By Maz Woolley
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
Models from the now completed continental Atlas Dinky series frequently appear on eBay to be shipped from China with no certificate but fully boxed. As many of these are unlikely to be easily available in future I buy the ones I like as and when they are listed. Dinky 541 issued in 1963 and withdrawn in 1973 is a model that I bought recently. It was worth getting as it included the reproduction of the lovely period box art showing the bus full of tourists taking in the scenery.
The Mercedes-Benz O 319 series of small buses was based upon its L 319 van introduced in 1955. The bus variant was made available to provide a fourteen seater which was larger than Volkswagen‘s ubiquitous Transporter. It was often produced with panoramic windows like those fitted to the Volkswagen Samba. Powered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines from the passenger car range it was a stylish step up from the Transporter and a practical size for local work and tourist trips.
Despite the picture on the box the model was made by Dinky France with a white upper and red lower portion as it is modelled here. However, Atlas also made it with a silver upper section and yellow lower with a PTT logo. Some sources say that only a handful of the original models in this livery are known suggesting that it was perhaps a colour trial and never issued. Obviously the Atlas models in the attractive PTT finish were very popular with collectors but even this reproduction from Atlas appears to be scarce.
The French Dinky model is well replicated and like the original is sparing with the silver highlights which are only used on the front for grille, bumper and chrome trim. To the rear only the bumpers are highlighted. The sides are devoid of any highlighting for the door handles, side indicators or trim strips.
Although silver highlights are not applied the side strips are modelled and as is the Mercedes-Benz logo on the boot lid. Side and rear lights are moulded but left in body colour.
On the roof the panel joins and the small ventilator are moulded in as are the panoramic windows.
Inside the seats and interior are modelled to a good standard for models made in the 1960s.
All in all a rather nice replica of the original Dinky model and one I am pleased to add to my collection.
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