Dinky Toys – 1939 Buick Touring Sedan (#039D)
Image by The Brucer
This diecast Dinky Toy was one of the six upscale American cars in the "39" series of Dinkys introduced by Meccano Ltd. (Liverpool, England) before the War. These six toy cars were initially produced by Meccano in 1939-41, before metal toy production ceased early in WWII. Production of all six resumed in 1945 and continued, with two exceptions, until 1952. During the last two years of this production run (i.e., 1950-52), four of these six cars were produced for the U.S. market only, and special two-tone versions were introduced. [The two exceptions, the Packard Super-8 Tourer (#39A) and the Studebaker State Commander (#39F), were discontinued altogether after 1950.]
The model in this photo (#39D) was introduced in 1939 as the "Buick Viceroy". When production resumed in 1945, it was referred to simply as a "Buick". From the distinctive configuration of the front grille and the fact that the headlights are mounted on top of the fenders, this model definitely represents a Buick of the 1939 model year, consistent with the fact that Meccano originally introduced the car in 1939. (The 1938 Buicks had a different grille; the 1940 Buicks had the headlights incorporated into the fenders.) From the size and configuration of the car being represented, this has to be a 1939 Buick "trunkback" touring sedan from either the Series 80 Roadmaster or Series 90 Limited line. That Meccano initially called this car a Viceroy — a term never used by Buick in the U.S. — suggests that either the Series 80 or 90 Buicks went under the name "Viceroy" in the UK in 1939.
The particular post-War toy shown in this photo was originally purchased in the UK, indicating that it was manufactured between 1945 and 1950. The fact that it is in such excellent condition indicates that the original owner — from whose son I purchased this — must have been exceptionally gentle in playing with his Dinkys.
The 1939 Buick Limited touring sedan was the largest car in the Buick line, with a wheelbase of 140 inches and a straight-8-cylinder 141 HP engine. The Roadmaster touring sedan that year had a 133-inch wheelbase but the same straight-eight 141 HP engine. Interestingly, the Limited created some friction between GM’s Cadillac and Buick Divisions, because the Limited offered features approaching those in much more expensive Cadillacs, thus potentially undercutting the Cadillac market.