Roger Wynn: the Land Rover - Part 1

01 September 2008
imports_CCGB_acoupleofverysimilar_67881.gif A couple of very similar matching pairs
Roger Wynn examines in depth the well-known Dinky Toys model of the Land Rover and all its variations. ...
Roger Wynn: the Land Rover - Part 1 Images

It’s been far too long since the last ‘Sentenced to Transportation’, but now it’s back and, you might say, with a vengeance. In due course, the subject matter will be one of the largest, if not the largest Dinky Toys model, ever, known to most collectors as simply the Car Carrier and Trailer.

As a standard issue it is indeed simple, just one well-known colour scheme to start with, a later re-colour, and little or no casting variation of note. But it is a bit like the Pullmore Car Transporter before it, as the Car Carrier was, in fact, also a dedicated Land Rover transporter in real-life. There is, therefore, the actual vehicle to consider, both then and now, likewise the model and load.

It may be remembered that the idea of this series of articles is to load the main subject, the transporter, with a correct period load, correct vehicle type and scale, preferably from the same model manufacturer. This is not usually too much of a problem, and we usually look at the load in some detail as well, to give the fuller picture.

With the Pullmore (Diecast Collector, March and April 2004) a marvellous story unfolded around the transporter and history is about to repeat itself, but with a difference. We kept it simple with the Pullmore’s load, but it can’t be done this time. The chosen load, really the only one possible, had a very long production life, plenty of variations, the whole shooting match. So much so, that just this once, it’s a prelude to transportation...

Who was first?

Strictly speaking, the Americans were first, with the four-seat Jeep, of which the chassis was used as the starting point for the prototype Land Rover. After a very short period, counted in months rather than years, the first true Land Rovers were being built. They were just slightly wider, to take three up-front, with a useful load space behind, an aluminium body and much stronger chassis with Rover mechanicals.

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Rover Company advert of November 1949Launched by luxury car makers Rover, at the Amsterdam Motor Show in April 1948, it was probably the saviour of the firm in those difficult austere times. It was an instant success, with some 8000 enquiries within weeks of the show. By 1950, Rover was making twice as many Land Rovers as cars.

By this time, even greater numbers of miniature Land Rovers were rolling off the Meccano production lines. Two years to the month, April 1950 saw Dinky toys ref no 27D go on sale. As the usual gestation period for a model is around the eighteen-month mark, Meccano must have been fairly quick off the mark. A brilliant decision – a bit like Rover’s...

As part of the almost complete re-tooling of Dinky Toys after the war, Meccano had issued the first of its farm series, ref no 27A, in mid-1948. This was the Massey-Harris tractor, soon followed by two suitable specialist trailers. Many Dinky toys of the time, both cars and Supertoys, were to around 1/48 scale, with some commercials to a smaller scale. The farm series needed to be something larger, perhaps with miniature farming outdoors in mind. So, a now rather quaint-sounding Imperial fraction of 5/16” to 1 foot was chosen – or in modern parlance 1/38 scale.

The Land Rover was designed from the outset as a farm vehicle, just at home on the land as on the road to market. Early publicity showed it doing just about every farm task, even ploughing. Inclusion in the farm series at 1/38 scale has given a very heavy, chunky model, which is virtually indestructable...

This is part of a feature published in the September 2008 issue of Diecast Collector.  If you would like to read similar articles, subscribe to the magazine here.