By Maz Woolley
All photographs supplied by the Manufacturer.
AutoCult has announced three models for release this month. In their series “Prototypes” they model the Oldsmobile Golden Rocket Concept car. In their series “Delivery Vehicles” they have created the Willys FC-150 Pickup. Finally in the series of “Buses” there is a Mercedes-Benz OP312 an Rooijen.
1/43 #06020 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket (USA, 1956)
Oldsmobile has been part of General Motors since 1908. In the 1950s their designs came from the department headed by Harley J. Earl. It was the time of the “space race” and the futuristic influence of rocket shapes was felt in the concept cars made by all the big US car makers.
The car modelled by Auto Cult is an Oldsmobile made specially for the 1956 General Motors Motorama, a show where GM showed off concept cars in a bid to attract visitors who could be persuaded to buy their latest production cars which were also on show.
Its split rear screen and thrusting wings and light bearing winglets were to be seen on production cars in the future. The car body was made in fibreglass and it was fitted with a V8 engine with 275 hp.
1/43 #08009 Willys Jeep FC-150 Pick-Up (USA, 1956)
By the mid-1950s the WIllys range looked rather old-fashioned and so Willys planned the launch of a new delivery truck with a new and striking design. The management brought in the well-known designer Brooks Stevens. Stevens’ concept was influenced by the design of heavy-duty trucks. The engine was positioned right underneath the driver’s cab. Due to its cab over engine design the delivery truck got the designation “Jeep-Forward-Control”, or “FC” for short.
It did not need a long development phase to get the van into production as parts like the chassis and the engine were already in in use. The chassis came from the in-house 1954 SUV “CJ-5” and the engine was the “Hurricane” type. On November 29, 1956, the first of these vehicles were presented at a special event for dealers.
The wheelbase of the small delivery truck was strikingly short at just two meters. It also had a small turning circle. But, the narrow width of only 1.2 metres gave it undesirable handling traits. Two years later this was addressed by broadening the truck to 1.4 metres whilst retaining the same load bed length.
Altogether the production of this style of truck lasted from 1957 to 1964. All variations added together sold no more than 30,000 units which was considerably less than Willys had hoped.
1/43 #10002 Mercedes-Benz OP312 van Rooijen (NL, 1958)
The DUKW has inspired many vehicles. Some built buses looking like boats and some built ones that could also perform as one. Tours are available in Prague today in a bus-boat based on a modern coach which is amphibious. But the bus modelled by Auto Cult was based on a series of buses inspired by the style of boats but which could not travel in water.
This special boat-bus, named `Huwelijksboot’ (Dutch for wedding boat), was one of three identical vehicles. All three buses were built by the body maker van Rooijen in the 1950s. The body maker was based in Montfort (Netherlands). The buses were styled to look boat shaped and fitted with wood and railings and even funnels to make it look the part. There were even tyres on the vehicles ship’s side just like the ones used to protect a normal boat as it landed at a pier.
All three boat-buses were built on the chassis of a Mercedes-Benz OP 312, had an engine with a performance of 120 hp, and offered space for 32 passengers. These vehicles provided a comfortable ride with a special style.
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