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-822 Half-track M3 (1960-71)

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-150 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith (1959-64)

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-501 - 505 Foden type 1 (DG, 1947-1952)

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--25h and 250 Streamlined Fire Engine (1936-54)

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--39d Buick Viceroy Saloon (1939-50)

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Dinky Toys re-painting

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-760 G.P.O. Pillar Box (1954-60)

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Military Matters

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dinkycollect's picture
dinkycollect
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Joined: Fri, 06/26/2015 - 22:49

-173 Pontiac Parisienne (1969-73)

This big car is listed by John Ramsay and Peter Harrington as having been issued in blue but I have never seen one. This is probably due to the drawing on the box which shows a light blue Parisienne.If some one has a picture of the blue @Dinky, I would welcome it for the Encyclopædia.

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Townie54
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The 1969 catalogue shows a blue car, but it looks like an illustration rather than an actual model.

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dinkycollect
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Joined: Fri, 06/26/2015 - 22:49

These part for the Pontiac Parisienne have been found by a collector called "nearlymint" They are the castings of the pre-production Pontiac Parisienne with steering, thick axles and the holes to attach the model in the cristal boxes and the production models without steering but with Speedwheels™ and no holes as the rear one was in the way of the rear axle crimping boss. This explains why this model was always packed in yellow end flaps boxes and why the next models to be issued with Speedwheels™ did not have the steering gadget.

An other piece of Dinky history uncovered.

Photos by courtesy of nearlymint heavily touched up by dinkycollect

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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 20:04

Jacques -- This is extremely interesting! I found the nearlymint posting via Google that must be the same one you read. I think it is useful to see also the bottom of the baseplate that he pictured, so I have added that here.

We know that Dinky Toys suffered in many ways due to the introduction of the Speedwheels and thin axles, but it is especially interesting to see the loss of the steering feature in this case. I note from the article by Chris Jelley that you reproduced in the Encyclopaedia that the Parisienne was the very first Dinky to be fitted with Speedwheels.

I don't think Meccano Ltd did much in the way of market research. They just assumed that children would prefer faster-rolling cars even if it meant less realism. I for one did not!

I will also add a quick snap of an unbuilt dealer display I have that was designed to promote this dubious feature.

Getting back to the topic of the Parisienne specifically, it is worth noting that this model indicates the relative importance of the Canadian market compared to the U.S. one in 1969 (when Dinky Toys were almost impossible to find south of the Canadian border). At this time the Parisienne was a Canada-only Pontiac model that combined Pontiac bodies with various Chevrolet parts. It was not sold in the U.S., where the visually similar Pontiac was called the Catalina or Bonneville.

 

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dinkycollect
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Joined: Fri, 06/26/2015 - 22:49

Jonathan,

 

Chris Jelly did mention in his article that the "original specifications to be altered so that Speedwheels could be included" but without the clue of these two parts one could not understand what Chris meant exactly.

                               

Meccano did not  just assume that children would prefer faster-rolling cars even if it meant less realism, they only followed Mattel who had reeased their Hotwheels in 1968, they were followed by Corgi's Whizzwheels two months after the Parisienne in September 1969. Did Meccano learn what Corgi was doing and hurried the changes to the Pontiac at the cost ofa new mold for the base ?

Distribution of Dinky Toys in the US and Canada was very different. Because Canada is a Commonwealth country it was a reserved market to Meccano's trade department and only English Dinky were sold in Canada when in the US an importer bought Dinky from both Liverpool and Bobigny. This may explain the unavailability of Dinky Toys in the States.

Thank you for your picture of the display but it would be nice to see one assembled without and with cars on it. I have not seen this one yet.

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johnnyangel
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Jacques,

Having been on the scene I am of course well aware of the introduction of Hot Wheels, Whizwheels, and Speedwheels. The difference is that from the start the unrealistic, metallic-painted Hot Wheels were made to a standard width so that they could run on plastic gravity tracks that Mattel also produced. The differing sizes of Dinky Toys made running on tracks impossible and the Speedwheels rather pointless. As I'm sure you know, Meccano Ltd. advertised "Zip Tracks" on the back of one Dinky catalogue but never brought the tracks to market, likely because of the width issue.

I have never assembled that display, partly to preserve its value but also because the Speedwheels are not an especially happy feature.

Regarding distribution of Dinky Toys in the U.S.A., I have posted pretty extensively about that in other threads, but to recap why 60s availability was so bad -- In 1963, following the closure of H. Hudson Dobson and then the multiple regional distributors that were used in 1962, A.C. Gilbert distributed a reduced range of Dinky Toys (mostly English, some French) in the U.S. Then, after Lines Brothers purchased Meccano Ltd. in 1964, Lines Brothers U.S.A. became the distributor and offered an even more limited range.

Unfortunately, Lines Brothers chose to sell Dinky Toys mostly to chain stores (such as Macy's and FAO Schwartz). This is likely as an economy because it was cheaper to deal with the buyers for these chains centrally, instead of, as H. Hudson Dobson had done, sending salespersons out to the many "mom and pop" toy and hobby stores that still existed.

As a consequence, if you did not live near a department store that happened to have a toy department -- and these were fewer and fewer -- you could no longer get Dinky Toys. Lines Brothers distribution dwindled even further in the late 60s.

After the 1971 reorganization and purchase of Meccano Ltd by Airfix, U.S. Dinky Toy sales gradually resumed thanks to a company called Covell Management (started by the father of a good friend/fellow collector), which then passed the torch to AVA International (later known as US Airfix). But all that is of course another story, except to note that Covell Management and AVA only distributed English Dinky Toys.