Small in design but big in imagination, Dinky Toys are far greater than the sum of their parts.
These miniature metal vehicles were huge in the 1950s and 60s, “It seemed that all boys (and some adults) had collections,” says one Dinky historian.
The popularity has endured not only because of the wonderful craftsmanship of the toys themselves but also because of the unforgettable memories they’ve created for so many generations.
To pay respect to this truly British icon HISTORY looks at five of the greatest Dinky Cars - all of which are currently available in the Classic Dinky Toys Collection Magazine.
The Triumph TR2 was a sports car produced by the Standard Motor Company in the UK between 1953 and 1955, and is a “classic example of Dinky Toys Production,” say the company. An iconic 1950s’ model, the car came in various versions and colours and was part of the ‘100 Sports’ range.
The Triumph TR2 was two-seater with a modern look that captured the public’s imagination. Available for £787, the car with its, “aggressive front, with the prominent headlamps and the essential aperture for conveying cooling air through the radiator, covered by a simple recessed grille, proved captivating to sporty customers.”
Bedford Van ‘Kodak’
Produced from 1954 and presented in three different versions, the Bedford Van is one of the best-loved model in the Dinky Toys commercial vehicle range.
Described by the company as “an icon of British vehicle manufacture,” the van, which was manufactured from the 1950s to the 1970s was used for many different thing, police van, milk float, delivery can, and even ambulance. It was a “permanent fixture in everyday British life,” and therefore a great fit with Dinky Toys.
Introduced in 1958, the Ford Thunderbird four-seater cabriolet was quite different to previous incarnations of the vehicle. Previously a European sporty two-seater, the 1958 version was stereotypically American, it was a luxurious automobile, “a family convertible that Ford created without compromising on the lavish design features, such as the chrome fittings typical of the period.
Spearheaded by Robert S.McNamara - one of Ford’s top executives – the idea was a new vehicle appealed to a wide customer base, and what a car it was. A slice of the 1950s, this was a vehicle to relax in, drive to an outdoor cinema, or frequent a drive-through.
A car that needs no introduction, the Beetle is a huge part of automobile history. Often referred to as ‘the people’s car – in-fact, Volkswagen literally means ‘the people’s car’ in German – the car, which was conceived in the mid-1930s, “became popular from the post-war period on.”
The car was reproduced by Dinky Toys in numerous versions, but the Sky-Blue model, shown above, is one of the greatest. First launched in 1956, the Beetle was one many Volkswagen models given the Dinky Toys treatment.
Jaguar XK120 Coupé
As the company say, “Dinky Toys had always been keen to offer collectors models of dream cars that were far removed from the everyday saloons they saw in the streets,” thus the Jaguar XK120 Coupé.
Launched in 1951, the elegant model was adapted from the Jaguar XK120 to become the luxurious coupé. “The real car,” which had already made a name for itself through racing was “attractive to collectors of all ages.” Dinky Toys presented several versions of the vehicle with a range of different colour schemes including the olive green above.
The car itself was first presented at the 1948 London Motor Show causing quite the sensation, “could it really reach a top speed of 120mph its name suggested?” It could, tested at the Jabbeke Highway, “a long straight road in Belgium,” the car reached 134.6mph.