Monday, 3 April 2017

More about the RAC Land Rover

I had always thought that the fitting of shaped or smooth wheels to models in the times was pretty much a random thing. One lady on the production line might put them one way round and another the other.

In the now lengthy and fascinating RAC Land Rover debate I have been having with my German collector friend in Eilum, however, the advent of the fixed shaped wheel may prove to be the deciding element.

He points out that the first appearance of the shaped wheel in a Corgi catalogue was in the drawing of the Ford Consul Classic.

This was, indeed, the first model to have these fixed shaped wheels. In fact, I don't think I have seen a 234 model with smooth wheels. Investigating further, it looks like the old wheel, smooth on both sides, was not fitted to anything after the Chevrolet Corvair. So June 1961, when these two models were released looks like quite a critical time when everything changed in the Wheels Department. Just a little earlier the Bentley Continental had introduced us to the free spinning wheel. (I had wondered, in a previous article, what special hubs had meant in the 1961 catalogue description of the Bentley. The free-spinning wheel may have been what they meant!)

Returning to RAC Land Rover matters now, this information is important. We know that both versions of the model exist with each type of wheel - the old style smooth and new style shaped wheel. 

The first models were issued in Summer 1959 and will have had the old style smooth wheels. Whichever type that came first must have lasted until at least Summer 1961. The second type will have had to have been around from before Summer 1961 to Winter 1962 when the 416S replaces it.

Experience shows us that there are far more With Headboard models around than No Headboard which would indicate quite strongly that the first version was the With Headboard type. Editions With Headboard and shaped wheels would therefore be quite scarce.

The corollary is that editions with No Headboard came second and those with smooth wheels should also be scarce.

Because both exist with both types of wheel the changeover must have taken place at around the same time in 1961. There cannot have been many months, therefore, when those two editions were produced! This illustration may make things clearer:

I cannot imagine that both types would have been produced at the same time for very long so those periods for Type 1 with shaped wheels or Type 2 with smooth wheels are very short!

My feeling is now that I had been wrong before and my view is now that Type 1 is the With Headboard version and Type 2 is the No Headboard version.

Or perhaps you know different?!

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