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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Ertl are probably best known for their diecast farm machinery and large diecast cars but in the 1980′s they produced what was to become a very large range of diecast trains related to the ‘Thomas the tank engine’ series of books and the later TV series.
Although not on my list of things I collect, recently I bought a massive job lot of Ertl Thomas the tank engine locomotives, coaches, wagons and vehicles and searching through them I came across this little Austin taxi produced in 2001.
Most of the Ertl ‘Thomas’ range have faces on the front either moulded plastic or earlier one’s had stickers, this taxi, listed as ‘The Sodor Taxi’ has neither and is actually a nice little model with plenty of detail.
Related posts; Dyson Lowloader
A similar model was made by Lledo, albeit a larger scale and marked as a 1933 Austin taxi.
The real taxi
The Ertl taxi is based on a 1936 Austin.
In 1936 Austin made a number of High Lot taxis, which were found to be a little unstable, because of their height. So 6 inches was lopped of the height and so produced the low loader.
The taxi cab was designed by William Overton of Mann & Overton Limited in collaboration with Austin. Austin had redesigned the back axle relocating the propeller shaft and together with height saved by the new dropped cross-braced frame something like 6 inches was able to be removed from the car’s overall height.
Again the standard body was made by Strachan of Acton. For the same price Mann & Overton would supply another by Vincent’s of Reading (famous for building the royal horse boxes) or for £5 more a better finished body by Jones Bros of Bayswater. Other suppliers included Goodland Cooper and Elkington of Chiswick.
Mann & Overton’s Austins dominated the market between 1930 and 1938 selling 5,850 cabs representing 75% of the market.
The actual casting is Lledo but these have been re-branded as Corgi and no doubt meant for sale in Europe going by the decals, Berliet is a French made truck and this one is based on a 1950′s / 1960′s GLR chassis.
Scale wise, well, it fits well with a known 1:72 scale car so would guess it is meant to be around 1:72/ 1:76.
The box body looks a bit oversize but I would think this would of been to fit the promotional logo’s this vehicle was no doubt intended for.
I have bought a batch of 6 of these Lledo Berliet trucks and intend using them as code 3 projects, in most cases losing the box body.
The real truck
The Berliet GLR truck became the first new post-war product.
Presented by Berliet in October 1949 and produced until 1977.
In 1917, Berliet started to build trucks for the French Army. The company produced 40 trucks a day. Passenger car production ceased in 1939 and after World War II, the company produced trucks only.
In 1967, Berliet was taken over by Citroen.
By this time, Michelin owned both Citroen and Berliet. However, after the 1973 oil crisis, Michelin decided to divest itself of these two companies in order to concentrate on its tyre business. Thus, in 1974 Berliet was sold to Renault. Eventually the Berliet name was phased out and another French marque came to an end.
As this is the last article of the year, it’s only right it should be the last model I have added to my collection.
Lledo have produced some nice models over the years and the 1939 Ford truck chassis with drop side body is one of them and although marked as a 1939, could well be a 1938 model as well (see the real truck text below).
To simplify the casting Lledo have made the headlights as part of the grill where in reality the headlights were fitted to the front mudguards/fenders.
Lledo was started in 1982 when Jack Odell (who was the ex-president of Matchbox) along with Bert Russell set up a new diecast model company which they named Lledo. The name ‘Lledo’ came from Jack Odell’s war days when he was based in the African desert. In order that he wouldn’t forget his wireless call sign, he reversed his surname and hence became known as ‘Lledo’.
These Ford trucks came in many colours and liveries the Builders truck above is but one of them.
The real Truck
The 1938-1939 Ford panel and pickup truck bore little resemblance to the Ford trucks that had come before. They were treated to a thorough restyle in 1938, and carried over unchanged into 1939.
Though the antiquated chassis was little changed, half-tonners were reskinned, with an oval barrel-shaped grille that resembled certain Chrysler products. A more spacious cab, larger cargo box, and longer car-like fenders were part of the1938-1939 Ford panel and pickup truck revamp.
The 1938 Ford pickup was the cheapest truck in the line at $590. A 1939 can be distinguished from a 1938 by its smaller V-8 insignia on hubcaps, crinkle-finish interior door panels, and black spare-tire hubcap; the 1938′s was stainless steel, from a model point of view little would look different in the smaller scales.
The big news in 1939 was only important because so much time had gone by since it should have been adopted — hydraulic brakes, which answered longstanding criticism of the Ford trucks’ stopping ability.
As long as there has been cars there has been a fascination for speed, and I doubt anybody reading this could actually say they have never tried or wanted to try and see how fast their own car goes!
This article is on the 1983 Lledo Land speed record cars over the years and the set contained four of these well known cars including Richard Noble’s Thrust 2.
In 1993 Lledo teamed up with Kelloggs the breakfast cereal makers and offered this set via a promotion
Firstly we have the Famous Bluebird, or at least one of them, this is based on the 1933 Bluebird and the later modification of the twin rear wheels, this got the owner and driver Sir Malcom Campbell the land speed record in Bonneville of 300mph in 1935.
The second car is the Railton Mobile special and driven by John Cobb who reclaimed the world record in 1939, in 1947 he broke his own record at just shy of 400mph.
He did achieve over 400mph and his record would stand for nearly 16 years.
Spirit of America, Sonic 1 was designed by Craig Breedlove and in 1965 broke the 600mph barrier
Richard Noble and Thrust 2 was to top even that with it’s single Rolls Royce Avon jet engine sourced from an English Electric Lightning, he topped 633.468mph in 1983.
The current record, as of the date of this article is 763.035mph , the car that did it was Thrust SCC and driven by Andy Green this is also classed as the first supersonic record.
The real cars
The Bluebird in action
Spirit of America, Sonic 1
Thrust 2, now at the Coventry Transport Museum