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Ferdinand de Vazeilles was an avant-garde entrepreneur. While managing the Nanterre Foundry, he had the notion to use his skills to create toys.

And so, at the beginning of the 1930s, the Nanterre Foundry, specialized in the injection of metal under pressure (carburetors and other industrial parts for automobiles and aviation) produced a prototype in the form of an advertising object using the Aluvac brand.

This was done for the spark plug manufacturer Gergovia-Pingeot of Clermont-Ferrand. This is how the story started, with the famous “Gergovia Candle”. In 1932, Ferdinand de Vazeilles deposited the patent allowing him to create toys.

The latter were, for 25 years, mainly removable and transformable toys. Ferdinand knew much about taking risks (for instance, in 1919, when he opened his precision foundry when the industry was still in its infancy).

In 1932, he had the idea of ​​using his know-how to take the contrarian view from the toy manufacturers of the time. At that time, the toys were most often made of sheet metal and in one piece. Ferdinand de Vazeilles, however, had the idea of ​​making demountable cars made out of metal (zamac) and with several parts.

The result was a solid, realistic and enjoyable toy to play with. It was nothing short of revolutionary. From a small team of ten people, the founder of the Nanterre Foundry had to very quickly open a dedicated factory. It was the beginnings of the Solivac Establishments, in Ivry-la-Bataille, in the Eure region.

From 1934 onwards, the brand was a hit. However, at the start, Ferdinand de Vazeilles had to find the dealers himself. History would recall that the “Blue Dwarf” was the first store to sell Solido toys. The paper press then helped spread news of this latest “revolution”, thus helping the development of the brand that became “Solido”.

A name that quickly stuck, echoing the solidity of the toys all the while being easy to remember. This is how Solido quickly found success and became a household name, first in France, then in Europe and then around the world. Spain, Germany, Belgium, the USSR, Italy, Japan and Portugal were among the first to succumb to the charm of Solido toys.

SOLIDO : 90 years of passion and models cars !

The “140” and “JUNIOR (Series 100)” series were the first before the BABY (Series 80) series was introduced. Vehicles, cannons, tractors, and military tanks delighted children the world over, even during the Second World War when the blockade of England inspired a Solido board game with ships that exploded for real!

Entering the company in 1943 at the age of 15, Jean de Vazeilles, son of Ferdinand, would quickly introduce new ideas to the company. He started with the reproduction of real models like the Peugeot 403. In 1955, Ferdinand de Vazeilles left the reins of his company to his three children (Jean, Charlotte and Colette) and left to live in the South of France to develop a brand of model aircraft. The 1950s marked the great beginnings of the 1:43 scale.

Jean de Vazeilles was already thinking about the future of his brand and in 1957 decided to file a new patent for 1:43 scale models. This was the beginning of a new era for Solido. The first 1 / 43rd, the Jaguar Type D Le Mans, inaugurated the legendary 100 Series and even had a real suspension!

Success was immediate!

The 1960s were marked by the arrival of new major innovations at Solido, notably with the arrival of the first opening doors. Then, in 1961, the first articulated tracks. These would be the strength of the brand’s military models, a real Solido success story. Point in hand: the M47 Patton Tank (replacing the iconic Sherman M4) was released in 1962 in the 200 series and under the reference 202 and became the brand’s bestseller.

More than one million M47 Patton tanks would be sold worldwide. It received numerous awards and established itself as a cult model in the miniature world. The 1960s also marked the arrival of the famous “Golden Age” series. This series would mark the appearance of the first opening bonnets (first seen on the famous Bugatti Royale reference 136). The latter would be sold for almost 20 years and would also exceed one million units sold!

In 1964, Solido even tried to compete with Lego with the “Bati 1000”, a brick-built gas station to build yourself.

In the 1970s, Solido would continue to diversify its catalogue, with, in particular, the Toner-Gam series which offered public work machines and fire engines. In 1974, Solido even offered guides to personalize racing vehicles, which were supplied with new decals. The middle of the decade marked a turning point in the history of Solido. With the brand leaving the Ivry factory to set up in new larger premises in Oulins. In addition, in 1978, Jean de Vazeilles left the company. Shortly after, his sister Charlotte, president of the Solijouets group (including Solido and the distribution of foreign brands) left. This marked the end of the adventure between the Vazeilles family and Solido. The brand would now have to stand on its own two feet.

The 80s began with the merger of Solido and the Heller brand (a merger announced at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg on February 1, 1981). Then, in the summer of the same year, a certain Emile Véron took over the management of the new Solido company. This particular character was no stranger to the miniature world. In fact, Emile Véron co-founded Norev with his brothers before gaining independence and founding Majorette! He was therefore not a beginner when he took the reins of Solido. During his mandate, the military series would disappear almost 6 years from the brand’s catalog, except in 1984 and 1985 where commemorative boxes (D-Day Landing and Armistice) would be on offer.

The 90s were marked by several changes of ownership without Solido ever disappearing from the miniature landscape. These various changes would not prevent the brand from highlighting its past and its history.

Thus, in 1997, the brand celebrated its 65th anniversary with a second (after 1987) edition of the “Gergovia” candle, the very first model (prototype) manufactured by Ferdinand de Vazeilles.

In addition, despite these changes, the brand was very successful during all these years. During this decade, one miniature out of two sold in France came from the Solido-Majorette group! The 90s also marked the popularization of the 1 / 18th scale, introduced in the 80s by Solido.

In the early 2000s, Majorette and Solido joined the toy giant, Smoby. Its then president, Jean-Christophe Breuil, was happy to bring the brand back to France and wished to work on the quality of the products. All of this, based on the Solido community, highlighted by the 1,500 members of its Club, and when the Internet was not as present as it is now!

The Club was reborn in 2001 and was a real success. In 2003, Solido celebrated its 70th anniversary with two exclusive models: a Peugeot 203 Commerciale and a Simca 1000 Rallye 2. The 2000s were also the occasion for a slight facelift for the Solido logo, in order to bring it into the fold of the 21st century. In 2006, the Made in France aspect of the brande ended with the closure of the Oulins factory and relocation to China.

The 2010s marked an evolution in the miniature market, children changed but the love for a beautiful miniature remained intact.

Then, the Simba Dickie group became the owner of Solido. In 2015, it entrusted the management of the historic brand to the team behind OttOmobile, a French specialist of 1/18 models. For its 80th year, the brand was re-launched from its headquarters in Brittany, and intends to be talked about for a very long time to come! See you in 2023 for 90 years of Solido! And obviously in the coming months for many a new model.

The main Solido series

  • The Major series – “140”: this is the very first series produced by Solido. It started in 1933 and died out before the end of the Second World War. The number corresponded to the length of the chassis in millimeters.
  • The Junior series – “100”: created in 1933 and renamed Junior in 1938, this series made Solido a success. These are fully removable and transformable toys! The number of possibilities is almost endless! It remained in the catalog for more than 30 years.
  • The “80” series: launched in 1936, the 80 series is renamed “Baby” in 1938. It is based on the same principle as Duplo for the Lego brand: offering a range of toys intended for the youngest children.
  • The “Mosquitos” series: a series of very small vehicles to accompany model trains in 00 scale.
  • Other series before 1957: agricultural vehicles, cannons, rifles and planes. The Solido catalog was very diverse and a child could play anything with Solido. There was even a Solido doll!
  • 100 series: this is the legendary Solido series. Launched in 1957, it marked the arrival of the 1 :43 scale in the French brand’s catalog. Since then, its success has been undeniable with two models having sold more than a million copies. This series is very popular for collectors. Some models, such as the Bugatti Royale or the Alpine Berlinette will be in the catalog until the early 1980s.
  • Series 10: this is the second 1 :43 scale series in the history of Solido. The models are more “simplistic” than in the 100 series and based more on common vehicles.
  • 200 Series: This is the first series of military vehicles for Solido. Offering many models for 20 years and seeing the Char M47 Patton exceed the million units sold!
    300 series: dedicated to heavy goods vehicles and construction machinery.
    1300 series: 1980 marks the transition to 4-digit numbering at Solido. First named Cougar and aimed at children. The models look more toy-like and are sold in blister or cardboard boxes. The wheels are called “buttons”.
    1500 series: named “Hi-Fi” then “Today”, this series announced in 1988 is the worthy successor to the 100 and 10 series. It is dedicated to “modern” vehicles and turns out to be very successful.
  • 1800 series: launched in 1992, this series followed the sixties series by offering cars from the 70s. It is called “Yesterday”.
  • 1900 series: in 1993, it was decided to create a separate series for competition vehicles. This is how the “Racing” series (1900) was launched.
  • TonerGam series: there are a lot of utility and construction vehicles, but also the first fire vehicles. Series 2000, 2100, 3000, 3100, 3300, 3500 and 3600 will offer for many years a wide variety of vehicles up to heavy goods vehicles.
  • 4000/4100 series: these are the famous “Golden Age”, which are vehicles from the first half of the 20th century including the famous Bugatti Royale.
  • 4400 series: this is a range of commercial and public transport vehicles known as “retro”.
  • 4500 series: this is the little sister of the “Golden Age” series, with European and US cars from the 60s!
  • 6000 series: this is the return of the military vehicles. Abandoned for a few years, they took advantage of the 50th anniversary of the D-Day to make a come back, before settling in the Solido catalog for more than 20 years, starting in 1986!
  • 7000 series: a series of boxes grouping several Solido models in the same box. There are many variations and forms.
  • 8000 series: the Prestige series launched the 1 :18 scale in the Solido catalog. Launched in the late 1980s, this series has remained in the catalog for more than 20 years.
  • 9000 series: it groups together other 1 :18 modelcars with modern and racing vehicles.
  • Club Solido: until the end of the 2000s, a Club Solido existed. Which made it possible to obtain exclusive or limited edition models, to exchange with Club members, but also to visit the Oulins factories!

The main dates

1932: Ferdinand de Vazeilles, founder and CEO of the Nanterre Precision Foundry, files a patent to create toys that can be assembled and modified. It’s the start of the adventure.
1934: creation of the Solido brand
1953: Ferdinand de Vazeilles’ son, Jean, have the idea of ​​creating real cars’ reproductions.
1957: The new and cult 100 series is launched with the Jaguar Type D Le Mans. The 1:43 scale is chosen to compete with Dinky Toys.
1960: Solido launches the first range of military vehicles.

1974: the factory move from Issy-la-Bataille to Oulins.
1978: Ferdinand de Vazeilles’ children, Jean and Charlotte, leave their post. The story between the Vazeilles family and Solido ends there.
1980: Solido is bought by Majorette.
2003: Solido becomes the property of Smoby (which will be bought by Simba-Dickie in 2008).
2006: Smoby closes the Oulins factory. An auction is organized. Some molds will be bought by other brands when a large part of the Solido heritage is destroyed! Production is relocated to China.
2015: Simba-Dickie gives to Z Models (Ottomobile & GT Spirit), a French company specializing in 1/18 scale vehicles, the management of Solido.
2022: Solido celebrates its 90th birthday.