Volume X, Last Updated February 13, 2007

Pilen - Spain's 'Other' Toy Car Manufacturer
story and images by Doug Breithaupt

Spanish toy car companies have provided many fine models over the years. While Guisval is the best known and the only manufacturer still offering small-scale toy cars, there are other companies that have offered 1:64 scale models in past years. Mira and Pilen are the best known and it is Pilen that is profiled here.

Pilen began production of 1:43 scale models in the late 1960's and in the late 1970's added a small line of what they identified as 1:63 scale miniatures. Numbers from 800 to 819 were used with about half the numbers used twice. The selection of models seems to have been inspired by castings from Corgi, Majorette, Playart and others. The early castings are all metal except the wheels with interiors as part of the base. Later models had plastic bases. Many castings are used several times for rally, police, fire or taxi variations. Most have opening doors. Colors are simple and realistic. Wheels are much like the speed-style wheels offered by other manufacturers. Castings are solid and well-made. The Ford Torino that carries the colors of the 'Starsky and Hutch' TV show is an interesting model. The following image is from Pilen's 'Catalog 1981' and shows images of actual castings with the exception of the Fiat Ritmo which appears to be an artist's drawing. The image that follows is of a 20 car Pilen set, provided by Frederic Laurent. Frederic found several of these sets in Paris and is sending one to me in trade.

Pilen appears to have survived into the mid 1990's. Their models are found more easily in Europe but were offered for sale in North America on a limited basis, through smaller hobby outlets. Values are not high with mint models often going for less than $5. Finding examples of all the Pilen castings is a realistic goal and well worth the effort.

Pilen 20 car set offered in the early 1980's (one was just found for me in Paris!)

Source: 'Diecast Price Guide' 1997, Douglas Kelly and Pilen Catalogo 1981


800 Fiat 131 Familiar
801 Fiat 131 Familiar Ambulance
802 Porsche 917^
803 Porsche 917 "Martini"

804 Chrysler 150^
804 Talbot 150
805 Chrysler 150 Policia

806 Ford Fiesta^
807 Ford Fiesta Rally
807 Renault 4F
808 Fiat 131 Sedan
809 Fiat 131 G.C. Trafico

809 Peugeot 504^
810 Chrysler 150 Taxi

810 Fiat Ritmo (white-walls not original)^
811 Chrysler 150 Rally
811 Ford Fiesta
812 Ford Fiesta Iberia
813 Ford Fiesta Policia
814 Fiat 131 Fire Car

814 Range Rover^
815 Renault 4 Van
815 Range Rover Bombero
816 Renault 4 Telephone Van
816 Range Rover Safari
817 Fiat 132
817 Ford Torino
818 Fiat 132 Rally

818 Ford Torino Policia^
819 Renault 4 TV Van
819 Ford Torino Starsky and Hutch