For a short time the racers had sales number 23. These models were cast in lead. The casting had no driver, 4 small studs as exhaust, no racing number. Several colours can be found on these models. Some had the hubs painted in the same colour as the body. In my collection White with white hubs and Orange with orange hubs. See pictures.
This casting was also made in zamac as I have one in my collection. To me it is not clear when this model was in production, 1934 or early 1935. Any suggestions?
The evolution of the DINKY TOYS 23 Racing Car
23 Racing car was based on the MG EX127 "Magic Midget", a tiny record car, taylor-made for Capt. George Eyston in the early 1930s, powered by a supercharged 4-cylinder 750 cc engine with an output of 115 HP. In 1931 and 1932, Eyston achieved several class-records, then sold the car to German Bobby Kohlrausch, who continued going after such records until the car got into the hands of German Mercedes Benz engineers and disappeared before the outbreak of war.
The DINKY TOYS 23 Racing Car appeared for the first time in the April 1934 issue of Meccano Magazine. Cast in lead, it featured the four short exhaust stubs on the left side (like the "Magic Midget"), no drivers head, underneath behind the cockpit was a wall. The axles were domed on one end, clipped on the other. Smooth hubs with white tyres (not black, they came much later).
In 1934 still, zamac replaced lead and the 23 Racing car received a hand painted racing number on the left side. Production of this model with this mould ended by the end of 1934/early 1935, I think.
In early 1935, a new mould was used in DINKY TOYS England, with a more rounded front end, a drivers head and two raised number circles, of which the circle on the right side was soon abandoned. No wall anymore behind the cockpit. This mould was actually created for the new 23a Racing Car from DINKY TOYS England (with a six branch exhaust system with fishtail end, based on the six-cylinder MG EX135 "Magic Magnette"), but some were made retaining the 4 small exhaust stubs of the "Magic Midget". Domed/clipped axles and white tyres. They are quite rare and for me, they belong to the 23 Racing Car family, even though you could argue that they are 23a variations, since they use the new 23a mould.
DINKY TOYS France issued their 23 Racing Car in August 1934, cast in lead, with drivers head and crimped ends on both sides of the axles. It was adapted for the French DINKY TOYS 23a Racing car by just adding a six-branch exhaust system to the 4 exhaust stubs, issued in early 1935, first in lead, then zamac.
This is my current understanding of the story of the DINKY TOYS 23 Racing Car. Comments much appreciated!
Best regards from Thailand
Further to my elaboration, here are my 23 Racing cars, from left to right:
1. The original in lead
2. The zamac version with the racing number
3. The one with the 23a body, but with the 4 exhaust stubs of Magic Midget
4. A Johillco copy (lead)
5. The French 23 with drivers head
Gentlemen, I had a parcel arrive yesterday that I had been anticipating with some excitement. I bid on and won a Fleabay lot that looked very interesting as I, like many of you, am fond of the early Dinky racing cars.
The lot was described as: 'Vintage Corgi Dinky Toy Ferrari Formula 1 Racing Meccano Rare Barn Find' even though there wasn't a Ferrari to be seen! There were, however, three 23/23a racers, a 23b Hotchkiss, a Timpo, a Corgi Vanwall, a Matchbox Lotus, and another model of the Magic Midget that I haven't identified. They were dusty enough to think that they may truly have been found in a barn but after a gentle warm bath and a blow dry with my hairdrier (the only use it gets these days as I don't have enough hair to warrant any more than a pat with a towel) the cars sparkled. The shine is entirely from the soapy water - no polish.
The star for me was the driverless lead 23 racer in Cream and Green, which is so bright and clean inside and out that I started to think that it was perhaps a modern replica (could it be??). I believe that these were made until December 1934. It has the correct domed and crimped axles.
The silver and blue car is a pre-war 23a and in nice bright condition. The silver and red car is a late 23a that has some paint loss but is still an attractive example. The Hotchkiss wears its post-war livery well and is a nice counterbalance to a red and silver 23e that I recently acquired.
The Lime Green car is the one that I need help in identifying. For a while I thought it was a Johillco but I couldn't find a photo on the web that showed this car. Can anyone help with a maker?
The group photo shows the rather fragile Timpo, which is suffering from fatigue. I compared it to another unfatigued Timpo and it's quite a bit bigger. I don't mind though as it has some character from being carefully painted silver and red by a previous owner.
I haven't shown the Matchbox Lotus or the Corgi Vanwall but they rounded out the lot quite nicely and the Vanwall will be restored in the future. I welcome any comments on the Dinkys as I may well be wrong with my assessment of them.
Regards to all
John---It appears that you scored an amazing find and deal with that parcel! Congratualations, and those early 23's do look quite nice, with still very good paint. Someone sure did not know what they had, and makes you wonder how many other finds like that are out there, hidden away until some day they are discovered and offered. Very nice!
Best regards, Terry
Thanks Terry. The vendor was a dealer and I doubt that he really understood what he had but it doesn't explain why the other ten bidders were not very adventurous.
I guess that the Dinkys may have come from someone who now inhabits that great toy shop in the sky and who had treasured those models in life. That thought prompted a conversation with my younger sister as to what should happen to my collection when I go. She at least understands the joy I get from these toys, and other collectibles I've amassed over my life, and would ensure that they went to a good home. I hope that there are some younger collectors who'll carry our love of Dinkys forward.
Hi John, this is Walter from Thailand
Congratulation to your find, outstanding, really.
As for the individual models, here is my comment:
The 23 Racing car in cream and green is one of the best I have ever seen. It would be great to see the left side with the four exhaust stubs. Perhaps you can add some more pictures?
The blue/white 23a Racing Car is one of the rare "Magic Midget" versions of this new, second casting. This second casting appeared in early 1935 and was supposed to represent Eystons "Magic Magnette" with the six branch exhaust system, but very few still got the 4 stubs from the "Magic Midget". Outstanding condition too.
The lime green Racer is indeed Johillco, dating from the mid 30s. I have the same in my collection. There were versions with drivers head and without, like yours and mine: The floor is rare, missing on my model.
Hope this helps and again, congratulations from Thailand
Wow! Thank you Walter. Your words make me very happy and I feel privileged to own such models.
The photographs didn't come out in the right order for some reason (my incompetence) but picture number 7 is the left hand side of the cream and green car. It really is in beautiful condition. Even the inside of the casting is bright and shiny. The exhaust stubs are very pronounced and painted green with silver highlighting on the stub ends.
I'm pleased to know that the Lime Green racer is a Johillco after all. I'm not sure what the wheels are made of. They seem to be either wooden or of compressed fibre as there's a distinct texture to them. I thought that the base was made of tin but it is non-magnetic so maybe also lead like the casting. The whole car weighs approximately 80 grammes.