DINKY ZE­PHYR IS A TRANS­PORT DE­LIGHT

New Zealand Classic Car - - Automobilia - Words: Christo­pher Moor

ADinky Toys MKI Ford Ze­phyr was one of the Trans­ports of De­light, a set of five postage stamps is­sued in the UK by the Royal Mail on Septem­ber 18, 2003 to com­mem­o­rate the 50th an­niver­sary of the first Bri­tish Toy Fair, held in 1953.

The 1st Class stamp de­picted a Mec­cano Con­struc­tor Bi­plane, the E Class stamp a Wells-brim­toy Clock­work Dou­ble-decker Om­nibus, the 42p stamp showed a Hornby MI Clock­work Lo­co­mo­tive and Ten­der, the Ford Ze­phyr was on the 47p, and a Met­toy Fric­tion Drive Space Ship Ea­gle ap­peared on the 68p.

Martin Lang­field took the stun­ning pho­tos that cap­ture only a few golden high­lights from a hal­cyon pe­riod of Bri­tish toy-mak­ing.

The fea­tured Dinky Ford Ze­phyr be­longed to David Cooke, au­thor of the Dinky Toys Ref­er­ence (Shire, 2008), and pres­i­dent of the Dinky Toys Col­lec­tors’ As­so­ci­a­tion when the stamps were is­sued.

David says that the model is not one from his child­hood that his par­ents had stored in the at­tic. “I bought this one [as an adult], which was still in the box.”

Mec­cano Lim­ited pre­viewed the Ford Ze­phyr (No. 162) in the April 1956 Mec­cano Mag­a­zine. Why the com­pany had waited more than five years to make a Dinky ver­sion is a mys­tery of die-cast model col­lect­ing. Ford had in­tro­duced the MKI Ze­phyr at the Earls Court Mo­tor Show in Oc­to­ber 1950. It was an ob­so­lete shape a few months af­ter the Dinky came on sale, be­cause the restyled MKII Ze­phyr had ar­rived in Ford deal­ers’ show­rooms dur­ing 1956.

The Dinky Ford Ze­phyr cost 3s (30c). Buy­ers had a choice of two duo-tone colour schemes: dark and light blue, or cream and green. Its length was 33/4 inches.

For much of the 1950s, New Zealand’s tight im­port re­stric­tions kept Dinky Toys out of the shops. When these con­trols were re­laxed in 1960, it is un­likely that any Dinky Ze­phyrs were im­ported, be­cause the model was deleted from the cat­a­logue dur­ing that year.

Most com­ing into the coun­try would have been with mi­grant chil­dren or sent as gifts from fam­ily in the UK. Some New Zealand col­lec­tors would have bought Bri­tish postal notes at the near­est post of­fice and sent to Ham­leys or Ga­m­ages for theirs.

Circa mid-1950s, Mi­cro Mod­els and Tri-ang man­u­fac­tured sim­i­lar scale diecast minia­tures of the Ford Ze­phyr in New Zealand. They kept the sin­gle colour fin­ish of real MKI, un­like the Dinky ver­sion. A re­pro­duc­tion of the Dinky Toys model is pro­duced by At­las Edi­tions.

Above: The pre­sen­ta­tion pack with all of the 2003 Trans­ports of De­light stamps Left: A re­painted, play­worn Dinky Ford Ze­phyr — a suc­cess­ful toy, be­cause it has been played with. The model is in the V&A Mu­seum of Child­hood col­lec­tion Right: A 1956...

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