Meccano Factory Drawings
-465 Morris Van 'Capstan' (1957-59)
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--38e Triumph Dolomite Roadster (not issued)
Here is an interesting one, this Austin A40 Somerset has left the factory without the silver detailing on the front grill, headlights bumper etc.
This was part of the Remy-Meeus Sale at Christies in London some years ago.
The following pictures depict the three sales number versions of the 40J and 161 AUSTIN A40 SOMERSET SALOON (1953-1959) which incidentally, Dinky only referred to as an Austin Somerset Saloon with no reference to it also being an A40, the updated model of the A40 Devon.
The photographs show the model with its original 40j box, followed by the model with its dual numbered 40j-161-40j box following the renumbering of most Dinky Toys in 1954 and finally the 161 by which time the old sales number had been deleted completely.
However the dates when the Somerset was in production possibly contains an error. The 161 Austin Somerset was not included in the UK price list dated January 1959. The model also does not appear in the Australian price list of the same date, bearing in mind shipping delays to distant Australia of some three to four months so the leaflet would have been printed with that in mind. It is therefore possible that the model had already been deleted at the end of 1958 as its last appearance was in the December 1958 Meccano Toys of Quality price leaflet.
I well remember when the Somerset came to Australia with its flowing and rounded lines, looking far more modern than its predecessor the Austin A40 Devon, although I remember thinking at the time that when I grow up I will buy a Devon! Instead I ended up with a Morris Minor and then a Hillman Minx!
I will eventually post a photograph of my original 40j Austin Somerset which unfortunately shows much battered wear associated with it being one of my favourite Dinky Toys in the car category!
I wrote in my last Post that I will be writing about my own 40j Austin Somerset.
It was February 1954, and Her Majesty The Queen together with Prince Philip arrived in Australia on her first Official Visit to this country. Mum and Dad had decided that such an historic occasion should be witnessed by our family, so we set off from Armidale, some 365 miles from Sydney, and after a long drive in our 1952 Humber Hawk with me having my feet on a drum of additional petrol as there were no petrol stations open at night in those days, we finally reached Sydney.
We saw Her Majesty when the Royal Couple arrived on 3 February and what an exciting time it was for us. The next day, we all caught a bus into the city where we again saw The Queen. While we were there, Dad managed to slip away from our family but we were eventually reunited. On returning to the home of friends where we were staying, I was called into the kitchen and asked to shut my eyes and open my hand. I did as I was told and on opening my eyes, my hand was filled with a small brown paper bag with something in it and on opening it there was this lovely light blue Austin Somerset! No box, of course. I was absolutely stunned and delighted. The little Austin became my constant companion until we returned home several days later and it became one of my favourite models..
And the photographs below is a close-up of the Somerset closely following a "tank transporter" during a photo excursion in late 1958, showing obvious play wear from almost four years of ownership, with the last photo of the little fellow today, 62 years and 63 days since the 40j came into my life.
Looking back, we were a very patriotic mob in this days but life then was full of respect and the pleasures of life were everywhere.
Bruce-- What a wonderful story and remembrance, and all the more special as you still have the main player! Toys that represent something special like this will always have a special place in our hearts and minds, and is part of what makes collecting more than just acquiring more items....it is also saving and preserving those memories...nicely done!
Best regards, Terry
Bruce--The Austin Somerset has also been one of my favorites, even long ago when I was just a young lad collecting. I think I had the Devon first, and then acquired the red Somerset that I still have. Both date from around 1958-1959, when I was in the midst of my first collecting phase. Nothing special about mine....it is just a nice red one, and it has the dual numbered box, which I did not have a photo of. I think red happens to suit this little car nicely!
Best regards, Terry
Greetings to all who have reached this page!
While checking through my folder of “Unposted Posts” I came across the following I had prepared in 2016. Oh well, better late than never.:
The title, in particular the year when production of the Somerset ceased may possibly be in error. The 161 Austin Somerset was not included in the UK price list dated January 1959 with the print code of 16/159/100. The model also does not appear in the Australian price list of the same date, its print code being 16/159/6, bearing in mind shipping delays to distant Australia of some three to four months. The next UK Price List I have for 1959, with the print code of 16/759/100 2nd P. also does not include the 161 Austin Somerset. It is therefore possible that the model had already been deleted towards the end of 1958 as its last appearance was in a December 1958 Meccano Toys of Quality price leaflet, print code being 16/1258/70 (6th P.).
I do not have a complete collection of Order Forms, nor Price Lists, but the 161 is not included in the March 1958 Order Form although this may have been due to insufficient models having been manufactured and in stock at that time, for distribution to Agents.
Bruce, welcome back to the forum. Given your research in the price lists and catalogues, the model 161 no longer appears in 1959. I also searched, but also could not find documentation about model 161 in 1959. I suspect that the data from the PDF library perhaps without further control, are taken from the Dinky Toys compendium of Patrick Trench of The Hornby Companion Series which states 1959 as year of deleted, but apparently it is not always correct, because Patrick Trench also mentions as year of introduction 1954, while this should be June 1953.
Regards, Jan O.
Thanks very much Jan for your welcoming back!
Actually, while catching up on some of my drafts, I found to my sorrow that at least two Posts I had made that involved a little research, were the last Post in that Topic - no comment from anyone - nothing! A little disheartening, but I am grateful for you providing your comments on the final year of the 161 Austin Somerset.
I am in full agreement with you that the source used for the PDF library was Patrick Trench's Dinky Toys Compendium. It is interesting that both of the Richardson's books, DINKY TOYS AND MODELLED MINIATURES and THE GREAT BOOK OF DINKY TOYS. has 1960 as the final year of production as too in Dr Force's books. Cecil Gibson, whose book came out in 1966 and therefore much closer to "the action" also has 1959, so it is perfectly understandable why Mr Busfield used the same date.
Bruce H. (150)
Hi Jan and Bruce, in my opinion there will always remain some basic problems in recording the actual years of introduction and official discontinuation of a model.
Firstly there is a kind of definition problem. Various authors of secondary sources (the Richardsons, Gibson, Trench, Force, Ramsay, Roulet etc.) may have different views on the year of deletion, as demonstrated in their listings. Some seem to take the year of last appearance in the official catalogues, others seem to prefer the first year of absence/deletion there.
The second is which primary sources are used as ‘first’. Presence in catalogues, introduction in Meccano Magazine, advertisements in other periodicals, quality control stamps, flyers, price lists and also actual presence in the shops by own observations are sometimes far from synchronous and diverse in being ‘first’. For instance, some models show up in some catalogues far before the official announcement/introduction as ‘new’ in MM.
The third is the various markets, home, Commonwealth and export to various other countries, which may show different periods of official availability compared with the basic home market (which is understandably often taken as the official standard by the British).
This all taken into account I think we might be a bit flexible as firm fixing of dates is concerned – and also as our basic pdf listing for use as topic headers is concerned (unless of course there are obvious mistakes or typing errors which certainly will have to be revised).
If there might be such uncertainty or difference of opinion relating to the dates of a model’s official availability, that very model’s topic is the exact place to discuss and put that into perspective in my opinion (the way it is done here for the Austin Somerset). Kind regards, Jan
There are indeed remarkable differences in the availabilty of the models in the UK home market and the export market, such as the Netherlands. I have clearly demonstrated that in the 943 topic in the forum. I will show this difference also here.
Sales number 943 Leyland Octopus Tanker Esso was introduced in MM UK of March 1958, while this model had already been exported to the Netherlands and according to an official Dutch Dinky Supertoys Flyer was already available in the Dutch stores in September 1957. Model 943 was even already included in the Dutch Dinky Toys catalogue of August 1957 and was therefore already for sale in the Netherlands well before March 1958.
The separate Dinky Toys price list UK of July 1957 listed 943 * Available later. Dinky Toys price list UK October 1957 and Meccano price list UK October 1957 do not mention model 943. Meccano price list UK 1st February 1958 listed model 943 for the first time.
A clear proof is also the Quality Control Stamp in box 943 of Richard (France) dated 757 = July 1957.
Dinky Toys 943 introduction in MM UK March 1958
Dinky Toys 943 Dutch flyer of September 1957 front
Dinky Toys 943 Dutch flyer September 1957 back
Dinky Toys 943 in Dutch DT catalogue August 1957 p 22
Dinky Toys 943 in Dutch DT catalogue August 1957 cover
Dinky Toys separate price list UK July 1957 model 943 *Available later
Dinky Toys separate price list UK October 1957 model 943 not stated
Meccano price list UK October 1957 without model 943
Meccano Price list UK 1st February 1958 stated model 943 for the first time
Quality Control Stamp 757=July 1957 in box 943 of Richard DTCA (France)
Good morning all, just been reading my copy of the recent July 2020 Journal, which arrived this morning and it has prompted a question I would be grateful to an answer.
As I have previously mention I have a particular interest in the prenumbering Trade boxes and on my trade box wants list is the 40J Austin Somerset, not got one never seen one but perhaps that is because one does not exist.
I do have some examples of the single dual numbered yellow boxes but assumed that because issued before 54/55 that a trade box would exist. Is it known that these models and perhaps the others with dual numbered individual boxes were not issued in the yellow trade boxes loose.
Will understand that the individual 'Type 1' box would have one of those thin cardboard grey boxes that I assume would have contained the traditional 6 models, but have not got one of those either.
I don't know exactly which trade box you are looking for. On Vectis you will find a dual numbered tradebox 161-40j of 6 pieces with the link: https://www.vectis.co.uk/lot/dinky-no40j161-austin-somerset-saloon-trade-box_592187
Since the 40j was issued in June 1953, being in the renumbering era, I think this is the only trade box of the 40j that was issued. Indeed, there is also an individually dual numbered yellow end flap box 40j 161.
Thank you for that answer just what I wanted to know, always thought there would be but started to doubt as had not come accross one.
Buy from Vectis but have did not relised I can look back at their records, so easy now explained.
That is the box I do not have, amoung one or two others, so will keep my eyes open or an example.
Once again thank you