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janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Tue, 07/15/2014 - 00:56
-888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

This impressive model was issued by the French Meccano business in Bobigny in 1960, subsequent to the one year earlier issued counterpart, no. 39a/893 Tracteur Unic saharien et semi-remorque porte-tubes, the Unic articulated tubes transport truck. As proportions is concerned there is some similarity with the English no. 965 Rear Dump Truck. The Camion pétrolier saharien ‘GBO’ Berliet is best known with plastic hubs, a first. Some reference works, however, mention early examples with diecast wheels. The extra large 27 mm tyres were a first too, that is, for the French. Later, in 1963, the large scale articulated Unic trucks, nos. 803 en 887 (Unic MZ 125T Esterel) were fitted with these tyres as well. As the French had no (spare) tyres of this size in their programme, they possibly obtained them from the Liverpool factory. The English were familiar with these tyres since the introduction of the Euclid in 1955 and the slightly later 7.2” Howit-zer, no. 693. Moreover, they were available as spare tyres no. 13978 since 1956 already (but not in France).

Despite the complicated shape this Dinky Supertoy consists of very few, two, component castings. The combination of the rear platform, chassis and front and, rivetted on that, the unit of the cabin together with the complicated roof installation plus the winch house surround. This model has always been fitted with plastic windows, a standard feature from ca. 1960 on. Suspension, however, is seen on commercials not earlier than one year later. It was fitted as a first on the Berliet GAK baché, no. 584.

The crane jib is executed rather tiny and simple, consisting of one piece of thick shiny wire, which makes a loop on top, forming the hole which allows the hoisting cord to pass through. Although the looks is rather clumsy, in reality it wasn’t more than a thin – but no doubt sturdy – tubes construction either. When erected it is secured in that position by a special hole with notch on both sides at the far rear, in which the legs are resting. By pulling them outward the jib can be folded down forward, which enables the model to fit in its box. The beige cord is fitted with a hook of the slightly smaller French type.  

Like the French no. 39A/893 Unic tracteur saharien et semi-remorque porte tubes, the articulated tubes truck, the cabin roof is painted matt white, the airconditioning installation on top included. The winch house behind the cabin, has an open construction, probably not the easiest part for the tool makers to realize. The hoisting handle is positioned on the left, the spare wheel is fixed on the opposite side.

The platform on the rear has a realistic, detailed non-skid surface. In the centre there is a hole with a flexible lug underneath, once meant to have allowed the possible coupling with a semi-trailer. In the course of its production period this lug was removed, unused. The real Berliet truck, however, did have the function of receiving a semi-trailer, in particular serving as an articulated tanker. See i.a. the YouTube link added below.    

Basically the model was always in sand colour, albeit in slightly different shades every now and then. The plastic hubs may also have a shade of cream. A code 2 model is the Berliet GBO ‘Languedocienne’, finished with specific transfers on the cabin doors and the bonnet. A black sticker covers the box lid’s side, showing a dedicated text and containing a small ‘visiting card’ of that oil business. The official name, as stated on the box is: ‘Camion pétrolier saharien Langedocienne à équipement O.F.B. (Oil Field Body)’. This rare livery is better known nowadays by the modern re-issue of Norev/CIJ.

The blue striped box should contain a packing piece in which the six wheels find their places. Moreover, a sheet of paper with instructions should be present. As said, in the course of time a second version of this model appears, with the lug below the coupling hole removed.

In 1970 en 1971 there is a short revival of this model, now as a heavy duty tipping wagon, for which the die has been adapted on some places. It is the no. 572 G.B.O. Berliet avec Benne carrière basculante, in red with a yellow all-plastic tipping body.

An image of the real-world Berliet GBO 15 6x6 of 1958 is printed next to the model in the French 1960 Dinky Toys catalogue, page 8. It was developed for the special heavy duty work in the Sahara desert, in the years around 1960, when the French were very active in exploring oil fields in the North of Africa, Algeria. The six cylinder 300 hp diesel engine had a capacity of 15.000 cc and managed to haul a load of 40 tons with a speed of 40 km/h. As an articulated tanker with Coder tank semi-trailer it had a capacity of 40.000 liters.

Disembarking a Berliet destined for use in the Sahara: http://www.ina.fr/video/CAF97514839

Some references: Redempt/Touillez, Dinky Toys et Dinky Supertoys utilitaires p. 19-23, Roulet, La légende des Dinky Toys et Dinky Supertoys français Meccano 1934-1981, p. 397-399.

Kind regards, Jan 


dinkyfan's picture
dinkyfan
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DTCA MemberUSA
Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 23:27

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

Jan---Thanks for producing a very nice history of this interesting truck. Coincidentally, I had also just recently purchased one myself, and was amazed at the size and weight of this model, and the complexity of the casting. I had also searched the internet for some history and photos of the prototype, and saw several photos of this truck navigating the sand dune areas of the Sahara desert. An even larger Berliet truck was the later T100, which was the largest in the world at that time. This one does make a nice pairing with the Unic Tubes truck.
I really detest the plastic wheels that Meccano finally went to; to me, they are quite noticeable, and a sad concession to cost at that time, but at the same time, I applaud the French for using dual tires and wheels on the tandem rear axle.....much more realistic! Very nicely done Jan!
Best regards, Terry


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janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands
Joined: Tue, 07/15/2014 - 00:56

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

Thanks, Terry. I had just completed my private catalogue description for this model, so I thought it might be worth while to make a quick translation and make a start filling this up till now non-existing topic.

I am very well aware that with the acquisition of this one I am 'balancing on the edge of my Dinky collecting principles', but I thought I should not miss this companion to the tubes truck - it was very affordable. And, after all, I must humbly admit it's just a great model, in many respects, in the best French Dinky Toys tradition of those days! 

I am convinced that others can add some more interesting details about this truck - both the model and the real one - to our posts ...

Kind regards, Jan 


dinkyfan's picture
dinkyfan
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DTCA MemberUSA
Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 23:27

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

Jan---Yes, you and I have very similar collecting interests, and I also "dance" or balance on that same edge. The past few years, I have also rationalized acquiring some Dinky's made after 1959, and many were companion pieces to other, earlier models....such as these two. As a side note, it is also somewhat interesting to see the evolution that Meccano underwent with a changing market. For you & I, the further this evolution progressed, the further away the toys strayed from their "golden era" look and feel that many of us dearly love.
Best regards, Terry


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johnnyangel
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:04

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

A lovely writeup, Jan! i especially like your photo of the crane lifting pipes from the pipe truck.

 


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

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

For Dirk, a copy of the French Dinky ref 888 made in China with a 3D printer prior to making the died for the Atlas counterfeit.

Photo by courtesy of Jean Michel Roulet.


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Dirk Bloem
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:34

Re : -888 Berliet GPO saharien avec chèvre (1960-1968)

Thank you Jaques

Really a very nice print example.

This is just for comparison purposes that I play with the models.. My printer is also a toy. I make all sorts of assessories for my real Dinky's. My son draws all my ideas and then we print them. He is now 19 and quite interrested.

Dirk