WOLF retro DESIGN REVIEW. 30th June 2022
A wireless remote controlled Pagoda in the 60’s might have been as amazing as the real thing.
A retro review looks at products that are at least over ten years old from a present-day WOLF design perspective. While the technology and fashion of the period influence design, and are taken into consideration, great design ideas will transcend their eras to be timeless.
Interesting and factual information may be provided, but our review aims to deliver insight from the perspective of a designer’s mind and eyes.
Bigger is better?
The Mercedes 230SL, nicked named the “Pagoda”, was an iconic sports car of the 60s and naturally there were many miniature toy versions made. In this review we explore one of the largest (possibly the largest), Pagoda toys ever manufactured. Made in Japan by Masudaya this remote-controlled tin toy measured up to 40cm in length. Outside of Japan this toy was sold under the brand Radicon.
What a toy!
This car always had a contrasting colour between the body and the hard top roof. The most commonly seen combo is the ivory with burgundy roof. There was also a light blue with dark blue roof, and an anthracite with cream roof. Perhaps the rarest combo is the cream with black roof. There are also variations on the remote control and antenna. Regardless of colour combo these cars all had the same burgundy interiors. The all silver model in this review is a custom paint job.
The metallic grey one is particularly rare.
Tin toys are always difficult to judge because the nature of their assembly restricts the ability to be detailed or even well proportioned. This toy however is reasonably accurate and stands balanced like a real car would. It’s interesting that the manufacturer chose to have the hard top on rather than with top down. The two-tone paint combo is a nice idea and certainly gives this toy that extra retro feeling. We think the metallic grey with cream roof is particularly smart.
Internally the detailing is as good as it gets for 60s tin toys, and does try to resemble the real cars interior. We don’t understand the big green light under the rear windscreen, and feel they should have put lights in the head lights instead.
The chrome trims around the car fit well and look correct. A side trim below the door line would have given it that extra bit of likeliness to the real deal.
Function & Craftmanship
A wireless remote-controlled toy, would have been wild in the 1960s. With real rubber on the tyres a miniature Pagoda driven remotely would have been a sight to behold.
By todays standards it’s nothing to get excited about, but as a display piece this will still impress, and at 40cm in length we believe it is the largest Mercedes Pagoda toy, and certainly amongst the largest of all Mercedes toys.
Made in Japan this was a quality toy and many have survived in excellent condition, especially if preserved in original box. The paint and brightwork is durable and all components secured firmly in place. Perhaps the front and rear windscreens were a bit thin as we’ve noticed many with cracks and discoloration.
Availability and desirability.
This was a popular toy and there are always a few on the second hand market, usually in cream with burgundy roof. Prices depend upon condition and colour combo. Expect to pay as much as $500 for mint ones without a box and well over $1000 for working examples in original box. The dark grey metallic ones look very smart but are very hard to come by. Expect to pay a premium for those.
Condition is important so make sure it is complete with all trims. Headlights, door handles and the rear boot badge are pieces that tend to go missing. Make sure the front and rear windscreens are original and in good shape. Having said that a beat-up example can be restored and could be customized in your favour, such as the silver one illustrated in this review.
If you had to choose one tine Pagoda toy, it would have to be one of these.
Word of the Wolf.
If you own a Pagoda Mercedes or are just a collector of tin Mercedes toys, then this is a “must have”. We don’t think you need to have one that still works with original box, because it makes a beautiful and impressive display piece on its own. The size and retro feel is sure to be a conversation starter.
Nice clean original boxes are hard to come by.
Radical in the sixties.
The information in this review is intended for informational or educational purposes to provide readers an understanding of how something may be seen from a certain design perspective. In this case it is from the view point of WOLF DESIGNS. As design is subjective this review should only be considered as an independent opinion. Information further to being of an opinion is provided to the best of our knowledge based on our own research at the time of doing the review. We cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies and reserve the right to change or update any content as appropriate.
The final responsibility of the design resides with the original manufacturer.