29 January 2013
Dinky's Cunningham C-5R Road Racer is our top vintage model this month... ...
As a young collector of Dinky Toys I had quite a number of racing cars, many of which we raced around our school playground on a daily basis.
However, a different sort of racing car was introduced by Dinky Toys in March 1955. Gone were the large Dinky Supertoys tyres on the cars, the cast-in racing driver and an era of racing cars stretching back to before the war. The new Dinky Toys racer [No 133] was based on the Cunningham C-5R racing car from America.
It was finished in off-white with two blue stripes down the centre of the body together with the racing No 31 on the bonnet and doors. The radiator grille came in matt black with the headlights and spot lamps picked out in silver. The interior came in light brown and had a driver wearing pale blue overalls. This left hand drive car also had a curved full width celluloid windscreen. I thought it was a very elegant car. My first model came in a plain yellow Dinky Toys card box without an illustration.
The Meccano Magazine of March 1955 has the model illustrated in colour on the back page. This colour illustration was a ‘first’ for the Magazine as the inside front cover states: ‘This month’s new DINKY TOY is illustrated on the back cover – IN COLOUR’. In the Dinky News section, the car is described as ‘a striking example of the modern trend in sports car design, with a low beautifully streamlined body and headlamps built into the fairings over the front wheels’. As a matter of interest the picture on the front cover of that issue is of a Maserati ‘old’ style racing car at Oulton Park!
The catalogue illustration in the 1955 Dinky Toys catalogue shows the car with standard size plain black tyres. The models were, however, fitted with the larger plain black tyres as used on the military models of the day. The following C-5R models were then fitted with smaller black treaded tyres. Before the model was deleted in 1960 it acquired spun wheels which certainly enhanced the look of the car. The later boxes for these models were illustrated but the picture still shows the model fitted with the large plain black tyres.
In 1950 Briggs Cunningham, a wealthy American, entered two Cadillacs at Le Mans and both cars finished. However, he wanted to win, so he built his own car and his Cunningham C-5R came third in 1953 with two C-4Rs coming third and fifth a year later. These cars were large compared with European cars and, like the Dinky Toys model, they were very impressive.
He also raced other cars including Ferrari, Maserati and Porsche. The famous Briggs Cunningham racing colours of white with the blue stripes were also to be found later on Jaguar E-Types and other sports cars. Apart from his love of car racing he was also an expert yachtsman and in 1958 won the America’s Cup.
The Dinky Toys Collectors’ Association
During the year members of the DTCA visit a number of toy fairs and on occasions provide displays of models. The DTCA Journal contains articles and information on a variety of Dinky Toys models. You can find out more or join by visiting the website www.dtcawebsite.org