By Fabrizio Panico
Three more models 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.
At last a Japanese bus, very ”American” indeed, plus a “classic” from Italy and a “streamliner” from Germany.
No. 10 (no. 56 in the French collection) Lancia Esatau P Bianchi & Co 1953 – Lancia produced a wide range of vans, trucks, buses and military vehicles from the very beginning, forming Lancia Veicoli Industriali in 1912. After Fiat‘s takeover of the company production of commercial vehicles ended in the early 1970s, with some models rebadged as Iveco. The Esatau is a famous series of truck and bus chassis produced from 1947 to 1980, the first trucks were of the bonneted type (nicknamed “musone”, big snout or nose).
They were fitted with an inline six cylinder diesel engine, later on switching to a cab over engine. In 1949 the first buses were of the “underfloor” type, the engine was laid on its side, in front of the front axle. The buses were bodied by the most important coachbuilders, among them the Bianchi & C. of Varese, like the Gran Turismo model presented. The city bus version remained in production from 1948 through 1973, and was used in Rome, Milan and Turin. Trolley bus and articulated versions were also made, like the trolleys used in Athens.
A large model of a big vehicle, actually an Esatau V11, as can be read on the model’s front. The body is plastic, while the metal baseplate is well detailed. Light blue and dark blue livery, with poor definition where the masking has not created a crisp edge to the over painted area. The twin front grilles are very nice: very “fifties”. A fragile front antenna is fitted and a sunshade can be seen on the windscreen.
There is a small ladder at the rear and a luggage rack on the roof. Interiors and driver area are a bit basic, but the fitting of the inserted windows is very good. There is a “trailer” signal on the roof, but due to the fact there is no trailer it should be reclined. Indeed, the driver of this splendid vehicle would have been penalised by the police: the signal (yellow triangle on a black background) had to be in an upright position, clearly visible, only when towing and had to be folded in an horizontal position when there was no trailer. The licence plate is from Milan, and is marked December 1954. No apparent differences to the French edition.
No. 11 (no. 13 in the French collection) Mercedes Benz LO3100 1936 – Karl Benz built the world’s first motorised bus in 1895, and by 1898 both Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler, then rivals, were already exporting their buses to Europe. Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie merged into one company in 1926: Daimler-Benz AG (also known as Mercedes-Benz) was formed. The following year the company presented its first combined bus range. During the thirties the development of the Autobahn network forced vehicle manufacturers to improve their products, mechanically and aerodynamically.
In 1935 Mercedes presented the Lo 3100 Stromlinien-omnibus: an aerodynamic small bus derived from the Lo 3100 standard bus. A light vehicle, with a very smoothly profiled body, and fitted with a 90 CV six cylinder diesel engine, it was able to reach a 115 km/h top speed, but only carried 22 passengers. The driver’s area was separated from the passengers one.
Operated by the Deutsche Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft, in a cream and red livery, it was not as successful as hoped: the cheaper railways were still preferred by the public. After a few years the war put an end to such experiments. Only in 1951 did Mercedes-Benz presented its first bus specifically designed for passenger transport, and not derived from a truck, as were the buses produced until then. Since 1995 Mercedes-Benz buses and coaches have been under the umbrella of EvoBus GmbH, belonging to Daimler AG.
A nice model of a really “compact” small bus. Plastic body and a detailed metal chassis. The roof has a plastic insert to represent the opening top. The window inserts are very well executed. Its aerodynamic shape is enhanced by the white and silver livery. Quite a nice front radiator grille, another plastic insert. It has a basic interior, but the driver area is nicely detailed, with the presence of the gear and brake levers, and a dashboard with instruments. No licence plates, only the model denomination (a works presentation model ?). No apparent differences to the French edition.
No. 12 (no. 14 in the French collection) Isuzu BXD 30 1962 – Isuzu Motors’ history began in 1916, when Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. started a cooperation with the Tokyo Gas and Electric Industrial Co. to build automobiles. A technical cooperation with Wolseley Motors Ltd generated in 1922 the first domestically produced car, the Wolseley A-9. In 1933, Ishikawajima Automotive Works merged with DAT Automobile Manufacturing Inc. and changed its name to Automobile Industries Co., the following year their products were renamed Isuzu (after the river near the famous Ise Grand Shrine), that translated into English means “fifty bells”. More mergers and renaming followed and in 1953 the Hillman Minx was produced under license of Rootes Group. The 1961 introduction of Isuzu’s first own car, the Bellel, didn’t put an end to Isuzu’s never ending search for a commercial partner : Subaru, Mitsubishi and Nissan came and went, a more durable agreement was at last signed with General Motors. In the late 1990s Isuzu dropped all sales of cars and is today mostly known as a commercial vehicles and diesel engines manufacturing company.
In Japan the BXD30 is considered a real national monument : it draws its origins from the pre-war bonneted TX trucks and adopts a lowered frame behind the driver’s seat facilitating a very low step to give easy passenger boarding.
The engine is a direct injection 130 CV straight six diesel, famous for its good performance and reasonable consumption. Different bodies and interiors were available, depending upon its use. It was used as both an urban bus and a medium distance one. Like all Japanese vehicles the driver seat is on the right and the passenger access is on the left,
The model sports an orange and yellow livery, with many logos and Japanese characters, but there is also a logo in European characters : Tokai Bus Co. is a company owned by the JR (Japan Railways Group) providing regional, long distance, and chartered bus services) and operating in the Tokai region, connecting Nagoya with other major cities in Japan.
The model is quite heavy, very likely due to the metal body and plastic chassis, both of them well detailed. Front and rear white bumpers are plastic inserts. The correct green licence plate with white lettering is a nice touch.
No apparent differences to the French edition, aside perhaps from the yellow paint’s shade, here it seems to be a darker one, but it could depend on the production batch.
We welcome your comments and questions. Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page, or email us at maronlineeditor @ gmail.com.