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Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 22:38
-145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

In the December 1962 issue of MECCANO MAGAZINE, the back cover announced the release of two new Dinky Toys in the range, the 145 Singer Vogue with its companion being the 277 Superior Criterion Ambulance.

The Singer Vogue was a larger car than the Gazelle that Meccano had modelled with the 168 Singer Gazelle and like the earlier cars was a badge engineered version of the Hillman, being produced from the Coventry Plant of the Rootes Group in Ryton between July 1961 to 1966 The single headlight Hillman Super Minx was the base model, the dual headlight Singer Vogue the mid range and the Humber Sceptre, the top-of-the-range model. With the release of the Dinky Toys Vogue in December 1962, Dinky enthusiasts with all things coming from the Rootes Group stable had two modern replicas of the two Singer cars, Gazedlle and Vogue that were still in production.

The following are several publicity photographs that were taken on behalf of the Rootes Company that were used in a number of advertisements promoting this new motor vehicle.

AN EXPLANATION FOR ITS ORIGINAL YELLOW COLOUR SCHEME

The unusual aspect of the Dinky Toys 145 Singer Vogue with the announcement of its release in the Meccano Magazine was both the mention and visual representation of its colour, yellow. The back cover shows the model in this colour as too the illustration on the box, together with the words from The Toyman in his write-up on page 491 of the magazine, “Just as the prototype Vogue has become increasingly popular, so will the Dinky Toys model appeal enormously to the collector in its bright and attractive yellow finish.” If this is the case, then why did Meccano change the “bright and attractive yellow finish” to a metallic greenish-grey? And why was this carried out so quickly following the model’s release, in view of the exceedingly small numbers that have been seen with auction sales over the past 20 years? Most likely, this  has been the question on the mind of many Dinky Toys collectors over the years, with the holy grail being to add a yellow version to one’s collection.

When Rootes released its Singer Vogue and throughout the rest of 1961 and into 1962 it was available to the buying public in these colour schemes only: Embassy Black colour code-122, Biarritz Blue -2831, Lake Blue -3434, Smoke Green -3194, Foam White -3255, Fathom Grey -3092, Windsor Blue -3511, Sage Green -3193, Pippin Red -224, Glacier Blue -3089, Cavalry Beige -3066, and Maroon -3524. Note that there was no yellow. In 1962 most of the preceding colours were continued, with the exception of Fathom Grey and Glacier Blue with the addition of Dawn Mist -2948, Charcoal -3188, Silver Grey P031-2720 and Sapphire Blue P031-2722 but again no bright (“and attractive”) yellow.

Singer Vogue in Sage Green and Foam White

Perhaps bright or primrose yellow was selected by Meccano due to existing models that were still on the assembly floor, such as the 105, 131, 174, 185, 193, 961, 962, 965 and 966 with the new addition to the family joining others into the paint shop. The following are several images showing a close comparison of the shade of yellow between the Euclid, Alfa Romeo, Rambler Cross Country and the Vogue.

The above clearly shows the similarity of the yellow used, which I think was coded by Meccano as G/83. We can also readily see why Meccano selected yellow.  It would mean another model availing of an existing paint code that was already being used for these models that were currently in the latest catalogue. This most certainly would have also satisfied the accountants at Meccano.

However, armed with the colour chart of the Rootes Group of vehicles manufactured between 1957 and 1966 the reason for the short production run of yellow for the Dinky Toys Singer Vogue is most likely that Rootes must have respectfully requested Meccano to change the colour to something else, as April Yellow, a colour almost matching the “attractive shade of yellow” adopted by Meccano was used exclusively by Rootes in its commercial division for the Commavan Series 1500, a colour that may have been a safety selection where visibility was essential. April Yellow was used only for the Commavan Series 1500 from 1959 until 1967 with no other vehicle produced by the company being painted in this colour. I can only assume the folk at Rootes must have been aghast at their highly respected Singer being modelled with a colour only used by a tradesman or holiday maker!

The following is an extract from the Rootes Colour Chart showing April Yellow - colour code 83286

It was no doubt left to Meccano to select an alternative colour that was available within their stock, a colour that was similar to that used by the prototype and one that would satisfy Rootes. On examining the current range of Dinky Toys, a conservative colour and one that was already in use that would satisfy all concerned was found with the 198 Rolls Royce Phantom V that had been released a month earlier. The Phantom V was in a colour scheme of “polychromatic” green and gloss ivory. Polychromatic was an early terminology for metallic paint.  And here was the final result; a colour that was synonymous with prestige!

The above was photographed in our kitchen with my Canon SX50HS, using its custom exposure setting.

And again, this time changing the setting to automatic resulting in a more realistic colour. Incidentally, the 198 Rolls Royce Phantom V shown above arrived in my care at Christmas, 1962 – had disappeared from the family home when I returned to Australia in 1988 after 21 years in Papua New Guinea, and fortunately returned to its rightful owner together with its box 10 years later by an elder brother!

 Finally, the splendid polychromatic green model sitting on its near mint box:

I am not certain if the following is applicable to all Singer Vogues in yellow, but my example has a matte-finish base plate,

whereas my example of the Vogue in metallic greenish-grey has a gloss base plate. (The glossy base plates were also used for my 198 Rolls Royce Phantom V, but were early issues of this model fitted with a matte base plate?)

The Dinky Toys Singer Vogue remained in production with its prestigious, but “attractive polychromatic green” until 1966.  Using documents available to me, subject to correction from others, the Singer Vogue made its last appearance in the October 1966 Dinky Toys Dealer Order Form. By January 1967 the model was no longer included in the Order Form nor in the 1967 catalogue so it can be assumed that it was terminated by Christmas 1966, hence a change of date from the PDF file.

As for the North American market, I have the 145 Singer Vogue listed in the 1963 catalogue, but it appears to have been deleted by 1964 as it is not included in any sales literature after 1963.  (This of course is subject to any of our friends in the US or Canada providing up-dated information.) It is interesting that the 1963 United States and Canadian catalogues showed the Singer Vogue on the front page still depicted in its original yellow colour scheme. The catalogue was printed in May 1963.

However, this was perhaps nothing out of the ordinary, as the UK catalogue printed in July 1963 also has the model in yellow. By January 1964 though, the 1964 catalogue with a print code 7/164/450 not only has the revised colour scheme of polychromatic green but the drawing has also been updated with one major difference; the Singer Vogue’s colour is not identical to that of the 198 Rolls Royce Phantom V, but a lighter shade. Now what does that tell us?!!! (Of course this catalogue has a number of errors, one of which is also on the front cover, the 140 Morris 1100 Saloon in the never-used scheme of blue roof and white body, not to mention it is a two door version! Also the 130 Ford Consul. . . . . ..!

The lighter shade of green, compared to the 198 Rolls Royce Phantom V.

The Vogue was also produced in Australia by Rootes Australia but was marketed as the Humber Vogue. (No wonder I never knew at the time of the existence of the Singer, although having seen the earlier Singer motor cars of the early 1950s, my main knowledge of things “Singer” was Mum’s Singer sewing machine!)  The Humber Vogue was introduced in 1963 with the Australian production of the Vogue ceasing in 1966 following the takeover of Rootes Australia by Chrysler Australia.

(Noticed the abundance of Australian flags proudly flying over these Australian-made Rootes motor cars!!)

 Before concluding this treatise, a brief history of the Rootes Group, and the place where the Singer Vogue was produced. Ryton-on-Dunsmore is a village in the district of Rugby in Warwickshire, about a mile south east of Coventry, England. The former factory (also known as the Ryton Plant) was a key feature of the village for more than sixty years. It was situated next to the A45 the highway linking Coventry with Rugby and the M1 – the motorway to London. The factory was originally constructed by the Rootes Group the manufacturer of Humber and Hillman cars in 1940 initially to build aircraft engines for the Royal Air Force during World War Two. After the war it became the headquarters of the Rootes Group, having added Singer Motors to its portfolio in 1956 but when the organisation entered financial difficulties in the 1960s, the company was taken over by the American car manufacturing giant Chrysler who originally had acquired a shareholding of 30% of Rootes in 1964 and subsequently increased its holding to 45% until eventually the company was acquired by Chrysler on 30 June 1970.

Chrysler itself encountered financial difficulties, and sold the plant to PSA Peugeot Citroën in 1978 but this is another sad story of the slow loss of the British motoring industry that was not only confined to the Rootes Group.

One final “snap-shot” of the two colour versions, side by side. In the four years that the 145 Singer Vogue was being produced and included in numerous sales literatures it was one of those models that did not quite achieve the recognition it deserves, whose only claim to fame was the unusual circumstances surrounding its colour! On that note, one final “snap-shot” of the two colour versions, side by side. I am pleased that I have added these to my collection.

Kind regards to you all,

Bruce H.   (150)

20170507/1130/0054

 

 


Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Thu, 07/30/2015 - 16:47

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Bruce, again a very good article of your hand.

I found it very interesting to read the colour history of this model. And so deeply. A handsome analysis of you to show everything in exactly the right order and the interesting relationships you know with it. I do not have this model, but I'm always happy to read your articles. Very interesting how you explain it and the relationships you know. These articles are very valuable to the DTCA forum. I also like to see those old sales brochures. It gives so much more charm to an article.

I also searched in my USA catalogues for model 145. I could not find this model after 1963 too.

Kind regards,

Jan Oldenhuis 4-7-2017


Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 22:38

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Jan

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and appreciative comments on my Post.  It is very gratifying reading comments from others as you know only too well there was a considerable amount of time and effort gone into its presentation - and that is well before the actual posting into this website! I wish there was a facility whereby a Post can be saved frequently during the Posting process.

In my younger days, those models produced after I left school were no long of interest, except for two that my parents continued giving me! The 198 and 196 were the last ones I received, the Holden only because my father worked in a Holden dealership, and I guess the Rolls Royce as a companion to the 150 they had given me several years earlier. I regret now not having bought any Dinky Toys myself when I started earning an income. Hindsight is a marvellous tool!

Thank you again for your kind words and for checking your copies of USA catalogues thus confirming what I have written.

Kind regards

Bruce   (150)

20170607/1132/0115

 


Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
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Joined: Thu, 07/30/2015 - 16:47

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Indeed, making an article requires a lot of time and then you have to wait for any responses. Sometimes not at all, while sometimes questions remain open. That is a pity. I assume it will be read and appreciated. That's my driving force.

It is often a small group of members who appear in the forum. That's a pity. I hope that the members who take the freedom to make an article, respond or simple post a question or show their models will grow. The threshold must be low. It needs not always a high quality and models don't need to be mint.

I like making an article and that's my driving force. I always make a concept in Word and when I have completed everything I make the article online. Really annoying if you do a wrong action and everything is lost. Fortunately, you have the concept behind you.

Most of the time is spend importing images into the text. Especially when the image is too large and must be reduced first. We have to accept this. The uploaded files are fortunately in a large format. That is pretty.

Fortunately, after years it is still possible to respond on an article and I hope this more happens when members read an old article. It always is a fun activity.

Kind regards,

Jan Oldenhuis 6-7-2017

 


CaddyEldorado
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Joined: Fri, 08/21/2015 - 05:08

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Bruce

A great read; your time and effort are much appreciated. 

What I find intriguing is why Dinky didn't repeat their 166/168/175 badge-engineering exercise and produce a Hillman Super Minx and Humber Sceptre to accompany the Singer Vogue, exploiting marque loyalty amongst their young customers to the full. And why choose the Singer Vogue? I think the Hillman Super Minx variant was by far the biggest seller.

I guess a similar question is why only 140 Morris 1100 and none of the other badge engineered range? Afer all, it was thought worthwhile to produce Austin Countryman and Morris Traveller variants. 

Kind regards

Mark


Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 22:38

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Thank you very much Mark, and I'm glad that you found the article a good read.

It is interesting about the earlier badge-engineering with Dinky which followed the example of Rootes with their own badge-engineering. The Hillman Super Minx was a great looking car, and as you said, it could have commenced with the Humber Sceptre, then followed by the Hillman and Singer. Just why Meccano did not attempt this is unknown, although sales figures may have forced their hand. Certainly, the Hillman/Humber could have achieved more sales within the Australian market, as the Super Hillman was asembled out here, as too (I think) the Humber although why Rootes Australia badged the Singer as a Humber is highly unusual to say the least! The reality may have been that even at Rootes, most never knew what exactly was being decided at the Board level during the 1960s which was leading to the acquisition by Chrysler. Possibly Meccano did entertain the idea of producing a Super Minx and Sceptre but decided against it as it would have made a concentration of Rootes products on numerous toy shop shelves again.

For the same reason the 140 Morris 1100 could have been badge-engineered by Meccano as an MG, Riley or even a Wolesley as well as an Austin but the same may have also applied within the decision process as with the Rootes group. I would have liked to have seen any of these as well as a Morris 1100, but by that time, I was well and truly out of Dinky collecting and onto something else more attractive altogether!! 

Meccano by this stage was already starting to feel the effects of Corgi and other manufacturers, in addition to working with a rather dominant industrial relationship with its unions, but that is another story of which I created a Topic several years ago on the decline of Meccano.

Thank you again for your Post - most appreciated.

Kind regards

Bruce Hoy   (150)

20170907/1135/1403


dinkycollect's picture
dinkycollect
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Joined: Fri, 06/26/2015 - 16:49

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Mark

We will never know why Meccano chose such and such a model. We do not know what the relationship was between Meccano and the manufacturers and how much the manufacturers paid Meccano to have their model made.

Bruce

An excelent article as usual.

It is possible to save part of your article so that most of it does not get lost. Just use the "SAVE" button below and then the edit ling below your post.

All the best.

Jacques.


Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 22:38

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Thank you Jacques for your response.

It is obvious that Meccano and the Rootes Group had a close association, going all the way back to the 24d sold as a Vogue pre-war and 36c Humber postwar, then the 40f Hillman Minx, followed by the other three later models being badge engineered of the 175 Minx. I do not think Meccano paid any manufacturer for the "privilege" of making a miniature, in fact, it was no doubt used by a manufacturer to promote their own products.  A good example of each scratching the other's back. Triumph permitted Meccano access to their Herald as a preliminary example of excellent co-operation which then continued for the benefit of both manufacturers. 

Thank you for your comments on my article - most appreciated. However, I think you misunderstood my question about saving. I am well aware of using the "SAVE" button, as that is when the Post is downloaded into the Topic. By doing that before the Post has been completed one has to then use the Edit button to continue entering details into that Post. This could result in others reading what has been downloaded, thinking that was it and may then submit their own Post in regard to what has been uploaded which would be a waste of their time. What I am writing about, is the manner of saving a Post BEFORE it is uploaded into the website. 

Kind regards

Bruce Hoy   (150)

20170907/1134/1342


binnsboy650
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Joined: Sun, 10/02/2016 - 07:35

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

As someone who has owned both a Hillman Super Minx and a Humber Sceptre I think I can offer an explanation for Meccano's lack of a badge-engineered version of either.

While the Hillman shares a body with the Singer, the Singer's grille and headlight arrangement is similar to the contemporary Humber. The Humber however has a quite different roofline and rear wings. Also the Hillman grille and headlight arrangement is quite different from the Singer's.

All in all a tricky undertaking for the mould makers at Meccano and conceivably the reason why they stuck with the well-appointed Singer.

 


Townie54's picture
Townie54
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Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

I acquired my Singer Vogue in February 1966. It is in yellow like the Victor estate, and has a matt base also like the Victor. I had always assumed green was the standard colour, and yellow a late issue run off using up paint. Interesting that yellow is suggested as the early issue. With regard to the Meccano Magazine article the model Vogue on page 491 must be a prototype as the front windows/A posts are not right.


Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 22:38

Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Patrick

Thank you for your valued comments, not to mention showing that absolutely splendid 145 in yellow without a mark on it!  In February 1966 I was well and truly away from Dinky Toys, but if only I had a crystal ball at the time, I would have hunted down any yellow 145 Singer Vogues!!

Actually, when you wrote "Interesting that yellow is suggested as the early issue", it was not suggested, but exactly what  The Toyman was seeing in front of him with him also providing the colour, "with its bright and attractive yellow finish".. 

I too thought the photograph in the magazine was a pre-production example, until I enlarged the Meccano image, and then I realised the odd nature of the A pillar was created by the edge of the driver's seat. Hopefully the following provides a reasonable comparison between the Meccano image and my examples!

Here are a couple more comparison pictures:

But it is interesting seeing the grille used on the Humber Vogue in Australia which matches that of the Singer as can be seen with the advertisement below from Rootes Australia Ltd

The image above is that of a 1962 Singer Vogue and the image preceding is that of a 1963 Humber Vogue.  Both cars are in Australia, with the latter having been assembled here near Dandenong, Victoria, The Rootes Australia plant commenced assembling Hillman, Singer and Humber models from 1946 until the company was merged with Chrysler in 1965. The Humber brand was phased out with production of the Hillman Arrow and Hillman Hunter continuing in 1967. The last Hillman Hunter rolled off the assembly line in November 1972 and from then on, Chrysler was only assembling their models and the Mitsubishi Galant series. A fascinating topic, but I was intrigued seeing the difference with the Humber grille as shown by Binnsboy650 and the grille for those assembled in Australia.

Kind regards

Bruce H.   (150)

20181203/2135/1187


Townie54's picture
Townie54
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Re : -145 Singer Vogue (1962-66)

Well it certainly begs the question. Why change from the Toyman’s “attractive yellow” to the dull green. As with the Triumph promotional colours did Rootes baulk at this affront to Singer’s staid image and request a colour more in tune with their Sage Green?