & Co, from Los Angeles. This has been confirmed with them having their contact details printed as part of the Guarantee Card in place of Wrenn’s UK address. This is the first time that an example of this type has been seen although there must have been many others produced in other English speaking countries and also possibly for other regional distributors within the United States.
Since the United States is an English speaking country the majority of the existing UK-produced literature and documents will probably have been used, so this example may have been the only country-relative piece of information required.