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 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 does seem 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:
Aden was a British Protectorate until the end of November 1967 and is now part of South Yemen. A number of C1-Catalogues and also A10-Instruction Manuals have been seen with Lax Stores’ overprinted company stamp in Red ink..
British Guiana is now known just as Guyana after their independence in 1966. A letter from Wrenn to a Mr. Williamson has been discovered which confirms that he/his company* was importing Wrenn 152 items back in January 1961.
This company were the Agent and Distributors for Wrenn 152 in Canada from August 1961. This has been verified by a Price List seen from that date and is one of the earliest seen from outside of the UK.
Scantoy of Copenhagen seem to have been the in-country distributor for Denmark although the only printed 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 Purchase Order records in the Wrenn Archive, it seems as though Scantoy were still importing Wrenn 152 items until December 1966.
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’. All of these were printed for Exico in Boulogne (Seine) France seemingly by Livesque in Mortagne Orne. From Purchase Orders, Exico were still importing Wrenn 152 items until the end of December 1966. The following items have been seen and therefore confirmed but presumably other items could have been produced.
‘152’ INSTRUCTION MANUAL (VIBRATOR MOTOR)
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
‘152’ INSTRUCTION MANUAL (DC MOTOR)
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. These appear to be dated 1965 with codes 01/65 and 02/65 on the reverse.
BOTTLE OF OIL
A variant of these have been seen with the ‘Exico’ logo and name printed on the front panel in Black 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. From the Wrenn Archive it can be confirmed that Alessandro Zeni were still importing Wrenn 152 items up until March 1967.
‘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, to accompany the English version of the Manual, for their Italian speaking market.
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 must have 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.
Northern Rhodesia is now known as Zambia after their Independence. An individual has kindly supplied information and document scans about this importer. This person’s father served in the RAF and was stationed over there in the 1960’s.
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 include any illustrations or photos of any of the items.
Wentzels of Stockholm were the in-country distributor for Sweden. They had a number of different types of Catalogues produced for their Swedish market and, based on Purchase Orders, they were still importing Wrenn 152 items until April 1967. The majority of the following information has kindly been supplied by Sven Nilsson. As a footnote, Wentzels also had a number of information leaflets printed in Swedish, see article in Newsletter No22 for details.
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 Vibrator-motored 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 DC-motored 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 this 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.
An interesting leaflet has been discovered which was printed for Redley’s who were a toy shop in Johannesburg, South Africa. This had been specifically generated for Wrenn 152 Model Car Racing and was titled ‘Data Sheet No2’. It contained a number of sections, namely ‘Suggested Home Rules’ and ‘Variety In Racing’. What did Data Sheet No1 contain?
Southern Rhodesia is now known as Zimbabwe after independence and Salisbury is now known as Harare. From the Wrenn Archive, Purchase Order documents confirm that Hare’s Trading were still ordering Wrenn 152 items until the beginning of November 1965. Coincidentally that was less than a month before the country’s independence.
A brochure/price list has been discovered, which is dated September 1963, that was printed for Waldmeir in German. It also includes 3 photos of a Wrenn 152 landscaped layout. Maurice Gunter also kindly supplied some information about Waldmeir from one of Wrenn’s ‘Export Order’ Invoices that he has discovered in the Wrenn archive, 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. Two Price Lists have been found, a Retail Price List as well as a Trade version. The Retail version was printed in Dark Blue on White paper and it includes illustrations of some of the items taken from the current Catalogue and the Instruction Manual. Interestingly it includes a number of specific items which were peculiar to the United States.
An AC version of the Power Unit was manufactured with an input voltage of 100/125V for the international markets and subsequently a DC version was made available later with the same input voltage.
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’.