The Commer Convertible Articulated Truck was released in May 1963 with the back cover announcement in the Meccano Magazine. (See photograph 1) It was an unusual release, as it was certainly out-dated when it reached the toy stores. This may account for the scarcity of models on the market these days. Although scarcity in this case does not equate to value!
The model consisted of two old and trusted moulds from the cab-chassis of the 25X/430 Breakdown Lorry and the trailer part of 521/921/409 and the plain trailer 551/951/428. The cab chassis dates back to November 1950 and the trailer even older to April 1948 as the trailer component for the Bedford 521. Under the guise of 424, with a brighter colour of a hideous, bright light yellow gloss and a silver trailer both with blue plastic hubs, these castings were to soldier on for another three years, and in the case of the trailer on its own until 1971 making this one of, if not the oldest casting of a Dinky Toys of 23 years – unbelievable in this age when manufacturers are constantly deleting and adding new models.
The model had a relatively short life of three years before being deleted from the inventory. It made its last appearance in the October 1966 Dealer Order Form although it may have appeared in the November and December Order Forms of which I do not have a copy. However with the model not being included in the January 1967 Order Form it can be assumed that the model had already been deleted within the factory, leaving only existing stock on hand by the many dealers. A Meccano Toys of Quality price list dated January 1967 does have the model listed with a price of 9/11.
There were two different boxes used during the life of the 424 Commer Convertible Articulated Truck and images of these are below. Which came first I have no idea, but the box which was predominantly in red and yellow is less common that the green and orange version.
In the closing months of the life of the 424, it does not appear in the First Edition catalogue for 1966 but it makes a mysterious return in the Second Edition issued after 21 July 1966 as one of those not illustrated at a price of 10/1. Then in the first edition of the 1967 catalogue, the 424 continues with its presence still not being pictured but now with a price that matches the earlier price leaflet of 9/11.
With its appearance in the 1967 catalogue, but not in the January 1967 Dealer Order Form we are left with a quandary as to its deletion year. It may not have been omitted from the January 1967 Dealer Order Form due to insufficient stock being on hand although it may have appeared in later Dealer Order Forms of which I have none to refer until 1968 when of course the model has long been deleted.
To provide an example Meccano’s forward planning particularly for its overseas markets, take for instance the 1963 catalogue published for Australia. It was printed in England with a reference number of 13/163/100, which translates to January 1963 with a print run of 100,000. However, if you look carefully, one will see that the included price list (with the same print reference code as for the catalogue) includes the 424 Commer Convertible Articulated Truck – a model that was not released until May. Also included was the 241 Lotus Racing Car that was also released in May. In fact, the January price list printing covered every model to be released in January, February, March, April and May. It also included the 139 Ford Consul scheduled for release in the UK in June with the notation that it would be available later. Then we come to models that were released in July 1963, 448 Chevrolet El Camino Pick-up with Trailers, and the six large Gift Sets, 121, 122, 123, 298, 398 and 400, and we find these also included together with their prices. The only model not included but released in July 1963 was the 944 Shell-BP Fuel Tanker. It was fascinating that even in those days when currencies were not market dictated, Meccano was able to include a price for all those models that had not even been released! The catalogues would have been shipped to Australia which would have been factored in, anything from three to four months, so that when the little Aussie kids obtained their catalogues, it would have been relatively up-to-date.