Category Archives: Ixo

Hachette Italy World Buses Part 16

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Nos. 46  to 48

This time we visit fabulous India with a Tata bus, France again with another Berliet and step behind the Iron Curtain with a postwar Skoda. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork ‘Autobus dal mondo’, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French partwork ‘Autobus et autocars du monde’, produced in Bangladesh by Ixo. At the time of writing Italian Hachette has announced that the partwork will be extended to eighty models (the French one is marching towards 120), but the first two models (nos. 61 and 62) are nothing more than new liveries on old castings: not a good start, let’s hope we see something new.

No. 46 (no. 45 in the French collection) Tata LPO 1512 1990 – The origins of Tata can be traced to a company founded in 1868 by Jamshedji Tata : today Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company, headquartered in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), and owned by Tata Sons, a registered charity. One of its members is Tata Motors Limited (formerly TELCO, short for Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) a multinational automotive manufacturing company producing passenger cars, trucks, vans, coaches, buses, sports cars, construction equipment and military vehicles,. The group includes Jaguar Land Rover, with manufacturing and assembly plants in India, as well as in Argentina, South Africa, Great Britain and Thailand.

Founded in 1945 to produce locomotives, the company manufactured its first commercial vehicle in 1954 in a collaboration with Daimler-Benz AG (which ended in 1969): the chassis was a copy of the Mercedes L 3500, and from it was derived a whole series of bus and truck chassis, like the Tata 1210 and then the 1510, and its more modern variant the 1512. The Tata 1510/1512 was the largest selling bus in India and neighbouring countries, combining good features and low ownership cost. Built on a sturdy frame with parallel side members, suited to the difficult local conditions, and equipped from 1993 with a Cummins straight six diesel engine (previously with a Tata-Mercedes Benz 697 engine), the 1512 was usually bodied by contracted suppliers to customer requirements. Alas in later years its reliability was often hindered by poor maintenance causing frequent accidents, notwithstanding a legal maximum speed of 40 km/h.

The scale model represents a 1990 large capacity long distance bus where, lacking any air conditioning, the side doors (obviously on the left side) have been deleted, at the expense of safety. There is the usual combination of a plastic body and a metal baseplate, which is well detailed. It is painted in a bright livery in white, yellow and light green. On the sides there is the “Stage Carriage” writing, meaning it is a vehicle stopping at designated places, plus others printed in Indian characters, which the Author cannot decipher. The registration plate is one from the Delhi Regional Transport Office, correctly printed in black over yellow, as required for a public use. The prefix DL-1P is specifically allocated to Delhi commercial buses.

The angular shape of the bus is well reproduced, with large windows and many separate plastic parts, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers, plus a chromed side exhaust. Very nice wheels and driver’s ‘cab’ area. The seats are only basic. Note the shadows on the windows representing the safety bars on their lower side. No apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of an almost unknown bus, at least in Europe.


 

No. 47 (no. 36 in the French collection) Berliet PLR 10 1955 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Crusair (see part 8, no. 22), PHL 10 (see part 10, no. 30) and PR100 ranges (Jelcz version, see part 14, no. 40) and how after the Second World War only commercial vehicle production was resumed, but that Chausson, Isobloc and Renault buses were much more innovative. In 1951 Berliet launched the PLR 8, a very powerful bus, but old fashioned even before it was launched: its heavy welded box frame, its dual rear wheels and horizontal engine meant high costs, both to buy, to use and to maintain. The PLR 8, an urban bus, was equipped with a 125 CV five cylinders MDUH diesel engine, while the PLR 10, an intercity bus, had a 150 CV six cylinders MDZH diesel, later used also on the urban version of the PLR 10. In 1958 a new generation of very low consumption engines was developed thanks to the MAN injection system, but this evolution did not save the model from its fate, as it was not the commercial success the new engine deserved.

With the cooperation of Vétra for the electric systems, Berliet produced a trolleybus version of the PLR 10, named ELR, a variant appreciated in Nice and Marseille.

The scale model represents an urban version (the correct name should be PLR 10 U) of the Monegasque CAM (Compagnie des Autobus de Monaco) with only 20 seated places and large central and rear platform for 70 standing places. The model is in a very elegant white livery with the coat of arms of the Principality on the roof. There is the usual plastic body with metal baseplate, and the exhaust is enhanced in silver.

The red circle on the front means that the vehicle runs a regular service, but it is in contrast with the “Special” in the destination board. The registration plate is not correct for the year, it should be white on blue, the blue on white was released only from 1978. Very likely it is a copy of a preserved and re-registered bus.

A nice front grille is provided, suitably pierced, and good wheels. A well reproduced driver’s cockpit is present as well as a basic interior. Usual added parts like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers are fitted. No apparent differences to the French edition. A good choice, fifties buses are the most loved.


 

No. 48 (no. 37 in the French collection) Skoda 706 RO 1947 – In 1859, Count Wallenstein-Vartenberk, owner of an already established foundry and engineering work, set up a branch in Pilsen, then in the Kingdom of Bohemia, part of the Austrian Empire. In 1869, the plant was taken over by Emil Škoda, who soon expanded the firm, and in the 1880s founded what was then a very modern steelwork, which was a leader in arms manufacturing. Exports included heavy castings, such as parts for the Niagara Falls power plant and for the Suez Canal sluices. In 1924, Škoda Works acquired the Laurin-Klement car manufacturer, later known as Škoda Auto.

The companies were separated after 1945, when the whole Czechoslovak economy came under government control : the car works in Mladá Boleslav became AZNP (Automobilové závody národní podnik or National Automobile Manufacturing Industry) today’s Škoda Auto, while the truck plant became part of a conglomerate of nine truck producers headquartered in Liberec as LIAZ (Liberecké automobilové závody), although the trucks and buses were still marketed as Škodas. Later, Škoda became well known in the USSR and other countries as a trolleybus manufacturer, but when in late 1989 the company was privatised very soon mismanagement, and the loss of guaranteed access to the East-European market, led to a collapse. In 1991 the Czech government sought a foreign partner for the passenger car works, choosing Volkswagen with a 30% initial stake, rising to 100% ownership by 1999.

The Škoda 706 RO is an urban bus produced from 1947 on the frame of the 706 R truck, and bodied by Sodomka (from 1948 named Karosa). In 1896 Josef Sodomka founded a manufacturing plant for coaches, and producing automobile bodywork of its own design from 1925, designed to be mounted on automobile chassis produced by Praga. In 1948, the company was nationalised and incorporated into a ‘National Enterprise’, which was then given the name Karosa (acronym for “Factory for carriages, cars, rotors, machine tools, cutting machines and buses”). Karosa become the sole manufacturer of buses in Czechoslovakia, but in 1989, after the fall of the communist regime, Karosa had to reduce its production. Help came from Renault, Karosa later becoming part of Irisbus and then of Iveco Bus. At the time the RO was a modern high capacity bus and was exported to many countries within the communist block, China included. The engine, a Skoda straight six diesel engine with 145 CV, was placed in front next to driver, and the rear axle was propelled by a long driveshaft. The body presented a very long rear overhang. Its heir, the RTO (quite similar, but much more comfortable with a lowered frame), was presented in 1958 and continued serial production until 1972, while it was produced under licence until 1977 by Jelcz (see part 14, no. 40) in Poland.

The scale model represents quite accurately a bus exported to China, with a red and white livery, and a dark grey roof. The Author apologises but he is unable to translate the Chinese characters. At the time China encouraged the workforce to live close to work to limit need for transport to work. Nowadays their cities are blocked by traffic like ours, and worse.

The bus has the usual form of construction with a plastic body and metal baseplate, which is well detailed. A side exhaust is added, as are front and rear tow hooks. Very nice doors and the wheels are fitted. Among the added plastic parts are the usual lights, bumpers, mirrors (five of them) and wipers. On the roof a triangle is fitted, very likely to be used to indicate the presence of a trailer. Another nice reproduction of a bus almost unknown in Western Europe.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 15

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Parts 43 to 45

Three more European buses: a Spanish and we could say two Germans, because the Heuliez is the copy of a Mercedes-Benz one. All of them are from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 43 (no. 70 in the French collection) MAN 535 HO 1969 – The origins of MAN can be traced back to the XVIII century when the “St. Antony” iron works started operation in Oberhausen, in the Ruhr region. After many mergers and countless name changes, in 1898 the Maschinenbau-AG Nürnberg and Maschinenfabrik Augsburg AG merged to form a company that in 1908 was renamed Maschinenfabrik Augsburg Nürnberg AG (MAN). Besides ore mining and iron production in the Ruhr region, mechanical engineering (mainly railway and steel based building) became the dominating branch of business in Augsburg and Nuremberg, with spectacular works like the Wuppertal monorail and the first steel bridges. In 1915 they started to assemble Saurer trucks and after a few years their own truck chassis. Together with Rudolf Diesel and the Bosch company, MAN developed and perfected the high-speed compression-ignition engine, powering heavy trucks and buses. During the Second World War MAN supplied diesel engines for submarines and tanks, projectiles and artillery of every kind, becoming the target of massive Allied bombing attacks. After the end of the war the allies split up the group, separating mining, iron and steel production from engineering, plant construction, commercial vehicles and printing machines. In 1952 MAN presented its first bus with a rear engine and self-supporting body structure, the MKH2, soon followed by the urban Metrobus and its articulated derivatives. The 535 HO (for heckmotor, rear engine) was introduced in 1963, intended both as suburban and tourism bus, in competition with the Mercedes O321 and the Bussing Konsul-10. It was a limited success. Produced with a length of 9.3 or 10.3 metres, it had a very high flat floor, large windows and a six cylinder diesel engine with 135 or 160 CV. Its first version had a curved roof, sometimes with additional windows in the roof. In 1969 the roof was flattened, with higher side windows and squared headlamps. But the MAN history is very complex, for example from 1967 until 1977 MAN collaborated with France’s Saviem, badging their light to medium duty trucks as MAN, and after that a deal was signed with Volkswagen which lasted until 1993. Meanwhile in 1971 there was the take-over of the truck and bus division of the commercial vehicles manufacturer Büssing (the logo on the front of all MAN trucks and buses shows a lion, from the coat of arms of the old Duchy of Brunswick, headquarters of Büssing), but at the beginning of the 1980s there was a dramatic downturn of commercial vehicle sales caused by the oil crisis and the economic crisis. There were agreements with the Chinese company Sinotruk and later agreements and acquisitions of the Indian company Force Motors and the Brazilian Volkswagen truck and bus operation. In 2001 MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG acquired Neoplan Bus GmbH, creating Neoman Bus GmbH. Then, in July 2011, Volkswagen AG acquired the majority of the share capital in MAN, planning to merge MAN and Scania to create Europe’s largest truckmaker.

The scale model is based on one of the preserved buses, with the usual combination of a plastic body and a metal baseplate. It is well detailed with a bright livery in cream and red. The registration plate is from Landshut, a town in Bavaria in the south-east of Germany, situated on the banks of the river Isar.

The angular shape of the MAN is well reproduced, with the large windows well modelled and many small separate plastic parts, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers.

A very nice front grille is fitted, only ornamental due to the rear engine, and good seats and nice chromed hubcaps. A minor fault is the missing steps at the front door, the transparent doors show a void in their place. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a tourist bus typical of the 1960s.

 

No. 44 (no. 59 in the French collection) Pegaso 6035 EMT 1972 – We have already seen the Pegaso history and its Z-403 Monoscocca (see part 3, no. 8) and how its parent company, ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones S.A.), was took over by IVECO in 1990, and the Pegaso name disappeared in 1994 after building more than 350,000 vehicles. Its first trucks were slightly modified petrol engined Hispano-Suiza 66G, soon followed in 1949 by diesel models (Z-202), also available as articulated tractors, road train and coach or bus (Z-401). In the 1960s and 1970s, the impressive economic development of Spain allowed Pegaso trucks and buses to cross borders and link the Spanish economy with the European Economic Community. In 1961 Pegaso started with the “6000 range” the production of the “Monotral” buses and coaches, based on an Italian Viberti patent, a chassisless design with an underfloor horizontal engine, a very light yet full-length vehicle. These vehicles adopted the same design of the self-supporting structure used for the Z-403monoscocca“. Within the 6000 range, the models 6035 and 6038 were notable for the large number of units built,with the 6424 being the range’s latest development before the absorption of ENASA by Iveco, produced from 1989.   The first prototype of Pegaso 6035 was designed by the coachbuilder Jorsa and was tested on the streets of Barcelona at the beginning of 1965, it was a sturdy, spacious and aesthetically very nice bus. Equipped with an horizontal six online diesel Pegaso 9101 engine of 170 CV, mated to a hydraulic clutch, and a semi-automatic gear shift (Wilson). It had servo assisted steering and mixed suspension. It was one of the most popular urban buses in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s : Barcelona, Burgos, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastián, Santander, Sevilla and Valencia were some of the cities that chose this bus, which remained in service for more than 20 years. The EMT fleet of Madrid bought 415 units, all with three doors, with access by the rear, except the last five that had only two doors, when the role of bus conductor was dropped. It was the last bus to sport the Madrid blue livery before, in 1974, the city council decided to change the colour of the fleet to red.   Production of the 6035 stopped in 1979, but during all its life it was constantly updated.   To meet the need for a larger capacity bus it was presented an articulated version, the 6035A, with a length of 18 metres. This was another success with more than 100 units in Barcelona bodied by Hugas and more than 500 in Madrid, bodied by Noge.

This model is also based on one of the preserved buses, with the blue and ivory livery typical of Madrid painted on the plastic body which is attached to a metal base plate, with the exhaust picked out in silver.

There is a very detailed front with the Madrid insignia and the joint emblem Jorsa/Pegaso, as well as the model name. The line number is 61, from the Moncloa bus station, serving the northwest of the Madrid region, to Calle de Narvàez, near the University Pediatric Hospital in front of the El Retiro park.

On the sides and at the back there adverts for the EMT night service. Well reproduced folding doors, windows and driver’s cab feature. More basic are the  seats and interior. There is a lovely “Pegasus” logo on the chromed hubcaps. Many small separate parts are fitted like the wipers, rearview mirrors, lights, and bumpers.

 

There is no apparent difference to the French edition. A nice reproduction of an emblematic Spanish bus.

 

No. 45 (no. 71 in the French collection) Heuliez O305 HLZ 1969 – The “French edition” of a famous German bus (more than 16,000 copies from 1969 to 1987) the Mercedes-Benz O305, the product of standardisation requested by the VoV (Verband Offentlicher Verkehrsbetriebe), the Association of German Public Transport. Similar buses were also produced by Büssing, Gräf/Steyr, Ikarus, Magirus-Deutz and MAN. Designed for use as a single-decker bus, it was later redesigned to accommodate double-decker bodies, and it was built as either a complete bus or a bus chassis. The engine was a horizontal six in-line diesel producing 210 CV, positioned at the rear of the bus. This was very reliable and almost noiseless. The body had a high floor, needing two steps, and a square shape with large windows. The Heuliez version had squared headlamps, a higher roof, different bumpers and lacked the small windows at the rear corners. Its origins came from a strong French nationalistic spirit: Compared to the Berliet PR100, the O305 was easily the winner, and it was preferred to have the benefits of the Mercedes-Benz but made in France and sold with a  French badge. Many in France resented the  “German invasion” as the German manufactured goods proved to be better than their competitors. On the initiative of Alain Chenard, mayor of Nantes and president of the Compagnie Nantes de Transport (future Semitan), fruitful contacts took place between Heuliez and Mercedes-Benz, leading to the production by Heuliez of all the buses exported to France. Heuliez was a company founded in 1920 to produce bodies on Renault, Citroën, Peugeot and Simca chassises. Heuliez specialized in the study and building of prototypes for manufacturers, producing short series for niche markets or derivatives, such as vans, convertibles and breaks in small series. Its subsidiary Heuliez Bus went through many different part-owners: from Renault to Volvo, to Irisbus, until it was entirely bought in 2001 by IVECO and it is now a 100% subsidiary of CNH Industrial.   After the O305 HLZ (more than 600 copies) it developed a minibus based on the Renault Master and more urban buses for French towns, like the GX107 and GX187. In the 1980s Heuliez was asked to renovate the O305 of Nantes: the oldest buses were unbodied, slightly lengthened and fitted with the body of the GX107, the interior was redesigned and the buses renamed GX44, while the most recent ones remained O305 until their reformation.

The model is shaped accurately and the white, green and orange livery appears authentic and neatly printed. The body is plastic, as usual, with a metal base plate with limited detail.

Many small plastic separate parts, like wipers, mirrors, lights and bumpers are used. It is fitted with accurate French registration plates for Nantes, a City in the Atlantic Loire. A basic interior is accompanied by a nice dashboard with lots of detail.

 

On the sides are two small adverts for Michelin ZX tires. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. An almost obvious choice, given the French origin of the collection.


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Converted to some Chevy IIs

By John Quilter

Photographs and text by, and copyright of the Author.

The partworks series from Argentina includes a model they call a Chevrolet 400 sedan. This diecast replica is likely made by Ixo a brand name produced by Premium Collectibles Trading Co of Macau, China. Unfortunately, these partworks items are a bit difficult to obtain for collectors outside the partworks subscription area. However, some enterprising individuals apparently get a number of subscriptions and then re-market the models on eBay for other parts of the world. Collecting 43rd models is sometimes all about the chase for some unusual item not already in one’s collection. Perhaps since these items are diecast with the attendant higher tooling costs compared to resin models, they will appear in some other marketing channel in the future.

This Chevrolet 400 was of interest to me as it is a car that was sold in the USA from 1962 to 1965 as the Chevy II. It was a belated entry into the compact car market by Chevrolet who soon realised by mid-1960 that the radically engineered air cooled rear engine Corvair was being handily outsold by Ford’s very conventional Falcon. Both were launched in the fall of 1959 as 1960 models in answer to the ever growing popularity of the European small cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle, Renault Dauphine, Morris Minor, Hlllman Minx and many others including the Ford Consul and Zephyr, Opel Record, and Vauxhall Victor, which were known as captive imports.

Seeing the Corvair was not matching the Falcon in sales GM hurriedly designed an launched the Chevy II as a 1962 model and it came in two door and four door sedans, a four door wagon, a convertible and pillarless hardtop. Engines ranged from a 153 cubic inch four cylinder to a 230 cubic inch six cylinder. Later cars had larger V8s up to the ubiquitous Chevrolet 283 and even the 327. Gearboxes were usually three speed column shifted manuals or the two speed Powerglide. The basic first generation body design lasted until 1965 when it got a re-skin for the next two years. Along the way it was renamed the Nova. This name had a bad translation into Spanish as “no go” hence the Argentine version being called the Chevrolet 400. This was as small car by American standards but was probably considered a mid to large car in many other markets. Like Ford and the Falcon based Mustang, GM took the Chevy II and used it as a base for their pony car, the Camaro in 1967.

The partworks version is a white four door sedan, probably the most common of all body types. It is quite accurate and in all respects replicates the US version closely. I was able to acquire three of these partworks items so I could create different versions. I chose to make a station wagon and a convertible.

The convertible was the easiest being that I only had to use my jeweller’s saw to cut off the roof, change the length of the door from a four door car to a two door car and create a top boot using a piece of sheet lead. The door edges can be made with a saw cut groove and the lead material lends itself easily to bending and shaping for a top boot.

I added the detail of period accessory wheel trim rings and thin white walls to the existing black walls using some white painted wire rings. Decals for whitewall this thin are not yet produced to my knowledge but this might be a good offering for one of the decal suppliers such as Interdecal marketed by Tin Wizard.

For greater accuracy I added a graphic artists tape chrome moulding down the flanks to replicate the factory moulding. The Ixo model has this in tampo print along with various badges. After repaint in red, I was able to touch in the badges approximately using my newly discovered Molotow 1mm chrome paint pen. Both the convertible and wagon got a bare metal foil sill moulding as per the actual cars.

The work to create the station wagon was a bit more complex in that I had to create a roof extension and side windows. Careful research on Wikipedia showed that the station wagon had a slightly longer length than the sedan, all in the rear quarter.

This meant that to get the correct proportions I was necessary to cut off the tail panel and extend it rearwards and fill the resulting gap with epoxy metal. Being a four door car the door joints were retained from the sedan.

I appreciated adding these variations of American compacts to my collection as model makers such as NEO, Premium X (another PCT brand) and Goldvarg* seem to be concentrating of the larger, flashier American cars in their products but if one is going to replicate what was on the streets this era, compacts from all of the big three American makers certainly played an important part at the time. I welcome models of some of the other GM compacts of the time such as the Pontiac Tempest, Olds F-85 and Buick Special or Ford’s Mercury Comet or the intermediate Mercury Meteor or Ford Fairlane. There are no shortages of body style to pick from as all had a full range of versions.

*Editors Note: John sent his article to MAR Online the day before Goldvarg announced that the Chevy II will form part of their forward programme. If Goldvarg do a Chevy II two door hardtop it will allow John to complete his collection without the need to convert another partwork model!


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Atlas Presidential Citroën

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

General de Gaulle favoured Citroën cars following the abortive attempt to assassinate him in 1962 when the ability of the Citroën hydro-pneumatic suspension to keep the car under control and driveable even with tyres shot out  is said to have saved his life. Rather than start being driven in armoured cars he kept using Citroën cars and ordered a presidential limousine in 1962. It is said his only requirement was that it was longer than John F. Kennedy’s Lincolns! 

Citroën turned to Henri Chapron to carry out the specialist bodywork and it took six years before the public saw the car in 1968. It was 6.53 meters in length and 1.96 meters high.  Although based on a DS21 the car is different from almost any angle whilst maintaining a DS family look.

The designers were Opron and Dargent and they went to town with gold badging and two tone grey finish. Inside the car they fitted large areas of woodwork in curved shapes even in front of the driver. The car was trimmed in pale leather throughout. A bar, a refrigerator, reading lights and a foldable desk are also part of the on-board equipment.

Powered by a DS21 engine of 2.1 litres it had manual transmission and a modified cooling system to allow the vehicle to run at low speed during official visits. A maximum speed of around 130 Kph is said to be achievable.

Delivered to the Elysee in 1968, this presidential DS was used only rarely. It is said that General de Gaulle only went in it three times as he disliked the separation from the driver with whom he liked chatting. Georges Pompidou scarcely used it either. The car is now owned by Citroën Heritage.

The Atlas model is made in China to 1:43 scale in diecast metal with a plastic base. It was made by Ixo for Atlas I believe. It is one of a series of presidential cars sold on subscription in many continental countries but not in the UK. However this model has been sold by Atlas to third parties and has even been seen on eBay shipping from China.

The model is excellently modelled with a splendid interior including the huge sweeping division glass as well as the additional vents modelled behind the rear window. The steering wheel and gear change are nicely modelled and the sweeping instrument panel moulded in some detail though lacking printed instruments.

The model captures the size and stance of the car well with the chromed wheels well reproduced as well as gold badges on C pillars, shield shape wing markings. There is a small aerial modelled in down position, an emblem inserted into the bonnet, super side mouldings, and bumpers with the correct number plates printed on. To the rear the chrome rear panel and inset lights are well captured. Even the door handle are small inserted parts. The yellow inset front lights under their covers are worthy of a much more expensive model.

All in all an impressive model of an impressive car.


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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 14

By Fabrizio Panico.

All text and photographs by, and copyright of the Author unless stated otherwise.

Parts 40 to 42

This time we travel to three continents : Europe, America and Australia. A French bus made in Poland, another American Greyhound and an Aussie Ford, all of them from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo.

No. 40 (no. 34 in the French collection) Berliet Jelcz PR100 1973 – We have already seen the Berliet history and its Cruisair (see part 8, no. 22) and PHL 10 ranges (see part 10, no. 30) and how during the fifties Berliet was successful, but then, lacking the resources to innovate, it was acquired by Citroën, already owned by Michelin. After the 1973 oil crisis, Michelin decided to concentrate on its tire business and Citroën was sold to Peugeot and Berliet  to Renault. Renault merged Berliet with Saviem to form Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI) in 1978. After the merger, the Berliet name was phased out and the last Berliet bus in production, the 1971 PR100, continued to be sold as a Renault until 1993.

The PR100 was a full-size step-entrance single-decker city bus, with over 13,500 buses of the PR100 range produced in France alone. The original PR100 was developed and manufactured based on German practices of the late 1960s, with a self-supporting body and a chassis with a central beam and a welded framework of squared tubes. Available with a rear Berliet diesel V8 engine producing 170 bhp, it was 11.25 m long with three basic variations of seating/standing combinations.

The PR100 was mainly used in France, with some exported to Algeria, Australia (usually badged Mack) and Morocco. The design was licensed to Jelcz in Poland, and used in many Polish cities. Jelcz is a Polish company (Jelczanskie Zaklady Samochodowe) which produced trucks, buses and trolley buses in the communist era. It currently manufacturies offroad military trucks. In 1952 a former German armaments factory in Jelcz-Laskowice near Wroclaw, newly part of  western Poland, was selected to develop and build bodies for Lublin and Star trucks. A company called “Zaklady Budowy Nadwozi Samochodowych” (Car-body Construction Works) was established, and soon produced a small bus on a Star truck chassis. But there was no time to develop new prototypes and in 1958 it was decided to produce under license the Skoda 706 RO (we’ll see it as no. 48 in part sixteen).

In 1972 the Berliet PR100 was chosen for a mass production under license, but soon there were issues with the structure of the body itself as it was not suited to the rough Polish roads (same problem already seen with the ZIS 154, see no. 37 part thirteen) because of the poor quality of the Polish components and the welding process. In 1975 it was replaced by the PR110, now 12 m long, with an higher floor, a better structure, a third door and a more powerful engine, licensed from Leyland.

The scale model is probably based on one of the preserved buses (there are many pictures of it on the web). It feels the “right” weight as the plastic body is fitted with a metal baseplate. It has a bright livery in cream and red, typical of Warsaw (see its famous mermaid insignia on the sides). Many small separate plastic parts are fitted, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers. The model has the correct “square” original shape and the large windows. It has a basic and authentic interior. Nice rear engine grilles are included as is a neat Berliet crest on the front. Correct black registration plates, WA for Warsaw, capital of the Polish Masovian voivodeship (an administrative subdivision, like Italian provinces, of Poland). There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of a bus quite common in Poland.


 

No. 41 (no. 54 in the French collection) GMC PD-3751 Greyhound 1947 – Greyhound and General Motors have already been our guests, the beautiful Super Scenicruiser as no. 4 in part two, and the GMC history in no. 29 part ten. Greyhound Lines Inc was born in Minnesota in 1914, adopting the famous Greyhound name and insignia from 1929, and after many spin-offs, mergers, and bankruptcies it is nowadays the largest motorcoach operator in the United States and Canada. Its whole history can be easily found on the web,

Here we have the famous “Silversides”, forerunners of the Scenicruisers and Super Scenicruisers. In 1936 General Motors and the Yellow Coach Company showed a groundbreaking coach, the 719 Super Coach, partly financed by Greyhound, an inter-city transport with aluminium semi-monocoque chassis, rear transverse engine, angle-drive transmission, raised platform with large underfloor luggage compartments and much more.

In 1939 it evolved into the PD/PG-3701 and PD/PG-4101, the iconic “Silversides” from their corrugated aluminium sheet side panels. Their name said all : P as Parlor Coach, D as Diesel, G as Gasoline, 37 or 41 as the number of seats. But the Second World War limited production to less than 1,000 units.

When Greyhound plans for a revolutionary postwar bus design did not materialise, 2,000 buses of the familiar prewar Silversides pattern were ordered from General Motors and delivered in 1947 and 1948 : the PD-3751 and PD-4151. The chassis was now 2 feet longer and the engine was the famous Detroit Diesel 6-71 producing 190 hp, a two-stroke inline six, used in many different military vehicles during the Second World War.

The scale model is named GMC, but in reality GMC badges did not appear until 1968, replacing GM, GM Coach and Yellow Coach badges previously fitted. Its striking styling is reproduced well. It has the usual plastic body and metal baseplate. It sports the “classic” blue and silver livery, beautifully reproduced, complete with all the Greyhound decorations. The 1947 registration plate is from California, while the destination board reads “San Francisco”. Very nice wheels, seats and the driver’s area. Many small separate parts are used and nicely “chromed bumpers”. The steering wheel seems to be a bit too big but that is a small point. No apparent differences to the French edition. A good model of an iconic bus, seen in many black and white US movies.


No. 42 (no. 60 in the French collection) Ford Super Coach Greyhound 1937 – Another Greyhound ? not exactly, despite all similarities Greyhound Australia has never had any affiliation with the FirstGroup-owned Greyhound Lines, or their out of USA companies. Greyhound Australia is Australia’s only long national distance coach operator running services in all mainland states and territories. It was formed in 1928 with a service between Toowoomba and Brisbane, creating a full national coach company in the 1970s.

Today it is owned by KordaMentha, an Australian advisory and investment firm. Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited is the Australian subsidiary of US Ford Motor Company. It was founded in Geelong, Victoria, in 1925 as an outpost of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. At that time, Ford Canada was a separate company from Ford USA, Henry Ford having granted the manufacturing rights of Ford motor vehicles in the British Empire (later the Commonwealth), excepting the UK, to Canadian investors.

Ford Australia’s first products were Model Ts assembled from complete knock-down (CKD) kits provided by Ford of Canada, followed by Model A and V8. After the Second World War Ford Australia assembled imported Ford models. Initially, they assembled the UK sourced Pilot, then a range of British cars, including the Prefect, Consul, Zephyr and Zodiac. Ford also assembled the Canadian Ford V8 and later fully Australian design like the Falcon. Due to noncompetitive manufacturing costs and poor sales, production ceased in 2016, but Ford are continuing to design and develop cars and trucks for the Asia/Pacific region.

The Greyhound Super Coach is a one-off, built on the chassis of a truck and bodied by the Watt Brothers Coach of Brisbane, with a wood framework and plywood panels covered in sheet metal. Very likely the engine was the classic Ford V8 producing 85 hp. Chassis and body were found some time ago in a local junkyard (see pictures on the web), but it has not yet been restored. Due to its Australian origins, there is a central door on the left side only.

The scale model is true to the original streamlined shape and the white livery seems to be authentic judging by the many old pictures. A plastic body and metal baseplate are used, with an added “chromed” exhaust and front and rear plastic lower fairings. Some plastic parts are added like lights and bumpers. It is basic model with no rear mirrors and one wiper only. A basic interior is fitted but it does have a nice dashboard. A large baggage area with rails is fitted on the roof, but there is no ladder. The registration plates were issued by New South Wales, the “First State”, black on yellow with the prefix Metro, as required for commercial buses in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong districts. As usual there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice model of an almost unknown bus.


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Atlas Germany Ambulance Collection – Part Seven

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Atlas Ambulance Cars collection continues to be issued with two more items to 1:43 scale appearing since my last report.

7 495 114 Mercedes-Benz G-Class

On 1st February 1979 production of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class began in the Austrian city of Graz. The first Mercedes-Benz cross-country vehicle since the Second World War was developed in co-operation between Daimler-Benz and Steyr-Daimler-Puch which started in 1977.

The vehicle has since been used by businesses, private individuals, by utility firms, and for military purposes. Its suitability for off-road rescues because of its permanent four-wheel-drive.was identified early in its life.  Different rescue organisations are still using the G-class as emergency doctor´s cars today. The miniature shows an “Emergency Doctor Action Vehicle”, this means, that the doctor does first aid and prepares the patient for transfer to hospital by Ambulance and then moves on to the next call.

The model is true to the original shape and the livery is authentic. Many small separate parts are fitted and a baseplate with some detail fitted. The German registration plates are issued by Neustadt an der Waldnaab, not far away from the “Richard Wagner Town”, Bayreuth.

 

7 495 115 Saab 9-5 Sportcombi

In 1949 the Swedish aircraft manufacturer started their car production with the Saab 92. After many years with moderate success, the automobile production was sold to General Motors, who did not manage to grow the brand as they had hoped, and they sold Saab to the Dutch super sports car manufacturer Spyker who, under-capitalised and inexperienced in mass manufacturing, led the firm into insolvency in 2011.

The Saab 9-5 saloon was launched in 1997 and the estate appeared in 1999.

Outside major cities, Sweden is a sparsely populated country and so the emergency doctors often have long journeys to reach their patient. For this use the 9-5 estate was fitted as “AKUTBIL” with a huge range of medical equipment to help the Doctor cope with a wide range of emergency procedures.

The model is shaped accurately and the livery authentic and neatly printed. Many parts are small separately inserted ones. The baseplate has some detail. It is fitted with accurate Swedish registration plates.

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Hachette Italy World Buses Part 13

By Fabrizio Panico

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Parts 37 to 39

Three more buses from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French one “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. This time one from each decade : an almost Russian from the 1940s, a mighty German from the 1950s and an urban French from the 1960s.

No. 37 (no. 35 in the French collection) ZIS 154 1946 – I wrote “almost Russian” because the ZIS 154 was in fact a near copy of the GM‘s model TDH-3610 built under license, like most of the ZIS products. The factory started in 1916 as the Moscow Automotive Company (Avtomobilnoe Moskovskoe Obshchestvo or AMO), just before the October Revolution, with the latest in American equipment to produce Fiat 15 Ter trucks, under license. But the subsequent Russian Civil War postponed to 1924 the production of the first vehicle, the AMO F-15, by which time it was obsolete. In 1931 the factory changed its name to Automotive Factory No. 2 Zavod Imeni Stalina (ZIS) to become Zavod Imeni Likhachova (ZIL) in 1956, after Nikita Kruschev denounced the cult of personality of Joseph Stalin, this time taking its name from its former director Ivan Alekseevich Likhachov.

During the 1930s and 1940s ZIS produced trucks and buses based on American standards, and after the Second World War obtained a license from General Motors to produce the TDH-3610, a rear engined transit bus introduced in 1940 by Yellow Coach (purchased by GM in 1943 and incorporated into the GM Truck & Coach Division).

Nowadays ZIL has stopped truck production and the company has been liquidated. The Soviet version of the TDH-3610 was diesel-electric powered using a locally manufactured Yaroslavl YAZ-204 diesel, but supply problems forced ZIS to switch to the Detroit Diesel 6-71, also built under license. After only just over four years of production the ZIS-154 was discontinued because of issues with the reliability of the drive-train components and the structure of the body itself, which was not suited to the rough Russian roads. It was replaced by the less-technically-advanced front engined ZIS-155, derived from some prototypes designed by the Moscow’s Central Auto Repair Workshop using a shortened ZIS-154 body mounted on a modified ZIS-150 truck chassis. The 155 became the standard city bus in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, and a large quantity were exported to other Eastern Bloc countries.

The scale model is very likely based on one of the preserved buses, with a nice livery in cream and red, a quite heavy metal body with the usual plastic baseplate, where the exhaust is painted in silver. Many separately moulded items are fitted, like lights, bumpers, mirrors and wipers. A basic interior is fitted with a separate compartment for the driver.

Very nicely modelled wheels (double at the rear) are matched by a good horn on the roof. It seems to have a correct black front registration plate, while at the rear it is correctly painted directly on the body in extra large characters. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A good model of a time when the USA helped the Soviet Union restart its industry.

 

No. 38 (no. 33 in the French collection) Krupp SW 080 Titan 1951 – The Krupp family from Essen was for over four centuries one of the most powerful dynasties in European history, famous for their production of steel, artillery, ammunition, and other armaments. At the beginning of the 20th century their company, known as Friedrich Krupp AG, was the largest in Europe and from 1999, after merging with Thyssen AG, it became ThyssenKrupp AG. The Krupp Krawa (short for Friedrich Krupp Motoren und Kraftwagenfabriken) was one of its subsidiary companies and it produced commercial vehicles from 1919, like trucks, dump trucks and buses, with the brand Krupp (Südwerke from 1946 to 1954).

In 1950 Krupp launched the Titan heavy truck with 190 hp (210hp later), the most powerful German truck of its time. Because the occupying Allied powers didn’t allowed such a powerful six cylinder engine to be manufactured Krupp installed two individually-actuated three-cylinder two-stroke diesel engines in series, connected to a pinion, a very complicated and expensive solution.

It was superseded in 1955 by the Tiger, but already in 1968 the Krupp Krawa was dissolved and the commercial organisation was taken over by Daimler-Benz. For a short time Krupp also made buses, mainly distributed in West Germany, but the production was always very limited and abandoned in 1963.

The Titan SW 080 intercity bus was based on a standard truck chassis, with a 6.4 metres wheelbase and a total length of 12 metres. Only 158 were produced, bodied by the Hubertia Karosseria or the Emil H. von Lienen Werks, but they were bulky, heavy and with a very high oil and fuel consumption.

The scale model is very likely based on a picture of an Hubertia bus, a few trucks have survived, but no buses are recorded. It is an imposing model, with a black liveried plastic body and a metal chassis that adds “substance” to the model. The registration plate is from Vienna (Wien), and the destination board says “Wien Praterstern” a Vienna railways station (near the famous Prater Wheel). Lots of details are included: from the long radio antenna to the small mirrors at the end of the protruding nose, the baggage rails over the roof and a nice long ladder. The wipers and the inox wands on the body are well modelled. The seats are fitted with headrests and are well reproduced, as is the dashboard. There are no apparent differences to the French edition. A nice companion to the prewar Mercedes Benz O10000 (no. 2 of the collection).

 

No. 34 (no. 47 in the French collection) Saviem SC 10 U 1965 – At the end of 1955 Renault was increasing its car production, needed to face the Berliet predominance and the Billancourt works were becoming unsuitable to build cars and commercial vehicles at the same time. Somua and Latil, other manufacturers, had  lots of space available in St Ouen and Suresnes and their output was decreasing. The solution was to unify their forces and create LRS Saviem (Latil-Renault-Somua Société Anonyme de Véhicules Industriels et d’Equipments Mécaniques).

In the following years Saviem incorporated Isobloc and Chausson (in 1959 Renault took full control) and later became number one in France. During the fifties the Paris Autonomous Board of Transport (RATP) had a very mixed fleet : Somua, Chausson, Berliet, Renault and Panhard. The difficulties of maintaining such a varied fleet and the many problems experienced by passengers pushed the RATP and the Union of Urban and Regional Public Transport (UPTUR) to join forces and develop the specifications for a new unified urban bus which would be known as the bus “Standard”. It was specified as a bus with a length of 11 metres, a closed body, a low floor level, different types of doors, large windows and a curved windscreen, a 150hp diesel engine and an expected working life of 15 years.

Prototypes were presented in 1961 by Saviem and Berliet (later tested by the RATP) and by Verney, soon abandoned.   The Saviem SC10 became the archetype of the “standard” bus : a self supporting structure where the chassis was replaced by a substructure with beams formed by square steel pipes, welded and crossed, on which were fixed the mechanical and electrical parts.

The prototype engine was a Renault Fulgur, replaced by a MAN in production. Produced in different versions from 1965 to 1989 it was a large commercial success, with more than 11,000 units produced. The Saviem SC10 became the Renault SC10 following the merge of Saviem and Berliet and the creation of Renault Véhicules Industriels (RVI).

The scale model is very likely a faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle. As usual there is a plastic body and a metal chassis, but the model is quite lacking in weight. The classic green and cream RATP livery is well reproduced, with adverts for Leroux and the Renault Cinq. The route number is 72, Hotel de Ville – Boulogne Saint Cloud. A  basic interior incorporates a very nice driver’s cockpit. Many separate parts are used  reproduced the opening windows and the folding doors well. Again there are no apparent differences to the French edition. A worthy reproduction of a “classic” Parisian bus.


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Suddenly it’s 1960 (A little later then planned)

By Graeme Ogg

All text and photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Upper Photograph is from an Anonymous source on the Internet. Lower is the Author’s Handiwork

A few years ago I got hold of a Brooklin Models 1960 Edsel convertible and in one of those moments of rash enthusiasm decided to scratchbuild an estate roof on to it to make a Villager wagon, which would fill a gap in my Edsel collection. This was a rare bird (only 275 built before Ford finally pulled the plug on Edsel production) which essentially shared the 1960 Ford body, and I found the wagon roofline particularly attractive. Unfortunately I ran into problems with the build and chickened out (it’s a long, sad story) and set the whole thing aside. For about 5 years.

Meanwhile, fellow chopper John Quilter took the sensible approach to building his own Villager by making resin castings of the Brooklin bumpers and grille and fitting them into the Ixo body. I could have done the same, but clung to the idea I could make my Brooklin conversion work. Then along came the Ixo 1960 Ford wagon. I bought a couple of them and found that the roof was a remarkable good fit for the half-demolished Brooklin body.

 

After carefully sawing it off the Ixo body I glued it in place and it only needed a touch of filler here and there to blend it into the lower body. The rear fins on the wagon, curving their way around the tail-lights, differ from both the Edsel sedan and the Ford wagon, so those had to be fabricated. After that it was only (hah!) a matter of tidying and detailing.

I had kept the Brooklin seats but the Ixo seating unit sat better in the “blended” body so I used that, but tarted up the seats a little to make them look more like the Edsel upholstery pattern.  I replaced the Ford wheels with the Brooklins.

The Edsel wasn’t exactly lacking in brightwork, so a fair bit of work was needed with the Bare Metal Foil. I was going to foil the grille and bumpers but they looked bright enough to match the BMF so I left them alone, although I did drill out the metal headlamps and front sidelights and fitted plastic lenses, which brightened up the front quite nicely.

I also remembered to add the “gunsights” on the front corners that weren’t originally fitted to the Brooklin.

And that would have been it, really, except that when it came to the knee-trembling stage of final detailing and re-assembly, my nerve went again, and the model just sat there unfinished. However, in the past few weeks I finally got my whatsit back into gear and completed the job.

Of course (as a country barmaid once confessed to me) when you start fooling around with the country squire[*] it can be hard to stop. Pretty soon I was attacking another Ixo wagon. I’ve always admired the styling of the 1960 big Fords but only have a very warped plastic Galaxie (Anguplas) and a Starliner coupé (Motorhead Miniatures) in my collection, so I launched into a sedan conversion. For some reason I found the particular variation of the “Thunderbird” roofline used on the 1960 Galaxie less convincing than on some other Fords of that era, so switched my attention to the Fairlane 500 Town Sedan, with its slimmer rear pillars and huge back window (interesting that in 1960 Ford, GM and Chrysler all featured outsize “bubble” rear windows on some models).

While Ixo kindly provided a suitable lower body and roof structure, the whole back end had to be changed, with a new rear deck and the cropped fins of the wagon extended forwards and inwards, and the boot lid that sits lower than the rear wings, with the centre of the rear window dropping down into the valley. After more than 5 years without laying hands on an X‑Acto blade or a needle file, it was an interesting exercise in reviving old skills. (Skills? Surely you jest.)

I did at least successfully revive the old trick of carving the rear window in balsa and push-moulding it into heated plastic, with only minor charring of some domestic furnishings, although I did have to take the batteries out of the smoke detectors. And the moulding came out pretty well in the end.

The distinctive chevrons on the rear flanks were snipped from small staples. Fairlane 500s had a crest on the nose rather than “Ford” script, so that was done with a tiny colour photocopy. I put “Fairlane” on the boot lid in proper 1:43 lettering and it was pretty much invisible, so I went for over-scale lettering which may have been a bad idea (not helped by the elderly decal sheet having yellowed somewhat) but I wasn’t going to scrape it all off. Since I can’t print badges in chrome or white, I put “Fairlane 500” script on the front wings in black, which sounds like another daft move but if you look at photos of real cars the script is often half in shade and could almost be black …. OK, don’t believe me. At least it gives the impression that there’s a badge there.

The grossly over-scale chrome gunsights used by Ixo were replaced by something a little more delicate.

Building working steering into a model that will just sit on a shelf was a spectacularly pointless exercise and I don’t know what possessed me. (In retrospect, I think it was a bit of displacement activity at a tricky moment in the build.)

The Ford was done at the same time as the Edsel, and sat around unfinished for just as long, so I am just glad to get these models completed at last. It has to be said that doing a decent paint job, applying BMF tidily and putting small pieces of trim back neatly are all things that benefit from regular practice, so after the long lay-off this was not my finest hour in those areas. Close up, there are too many raggedy details, and after spending so long trying to get things right, it’s a little discouraging (said he, apparently calm but inwardly fuming). Of course I don’t plan on letting you get that close. Just stand back and enjoy the general impression. No, a bit further.  Further.  That’s it.  Nice, eh?

And here it is alongside an original Ford brochure photo.

Upper Photograph from period Ford Brochure, lower the Authors Handiwork.

[*] OK, so the Ixo is officially a Ranch Wagon, not a Country Squire. Listen, if you’re going to be difficult ….


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Hachette Italy World Buses – Part 12

By Fabrizio Panico

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Another lovely triplet of models from the Italian Hachette partwork “Autobus dal mondo”, a collection of sixty 1:43 scale bus models, very similar to the French series “Autobus et autocars du monde”, produced in Bangladesh for Ixo. This time a real icon from Renault, an ex-pat from Leyland and an almost unknown Belgian one.

No. 34 (no. 29 in the French collection) Renault TN6-C2 1934 – We have already met Renault and its AGP Saharien (see seventh part, no. 19), but the TN is really a must for everyone, usually identified with Paris and seen in every black and white French movie. From 1931 Renault delivered its new TN chassis’s to many French towns, at first with an on-line four cylinders front engine (TN4), and with a six cylinders from 1932 (TN6A).

The Parisian buses were bodied by the STCRP (Société des Transport en Commun de la Région Parisienne), using aluminium sheets over a wood frame, with an open rear platform for the town, and a closed body for the suburbs (nicknamed “hen cage”). Much more comfortable than the previous Schneider or Renault, they were the first to use pneumatic tyres, with double wheels at the rear axle. But the engine was a bit too fragile, and it was soon replaced by a new six-in-line, powered by a ternary fuel made of a mixture of one-third of alcohol, 1/3 benzol and 1/3 petrol (TN6-C). The last version is the TN6-C2, but the difference with the first generation is above all aesthetic, with “artillery” wheels with star branches and an enlarged windscreen. They were retired in 1969, after a very long service.

The scale model is the faithful reproduction of a restored vehicle, part of the “AMTUIR” collection (Association du Musée des Transports Urbains, Interurbains et Ruraux), its museum is now located in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, part of the Parisian Region (see www.amtuir.org).

As usual there is a plastic multi-part body and a metal chassis. Classic green and cream livery is well reproduced with a nice advert for Canigou (pet foods). There is a basic interior with a very nice drivers cab. Many separate small parts are fitted. This is a a beautiful model rich in old-world charm, it is a pity that they used an unrealistic shiny metal support inside the rear platform. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

No. 35 (no. 30 in the French collection) Leyland Victory Mark II 1979 – Leyland Motors Ltd was a British vehicle manufacturer of trucks, buses and trolleybuses, with a long history dating back to  1896 and the foundation of the Lancashire Steam Motor Company in the town of Leyland in North West England, They were renamed Leyland Motors in 1907 when they took over Coulthards of Preston. Between the Great War and the Second World War Leyland produced many different vehicles, from luxury touring cars to light utility cars like the Trojan. During the Second World War Leyland was involved in war production, building the Cromwell tank as well as medium/large trucks such as the Leyland Hippo and Retriever. After the war the Centurion tank (of Dinky fame) was made. Many trucks companies were incorporated in Leyland, like AEC, Albion, and Scammel. It diversified into car manufacturing with its acquisitions of Triumph (1960) and Rover (1967). In 1968 it merged with British Motor Holdings to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation, to become British Leyland after being nationalised in 1975, then simply BL, and in 1986 changed its name to Rover Group. Leyland Trucks depended on British sales as well as on its established export markets, mainly centred on commonwealth and ex-commonwealth markets.

In the early 1980s export sales were drying up in many places. The business was broken up and while Leyland Bus was bought by Volvo Buses in 1988, the original Leyland Trucks business eventually became a subsidiary of PACCAR. The Leyland name and logo continues as a recognised and respected marque across India, the wider subcontinent and parts of Africa in the form of Ashok Leyland. Leyland Motors established a number of milestones that set bus industry rends, like being one of the first manufacturers to design chassis for buses that were different from trucks, with a lower chassis level to help passengers to board, They created the Titan and Tiger ranges in 1927 that revolutionised bus design, and the trend-setting Atlantean rear-engined, double-decker.

The Leyland Victory Mark II was a front-engined, double-decker bus chassis manufactured between 1978 and 1981, developed from the Guy Victory J, and specifically designed to operate in Hong Kong mainly by Kowloon Motor Bus (KMB) and China Motor Bus (CMB). The body was designed by Alexander, with a narrow entrance door and a central larger one, while the engine was a Gardner six cylinders with 180 CV. The Victory had a notorious reputation as an unsafe bus, mainly due to its soft suspension and high centre of gravity, which makes it prone to overturning. It was very popular in Hong Kong and also known as “chicken” because its soft suspensions made it behave like a chicken when accelerating or decelerating. Some of the ex-CMB Victory Mark IIs have been saved for preservation, mainly in Hong Kong, while one was donated to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum.

The scale model is very likely based on one of the preserved buses, with a nice CMB livery in light blue and cream. It has a metal lower body, plastic upper body and chassis. A basic interior is fitted with a red ticket machine, and unfortunately the realism is affected by the use of un-prototypical shiny metal supports inside the body. Many small separate items are used, like lights, grille, mirrors and wipers. It has very nice wheels and side windows, though the windows are lacking horizontal bars, needed for safety reasons because of the sliding windows. There are no apparent differences to the French edition.

 

No. 36 (no. 28 in the French collection) Brossel A92 DARL 1962 – The Belgian automotive industry is often overlooked, but it is a thriving and dynamic one. In the past it could offer many revered brands, like Minerva, Imperia, Nagant, FN, Metallurgique, and Vivinus . After the Second World War domestic producers soon disappeared, but at the end of the century Belgium was one of the largest European automakers with an annual output up to 1.2 million from the assembly plants of brands like Opel, Ford, Audi, and Volvo. Its export-oriented auto industry has shrunk by half in recent years (to 500 thousand units) due to strong competition with imports from near and far Eastern producers, but today more than 90% of the vehicles produced in Belgium are still intended for export.

Brossel Frères SA was an old manufacturer of trucks, buses and autorails, based in Brussels from 1912 until its demise in 1968, when it was bought by British Leyland and its name disappeared the following year. At the end of the 1950s Brossel developed with the coachbuilder Jonckheere a high capacity urban bus powered by a rear mounted Leyland diesel engine. The French town of Lille, near the Belgian border, favoured them to replace its old Isobloc buses. Saviem (then the owner of Isobloc) wasn’t interested in the contract and Brossel won the order for more than 150 buses.

The A92 DARL (Diesel ARrière Lille) chassis was similar to the Leyland Panther one, with a considerable front level difference to reduce the height of the floor as much as possible. The double wheels on the rear axle offered excellent driving characteristics. Typical of the last DARL produced was the spherical cylindrical windshield, which reduced the light reflections experienced by the driver.

The scale model has the usual plastic body and metal chassis with  the exhaust is enhanced in silver. The destination board reads “Valenciennes” a town about 50 km from Lille, while the cream and olive green livery is that of the CGIT (Compagnie Générale Industrielle de Transports) of Lille. The registration plate is from Lille. Usual separate parts like mirrors, lights and bumpers. Very nice wheels, windows and doors. The interior is typical of the French standards in the 1960s, the few seats arranged like a sitting room, with almost all the platform left to the standing people. A nice addition of a not so common bus, only seen in France and Belgium. No apparent differences to the French edition.


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Atlas BTCC Hillman Avenger

By  Maz Woolley

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Atlas has now completed the BTCC collection at model 24. It is still inviting new collectors to sign up on its web site despite the fact that Atlas had already sold significant numbers of at least 16 of that collection to the wholesale trade.  The model shown in this post is the car that Bernard Unett drove to the 1974 Class A British Saloon Car Championship a 1600cc Hillman Avenger GT. For Rootes/Chrysler collectors it complements the Sunbeam Imp already seen in this series.

The Atlas model appears to be a realistic replica of the car from period photographs with the livery very accurately captured. Even the GT chrome strip is printed across the roof. The use of multi part windows that flush fit into the gaps make the side windows much more convincing than on models where the B pillars are cast items.

Lovely “bullet” wing mirrors are replicated as are the taped front lights. The windscreen wipers are plastic, black and are thin and accurately formed – I just wish more makers would use these and not photo-etched ones. The period Warwickshire number plates are neatly done front and rear.

The rear of the two door Avenger is very well modelled with the hockey stick rear lights very nicely done with translucently painted lenses behind clear plastic.  All the rear badging and logos are clearly printed and well positioned as is the GT badge on the C Pillar.

Quite a lot of effort has gone into the wheels which have the ventilation slots in the gaps between the silver rims.

The Chrysler Pentastar is much to the fore in the livery. Inside the dash mouldings are good and include the extra rev counter perched above the dashboard but they do not include all the extra switchgear in the centre and left of the dash, or the fire extinguisher.

The casting is thought to be by PCT (Ixo’s owner) and it will be interesting to see if it is used again. Comparing it to the Dodge  1800SE from the South American series which was based upon the Avenger there are some similarities but the body shell is not identical.


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