Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Morris

Brentwood toy fair in Essex

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Diecast models, Dinky, Fiat, Jaguar, Matchbox, Morris, Tractors, Triang
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It’s been a year since my last visit to this toy fair in Brentwood, this time I didn’t actually buy much but the models I did buy fill a few gaps.

The Matchbox collection has always been the main focus and still trying to fill the gaps in the collection along with upgrading some of the playworn versions I have.

Firstly the Matchbox Jaguar  3.4 litre number 65, this is the smaller casting designated 65a with grey wheels and no glass, although most were blue the metallic blue is not as common.


The later casting with opening bonnet and usually dark red also numbered 65 would of been designated 65b, this one is already part of my collection, was also available with black wheels


Next another Matchbox. and another I didn’t have, the red version of the Fiat 1500 number 56.


Quite rare as was only available in a Matchbox garage gift set G1.


For more on the Matchbox Fiat 1500 Click Here

Next an upgrade of one of the Dinky Dublo vehicles the Morris post office van


This replaces a poor example I’ve had for years


Lastly another Triang tugster for the collection, this one  in green, in mint condition and with it’s box

Triang tugster7

For more on this Triang model Click Here

Atlas Editions, Dinky Mini traveller, review

by Peter
Categories: Atlas, Cars, Diecast models, Mini, Morris
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Today, my first sample of the new Atlas Editions, Dinky range has arrived and what a model.

It comes with it’s own reproduction box and certificate of authenticity that this is an original replica of the much older Dinky Mini.


I have never seen an original Dinky mini in this condition , let alone owned one but Atlas have done a remarkable job even down to the tin plate base plate and wheels and tyres that echo the style and finish of the original car.


The painting and detail is superb and can’t be faulted and even the colour of the plastic yellow interior look right for the period this would of been available from Dinky toys.


I’ve restored original Dinky toys and owned quite a few over the years but even though these are not original as such is the nearest you may ever get to owning a series that faithfully reproduces all the finer detail you would of expected from the Dinky brand of the day and in brilliant mint condition.


The Dinky brand is owned by Mattel and this range is  made for Atlas Editions by Norev.

I will certainly be looking at more of these models in the near future.

To get your own Dinky Mini Traveller and start your collection, visit the Atlas Editions website below.

Atlas Edition Dinky Mini Traveller

I’ve seen these going for £20.00 upwards on Ebay, although I can’t fathom why when you can go directly to the Atlas website and get this wonderful model for just £1.99

Austin/Morris J2

by Peter
Categories: Austin, Corgi, Diecast models, Matchbox, Morris, Oxford Diecast, Trucks, Vans
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This article is based on what was likely to one of the first Matchbox vehicles I owned, at the time I also have to admit they were still in daily use on our roads.

The Morris J2 pickup made by Matchbox Lesney was a truck I remember seeing almost on a daily basis, builders had them, the Post office used them and along with the Ford Thames van, Commer van and Bedford CA vans made up the bulk of the small van and truck fleets of the late 1950′s and early 1960′s.

The Matchbox Morris J2 was produced from 1958 to 1966 and Numbered 60 in the 1-75 range

Two of mine have black wheels but they were issued with grey wheels and silver wheels, the one below has grey plastic wheels, also note the colour of the decals were different with this one having a black line of text rather than the white.

The two in the picture below are the same model but the casting changed later to omit the rear window and harder to find.

This may well of been due to a damaged mould and rather than remake it they just repaired it to continue production omitting the rear window.

The decals changed a few times so worth looking out for.

Seen below, shows these are modelled with the Morris J2 inverted heart grill and verticle grill slots, they scale nicely at 1:72.

An Austin J2 made by Corgi and is part of the Trackside series mainly aimed at railway modellers and is 1:76 scale or OO in railway scales, this is number DG202009.

There are a few versions of this van and also a minibus and ambulance, the detail is fantastic but to me the big let down is the casting for the baseplate rivet at the back fills up the back window, which spoils the realistic look of the vehicle.

Maybe I’m just being fussy, but I do expect a lot when something is sold a scale detailed model, I may even take it apart and either adapt it to lose the post or at least paint it black.

They are cheap enough to pick up so could have a whole fleet of them.

The two models seen together below shows that 1:72 and 1:76 can work well together as these two scales are using by many railway modellers and even now I get mixed up with them.

Another 1:76 scale made by Oxford Diecast, this is the Austin J2 but with the Paralanian camper body, Oxford Diecast No,76JA005.

Paralanian were the Rolls Royce of camper bodies.

The real vans and trucks

The real Morris J2 was released in 1956 and ran until 1967.

Also sold as Austin J2 and Austin 152 The 15cwt J2 was BMC’s first unitary-construction van. It was also produced in pick-up, minibus and chassis-cab forms, with the latter proving popular as the basis for motor caravan conversions. The Morris and Austin versions of the J2 were differentiated by their frontal styling, with the former having a pressed steel interpretation of the “inverted heart” grille seen on the J-Type and LD vans, while the latter made do with a plainer, rectangular affair.

Above the classic Morris J2 van and the pickup below.

Originally powered by the 1489cc B-series engine, the J2 later received the 1622cc version in 1961, when it was redesignated “J2-M16″. Diesel versions were also offered.

Text from

The vehicles were first used by Post Office Telephones from about 1960. Between 1964 and 1967 the J2 was a common sight on the streets as the demand for telephone service reached a peak.

The name ‘Paralanian’ comes from Parrys Lane Bradford where Central Garage was located and went into coachbuilding in the 1950s. The Paralanian was an expensive finely built carriage, well ahead of the later motorhomes. The first Paralanian was constructed in 1956 when the Suez Crisis had slowed sales and Central Garage needed to find new markets. Exhibited in 1957, the Paralanian attracted orders. A change in the taxation rules in 1958 gave more favourable licensing to motorised caravans and encouraged sales. Central Garage was sold to the Looker Group in 1964, and Paralanian to Spen Coachbuilders in 1965.

For more on Paralanian and other coachbuilders Click Here

For more on Austin, Morris and other BMC marques Click Here

Dinky Morris Oxford & Rover P4

by Peter
Categories: Cars, Diecast models, Dinky, Morris, Rover
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Todays article is a double feature and includes the Early Dinky diecast of the Morris Oxford and the Rover P4 model 75.

I don’t really collect Dinky but I do buy to sell or renovate.

I actually bought these as renovation projects but have put them in the collection for now for two reasons, there are in quite good condition and I already have at least 20 Dinky and Corgi to renovate.

The Rover 75 is special to me because it was always a car I dreamed of owning but never actually had, this one is Dinky number 156 and dates from between 1956 to 1959, the scale seems to be around 1:43, the same as the Vanguards so would fit in well with them.

The Dinky Morris Oxford is number 159 and was released between 1954 to 1957 the Oxford was really a bigger saloon version of the Morris Minor.

The real cars

Both Rover and Morris later became part of British leyland but each in their own right have a history

The model above is based on the original P4, the model 75, and arrived in 1949. It featured controversial modern styling which contrasted with the outdated Rover P3 which it replaced, and which was heavily based on the bullet-nosed Studebakers of the same era.

Power came from a 2.1 L  Rover straight-6 engine. A four-speed manual transmission was used with a column-mounted shifter at first and floor-mounted unit from 1954.

One particularly unusual feature was the centrally mounted headlight in the grille. Known as the “Cyclops eye”, it was removed after 1952.

William Morris’ first car was called the Oxford in recognition of its home city. To keep costs down virtually all components were bought-in and assembled by Morris.

After the Second World War the Oxford MO replaced the 10. It was introduced in 1948 and was produced until 1954. The design was shared with Nuffield Organisation stable-mate Wolseley 4/50.

Both the Morris Oxford, along with the Morris Minor were designed by Alec Issigonis.

The MO was sold as a 4-door saloon and 2-door Traveller estate with exposed wood. Both were four-seaters. It was replaced by the Series II Oxford in 1954.

The Oxford underwent a lot of design changes over the years but the Morris Minor remained almost unchanged until it’s demise in 1971.