RON’S MODEL SPOT

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia - Words: Ron Ford Pho­tos: Adam Croy

Some­thing dif­fer­ent this month: in­stead of look­ing at new mod­els of clas­sic cars, it is to be copies of clas­sic toy cars of the ’50s and ’60s. The ve­hi­cles put out by Dinky Toys by Mec­cano Limited, Liver­pool, Eng­land were (and still are) very popular in their day, and the ‘toys’ were gen­er­ally good mod­els of cur­rent and re­cent cars, vans and lor­ries of the era. In 2008, At­las Edi­tions France started of­fer­ing, by sub­scrip­tion, copies of French Dinky Toys on a fort­nightly cy­cle. Un­for­tu­nately, the rest of the world out­side France had to wait un­til they were of­fered on the sec­ondary mar­ket via the likes of ebay — at a pre­mium! In 2014, At­las Edi­tions UK started the scheme in Eng­land with mainly English Dinky Toy sub­jects, although it cheated by adding a num­ber of French toys that his­tor­i­cally were not read­ily avail­able in the UK. Once again, the rest of the world has to buy via the sec­ondary mar­ket. There have been al­most 80 dif­fer­ent French Dinky Toys copied so far, with about 20 English to date. I have se­lected a few which I have man­aged to ac­quire. They rep­re­sent per­haps the hey­day of Dinky Toys, the ’50s. As far as be­ing mod­els is con­cerned, there are a cou­ple of prob­lems with just a body shell and pressed metal base in­stead of the glaz­ing and in­te­rior de­tail ex­pected nowa­days. In gen­eral the toys were very good copies of the orig­i­nal as far as shape and de­tails are con­cerned. With Dinky Toys, the scales var­ied a bit, but gen­er­ally they were be­tween 1:48 and 1:45. The orig­i­nal Dinky Toy No. 162, the Ford Ze­phyr, was in­tro­duced by Mec­cano in 1956 — just when the real car was be­ing re­placed by the MKII. In­deed, it is ac­tu­ally an ear­lier ver­sion of the MKI as it has small tail lights. This was prob­a­bly due to the 18 months or so needed from ini­tial con­cept to full pro­duc­tion for a die-cast toy. The At­las Edi­tions (ac­tu­ally made by Norev in China un­der li­cence from Mat­tel, which owns the Dinky Toy brand) is a faith­ful copy of the orig­i­nal, although the front and rear win­dow frames have been added that the orig­i­nal did not have, so mak­ing the A and D pil­lars heav­ier than they should be. On the plus side, the cast­ing join on the front wing is ab­sent on the copy due to bet­ter cast­ing tech­niques. The paint­work is in sim­i­lar colours to the orig­i­nal. A mint boxed Mec­cano Ze­phyr might cost $200plus on the col­lec­tor mar­ket, whereas the At­las Edi­tions one can be around $50. The sec­ond Dinky copy I have is the No. 159 Mor­ris Ox­ford MO orig­i­nally re­leased in 1950 (as No. 40g), but the At­las Edi­tions one is from 1956 when they had a ‘gay’ colour scheme. This is a good copy, and painted cream over cerise! A mint boxed orig­i­nal could cost $480. A third ex­am­ple is No. 140a (renum­bered No. 106 in 1954), the Austin At­lantic con­vert­ible. The main dis­ap­point­ment with the orig­i­nal is the heavy wind­screen frame, but it was a toy, and needed to stand up to vig­or­ous play. The copy by At­las Edi­tions is also very good, and painted in the rare red with ma­roon in­te­rior, equat­ing to an orig­i­nal that now sells for $3000! Lastly there is a Bed­ford CA van in the colours of ‘Dinky Toys’ — a bit of self pro­mo­tion. The copy looks very much like the now-$300 orig­i­nal.

Toen­terthis­com­pe­ti­tion,headto:clas­s­ic­car. co.nz/com­pe­ti­tions—com­pe­ti­tion­clos­es20th April,2015. Corgi/van­guardsmod­el­sa­reavail­able­fro­mall good­toyand­hob­byshops.con­tact­toy­modltd (Pobox18263,auck­land,ph095270122/fax09 5270144)tofind­y­our­closes­tre­tailer.

Q: What’s the ori­gin of the ‘350’ in the GT350’S model name? A: 350 feet was the dis­tance be­tween the rac­ing and pro­duc­tion shops at Shelby Amer­i­can. Win­ner: John Minch­in­ton, Auck­land

Model name shared by Al­lard and Packard in 1953–4 (7) 2. Ital­ian car stylist, who made his name work­ing with Ber­tone; note­wor­thy cred­its in­clude Miura, Coun­tach, Citroën BX, and Lan­cia Stratos (7) 3. French designer noted for suc­cess­ful work with Salm­son as their chief en­gi­neer, but un­suc­cess­ful work in­cluded 6 down (5) 4. Bu­gatti Type 57 two-door four-seat coupé, body de­sign by Jean Bu­gatti and named af­ter a moun­tain in the Alps (7) 5. French coach­builder turned Chrysler V8–pow­ered luxury car builder, suc­cess­ful un­til 1964 when its smaller–en­gined sports car de­sign failed and bankrupted the com­pany (5) 6. Mid-thir­ties French rac­ing car, over­weight, un­der­pow­ered and ill-pre­pared (5) 9. Pirelli’s suc­cess­ful ra­dial tyre de­sign built from 1952, and re­named to this name in 1963 (9) 14. Bel­gian car maker (1902–1938) re­mem­bered mainly for high–qual­ity luxury cars through the 1920s and 1930s (7) 15. Model name shared by Jowett in Bri­tain and AMC in the States (7) 16. Ger­man en­gi­neer­ing com­pany, builder of trains, trucks, trac­tors and a clas­sic mid–twen­ties small car known as the Kom­miss­brot (7) 19. Mod­ern clas­sic sports car from Lo­tus, built from 1996 in sev­eral ver­sions all noted for fine road­hold­ing and han­dling (5) 20. Miche­lin’s 1946 ra­dial tyre de­sign, first mar­keted in 1949, pop­u­larised the use of ----- belts to im­prove tyre per­for­mance (5) 21. English for the part of the tyre that con­tacts the road, and Amer­i­can for the dis­tance be­tween tyre con­tact patch cen­tres on a com­mon axle (5).

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