By Maz Woolley
All photographs by, and copyright of the Author.
The GFCC Pontiac Bonneville has already been reviewed by Graeme Ogg in a previous article in MAR Online. I have now received the next model available on eBay from this range; a 1955 Studebaker Speedster Coupé. This was rather dearer than the Pontiac, but including delivery to the UK it cost about the same price as a Corgi or Oxford 1:43 scale model.
Again the model comes in a slightly curious box. But the box quality and the plastic inner and tissue packing is very like that used for Atlas models. There is continued speculation that these models may have been developed for a partwork or subscription series that was not launched.
The Studebaker Speedster Coupé was sold in the 1955 model year only. It used a name previously used by Studebaker in the 1920s. It formed part of the President series and was based upon the President Hardtop Coupé. The 1955 model year cars were characterised by the introduction of massive grilles and bumpers. The Speedster was fitted with a large number of options as standard and was considerably dearer than the hardtop it was based on. After showing the Speedster at car shows it went into production in the middle of the 1955 model year. It was replaced in the 1956 model year by the Hawk series modelled by Dinky, Corgi and many others since.
It is difficult to know what to judge the model against. In many ways, although a diecast, it is like an early Brooklin but it has more Tampo printing. It has no separate inserted parts and lights are all painted on. In other respects, like the exposed axle ends, it is more like an old Dinky Toy but unlike a Dinky the interior has door cards, a detailed dashboard and steering wheel as well as the seats which represent the “Shoemaker-stitched” diamond-quilted genuine top-grain leather seating fitted to the original. So I suppose that it is closest in feel to a Dinky that has been given extra detailing.
My model has a dashboard that has dropped to the floor. Normally I would quickly refit this myself but this model is fitted together with spun-over rivets so is not going to be easy to open. I hope other buyers find their dashboard properly fitted.
The model has many of the features of the Speedster replicated in a simplified manner. The wheel hub shape attempts to capture the original but omits the false wire wheel sections making them toy like. At the rear the lights are painted in a simplified way and the reversing lights on the original are just bumps on the boot. The badging is also rather simplified.
From the side the model looks nicely shaped though the heavy silver printed chrome is rather dull and the black roof and the printed window surround do not match properly leaving an incorrect strip of green between the chrome and the black paint.
The massive front with its unblacked grille really reminds me of a French Dinky from the 1950s. The massive extra lights are incorrectly painted red pictures of the real car seem to show them in an orange colour.
The rear too has a really Dinky like quality with the moulded in detail and no separate parts. It is a nice shape though capturing the car well.
The model is available in three colour combinations:
- Black and ochre with a cream roof
- Yellow with black lower and roof
- Green with black lower part and roof
All these colour combinations can be seen in selections of photographs of the real cars.
The only source for these models seems to be from the company ‘s direct sales on eBay.
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