The first version of this Peugeot van was a yellow-green commercial van, no. 25b, with the advertising ‘Lampe Mazda’, dating from September 1953. The scale is rather unusual 1/50, as confirmed by the factory assembly drawing 100.318 of 19 April 1951. The mock-up, the wooden proof model, which is still in existence, is on the 1/43 scale according to Roulet.
The dark green colour of the mail van is in accordance with the actual colour of the French postal service in the nineteenfifties and sixties. This dark shade of green is very often found on other French Dinky Toys from that period. All around, in the middle, except for the front, a yellow-coloured strip is applied.
The Fourgon postal is a very common model that shows up in various subtle variants in the second half of the 1950s. The earliest version can be recognized by a smooth inside of the roof. The name ‘POSTES’ is stamped by tampoo printing in the slimmest letters of all variants. At that time, the tyres always showed an ‘M’ in relief.
The second one has the same characteristics, but it has a checkered inside of the roof.
The third type has a somewhat rounder ‘O’, while the lettering has now been applied by means of a transfer.
The fourth version shows a text of which the ‘O’ shows more or less straight sides.
In the fifth and final state the ‘O’ has become rounder once more, and the characters are bolder than before. The transparency and shade of yellow can vary, so that strictly speaking even more variations could be distinguished. We only find this latter variation with the newly introduced concave hubs, the model packed in a dual numbered box 25BV / 560. From the outset, the model has been packed in an individual yellow illustrated end flaps box. Atlas produced a replica of this final variant, probably the least common one.
This mail van of April 1954 is based on a Peugeot D.3.A. van. These vehicles were initially sold by Chenard & Walker (1946-1950). They were in need of a suitable engine, to be supplied by Peugeot, whereas Peugeot had not been able to develop a new van after the war yet. So from 1950 on Peugeot continued production until 1965. The initial Peugeot 202 engine was replaced over the years by a 203 and finally a 403 engine. The bodywork was produced for Peugeot by Chausson, which firm would later be taken over by Peugeot.
Characteristic is the ‘pig's nose’, the shape of which is the result of the compact, almost square, forward protruding grille and radiator.
The French black and white catalogue of 1954 shows the model for the first time, even in colour on the back of the cover. As a Dinky Toy, renumbered 560, the Fourgon postal is included finally in the 1960 catalogue, but still without the contemporary concave hubs.
For the French this was the first model of a postal van. The British already had one available before the war, the Royal Mail Van, no. 34b. After it was discontinued in 1952, the new Royal Mail Van, no. 260, was launched in 1955 as a contemporary counterpart to the Fourgon postal.
In addition to the aforementioned ‘Lampe Mazda’ version, a promotional ‘Peugeot Service’ and a scarce version without advertising lettering were made. Similar models are also known in ‘Cibié’ livery and even a fire engine version, all very rare, if not unique.
Both the availability of the Atlas edition, and the many surviving originals, make a real Dinky Toy Fourgon postal rather easy to find and affordable.
Comments, additions and corrections very welcome, as usual, kind regards, Jan