Saturday, 2 June 2018

Corgi Toys @ 60: Riley revisited and a tipper truck

June 1958 sees the Riley get a new lease of life with a coat of black paint and some furniture on the roof as a smart-looking Police car, catalogue number 209. Only very rarely would you ever have actually seen one of these for real, even if you were regularly engaged in bank robbing or whatever. The usual car would have been the Wolseley version but this was close enough. I understand that Gloucester Constabulary did have some- here are two, courtesy of Gloucester Police Achives.

(This has been updated as the previous images from Gloucester Police Archives were of their later 2.6 version!)

Perhaps with this extension of use, the 205 Riley saloon did not qualify for a two-tone upgrade in 1959 like the other members of the initial launch group. 

A rare find is the 209 with shaped wheels as this model didn't last much past 1960, just a few being made in 1961 which is when I presume the shaped type started to be used. Similarly, you will not see many of the other two-tone models with shaped wheels either as these also expired during 1961.

If you're looking to buy one of these then do check that it has all the bits it should have. The smooth wheel edition is still comparatively common and inexpensive so it is worth waiting for one which has an original bell and siren either side of the centre section which should have navy blue Police stickers with white text. The original aerial was a pleasant short and thin affair. How I wish someone would make these as most of the replacement aerials I have found have been not very pleasant, about as thick as a scale piece of drainpipe and all the wrong colour plastic.

The other model vying for the young collector's attention sixty years ago was an ERF Dumper Truck, model number 458. With its nicely made 'hydraulic' struts you could fill this with dirt and see it all tip out somewhere else by lifting the rear section. It was still too early for a handle.

This lasted for years and, indeed, you would be forgiven for thinking it never changed at all but Corgi did eventually retire the old ERF and put the same rear section on a Bedford TK cab and chassis instead and that would be in late 1966 as 494. There will, therefore be bags of examples with both smooth wheels and fixed shaped wheels and you can pick up a really nice example for just a few pounds as they're so common. What is worth looking out for is the late edition when they finally found some longer axles and put free spinning wheels on. There are not so many of these around and most collectors will have missed this one.

 It'll still be cheap until dealers read this.

I have to say that neither the model nor the real thing were the most attractive of designs! I couldn't quickly find a photograph of one with just two axles but the cab's the same dreadful mess of lines and curves.

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