Superfine Turbine (1973)

The Superfine Turbine, designed by Larry Wood, is one of three castings that debuted in the 1973 product line that were never used again, the other two being the Sweet 16 and the Double Header.  Since the Superfine Turbine was produced for only one year, it is one of the hardest-to-find castings.  Interestingly, the Superfine Turbine also was produced in Mexico under license by Compania Industriale de Plasticos SA (CIPSA).

The Superfine Turbine is characterized by the prominent jet engine in the front.  At the rear of the vehicle, there is a plastic door that pops open to expose a two-tiered shelf.

Front and rear details of the Superfine Turbine.
The Hong Kong-assembled Superfine Turbine came in six different enamel colors. The Mexican CIPSA-assembled car has been found in four different enamel colors.

Seven colors have been found in the blister pack. Any color Superfine Turbine in blister pack is quite rare.

Dark Blue
Light Blue
Lime Green
CIPSA Orange

(Click any of the above photos to see a larger image.)

All Hong Kong-made Superfine Turbines have black interiors.  All CIPSA Superfine Turbines found to date have white interiors.

CIPSA (L) and HK-made (R) Superfine Turbines.

All Hong Kong-made Superfine Turbines were assembled with capped wheels in the rear and open-hub wheels in front.  All CIPSA Superfine Turbines have capped wheels in the front and rear.

There are no known casting variations among Superfine Turbines, which is likely a consequence of the brief span of production.  All production bases are labeled with Hong Kong as the country of origin.

A disassembled production Superfine Turbine.

The Superfine Turbine is unique in that a number of items associated the manufacturing process have survived, including a contractor's specification sheet blueprint, the original pantograph pattern piece and four 1/64th scale protoypes.  Two of the preproduction cars are zamac cast with blank bases and two have zamac bodies with plastic bases.

Contractor's blueprint.

The blueprint is dated May 2, 1970, however, the car was not issued until 1973.  Note that the name was originally "Turbo Wagon".  The drawings shows that a dual circular pane windshield was planned, which never made it to production.  The wheel design shown is characteristic of the 1971 product line.

The assembled wooden pattern piece for the Superfine Turbine.

The wooden
pattern piece is the original manufacturing pattern which was used to create the casting mold (tool) for the car.  It is four times the size of the finished toy.

The Superfine Turbine pattern piece (L, unassembled) and the 1/64 casting (R).

Prototype blank base assembled with screws.

Side view of a yellow prototype Superfine Turbine.

A pair of prototype Superfine Turbines with plastic engines and bases.  (Courtesy of Roy Nakamura)

Color Chart
Relative frequency:
Light blue 25% Most common
Dark blue 25% Common
Red 25% Common
Fluorescent lime green 20% Often thin spray
Yellow 5% Some shading variations
Pink <1% Rare in good condition; about 6 decent loose and 2 BPs are known
CIPSA yellow-orange <1% About 7 known to exist, one BP
CIPSA green
About 5 known to exist
About 3 known to exist
CIPSA Orange
Only 1 known to exist

A beautiful red Superfine Turbine.

A rare fluorescent pink Superfine Turbine.

Unpainted Prototype from the Mike Strauss Collection

Blank Base

Photo & info credits: Ted Gray


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