Albert Driessen & Richard Wadsworth Euro Prototypes

Albert Driessen and Richard Wadsworth were partners in managing the European AFX business from 1974 to 1983.

Albert was the Managing Director of Aurora AFX in Europe & Singapore. Richard, who came from Scalectrix, was VP Aurora International.

Albert and Richard and the rest of the Aurora management purchased Aurora from the bankruptcy receiver when they were having financial issues.

Together they ran the International Division, Albert being based in Holland and Richard in the UK.

Albert did the finances and distribution management while Richard managed marketing.

Richard was responsible for coining the phrase "The Closest Thing To Real Racing" which was the principle Euro marketing campaign and set up the Formula 1 Race series. Several models of the real F-1 cars from this championship series made it into the Aurora product line (Essex, Lotus, Madom, Aurora Maclaren and Polifac). 

Richard came up with the Skid Solo tie-in with a series of promotions with TIGER which was a boys magazine in the UK.

Albert Driessen

Albert Driessen on the left.

Richard Wadsworth on the right 2nd from left side, with F-1 drivers James Hunt and Jean Pierre Beltoise

Richard Wadsworth, James Hunt, Jean Pierre Beltoise

I got to know Albert over the last couple of years with the help of my friend and fellow collector in the UK, Rob Heaton.

Albert passed away in December of 2021. Albert was a unique source of information for everything associated with Aurora AFX in Europe. He will be missed.

I have numerous e-mails from Albert where I questioned him about everything from who designed the G+ Magnum and T-Bird to how the AFX marketing department was run.

It was very obvious Albert loved his work and was eager to share his knowledge of that time period of the International AFX division.

Albert's book on Aurora AFX International Market is a MUST READ! You can buy it on eBay.

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I never met Richard Wadsworth as he passed away before I got to know Albert.

I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to purchase Richard's collection of production and prototype AFX cars from his family.   

Prototype F-1's

The story behind the only Die-Cast Aurora F-1 Indy Car.

During the 1983 Neurenberg Toy Fair, Albert and Richard met senior management of Mattel Italy. Mattel wanted to expand their Hot Wheels line up with the F-1 bodies that Aurora already had and wanted to add a die-cast metal chassis to them. The original production request was for 2 million cars.

Aurora presented to Mattel a dozen different AFX F-1 model bodies with die-cast metal chassis. Mattel backed out of the deal due to Aurora's Singapore plant taking too much production away from the Hot Wheels plant in Malaysia.

After the disappointing news Albert Driessen took the 12 die-cast models home and let his grandchildren play with them.

This black Indy F-1 is the last surviving AFX car with a die-cast metal chassis.  


The story behind the 8 Brands Hatch F-1 Mock-Ups (with help from Rob Heaton)

Albert and Richard asked for a volunteer to make models of the top 8 positioned cars that were in the Aurora AFX F-1 Championship.

They were made by Stuart Dent of Autosport Magazine using regular Aurora AFX bodies (Lola T330 and Ferrari F1) plasticard and modeling putty. They were hand brush painted to finish with the details, no stickers or decals.

These 8 F-1's were used for a promotional race in the Padock Suite at Brands Hatch racing circuit. The cars were raced by the drivers of the real F-1 cars.

Aurora promoters along with Richard and Albert built an exact replica of the Brands Hatch track for the drivers to race on. As far as I know the race winner was Emilio De Vilotta and he kept the Madom Lotus that Stuart made.

Richard kept 3 of the cars, Albert had 4.

4 cars are now in my collection and Rob Heaton has 3. 

The Story Behind the Aurora AFX Military Set

The AFX Big Ryder Military Set was very close to production when Aurora ran into financial problems. A 1-page brochure was produced using these hand painted tractors and tanker / flatbed trailers. The helicopter pictured on the brochure was a last minute addition by Richard Wadsworth. As Albert told me Richard ran a last minute run to a local hobby store and bought a Triang flatbed train car with the yellow copter included. The copter was a perfect fit on the AFX flatbed trailer.


The Story Behind the VW Nite Lite Buggys

During the partnership era between Faller and Aurora, Faller  requested a Police car with a roof light. Aurora chose the VW Baja Bug, or as Albert called it the "Buggy". Faller wanted no roof window, No Jerry Cans on the doors and the color had to be dark green with "Polizei"  on the hood. These were the first mock ups made for Faller before the mold changes were to have begun. The project was postponed for a year and then bankruptcy stopped any production. The 2 lime green cars came to me from Richard Wadsworth and the orange Buggy from Albert Driessen. The tissue paper these cars were wrapped in with "VW Nite Lite" was written by Richard Wadsworth.


The Story Behind the Aurora Blue Track

During the development of the Lazer 2000 concept, it was decided to add color and excitement to the set with blue track.

The silk screening process at the Singapore plant was very expensive, so a limited number of "Aurora" blue molded 9 inch straights and curves were produced. This is the same color plastic used in a limited number of Euro slot car cubes and the LED lap counter. 

When the plant found ways to implement cost reductions on silk screening the blue track idea was rejected. This is the only time Aurora produced blue track.


The Only 6-Wheel Citizens Watch Elfs

According to Albert Driessen, the Singapore plant produced 4 of these very rare cars. 1 each for an Aurora executive in the USA, UK, Holland and Singapore. This was Albert's car.

Hand Painted Prototype Renault F-1 Super Turbo for the Euro Catalog 

This hand painted Red-White #8 Turbo Renault was never produced. It is pictured in the Euro AFX catalog as an upcoming Super Turbo F-1.

BMW Shaved Chin Stripe Model Back story

According to Albert Driessen, Richard and Philip Tan in Singapore were constantly looking to save $$ by manipulating small details of AFX cars without affecting the quality.

This BMW is an example. By shaving off the front spoiler it was 1 less mask they had to set up for and paint.

Deco Hand Painted Prototype F-1's that never made it to production