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janwerner's picture
janwerner
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Joined: Tue, 07/15/2014 - 00:56
--25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

This farm version of the well-known military jeep was modelled on a larger scale than the early army jeep, Jeep no. 153a. Contrary to expectations this bigger scale of 1:40 does not offer more detail to the Universal Jeep model. That’s why it makes a more simple and cruder impression.

It was issued much later than the military predecessor 153a, in October 1952, together with the big no. 591 A.E.C. Tanker ‘Shell Chemicals Limited’ and the no. 29h Duple Roadmaster Coach. The number 27y (referring to the farm and garden range?), as shown, is a print error. It should be 25y!

This was the beginning of a new Dinky Toys era: metal shortage because of the Korean War was demishing rapidly and the new Speke factory enabled a bigger, more efficient production of Dinky Toys, necessary to serve the slowly recovering European markets after the Second World War. A new Dinky Toy was issued almost every month from summer 1952 on.

Military Jeep 153a was also issued in civilian dress (1947-48, and in the early fiftees for some export only) as no. 25j.


1954/55


1955


1958

Besides, the Universal Jeep in its turn was given a military looks too, be it exclusively for the US market: no. 669 U.S. Army Jeep. This is a curious model which is obviously incorrect for military use. 153a (renumbered in 672) was still in the 1954/55 US catalogue, whereas the same catalogue of 1955 featured the no. 669 already, in black and white. Price: $1.00. This lasted until 1958, as this year’s U.S. catalogue was the last in which it showed up, in colour (see pictures above).

The Universal Jeep was basically sprayed red or green, and the army green, but many variants occur as the finish of the wheels is concerned. The initial red version had red or blue wheel hubs etc. and the early ones had smooth medium size tyres. Later on, starting ca. 1958, the treaded tyres were introduced. This is one of the few larger scale Dinkies which suited them perfectly. Other Dinky Toys tended to get a kind of unfair terrain vehicle looks, which this one happens to rightfully deserve in my opnion.

In the mid-sixties plastic hubs appeared on the Universal Jeep’s hubs. Scarcer blue and orange versions are found too (Vectis Auctions images used for demonstrating these). The front window frame was finished in silk black. The model was discontinued in 1967.

An exceptional colour is the cream one with red hubs, the South-African solution during the years of import restrictions.

The Universal Jeep was delivered in all yellow trade boxes, containing a dual colour mix of half a dozen models, before the introduction of the illustrated individual box with colour dot on the end flaps.

The wooden prototype, mock-up, was found just a few years ago, together with a dozen of others. Besides missing the front bumper it is in good condition and hardly differs from the production model. It is just remarkable that its medium size treaded tyres were not in general use in its period of development, the early 1950s.

No factory drawing is known of the Universal Jeep. Of the army version, however, the assy is known for applying the military signs transfers. This forms a bridge to the identity of the assy of the Universal Jeep, to which it is referred on the lower left of that document.

Indeed my Meccano factory index list to the assembly jobs – many of which are gone by now – also refers to job 13745, being the assembly job for the original Universal Jeep.

The real world prototype was an adapted Willys Jeep, especially suitable for Agricultural farming. Immediately post-war such a vehicle was amply available for farmers, rather than other comparable vehicles.

The traditional design jus needed some slight conversion. The spare wheel moved from the rear to the right hand rear side in order to ease the towing of agricultural trailers. Beside an extra winch for such actions is visible at the rear (also applied on the no. 27d Land Rover. The radiator was enlarged and the transmission made suitable for the heavy duty work in the fields. As an extra the high, undivided windscreen was especially designed for this type of jeep. Nevertheless, it did not fully meet the critical demands for the heavy and multi-sided agricultural tasks.

That’s why many of these adaptions and extra’s were finally introduced as regular standards for the Land Rover, which was strictly designed for this kind of work. The Land Rover was presented to the public in Amsterdam on April 30 1948. Although the basic Universal Jeep preceded the Land Rover obviously, it was issued over two years later than the Land Rover as a Dinky Toy!


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hoort
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Joined: Wed, 08/05/2015 - 03:07

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Hi Jan,

Thank you very much for this informative, comprehensive and nice thread. Lovely pictures!
I would like to add this picture showing the Universal Jeep with spun hubs. The model in green was made in England, for a short period between the ridged hub and the plastic hub version. It was also made in red. The model in grey is an Indian made Dinky Toys. I have showed these models in the Wheel variation thread earlier. Both are very rare.

Kind regards,
Rob


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buzzer999
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Joined: Sat, 01/24/2015 - 12:39

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

The front cover from an original Jeep leaflet from the 1950s.

Dave


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dinkyfan
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 23:27

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Jan--Another wonderful, well-written, and very informative article. These little vehicles had an interesting history, and although they were thought to be useful for farm and agricultural purposes, they later proved very adept with the off-roading folks here in the states. Their small size, four wheel drive, and dual range gearbox made them able to go almost anywhere. Today, they are very popular to find and restore. My brother has an early 1950's civilian version, which he likes to drive around in.
A couple of points: What you referred to as a winch on the rear is actually a power take off device (PTO), which transferred power from the engine to a geared device, so that many implements could be run by it.....mowers, augers, etc (that same device is also on the Dinky Land Rover). And the other reason the spare tire was moved to the side was that the civilian model had a tailgate on the rear which could be lowered to help in loading.
And Dave, that was a wonderful ad you showed!

Terry


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

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Rob, Terry, thank you very much for the valuable comments. Additions and corrections are always very welcome to these quickly written pieces of mine (see my typing errors). Sometimes the language handicap may also play a role in using the correct notions. This way we can build a vast amount of Dinky knowledge here together (as some of us were used to do on talkmodeltoys).
Dave, welcome back. Got some Chinese Dinkies to show? :laugh:
Regards, Jan


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Richard
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Joined: Mon, 07/06/2015 - 14:56

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Very nice and interesting thread Jan.

Here is my contribution :

As you can see on the following photo, the base plate of the green Jeep is gloss and the red is mat.
The red shows the reference 25Y under the rear axle when the green is smooth with a different metal depth.

I hope that I am clear ! :) :)

Kind regards

Richard


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

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Hi Richard, as my three examples - as shown above - concerns, they comply with your findings. They all have the heighened ridge underneath, indicating that they have all been produced after deletion of the cast 25Y catalogue number. The early ones, those with smooth tires (the red and army versions), have the regular brunofix finished base plates, whereas the later green one, with the treaded tyres fit, shows the much more shiny, gloss late 1950s introduced base plate. Regards, Jan


sjmcm1982
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Joined: Wed, 12/31/1969 - 18:00

Re : --25y and 405 Universal Jeep (1952-67)

Jan, thanks for writing up this little report, I hope to be able to contribute more in the coming weeks.

Stef