Meccano Liverpool produced 5 small Studebaker Petrol tankers from 1950 to 1961, including the 30p 440 Studebaker tanker Mobilgas in this contribution.
1949 Studebaker Tanker in Connecticut USA
1949 Studebaker Tanker in Connecticut USA
1949 Studebaker Truck advertisement with green tank body.
1949 advertisement Studebaker Trucks with green tank body as 30P
1949 Studebaker Tanker in Connecticut USA. Note the impressive hood ornament and the open wheel arches instead of the closed wheel arches of the Dinky model.
Introduction 30p in Meccano Magazine May 1950.
1) 30p Petrol Tanker in colour catalogue UK May 1952 (1950-1952)
2) 30pa 441 tanker Castrol – 1st in UK catalogue August/September 1952 (1952-1960)
3) 30pb 442 tanker Esso – 1st in MM July 1952 and catalogue USA 1952 (1952-1960)
4) 30p - 340 tanker Mobilgas – 1st in Meccano price list July 1953 and Catalogue UK 1953 (1953-1961)
5) 443 tanker National Benzole - 1st in Meccano price list January 1957 and catalogue UK 1957 (1957-1958)
Above the 5 small Petrol tankers produced from 1950 to 1961. I call it the small jewels of Dinky Toys.
According to documentation from catalogues, price lists and Meccano Magazines the 30pa Tanker Castrol was included in the 1952 catalogue Egypt with print code 5/652/2 and in the 1952 UK catalogue with print code 15/852/165. The 30pb Tanker Esso was included in the 1952 USA catalogue, so the Castrol and Esso tanker were issued before the Mobilgas tanker which is first mentioned in the Meccano products price list of July 1953 and UK catalogue of September 1953. In fact, the Mobilgas tanker was first issued in 1953 instead of 1952. The 30p Petrol tanker was still available until the UK April 1953 DT leaflet before it was replaced by the 30p tanker Mobilgas in the July 1953 price list.
30pa Tanker Castrol in 1952 catalogue Egypt with print code 5/652/2
30pa Tanker Castrol in 1952 catalogue UK with print code 15/852/165
30pb Tanker Esso in 1952 catalogue USA
30p, 30pa and 30pb in Meccano Dinky Toys products price list 1st July 1953 ref. 16/753/100
It is worth mentioning that the large 504 Foden tanker Mobilgas was issued in May 1953, almost simultaneously with the small 30p tanker Mobilgas. Both appeared for the first time pictured in the September 1953 UK catalogue.
30P tanker Mobilgas in 1953 UK catalogue
504 Foden tanker Mobilgas in 1953 UK catalogue
My Studebaker Mobilgas is a later one (post 1957). It has the later vertical ridge over the centre rear side of the model and the lack of the 20mph speed limit roundel (deleted 3-7-1957). That’s why it does not match with the dual numbered transition box 440 30p of the renumbering period from around 1953-54. So the model and box has been swapped, which unfortunately happens very often, but I am very happy with the scarce dual numbered box.
My 440 tanker Mobilgas base. (Overexposed to show the rear axle mounting)
Closed wheel arches and the way of axle mounting:
The special attachment of the rear axle to the inner chassis of the closed wheel arches at the rear of the petrol tanker is immediately visible when you turn the model around. I had never seen such a fixation before on a DT model with closed wheel arches. So I went to research this on 20 DT models with closed wheel arches. In all of them, the axles are mounted in pillars or by means of supports in the base plate. The only ones I could find with an equal fixation on the inside of the chassis are the 23s Streamlined racing car produced from 1938-1956, which is equivalent to the 23m Thunderbolt Speed Car produced from 1938-1941 (both axles). I enjoy researching such things and sharing this with others.
23s Streamlined racing car – 1938-1956
23m Thunderbolt Speed Car - 1938-1941.
Meccano Liverpool and Bobigny must have had a good relationship with Studebaker USA. Many Studebaker models have been made by both UK and France, started with the 39f Studebaker State Commander Coupe in 1939 and ended with the 169 Golden Hawk (1958-1963).
Mike Richardson mentions in DT & MM on page 159: The motives for the choice of Studebaker is obscure as they were never seen on British roads and there were plenty of indigenous vehicles that could have been chosen – but they are pretty ..., but I think that Meccano Liverpool considered the US Studebaker brand important for the export to and generate money income from the USA after WWII. Meccano Bobigny had little choice of their own French car brands after WWII.
All these tankers are described in TMT. The 30p Petrol tanker Mobilgas can be found in TMT with the link: http://www.talkmodeltoys.com/discus/messages/27668/1183.html?1274697758
Below I show a photo of a 1947 Studebaker tanker with its impressive front with which the French Dinky Toys 25 series Studebakers started in 1949 and of which I own 3 original examples.
Jan Oldenhuis, 19 March 2020, updated 26 January 2021.
Thank you for sharing your fine documentation with us, Jan! Remarkable, that older box and later model of yours. Both in exceptional condition. That's why I wonder if they still must belong to each other. There are so many chronological anomalies in Dinky Toys practice, that I would not exclude it. Perhaps the box came from some older stock. Well, we'll probably never know.
I believe that in this thread the 2nd type of this Mobilgas Tanker should not be overlooked. The drawing for the new decals dates of June 1957. So your example of the 1st type can hardly be much later.
It is remarkable that this transfer change was never paid attention to in publicity or packaging, neither in the catalogue illustrations nor on the illustrated boxes. No word or image in Meccano Magazine either. Even the final illustration in the 1960 catalogue still presents the old model in a new type of image.
I found the no. 190 Caravan as showing the same solution for the axle mounting. I cannot think of other examples. Kind regards, Jan
The Studebaker Dinky tanker has a very distinctive tank body, with the tank with rear sloping bucket doors extending beyond the side panels. Unlike the Gasoline Tanker in the Studebaker Trucks advert above where they are of apiece. This style was typical of Heil of Tennessee. As Dinky were meticulous with their tank bodies, such as on the AEC Monarch, they probably had a streamlined Heil to work from, as it is called a ‘Realistic Reproduction’.
The axle of the French caravan ref. 811 is also assembled in this way.
The Mobilgas family from a different point of view:
As usual, a fabulous introduction to this tanker by Jan O. -- but now that TMT is sadly no more, perhaps information should be added about the aluminum versions of the 30p and 30pa. We know that they came early (1950-1952?) as an experiment, probably as a result of Korean War-induced shortages, but of oourse mazak versions of both models also exist.
What I am mainly wondering is how common (or not) the aluminum versions are. As far as I have seen, complete auctions on Vectis and sales on QDT have not mentioned what maerials the tankers were made of, assuming the sellers and buyers were even aware or cared.
As the TMT post had mentioned -- and is documented in JD's Encyclopedia -- the two versions are easy to tell apart by weight.
All the auction houses are not very good about variations. They should buy the Encyclopaedia, this would raise the prices and their profits. For example Rob's Ferrari on sale on Vectis who do not mention which version is the front grille. If it is the smooth one then it is much more valuable.
The Studebaker tanker and other Dinky Toys have been copied to make Club models for W.M.T.C. but what is the W.M.T.C. ?
Since the tanker advertises Wessex Gas, the Wessex Model and Toy Collector Club was an easy guess, and sure enough ... https://www.collectors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/clubs/wessex-model-and-collectors-club-1/
I assume this model was produced by Ian Law, like so many others. An interview with him, and pictures of the process of making the replicas, would make a nice article for the Journal.
Thank you Johnny, your information helped me to contact this club, they will send me the information about the three models that they ordered from Ian Law.
While walking down Queen street in Auckland last december, I saw this sign in a shop window.
I could not resist to change it to that.