Friday, 19 September 2014

Ends of a line

I've finally tracked down examples of the last Land Rovers in the era that I specialise in. I had spotted a photo of a tatty bright metallic green Land Rover in a cheerful shade I'd never seen before. I found one in the States but completely failed to get the seller to do anything about a ridiculously big postage charge. Despite offering to buy a couple of his other models too in an attempt to make one package's charge seem a bit more reasonable spread over three models he couldn't give me a figure so I gave up on that one. A few weeks later a super example, more or less as new, comes along and it wasn't expensive either (and from someone in the UK!)

The canopy is also a different colour plastic to what we've seen before. Some illustrations I've seen also have a terrible-looking orange canopy which I guess I shall have to pick up sometime but I'm not in a rush for that. Basically, apart from some wheel variations, I have the full set now. I have lost count of how many there are but it's over 30.

The other one is a Whizzwheels Land Rover Breakdown Truck which sort of sneaked into the lists without telling anyone. Just as Land Rovers stayed #438, it is still #477 so there's no obvious changeover date. There really aren't many of these around and it has been one of the more difficult to find on my Whizzwheels list. The box this one comes in looks like a mid 1970s version so this was clearly around until 1976 or so. It started off as a Mk1 style in 1960 but from 1962 has been moreorless unchanged body-wise. The strange #417S had this new format but a metal canopy remained. I am not too sure how you tell the difference between a #417S and an early #477 without the canopy! The #477 is listed in some places as only being around from 1966 to 1968 but I find that hard to believe.

The #477 version can be found with cast wheels or normal free spinning wheels - the Whizzwheels being much later - and earlier versions would have either a matching wheel or a silver knob to turn on the side. The Whizzwheels version will only have the knob. I have also just noticed that the Whizzwheels version has a different interior using solid plastic and the steering wheel is moulded, not a separate dark grey addition.

I cannot quickly think of another model, though, that lasted as long with such minimal changes and, indeed, staying the same colour. Maybe the #418 Austin Taxi which also sneaked in with Whizzwheels and didn't change its number? Something I'll have to think about.

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