Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Old Diecasts

This is a little off the beaten track for Slot Car News, but to celebrate the new Diecast side of this site, it's time to take a look at some of the grand-daddies of diecasts:

On the left, a Dinky Toys Jaguar SS-100, so named because the car could hit 100 mph, in the pre-World War II days when such a feat was a rarity. Note the Brooklands style individual windscreens for driver and passenger. Dinky released this model right after WWII, and many were imported into the USA, to amuse kids who had never seen, let alone heard of, the actual car it represents. And if you are collecting these old Dinkys, remember that a #31 O-ring makes a perfect replacement tire (tyre).

On the right, a true post-war sports car, Tekno's Austin Healey 100, a four cylinder car which preceded the more widely known A-H 3000 six cylinder (as made by Ninco). A racing windscreen has been fitted to this Danish-made diecast. The original was lost in the play yards of yesteryear. Tekno preceded Corgi in the introduction of plastic headlights, and injection molded interiors. In recognition of this revolution in diecast car technology, the Slot Car Newsboy hawks the headlines, while Mr. Commuter tips his hat, ever courteous.

Our second photo shows the mighty Cunningham C5-R approaching the Regular pump, after its unsuccessful bid at Le Mans, c.1953. A huge, powerful racer, with battle scars to prove it, this would make a great slot car. Briggs Cunningham was more successful as a defender of the America's Cup from British challengers than he was at winning automobile races, and his name was a household word, at least in homes with an interest in yachting and sail, or sports car racing.

Three classics in their time-worn glory show us where the world of diecast collector cars came from; simple toys for boys (and even girls) to play with. Scale is about 1/44 or 1/45, which may have something to do with the eventual settling on 1/43 as a standard. These are both toys for children AND scale models, which set a precedent for the diecast cars and trucks of today.

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