Dinky Toys Trojan Vans
Although Dinky Toys’ commercial vehicles were issued after the war, the majority were not produced with any appropriate liveries, even the double deck bus came without adverts and the tankers only had the word ‘Petrol’ on their sides.
Therefore in 1951 the introduction of the Trojan Van [No 31a] with its ‘Esso’ transfers was a welcome addition to the range. I certainly knew about Esso petrol, but nothing about Trojan Vans but that did not matter then because it was a new model to add to my collection.
The model was announced in the Meccano Magazine February 1951. The black and white picture shows the van with a white line down the side, but strangely no Esso logo.
The caption beneath the picture reads: ‘The popular Trojan 15 cwt van is supplied with the name “Esso” in characteristic style on each side’. This was then correctly illustrated in the March issue of the Meccano Magazine. The model came in red with either red or maroon wheels.
Dinky Toys Trojan Van ‘Esso’ (No 31a).
Meccano Magazine advert, February 1951 (without Esso logo).
In June 1952, using the red van Dinky Toys added another Trojan Van [No 31b] to the series and this had ‘Dunlop’ transfers. In July the following year a further Trojan Van [No 31c] joined the series. This came in green and had ‘Chivers’ transfers. Not long after a fourth van [No 31d] was produced in dark blue for ‘Oxo’. Interestingly the only illustration of the ‘Oxo’ van is in the 1953 Dinky Toys catalogue. All these first models came in the yellow card trade boxes of six.
Dinky Toys Catalogue 1953, Trojan Van ‘OXO’ (No 31d).
In 1954 Dinky Toys introduced a new numbering system and the Trojan Van ‘Esso’ became No 450 complete with its own yellow card box. These first boxes were without illustrations, but were soon followed by illustrated ones for the ‘Dunlop’ Van [No 451] and the ‘Chivers’ Van [No 452] and, of course, the ‘Esso’ van. The exception to all this was the Trojan Van ‘Oxo’, which although allocated No 453 never had its own individual box. The model was also only available for about one year over 1953 and1954.
The Trojan Vans ‘Esso’, ‘Dunlop’ and ‘Chivers’ were deleted in 1957, but all was not lost as two new Trojan Vans were introduced in that year. The first was a Trojan Van for ‘Cydrax’ [No 454] announced in February. This was finished in pale green with matching wheels. The second Trojan Van for ‘Brooke Bond Tea’ [No 455] arrived in May and this was in red with red wheels. The ‘Cydrax’ van was deleted in 1959 and the ‘Brooke Bond Tea’ van lasted until 1960.
The real Trojan vans were manufactured in Croydon and used Perkins three-cylinder four-stroke diesel engines or four-cylinder two-stroke petrol engines. The company also produced an electric powered vehicle in 1951 known as the ‘Elec-trojan’.
By coincidence Brooke Bond also had its headquarters in Croydon at the time and perhaps this is why they decided to use these somewhat unusual vans. One other interesting fact was that 5,700 Trojan ‘Little Red Vans’ had been produced since 1924 and this was celebrated with a special Dinky Toys Trojan ‘Brooke Bond Tea’ van which had an applied label to the roof.