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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Even after all the years I have been collecting diecast I can still get it wrong, this article is such an occasion and decided to write this to help others spot the differences between what are two very similar models.
A few weeks ago I saw a Benbros AA Land Rover for sale on Ebay, these are getting very hard to find and despite the fact I have none in my collection and the picture wasn’t the best in the world, decided to bid on it, the outcome was good and I won for a reasonable price and waited patiently for it’s arrival.
The description said the axles were slightly bent but that’s ok and wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, other than that was exactly as I expected, yesterday I took some pictures ready to post on here and started to research the Benbros company for the article, then something started to feel as though this wasn’t all it seemed, as it turned out this one is actually a Morestone, not a Benbros and many people including websites don’t really seem to know the difference.
My research is added below and hopefully will help someone recognise which model they have or at least avoid buying the wrong one as I did, I must admit I’m still pleased as I didn’t have the Morestone one either.
The Morestone AA Land Rover was No 3 in the Morestone range and produced around 1956, to about 1958, my one has metal wheels painted black but it seems later one’s may of had black plastic wheels.
This would of had a black painted roof and the name casting on the side would of been highlighted in black.
The base plate just says, ‘Made in England’
This is how it should look. notice the smooth roof casting on the Morestone one, also the Morestone version was always yellow with a black roof and black wheels.
The Benbros version below, the main difference here is the Benbros one was always yellow with yellow wheels, mine had the remains of black paint on the wheels both back and front, the roof casting differs too, the Benbros one has ribs on the cab part of the roof, the Morestone one doesn’t, this follows through on other Benbros Land Rovers, although not as obvious the headlight are not as pronounced on the Benbros model either.
My conclusion is I have the Morestone version of this model, I don’t blame the seller as he probably didn’t know, more than 50% of the pictures I found on the internet were Morestone Land Rovers labelled as Benbros when in fact they wasn’t.
Mine will be restored in the future along with it’s Bedford CA counterpart that I already have.
The real AA Land Rover
The Austin FX3, to me is THE classic taxi, with the single front seating position for the driver and the open nearside for the baggage, and although build as long ago as 1948 were still seen on the roads in the 1960′s when I was young.
The Matchbox Lesney Austin Metropolitan Taxi, No17 and released in 1960 with grey wheels.
This is one that, although not hard to find, is hard to find in good condition at a reasonable price, this is about my fourth upgrade for this model.
Watch out if buying a playworn version of this as the front window pillars tend to get broken or cracked or are completely missing rendering the casting useless. (see this article for damaged examples)
The two below are restored examples, one in the original red the other black with added detail.
Morestone (later to become Budgie Toys) also produced a version of the Austin Taxi, No13 and likely to of been released around 1957.
The big difference is the colour, the Matchbox is almost always maroon and the Morestone and Budgie versions black.
Here are the two together showing the size and scale difference.
Related articles Austin Taxi FX3
The real Taxi
In 1948 a new Austin, the FX3, built by Carbodies of Coventry and financed jointly by Mann and Overton, Carbodies and Austin appeared and soon dominated the market. It was first produced with a petrol engine but this proved uneconomical to run so in 1952 a conversion for a Standard diesel engine was made available.
Text and picture from London Taxi History
There has never been a law that says that London’s cabs should be black. A cab may be any colour, but when the Oxford and the FX3 were introduced, their makers supplied them in a standard colour of black. Few buyers were prepared to pay the extra money for a special colour and so for three decades, black became the norm. In the late 1970s, Carbodies offered a wide range of pleasing colours for the FX4 to the ever-growing number of owner-drivers and now cabs are found in a very wide range of colours, including special advertising liveries.
As a kid going home from school, I remember these everywhere, none more so than the CA Dormobiles parked around the corner from where I lived.
This post is on my Bedford CA collection three of them from Matchbox and one from Morestone/ Budgie.
The Morestone one was a bit of a mystery and came with a job lot of Matchbox diecast I had bought, in fact it was on display for 6 months before I realised what I had.
This is the first one on the left in the picture below and is No4 in the Morestone ESSO series with ‘AA Road Service’ cast on the sides, Morestone did this alot as I have others with cast lettering on the sides.
This one has lost a lot of the paint but it will do until a better one comes along.
The next three are Matchbox versions of the CA, the blue one is No25 with a Dunlop decal on the sides, this was released in 1956 and was followed by No29 Bedford CA milk float in 1956 and later in 1957 the No42 Bedford CA evening news van and the longest running Bedford van in production for 8 years.
All mine have the grey wheels but the Dunlop van did have black wheels fitted but now classed as rare, the evening standard van also had black wheels but far more common.
The scale of the Matchbox one’s are more accurate than the Morestone version as the windows are too deep the scale of these work out to about 1:72.
To see related article on the Bedford CA vans Click Here
The real van
The real van was manufactured in short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase forms, each form available in either a 10–12 cwt or a 15 cwt version.
You still see many ice cream vans based on the CA, in fact there is one not far from me now that I still see.
For more on the real Bedford Click Here