Muky, made in Argentina
|By Bob Frassinetti.
A bit of information on Muky, a diecast made in Argentina.
We wanted to know about the history and evolution of one of Argentina’s most important diecast companies: Muky. Our aim was to find some kind of information that could help us to rebuild a piece of our culture, so important to all of us, Argentineans, collectors and historians.
At first we began talking about this with fellow collectors, trying to set a direct contact line with those who have managed this company until its closure in the early 90s. So we began to draw a trace map from scratches: info on the packages of these diecast cars, comments we’ve received through numerous ways such as our website or fellow collectors. However, the task appeared gigantic. The puzzle we were trying to complete missed central and important pieces; we lacked precious information and there were no governmental records on the subject. All these made the project a distant dream. Countless stories came up, though blurry and with no certain information. But after many months of hard work we finally got hold of a number… and when the phone rang Mrs. Dell Arciprete, wife of Muky’s last owner, answered. Unfortunately he had passed away a few years ago. However she was willing to know about our quest to contact them and surprised with our project. During our conversation she told us that Bruno, her son, was the one who could help us the most, since he’d always been very interested in this family business and knew all the details. She also told us about their current situation, working in a whole different area –fertilizing- they had managed to keep all the machines from the Muky company in working conditions, although they didn’t produce any diecast at the moment. We were astonished with their care towards the company and it’s legacy.
That distant dream became a reality, as we began to put our new pieces into the picture.
Muky diecast’s history begins during the 1970s. According to our sources, it was then when two brothers that were living in California at that time, had bought from Hot Wheels several molds that were obsolete to the company and had latter brought them to Argentina and began to produce this tiny marvels called Muky. The De Conti brothers had rented a warehouse in Gualeguay, Entre Ríos –a small a town located on the shore of the Uruguay River, 5 hours away from Buenos Aires- to set the company. They produced in Argentina till the late seventies, when due to a very complicated economical situation our country was going through, they moved production to Brazil.
A few years after, Mr. Dell Aricprete bought Muky. Unfortunately there is very little information on this first period of Muky, since until now, we were unable to contact either of the De Conti brothers. Its important no know that inspite of continuing Muky, this was not the same firm. The De Conti brothers owned Super veloz, and Mr. Dell Arciprete’s Muky was Induguay. This can be seen on the lower part of the cars as well as on the packaging.
During our interview with Bruno Dell Arciprete, we asked him about his family’s history with Muky:
Toy Museum: Oh, so you bought the brand when it was already working… by any chance would you know were does that name come from, or if it has any particular significance?
Bruno: Actually I have no idea where it come from. What I know for sure is that we kept that previous trade mark which was Muky. I can remember that after a while we found out that there was a Brazilian cocoa brand named Muky, as well as many other Argentinean companies that had to change to other brand names when they went to register their brand, at least that was what our attorneys told us. But I really have no idea about the origin of the name. And he added, Libio Conti, he was the one who invented the brand and created the company, and worked for many years in Gualeguay renting the building were the factory was organized. I can’t remember precisely whether if it was in 1984 or 85 when my father bought the company. We kept on producing in there until we were able to purchase a place of our own. As to the molds we kept on using the ones they had made before and included some new ones too.
“So how does the story begin for you and Muky?” we asked. Bruno said “My father owned a fumigation company many years before he even began to think about diecast toy cars. During the seventies he begins to fly planes and afterwards he opens his own business of fumigation in Entre Ríos, more specifically in Gualeguay. After many years of hard work, he manages to save enough money and gets hold of a diecast factory already working, which is MUKY. This company was previously owned by someone named Conti. It is then when our story with Muky begins. For this wasn’t our main income provider, it was very clear to us that this was something we loved to do.
As soon as we began production they became a boom nation wide. We had a distribution network in order to get to far away regions. As we expand and the market responds increasing the demand of our products we began to improve the business.
So we worked in both fields, diecast and fumigation. Somewhat a wired combination. And although we’re not currently producing diecast cars, we still are in the fumigation business, that has nicely grown in the last few years.I really don’t know what went through his mind, though it wasn’t the production at first. Then it was just the factory he bought…
TM: Were Muky cars always this size?
B: Yes, we tried to keep on the original design –not adding or taking away any detailing-, we also wanted to keep on working with the same prime material. What we did improve was the suspension system. At first they were fully made in Zamac, but we altered the lower part of the chassis, and made it in plastic. This, combined it with the Zamac model, resulted in a much better running for the car. Plus, this way the item was a more resistant toy for kids to play with. This alteration began originally in suggestion made by many of our clients; since we thought it was a very good one we put it into practice. In terms of production process this resulted in a quite interesting twist, since we had use two combined production lines, it resulted in an increase of the produced toys.
TM: The other day when I talked to your mom on the
phone she told me about the way you’ve taken care of all the diecast
machines, that they are still working ready to restart production, but
that for the moment you’re not thinking seriously about doing so given the
economic circumstances our country is going through…
Be sure to visit the Buenos Aires Toy Museum website
Read Bob's article on Argentina's Buby Diecast here: Buby Diecast