Earlier this year I received a surprise package from my friend Paul Vreede. One of the toys it contained was a plastic Spectrum Patrol Car [SPC] I'd never seen before.
It was called the Tornado 31 along both its sides and had pull-back and go action.
Knowing how much of a fan of SPC's my friend Terry Harle was I sent it on to him as a gift.
Terry had seen a white one before but the origin of the Tornado 31 remained a mystery!
Beginning to look around I found this online picture of the same SPC on the really excellent Geoff's Toys Blog:
Geoff sggests that it may originate from Argentina but no maker's name was apparent. I was already aware of a company there called Gorgo that made SPC-style toys, pictured, but they are completely different to this new one.
Another possible lead was in Dennis Nicholson's Gerry Anderson Memorabilia book.
He decsribes a certain "Alf Zero Toys SPC, ITC Mechanics Choro-Q versions. can be mototised via spring motor - pull back type. spc, spv, msv. all 60mm in length."
I can find only one reference to Alf Zero toys/ models online, on an Italian UFO site referring to an Angel Interceptor, 3rd from the bottom:
The interesting thing about this is that it has "30's" on the top left. On the mystery SPC is what looks like the number "31" on the sides.
A possible link perhaps?
Terry's own extensive collection has since ruled out the Aleph Zero connection. It turned out to be this vac formed kit he has. They also produced a version of the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle and Maximum Security Vehicle.
These were all small vacuum formed compact deformed body shells that a Choro Q pull-back and go chassis could be fitted to.
At this point in the search both Terry and I agreed that the Argentinian connection was a good possibility although their items could sometimes be crude copies. The Tornado 31 is a well-made toy.
Terry recalled that in Dennis Nicholson's "Guide" there's also reference to a Tri-ang friction SPC, though neither of us have ever seen one. They also made the Pursuit Racing and Escape and Capture versions of the SPC, so could the Tornado 31 be Tri-ang too?
If a friction SPC by them did exist we would expect it to be prominently branded with the Tri-ang logo. The Tornado 31 certainly isn't.
Terry acquired a further example of the Tornado 31 SPC, this time in white, although the birth of these toys still remains stubbornly obscure.
Pictured are the red and white versions of Tornado 31 with kind permission from the owner Terry Harle.
Can anyone help with this birthday mystery readers?