Around 1991 Schleich released a special edition yellow car and was sold exclusively without packaging. At first glance this Yellow Car looked more like a toy from a Happy Meal from McDonald’s than something from Schleich.
The light yellow car comes with a black steering wheel, four red, chunky wheels connected by a metal axle. The Smurf figurine is wearing white trousers and a hat with goggles resting on it. It is the same figurine used for Super Smurf Tricycle, article number #40203.
I don’t know the origin of the Yellow Car but its likeness to the Applause Roll-A-Longs is striking. In 1990 in America, the company Applause tried to relaunch the Smurfs but was unsuccessful. The Roll-A-Longs set of 4 included an existing Super Smurf figurine with a new mode of transport.
For example, Skateboarder #40204 now had a bright green rectangle-shaped skateboard with thick grey wheels. Or #40210 had a bright orange car complemented with a bright green steering wheel and thick grey wheels. Each of these accessories was made of a thick plastic with metal rods connecting the wheels. There was also no packaging. Sound familiar?
When I started collecting Smurfs in the early 2000s I was confused by this yellow car. It made no sense to me because this was nothing like the other Super Smurfs cars. To add to this, my favourite collectors websites and online stores would refer to yellow car with the article number 40210. Most still do because it’s easier to group the cars all together.
Toy companies like Schleich or Bullyland make a variety of character figurines. So it’s not surprising that a vehicle made for one particular figurine ends up with a completely different figure. Everyone has their own right to do this. What I dislike is when someone tries to profit from this and calls it a rare, vintage piece.
It’s always fascinating to see some smurfs that were painted one way in a catalogue and for any number of reasons was never actually sold like this. What I would like to know is do these smurfs actually exist? To give you some idea of what I am talking about, I have added pictures from particular Schleich catalogues. These catalogues can be found on the Blue Cavern Forum site and is well worth a visit if you love your smurf history.
Fancy car with gold steering wheel
In the 1979 Schleich Dealer’s catalogue we see the Car Driver, #40210 with a gold coloured steering wheel. In Europe Car Driver was typically found with a yellow steering wheel and in Australia & USA it was commonly found with a brown steering wheel. The wheelsalso look a little different in the picture. In the same catalogue there is a picture of the Cyclist, #40501 where the spokes are painted white and the tyres are painted black. Once again this was later sold with grey tyres. More recently I have seen a picture of a Cyclist with black tyres but I could not tell from the picture if this was genuine or not.
#20105 Scot – brown pipes on bagpipes
In 1979 Bully lost the rights to produce smurfs and by 1980 Schleich was starting to show both Bully and Schleich made smurfs in their catalogue. Little changed with the Bully smurfs pictured in 1980 Schleich catalogue to what wasactually released except for Scot, #20105 which was pictured with brown bagpipes and sold with yellow bagpipes instead. What is a mystery with this smurf, was it Bully or Schleich who changed the colour of the bagpipes. To complicate things, Schleich never changed the Bully markings on Scot between 1980 to 1984 due to some legal agreement made between Bully and Schleich.
1988 Schleich Dealer’s Catalogue
In the 1988 Schleich Dealer’s catalogue, the Foreman #20229 had a white hard helmet which was later changed to orange. It is also interesting to see that Hula Smurfette and Fitness were only hand drawn sketches. By 1989 the actual figurines appeared in the Schleich catalogue. It should also be noted at this point that in 1988 and 1991 there were no new smurfs produced by Schleich.
Even in 2017 Groom Smurf, #20796 was originally pictured wearing a black suit and top hat. So imagine my surprise when I received mine wearing a grey suit and top hat. My guess is that they decided to change the colour of the suit so Groom Smurf would not be confused with Bride & Groom, #20746 released in 2013. I think I prefer the Groom wearing a black suit.
Then there is always the infamous Christmas Bell Ringer shown in 1984 Schleich catalogue or the Fireman with the red hose in the 1992 Schleich catalogue……….
Back in the day when Schleich first started producing Super Smurfs something unthinkable was happening. Some called it deceptive others called it misleading. So how would you respond if you just brought yourself a Super Smurf only to find it isn’t the same as what was shown on the box.
Between 1978 to around 1983 Schleich produced a box with Super Schlumpf!! printed on the box in black bold letters. All Super Smurfs from 40201 Bobsled to 40232 Log Car can be found with this style of box. Upon looking at the picture of the Super Smurf on the box to the actual Super Smurf inside the box, it was quite surprising how many differences could be found. Allow me to give you some examples:
Skier – pictured with green skies on the box and actually came with silver skies.
Car Driver – pictured with a gold steering wheel on red car and actually came with a yellow steering wheel.
Fencer – pictured with yellow foil guards and actually came with golden foil guards.
Lawnmower – pictured with a brown lawnmower and actually came with a yellow bladed lawnmower.
Fireman – pictured with a silver helmet and actually came with a light blue/grey helmet
Cyclist – pictured with black tyres with white spokes and actually came with grey tyres with white spokes.
Both in the UK and the US the same pictures were being used on their prospective boxes between 1979 to 1983. I would have thought that Wallace Berrie would have used their own pictures considering their smurfs were being made in Hong Kong and quite often painted with different colours than their European counterparts.
Between 1983 to 1991 Schleich changed the details on the box to Super Schlumpf Smurf!! It was displaying details in German, English and French but in most cases the pictures were not changed.
To be honest I was quite amazed that there was not more fuss about this at the time. Maybe there was, I just could not find anything substanal. It definitely keeps us poor collectors on our toes.
After receiving such a positive response from my previous piece on Super Smurf Papa Smurf Teacher it made me think of other Super Smurfs that sometimes can be found mixed up. Smurf in Car also known as Car Driver is one that can be easily found with the wrong smurf figurine if you are not careful.
This was one of the first Super Smurfs sold in Australia by BP Australia and was commonly made in Hong Kong and can be found with a red car and brown steering wheel. The markings are found underneath the front of the vehicle and the figurine is generally found with a dark yellow helmet.
In Europe, Car Driver was made both in West Germany and then also in Portugal. Once again a red car was used but this one has yellow steering wheel. The same kind of figurine was used wearing white pants and a yellow helmet. I do not think they ever produced one with a brown or black steering wheel on this version. It was first sold around 1979 by Schleich.
In 1990 Applause tried to relaunch the smurfs to the USA and introduced the Roll- A-Long Line of Super Smurfs. Though the same figurine was used, this time the car was bright orange with a bright green steering wheel. Sadly these wereonly sold for a short time and are now highly collectible.
Between 1991 to 1993 Schleich produced a new yellow car with a black steering wheel. For some reason Schleich decided to use the figurine that was originally produced for the Tricycle Super Smurf where it has racing goggles resting on his white hat. Then later on for Log Car produced around 1983.
Every now and then you may find the Car Driver with a smurf wearing a green helmet. This is incorrect as this smurf belongs to Go Cart.
So as you can see it is quite easy to mix up the smurfs and their vehicles whether it be a red or yellow car or go cart.
Anything blue catches my eye, particularly smurf memorabilia that carries the BP Australia symbol. To find a Super Smurf that was produced back in the 1980’s with its original box and all it’s accessories is even better.
By June 1980, BP Australia had already released at least five different Super Smurfs. These included Tricycle (ref# 4.0203), Skateboarder (ref# 40204) Skier (ref# 4.0205), Signbearer with the sign Let’s go Smurfing (ref#4.0208) and Car Driver (ref# 4.0210).
So if you ever wondered why you can easily pick up a smurf wearing a red shirt with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and holes on the bottom of his feet, it is very good chance it is Skateboarder Smurf without his leaf skateboard. Or that you find a smurf with racing googles on his white hat in a sitting like position, once again it’s a good chance this Tricycle Smurf without his tricycle.
By December 1980 and just in time for Christmas BP Australia announced the arrival of four more Super Smurfs and also for the first time three Playsets. This included Boxer (ref# 4.0508), Bars Gymnast (# 4.0509) Hurdler (ref# 4.0511) and Basketball (ref# 4.0512). The Playsets included Well (ref# 4.0090), Snail Cart (ref# 4.0100) and Boat (#4.0070).