Category Archives: Langley

A Car Transporter Conversion

By Maz Woolley

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


Car transporter at Standard Triumph’s Canley Factory in Coventry in the early 1960s
Copyright owner unknown.

My conversion was inspired by finding the black and white photograph of a Progressive Deliveries transporter collecting Standard Triumph cars from the factory in Canley in Coventry shown above.

Car transporters are a good way to show off a group of models, especially if you collect 1:76 scale models. Collectors will be familiar with the EFE transporter, shown below, which was produced over many years in several liveries with either an Atkinson or Bedford TK tractor unit. Although slightly simplified the trailer does capture the look of period transporter trailers from Carrymore and others. A model like the one below provided the chassis of the tractor unit and the trailer.

Photograph by Hattons copyright acknowledged

My first challenge was finding a suitable Leyland cab unit to fit on the tractor unit chassis. Here I had the choice of two different 1:76 scale Leyland Comet cabs from small suppliers here in the UK. One from Langley in white metal and one from Road Transport Images (RTI) in resin. After careful comparison of the cabs and the black and white photograph I decide to use the RTI cab unit. This was a nice clean unit which came with a simple interior and vacform. I was lucky that I bought this cab several months before Frank Waller passed away. Since his death RTI products have not been available as his family has not yet been able to find someone to take the company on as a going concern.

The RTI cab is a 1:76 scale Leyland Comet short door LAD (Leyland/Albion/Dodge) cab from 1958 when it was introduced as the third geneneration of the Comet. This cab was made by Coventry Motor Panels for the truck makers and was styled slightly differently for each manufacturer.

Starting from a black and white photograph did not make things easy. My initial guess was that the unit could have been painted in yellow and black but a fellow member of CDMC (Coventry Diecast and Model Club) was kind enough to ask fellow modellers in the Coventry area and not only was the colour of the original livery identified but suggestions for suitable spray paints to match were supplied too!

The steps in the conversion process are described below. Unfortunately I didn’t think to photograph the work in progress.

  • EFE tractor and trailer stripped and completely disassembled
  • Front bumper cut off tractor chassis
  • Paint stripped from trailer and chassis
  • All spray painted in Acrylic grey primer
  • Repainted Cab in Ford Olympic Blue (Light blue)
  • Masked upper part of cab
  • Sprayed lower part of tractor cab with Ford Royal Blue Acrylic spray paint and removed masking.
  • Spray upper part of trailer in Olympic blue
  • Spray lower part in Royal Blue
  • Spray tractor chassis in Royal Blue
  • Cut dash and sterring wheel from Atkinson tractor unit interior to re-use
  • Glue Atkinson wheel/dash to the RTI cab interior
  • Spray RTI seats and cab interior in primer and then in satin black
  • Decals designed and printed on injet decal paper – clear for items on cab and upper part of trailer and printed on white backed decal for lower trailer as clear deacls with light blue lettering did not work.
  • paint lights and fill with acrylic to make main headlight lenses
  • Apply decals on cab and trailer and overspray with clear acrylic paint
  • Glue windows in Cab
  • Glue interior in cab
  • Cut plasticard packing to attach cab to chassis at correct height and spray black
  • Glue plasticard insert into cab chassis
  • Glue Cab onto plasticard insert in chassis
  • Re-assemble rest of components

The conversion went well though I did manage to break one of the small lugs that holds the folding rear ramp in place trying to get it back into place. It was finished in time for a chop night at CDMC and I was lucky enough to win one of the awards on the night for my efforts.

The car shown on the transporter is also a conversion. It started life as a John Day Vehicle Scenics Standard Vanguard Phase III. This has been altered to represent a Standard Ensign which used the Vanguard body but had a smaller four cylinder engine and much simpler grille as well as a more basic interior. They sold quite well to companies and to the Armed Forces where the Fleet Manager was happy with lower costs than the Vanguard but the same durability.

The conversion consisted of:

  • remove the Vanguard’s protruding grille unit
  • open out the grille area to create a flat recess and file off wing side light area
  • remove all overriders from bumpers
  • file off Triumph badge from bonnet
  • make a decal printed on ink jet paper of the ensign grille and badging from an image found on the web.
  • Clean and paint model
  • Highlight lights and sidelights in silver/silver/red, and white
  • Fit vacform glazing
  • Assemble model
  • Finish wheels off
  • Apply decals

So here we have a couple of models which display well together with a conversion I did of the John Day Vehicle Scenics Standard 9cwt van into a Standard Triumph Livery shown many years ago in the printed MAR magazine. This was also created from a black and white photograph and it is possible that the van should actually be in dark green rather than black.

Both the base John Day models shown in this article are still available from Daryle Toney who owns the John Day Vehicle Scenics range, his website can be found at http://johndaymodels.webplus.net/ . The EFE transporter model is not shown on the Bachmann website so is now presumably obsolete, but it is frequently available on eBay. For the moment the Langley X27 Leyland cab would have to be used to do a similar conversion as the RTI one is not currently available.

More googling has uncovered the Rootes Group transporters run for them by British Road Services and pulled by Commer tractor units. This will be my next challenge!


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