Tuesday, 28 April 2009


A couple of great reviews this month from Australian Classic Car!

Tinplate Toy Cars
By Andrew Ralston.
"I suspect many of us remember tinplate toy cars from the 1950s and early 1960s. I certainly do, but sadly each and every one I owned has gone to that large Bandai garage in the sky. Most were based on American vehicles. They tended to be larger than Dinky Toys or die-cast cars, ranging from eight to 16 inches and usually powered by friction-drive mechanisms or electric motors. With radio control still years away, the electrical examples were often operated via a remote control box that also contained the batteries.

The 150 or so tinplate cars featured in this book
are part of a single collection and each one still has its original box. (I’m always amazed when boxes have lasted for so long and I always imagine some poor deprived child who wasn’t allowed to play with the toy). While the collection and therefore the book predominantly features American cars, there are also a small number of European and Japanese cars, as well as a chapter covering tin plate cars made in China and Argentina.
I particularly like the range of tinplate Mercedes and Jaguars.

Each car is treated to a clear photo and informative text. There is also a chart detailing the cars’ estimated prices today, with categories ranging from the
highly affordable (US$50-$100) through to the almost unthinkable (US$5000 and up). An interesting and informative publication."

Click here for more info.

British Woodies from the 1920s to the 1950s
By Colin Peck
"When you think of ‘woodies’ you generally think of American cars, but there was a flourishing British industry as well. While many English woodies didn’t see their way through to the 1970s, they are now attracting real interest. This new publication in the Veloce ‘Those were the days…’ series describes how the shooting-brake evolved until it reached its
peak in the post WWII period, when steel was in short supply. It wasn’t limited to Morris Minor Travellers, either, as almost every manufacturer, large and small, offered a woodie in its order
books. Apart from the mainstream, manufacturers as diverse as Allard, Lea-Francis and Alvis offered woodies. There was also an industry in replacing rusted bodies with new timber bodywork, and
it was not unusual to
see a Rolls-Royce or Bentley so fitted. It was sobering to read that “the average recommended period between major re-varnishing was just two years if a decent level of weather protection for the wood was to be achieved”. Most woodie owners didn’t undertake the re-varnishing at all and sadly many woodie bodies rotted away in 10 years or less. This publication is as delightful as the cars themselves and contains a fascinating collection of period black-and-white photos as well as colour photos of restored examples. Highly recommended."

Click here for more info.