Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rare Salesman Sample Model

This is a very rare, possibly one-of model chassis of a car or truck. 19 in. long but very heavy for its size. All steel made. Has incredible detail and parts that function like the real thing. Said to have belonged to a museum in Europe. Too detailed and too heavy to be a childs toy but possibly made by a toy co. like Marklin? What other toy co. would have made something this extravagant? Maybe built by a skilled machinist but it dates back to the 20's or 30's and seems more like a salesman sample car.

   The motor is a very large clockwork mechanism that powers the rear axle. I believe this to be the most interesting part of the car/truck. Has working rear drum brakes which leads me to believe it is a salesman sample. How else can the brakes be activated if not manually? Also, the steering and leaf springs work. Just an amazing model! If you have any idea of make or have seen a similar model please send me a note.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rare Driving School Training Model

Here we have a very rare pre-war driving school training model. It is one of the oldest if not the first VVR 140 model truck built by Verkehrs Verlag Remagen of Germany. These fantastic models were built to offer the new driver much information on the operation of a vehicle by displaying all the inner workings of the motor, tranmission, brake, steering and electrical system. The student also learned basic repair skills as part of their training.

VVR built many different types of truck and car models.  There are other 140 truck versions that were built in later years but this model is the largest and most impresive of the series. I had the pleasure of collecting several type cars and trucks acquired from a well known collector in Europe. Later I will add a few pictures of some of those models but for now I want to focus on this special model.

This truck comes on its own display table with legs that fold underneath. It also has a builders badge indicating this truck as #93 of only 316 pre-war VVR140 Trucks built. How many of the other versions were built? Not sure but the numbers are low. I believe some shools acquired at least one model car and or truck. As schools flourished  in Europe these models became part of their basic training curriculum.

I know of only 2 other trucks like this one. One in Europe and one at the DFW Elite Toy Museum. For further information on VVR, Hohm, or Degener models please visit the DFW Museum, link below.

They have the most extensive and amazing training school model displays in the U.S. along with many other rare toy cars and trucks. A true delight for any model car collector.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Amusement Park 9 inch Gauge 4-4-0 Locomotive

   Here is rare amusement park type live steam 4-4-0 locomotive in 9" gauge. A truly amazing find! After some research I found out only a few supposed facts about the locomotive. I acquired from a gentleman who purchased it more than 30yrs. ago at auction with the intent to restore. I am glad he never did restore it because some toys or collectables should not be touched (altered or restored) for any reason. Of course this is my personal opinion.  One of the dilemna as a collector is the choice to restore or leave as found. What would be the wisest choice? That depends on the collector and the toy. It is good to have a few experts or so called reliable sources that can aid and offer sound advice when in doubt about restoring any toy, especially a rare one.

  This locomotive measure 40in. x 17in. x 12in. Solidly built brass shell 1/4 in. thick that houses  a 1/4 in. thick steel boiler. Comes with its tender that is 26in. long and 1 flat car that is 5ft. long. The shell, cab and domes are all hand made. One can appreciate the effort and craftsmanship involved in the construction of this locomotive. I particularly love the cone shaped rivets used in the smoke box area. This is a first for me, seeing this type of rivet. I am used to the more common dome or truss shape rivets used on many kinds of live steam models. The entire train set weighs aprox. 350lbs.


  What makes this locomotive special? Well, the fact that it predates most live steam building methods of the 20th century and the fact that some of the most experienced live steam modelers have never seen an engine quite like this one. About the history of Amusement park trains I learned that the first built trains were in the 8 to 9 inch gauge. As parks became larger in the early 20th century so did the need for more pulling power. The parks soon switched over to 10 inch gauge and larger through the decades. This increased revenues as the larger and more powerful locomotives were capable of hauling many more passengers at a time.

  I am sure there are some 9 inch gauge trains out there but I have yet to find one. This particular loco was never ran on tracks, no wear marks whatsoever on its solid brass or bronze drivers. The locomotive has scribe marks where parts were supposed to be added and a driver arm is not fully machined. One if its cylinders is severely rusted which indicates that at least it has been tested. Apparently after some testing, it was taken apart for repairs but was simply put away wet. The damage is more noticeable on the outside of the cylinder than on the inside, also indicating it lay in a pool of water. One can only guess what happened to the locomotive and its builder. Previous owner acquired the train in this condition. He then dry stored it for the next 30 plus years.

  From one source I did get a name of the possible builder and that he only made 3 locomotives like this one. I will not include names of source or builder because I cannot confirm this information. I will just post what I was told. Supposedly the gentleman built locomotives for amusement parks in the late 19th century into the early 20th century. He passed away in 1905 so the train is at least that old? One of the three locomotives was spotted in Florida many years ago but no current contact information is available. I am hoping that the images provided in this site can help to locate the other model for comparison. It would be amazing to get any information that sheds more light on this fantastic model.

Fully Sprung Tender

Steel Boiler

Flat Car Bogie