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Dinky Toys – 1948-54 Morris Oxford Saloon (#40G or #159)

Dinky Toys – 1948-54 Morris Oxford Saloon (#40G or #159)
toy

Image by The Brucer
The Morris Oxford Dinky Toy was produced by Meccano Ltd. (Liverpool, UK) between 1950 and 1960. For the last 4 years of this production run (1956-60), the Oxford was released only in a two-tone color scheme. Thus, the particular single-colored car shown in this photo had to have been produced between 1950 and 1956.

The "40" series of Dinkys — ultimately consisting of eight British saloon (sedan) cars — was the first completely new series introduced by Meccano after production resumed following the end of WWII. This diecast Morris Oxford toy (originally numbered #40G) was presumably the seventh in this series. It was re-numbered as #159 in 1953-54.

Since there is no number stamped on the baseplate of this car, it is unknown whether it was produced before or after this numbering change. However, it is believed that the particular toy shown in this photo was purchased in Llanelli, Wales, between 1950 and 1953 for a young man who obviously took very good care of his Dinkys. Thus, it is quite possible that the toy in the photo predates the numbering change and is technically #40G.

The Oxford was a line of British cars manufactured by the Morris Motor Company between 1913 and 1971. (Actually, Morris Motor Company disappeared as a separate entity in 1952 when it was merged into British Motor Corp., but the Morris Oxford vehicle continued beyond that time.) During this 58-year production run, the Oxford went through ten design generations. The car represented by this model is the fifth generation of Oxford, manufactured between 1948 and 1954 (consistent with the fact that Meccano introduced this toy in 1950).

This car had a 1.5L side-valve straight-4 engine capable of producing 40 hp. Also referred to as the Oxford MO, this car was also sold with a 2-door estate ("station") wagon body.

Dinky Toys – 1939 Buick Touring Sedan (#039D)

Dinky Toys – 1939 Buick Touring Sedan (#039D)
toy

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.

Dinky Toys – 1947-51 Standard Vanguard Saloon (#040E, later #153)

Dinky Toys – 1947-51 Standard Vanguard Saloon (#040E, later #153)
toy

Image by The Brucer
The Standard Vanguard Dinky Toy was produced by Meccano Ltd. (Liverpool, UK) between 1948 and 1960. For the first two years of this production run (1948-50), this diecast car was cast with the open rear wheel arches (fender wells) seen in the model here, exposing all of the rear tire. Over the subsequent 10 years (1950-60), the rear fender wells were enclosed (so that only the bottoms of the rear tires were visible). Since the toy pictured here has the open rear wheel arches, it was clearly produced between 1948 and 1950.

The "40" series of Dinkys — ultimately consisting of eight British saloon (sedan) cars — was the first completely new series introduced by Meccano after production resumed following the end of WWII. The Standard Vanguard toy (originally numbered #40E) was the third to be released in this series, and was re-numbered as #153 in 1954. Since the model pictured here was produced in 1950 or earlier, it predates the number change and is technically #40E.

The Vanguard was a line of cars produced by the Standard Motor Company of the UK. It was the first new car line introduced by Standard following the end of WWII. The Vanguard line was manufactured between 1947 and 1963, going through five generations during this 16-year production run. The diecast model shown in this photo represents the first generation of the Vanguard, referred to as the "Phase I", produced between 1947 and 1953.

During the last two years of Phase I production (1952-53), some modest modifications were made to the body design, including revisions to the appearance of the front grille. (Vanguards produced during 1952-53 are referred to as "Phase IA".) The toy shown here has the earlier (pre-1952) grille, and thus represents Vanguards manufactured between 1947 and 1951.

Phase I Vanguards had a 2.1L 4-cylinder inline engine capable of accelerating the car to a top speed of almost 80 mph. In addition to this saloon (sedan) body style, the Phase I was also produced as an estate wagon (station wagon) and, in Australia, as a utility vehicle.

Dinky Toys – 1946-48 American Woody Estate Car (#344, originally #27F)

Dinky Toys – 1946-48 American Woody Estate Car (#344, originally #27F)
toy

Image by The Brucer
This diecast Dinky estate car (station wagon) was produced by Meccano Ltd. (Liverpool, UK) between 1950 and 1960. The estate car was originally numbered Dinky #27F; the number was changed to #344 in 1953-54. The number 344 is stamped on the baseplate of the car shown in this photo, demonstrating that it was produced after the numbering change.

This station wagon is intended to represent a "Woodie". From the time that "station wagons" were introduced essentially as trucks in perhaps the 1920′s through the time that they began gaining popularity as passenger cars in the mid-1930′s to the late 1940′s, station wagon passenger compartments were usually constructed of exposed, finished wood. Wood construction was less expensive than metal, and the growing market for passenger station wagons was apparently not sufficient to warrant the use of metal on any but the most expensive models. However, as station wagons entered the mainstream in the early 1950′s, the use of wooden bodies was discontinued because — despite the finish on the wood — the exposed wood did not survive well. The last true Woodie was made by Buick in 1953 (with minimal exposed wood), although some auto manufacturers continued the Woodie appearance beyond this time using faux wood products such as steel, plastic, or vinyl.

Woody station wagons of the style represented by this toy were produced by many of the major American automobile manufacturers in the late 1940′s: Ford and Mercury, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile, Plymouth and Dodge, undoubtedly among others. (Woody sedans and coupes were produced, too.) Many Dinky enthusiasts routinely identify the toy shown in this photo as representing a Plymouth. After careful study of photos of period vehicles, I tend to agree that this model has a grille, chrome trim, and front fender configuration that tends to simulate a Plymouth better than they do the other makes. There is some lesser chance that this toy may be representing a Ford or Mercury. It is not representing a Chevy or Olds, because the wing-style front fenders of the GM Woodies had more of a backward slope and were longer, extending all the way back to the front door.

Whatever make of car is represented by this toy, that car was manufactured between 1946 (when post-War production resumed) and 1948, a fact apparent from the configuration of the front fenders. In this car, the "wing"-style front fenders extend outward further than do the doors, so that the rear of the fender must bend inward to join the body in front of the front door. All of the major U.S. car manufacturers seem to have used this wing configuration — which had also been used before the War — between 1946 and 1948. But in 1949, the manufacturers all seem to have changed to an "integrated" fender configuration simultaneously, such that the front fenders were of the same width as the passenger compartment and the integrated fenders flowed smoothly into the contour of the doors without the prior discontinuity. So the automobile represented by this toy was definitely produced prior to 1949.

Parenthetically — assuming that this car IS a Plymouth — Plymouth discontinued the production of Woodies after 1950, switching to all-metal body construction for its wagons.

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