VARIANTO 3116 SHELL/ARAL BUS

The four versions of the 3116:

 

The first and the second version of the 3116 are the most common ones. The SHELL ICA and the white and blue ARAL are very rare. I have only seen one SHELL ICA in the past ten years. This car was sold at Sotheby's in London on Wednesday 21 October 1998. I bought it in 2000 at a toy fair from a toy dealer who was at that particularly sale. He had it standing for almost 2 years on the top of his showcase.

The SHELL ICA is portrayed on several boxes and brochures. Because you almost never see this toy I assume that it could be a pre-production or maybe in the production process something went wrong and the production of the other SHELL version was easier and cheaper. If someone can tell me more about this amazing and mysterious car, please contact me.

I think the white and blue ARAL was produced at the end of the production period of the Varianto. I saw a clockwork version being sold in one of the last gift sets. (These gift sets have a white plastic inlay.) Maybe the late production date explains its rarity.

 
 

Andreas Limmer from Germany wrote:

I had recently the chance to talk to a specialist for oil companies (it has sometimes advantages to be a geoscientist...) and asked him about the Shell ICA and the blue and white Aral versions of the 3046 and 3116. He told me that Shell ICA stood for "Ignition Control Additive" and was their "Optimax" of the 50ies. The ICA fuel was produced from
1954 on an advertised throughout Europe until the 60ies. He was not sure if tank cars were used with the ICA sign on it, but some tank wagons for railway transport were coloured like the ICA version.

The blue and white colour scheme of the Aral is easier to explain. In 1962 Aral decided to drop the B.V. ("Benzolvereinigung") and to use Aral ("Aromate Aliphate") as a company name. It seems that during the redesign the colour scheme was changed to blue and white for all transport vehicles - and so did Schuco for their models.