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Mechanical versions did not sell particularly well, partly due to a significantly higher purchase price, and were phased out in 1960 with Ford Thunderbird (214M) the last of the line.

British cars dominated the releases over the next few years reflecting the company's concentration on the home market, but by 1957 new markets were being explored and the first European car to be modelled was the Citroën DS19 (210) issued in December of that year.

The first American car, the Studebaker Golden Hawk (211/211M), was released in February 1958 and by the early 1960s the Corgi range was being exported widely, finding particular popularity in Europe, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and areas of southeast Asia such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, and gradually more foreign vehicles were included to appeal to these new markets.

In 1995, Corgi regained its independence as a new company, Corgi Classics Limited, and moved to new premises in Leicester.

Marketed at a higher price point than Lesney's Matchbox 'Models of Yesteryear', they met with mixed success.

Initial releases were a 1927 Bentley finished in green (9001) or red (9002), an open 1915 Ford Model T coloured black (9011) and a version finished in blue with the hood raised (9013), a 1910 Daimler 38 finished in red (9021) and a 1911 Renault 12/16 finished in lavender (9031) or pale yellow (9032).

The Corgi design team came up with the first model with an opening feature in February 1960, the Aston Martin DB4 (218) which had an opening bonnet.

Steerable front wheels, jewelled headlights and rear lights and an opening boot complete with spare wheel were added on the Bentley Continental Sports Saloon (224) in April 1961, and by October 1963 with the release of the Ghia L6.4 (241) new levels of authenticity were reached.

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