Meccano Factory Drawings
-465 Morris Van 'Capstan' (1957-59)
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I sent to David my top ten list ! This Buick is my number 2 !!
I can see why this is so high on your list. It's a lovely item - are those all the colour variants which were made? I have one with very reasonable paintwork, but unfortunately one front pillar is damaged.
What's your number 1?
No, they are not. On the photo there is missing one : Cream body with metallic blue roof. The red one is a paint try. It seems that there are some others "paint try" but I never had them in my hands: Body and roof black Body and roof yellow Body and roof dark blue Red body and cream roof Ivory body and green roof.
My number one in my top ten is the Ford Vedette 24Q. I will open a post on that car.
I am surprised that there are not more comments or posts on this most wonderful model, and since I feel it is one of my all-time favorite Dinky Toys, herewith are my thoughts and notes: This model was brought out by the French Dinky factory in January of 1954, and deleted in 1959, and it appears to have been modeled after the 1952 Buick Roadmaster. The real car is very similar for 1952 and 1953, but several key points serve to differentiate between the two. First and foremost are the prominent raised areas atop each rear fender or mudguard. On the real car, these are bright chrome, while Dinky has left them painted. For the 1953 Buick, these were deleted. The hood ornament and front grill and bumper details are also from the 1952 model, whereas the silver colored side detail or sweepspears as they were called here in the states, appear to be more from the 1953 model....mainly at the lower rear area where it sweeps down.
In reading all of the reference material available, it appears that this particular model was (1). always in a yellow separate box (no trade boxes) and (2). always came with white tires. Early versions did come with a smooth inside roof area, which was later changed to the grilled type, and early models also came with unpainted Zamac wheels, which were later polished or chrome plated. Another variation is the previously mentioned side trim; on most Buick models, this has been very nicely painted silver (the real car used bright stainless steel), to a very good effect, as that detail adds considerably to the look of the car. On some versions, however, this has been omitted, and the trim is simply painted the body color. This change has been noted by some of the sellers, but I could not find any documentation or even discussion of it, so I do not know if it the non-silver was an early version, later changed, or just a lapse.....maybe the mask or special equipment used broke down? Since I feel that it adds so much to the neat look of the car, I made sure and found my models with it.
Another change I noticed, after my last purchase, was the yellow box. At first, it looked just like other yellow boxes from the mid-1950's, but on close inspection I noticed that the illustration of the car, on both sides, had a "shadow" added to it. And sure enough, one of my reference books on French Dinky's does mention that both types of box exist, but again, with no information on when that occurred. In re-looking and comparing the boxes, I also noticed that the wording "miniatures" appears above the Dinky Toys name, both on the side of box and also on both end flaps. I do not remember ever seeing this before, so maybe someone can comment on that. My own thoughts are that this last Buick I bought, the mid-blue with dark blue roof, unpainted Zamac wheels, smooth inside roof, was a very early model, and that likely, this was also an early box. There are photos below showing this.
My very first experience with the Dinky Buick Roadmaster came in 1959, when another friend and I both had the grand idea of writing the French factory directly, to see is we could purchase items from them not available in the states. My friends mother spoke and wrote French, so she composed a letter from us, and a few weeks later, we got our reply.....yes, they would agree to sell directly to us, and they enclosed a 1959 French catalog. I promptly ordered one of the Buick Roadmaster's, as I had never seen one before. I was very lucky....when it arrived, it turned out to be the hard to find, somewhat expensive salmon and black color. Fortunately, I still have that model today, after buying it 56 years ago, and it is still almost mint with the box. A few years ago, I decided to try and find the other colors offered, and within a year had acquired very nice examples of the yellow and dark green, the light blue and cream, and lastly, the mid blue and dark blue. The remaining color version that I still need is the cream with metallic blue roof, which will be a challenge!
Below are several images of this very nice model. The level of detail that the French Dinky factory bestowed on this car is amazing....the front grill is very intricate, and the accent/detail silver painting is superb....even the tiny rear trunk or boot handle is painted silver. The model is also very well proportioned and an very accurate rendition of the real car.
Very complete study Terry ! congratulation.
And the "UNIC" is the late version with the front concave wheels !
Thank you, Terry, for helping the revival of our fine DTCA website forum with contributions like this! Kind regards, Jan
Jan & Richard---Thank you both for your nice comments regarding the Buick Roadmaster; I find it a very interesting model, and I have always been partial to Buicks, so it was natural to really like that model. Here are a few more detailed photos of the Buick, showing a little better the wonderful casting details on the front and rear of the car, as well as the silver painted side trim. There is also a side by side photo showing the difference between the plain, unpainted Zamac wheel and a later polished one. Until now, I did not know that Dinky had made them both ways, although I feel it must have been for a short time.
And the very hard to find :
And now a paint try :
Richard--Nice color combo....looks very nice. I would have liked Meccano to paint one with the body in metallic blue and a cream roof.....sort of the opposite that they produced.
A peculiar and nice colour experiment, Richard. Also from your father's 'heritage'?
Remarkable that even a colour trial was packed in an official box ...
Kind regards, Jan
Here are the two versions of the yellow and green Buick.
Inside roof and hubs.
Richard----Yes, those early ones do not have the chromed wheels, or with grids under the roof. It also appears your early one has less silver trim.....that lower piece under the doors, and the small piece at the rear. I have also seen some without any of the side trim painted, which to me, detracts from this wonderful model.
Best regards, Terry
I received this Roadmaster recently from an eBay seller; it was supplied with what I believe was a reproduction box, but that did not bother me unduly since I purchased the model for a very keen price.
What had not been obvious before is that -- while the model is more presentable than these pictures make it look -- there is wear all around, and what appears to be the color of the yellow version is showing through from underneath. It would be easy to conclude that someone had a battered yellow sample and repainted it. However, when I compare this with my white-over-blue Roadmaster, the detailing all looks pretty original.
(It is the version with the grid under the roof.)
So the question is, is this some sort of clever repaint, or was it overpainted at the factory? And if the latter, why? Has anyone encountered a Dinky where this had been done before?
Jonathan—-First of all, congratulations on getting a Dinky Toys Buick Roadmaster. As I have mentioned before, I personally feel this is one of the finest examples of a diecast model through the 1950’s. The execution of the design, and the attention to detail.... both diecast and paint, is second to none.....
Now, on to this example: at first glance, it appears to be a very nice example of the light blue body, with dark blue roof. But, as you mentioned, the appearance of the yellow finish under the chipped areas is most curious, and no, I do not happen to remember seeing an example of another model with this characteristic. A couple of things do stand out to me: 1. There is a lot of light chipping in many places, while the overall model is in quite nice condition. It kind of suggests that the blue paint is a bit fragile, and also a thick coat, and prone to chipping. 2. The view looking down at the top of the hood or bonnet....there is a cast detail line running from the front toward the windshield, at an angle. In your picture, this line does not appear real crisp or distinct, but rather like it was heavily painted over, leaving a “soft” rather than sharp line. I compared this detail feature with all 4 of my examples.....and all of mine have a sharp, distinct line, with no sign of a heavy or second coat of paint. From the photos you supplied, this is the single most troubling find; I don’t know how to explain it away!
I also would like to see some good closeup photos of the sides and also the rear.
The other, obvious thought is, just why would anyone at the factory re-paint a model to a new color? Did they have lots of yellow ones, that were not popular, and did not sell, so they decided to re-paint a whole batch of them? If so, that would account for the otherwise excellent finish, and also the thicker paint. Maybe someone else can offer an opinion or enhance our Dinky knowledge.....
Other models are known to have been overpainted at the factory. Some # 32a dark blue Panhard articulated lorries S.N.C.F. have been respraid in red for the # 32c Esso tanker version.
Jacques—-Thanks for adding your comment. I would still like to see some other, better closeup photos, but it does not appear to have been done by a hobbyist. But, if it was done by the French factory, why? Maybe a batch were painted and the result did not turn out quite right? But re-painting would appear to be a hassle too; the model would need to be taken apart, the parts set aside, then the body run through the paint process, then all re-assembled. But by re-painting, the model then has too thick of paint, making it more susceptible to chipping as Jonathan’s example seems to show.
Best regards, Terry
Thanks for your comments, gentlemen! Here are some additional photos comparing the model with another Roadmaster. I'm (cautiously) convinced this was done at the factory, based on the similarity in various details. (The silver trim on the sides appears to have been applied with a sponge, for example.) Though indeed, I'm hard put to see why this would have happened.
As Terry notes, the layered paint is too thick, obscuring details, and obviously the top coat did not adhere well. I assume the repainting would have been done after the initial yellow coat, but before the model had been assembled.
Apologies -- these are just quick iPhone shots, but hopefully revealing enough.
Jonathan--Thanks for posting additional photos.....I am now also quite certain that it is original and done, for some reason, by the factory. And I also think you are right, that they caught whatever was wrong, before assembly. I am now guessing that something did not turn out right with the paint...maybe the color was off, or more likely, the application just did not look right. I have a few French models that had a terrible paint finish....,kind of a frosted appearance, and not real smooth, and I was surprised they passed inspection.
In any event, I think you have a very unusual example, and it has brought to light a little known occurance for many of us. Thanks again for sharing wiht us!
Best regards, Terry
As most of you know, I retired from active collecting a couple of years ago.....but I recently made a brief, one-time return, to make a final, long sought acquisition.......the 24v Buick Roadmaster in the rare and hard to find ivory and metallic blue version. I have little actual information on this color combination, but from all appearances, it was the last color variation issued, and apparently only for a short time around 1959. The Buick Roadmaster made its final French catalog appearance in 1959, and is the only catalog showing this particular color. So I now have all five color variations of this most wonderful model....to me and many others, it represents the pinnacle of Dinky diecasting and paint detailing up through 1959.
Best regards, Terry
Terry congratulations on this special purchase. Very nice that you still complete your collection. I think the Buick Roadmaster is one of the nicest cars that Dinky Toys France has made. When I bought this Buick Roadmaster a few years ago, I received a concertina leaflet with advertisement for the French Meccano Magazine dated Avril 1954 with the model in the box. I had never seen this before. These seem to be included in the box with the model at the time. Best regards Jan O.
Hello Jan 0,
I do not know this document. It must be very rare. Roulet does not seem to know it either as it does not apear in his last book. It is not included in Claude Wagner's future book about all the French Dinky documents.
I would very much apreciate if you could provide scans of this interesting sheet as well as it's dimensions.
Ok Jacques. Added to this. You can download them now. The size is 8 x 12 cm.
Kind regards, Jan O.
Many Thanks Jan for this document.
I have 2 Buick Roadmasters. 1st version blue/dark blue with smooth inner roof, but without silver detailing on the sides and 2nd version yellow/green with checkered inner roof with silver detailing on the sides.
I find the lack of this silver detailing on the side and blue paint on the side of the bumpers suspicious and that's why I consider my 1st version as a repaint. The silver detailing is clearly shown on the accompanying boxes and apparently it should have been applied that way on the model.
I am also fascinated by the beauty and detail of this French Dinky Toys model. After receiving my 2nd version, I started to delve more into certain details of the model and I also went in search of the origin of the model, among other things.
Terry describes in #4 that the original model is probably from 1952 or 1953, but I think that is a mistake and must be 1951.
The Meccano drawing No 100383 of this model is included in the DT encyclopedia of Jacques Dujardin and is dated 1-7-52. The model is indicated on the drawing as Buick 72 R which I find special in itself, because I had never seen a model number of a car on another Meccano drawing. It also makes it easier to find an image of the prototype
When looking for brochures I have downloaded Buick brochures from the years 1951 to 1953 and come to the conclusion that only the brochure from 1951 fully corresponds to the Dinky Toys model which I show below. I only found the chrome trim on the side, the so called sweepspear to and on the rear fender in the 1951 brochure. A similar chrome trim version also has the 1953 brochure, but that cannot be the original Dinky Toys model, as it has different headlights and front grille as can be seen in the photos below.
Jan Oldenhuis 11 June 2021
Jan---Nice acquisitions! I have read before and remember seeing listed for sale, at least a few of the Buick's that were blue and missing that silver treatment on the sweepspear on each side. It is hard to imagine Meccano allowing that; my only guess would be that something happened with the mask device, where it wasn't usable, and they went ahead and made some that way.
With regard to which year it represents.....I have spent considerable time after my initial posting in looking at these, and I concluded that the Dinky Toys model is a hybrid mix of both the 1951 & 1952 models. That chrome sweeping side spear on each side definitely came from the 1951 car, but those small raised fins on the rear fenders appear on the 1952 car, so it appears that French Meccano borrowed some design elements from both years....possibly because it appears they were somewhat late (1954) in releasing the model, and felt like updating it a bit. Another mystery for sure, but still one of the nicest Diecast models produced. The level and execution of detail is still amazing!
Best regards, Terry
Thanks, Jan, thorough, as ever!
An example below of the blue/dark blue version, with shiny polished hubs, lower side silver detailing and chequered inside roof.
The French 1954 catalogue gave extra attention to this new model by the introductory 'Le geste du connaisseur' page.
It shared the nouveauté status with the 1954 Ford Vedette in the same catalogue.
Kind regards, Jan W
I happily proclaim Terry as our resident Roadmaster expert! I second his comments in this thread to the effect that this model can occur without the silver detaling on the sides (I have one such example in the lemon yellow color, and it is obviously original). Whether one can call this a "factory error" or a "variant" is of course a matter of opinion ...
I also have samples where the silver detailing is present but somewhat faint, with a mottled quality.
As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I also have a blue example where the factory had first painted the body yellow, then for some reason changed course and overpainted it in blue. A rather mysterious thing to have done!
Terry – you're right. It is a 1951/52 hybrid. With the photos below I visualize the differences between the DT 24V and the Buick Roadmaster 1951 and 1952 models.
It can be clearly seen that the small raised fins on the rear fenders and the high position of the boot handle on the 24v correspond to model 1952.
As for the grille and bumper elements at the front, the 24V model has 17 vertical ribs in the grille between the direction indicators like the 1952 model. The 2 bumper rosettes of the front bumper are located on the 24V at the rear of the bumper, like the 1951 model.
As has already been said, the chrome detailing on the sides, the so-called sweepspear, on the 24V corresponds to model 1951.
So you rightly call it a hybrid because the 24V model has model features of both the 1951 and the 1952 model. It is indeed surprising that the issue of model 24V has been delayed for so long. Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that Meccano Bobigny was not able to issue many new French cars after WW2 and therefore first opted for issuing new French models.
Best Regards, Jan Oldenhuis 14 June 2021
Added 2 photos showing the small raised fins on the rear fenders more clearly with the fuel cap under the left fin.
Jan---thanks for corroborating this fact. I am somewhat amazed that no one had noticed it before, in all these years! Here is one more photo of my modest little collection of Buick Roadmaster's..............in my humble opinion one of the very best diecast models that Dinky made in the post-war era through 1959.
Best regards, Terry
Hi Terry, the characterization 'modest little collection' applies to my single piece Roadmaster 'collection', not yours!
Yours is a miracle! Kind regards, Jan W