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Jan Oldenhuis's picture
Jan Oldenhuis
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Thu, 07/30/2015 - 22:47

--30p and 440 Studebaker Petrol Tanker 'Mobilgas' (1952-61)

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) 30pb 442 tanker Esso – 1st in MM July 1952 (1952-1960)

3) 30pa 441 tanker Castrol – 1st in UK catalogue August/September 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 -  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.

The correct order of issue is very difficult to determine because very little were advertised. According to documentation from catalogues, price lists and Meccano Magazines, the Castrol and Esso tanker were issued before the Mobilgas tanker which is first mentioned in the July 1953 Meccano products price list and September 1953 UK catalogue. 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.

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.

janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Tue, 07/15/2014 - 06:56

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 

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Townie54
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Joined: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 08:52

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’.

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

                              The axle of the French caravan ref. 811 is also assembled in this way.