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About T54

  • Birthday 07/23/1943

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  1. Unfortunately it is not mine, but it went for 17 grand on eBay last year!
  2. It is indeed a beauty and I am very lucky to own one of the same color in virtually the same condition. But this is the "plain" model. Later, Alps issued a deluxe version in both sedan and convertible forms, and they are simply breathtaking, knowing that they were just... toys for preteens!
  3. To tell you the truth I was not so sure myself before I truly looked at it! I LOVE older American cars but know a lot less than most of you here... Here is another beautiful Japanese toy car of an American icon, issued in 1951 by Alps Iwaya, that later moved into electronic printers after the tin toy industry collapsed: It's about 10-1/2" long, all painted tin and it has a front suspension and working differential. The steering wheel works the front wheels, and the seats are lithographed tin. They exist in gray, black, turquoise, green and red. The box is quite nice too, made of very sturdy card stock. In 1953 they were sued by GM for lacking a license to use the Cadillac name so they changed the name on the toy and the box, and the large V emblem became a W! I hope that you enjoy these pictures.
  4. Try this: le site de l'Amicale 504 However, please understand that a 504 cab, fully restored, is worth about 20000 to 25000 Euros. The car was designed by Pinin Farina and the bodies made in Italy, so finding parts like the missing bumpers may prove insurmountable if they are not in the trunk... You might have to fabricate them and this alone might make the restoration project so costly that it might break the bank. You might be better of to simply buy a restored car in France and have it transported here. It is a pretty car but it is dreadfully slow because of its weight, and extremely subject to corrosion from poor engineering. It can of course be made into a nice cruiser, but I can think of plenty of other cars more worthy of the expense and with more available parts sources. Regards, P
  5. In the 1930's there were few automotive artists in England more famous than Frederick Gordon-Crosby. Born in 1895, he passed away in August 1943, after having left a large amount of work in pencil, pastels, oil and even sculptures, including that of radiator mascots that now are valued as high as the best of Lalique's. Gordon-Crosby, working at one of the greatest periods in the history of the car, did an enormous amount to glamorize motoring and motorsport of his time. It’s no wonder that his artworks fetch such high prices, and that both imitators and forgers exist. Gordon-Crosby had a log association with The Autocar, then The Motor magazines. From Wikipedia: I personally do not know where the others are, but I have owned these four originals since the late 1980's, purchased in an auction in London. The represent John Cobb in his Railton, with Pat Driscoll in his diminutive Austin 7 racing car, another George Eyston in the MG "Magic Midget" record car, a third is Dick Seaman in the modified Delage Grand Prix car, and last is Ed MacClure in the Riley TT. I cherish these, that are framed and are hanging on the few spaces left free from my wife's beautiful paintings. I posted their pictures here for your enjoyment. The quality of the pictures is poor because there is glass on them and I need to get better shots, but you get the idea. All four of these were published (albeit in black & white) in the pages of The Motor in the middle 1930's.
  6. Hi Wayne, Well, here are pictures of the beast I just took: Looks like a '62 to me... but Chevies are not my specialty so I will let you decide... I also enclosed pics of a sister model that looks a bit more civilian, called "secret agent car". Both are very common toys and can be had quite cheap when they come up, especially the blue one. They are quite large at 15" and it is too bad that the Yonezawa company never made a standard road model from this tooling...
  7. Yes, the whole point of my post was to ask the question of why American toy makers did not issue tin toys that were of the same inspired design as that of Japan, France or Germany, the three countries that have produced such beautiful and now highly desirable toys. I believe that I unfortunately know the answer because I was for several years, a toy engineer, then the manager of a new styling department created on my insistence at the Cox Hobbies company in Santa Ana, California. The whole time I had a say into the toys final look (aircraft, trains, cars...) the toys looked much less lumpy, had serious personality and sales went though the roof. After I left, the toys returned to their less than satisfactory aesthetics. The company went broke 5 years after I left, but there were plenty of other factors involved of course. You cannot let engineers be stylists, unless they have been raised at both. You also cannot produce utilitarian toys and expect the children to be too enthusiastic about them. The bright ones will want "better stuff". When GM had no styling department, the cars looked like boxes on wheels. When Harley Earl became GM's stylist, the company turned itself around and produced brilliant and desirable designs, because Earl had understood that "utilitarian" would eventually fail, without better aesthetics. Look at the 1935 LaSalle coupe to begin with, compared to the 1933 model, and you have the answer. Bill Mitchell continued the tradition for many years until the cars returned to aesthetic mediocrity in the 1970's and pretty much to now, with few exceptions. And market shares plunged. People want good looking machinery, and that was no longer made in America. Things are changing now, because everyone has to conform to aerodynamics that dictates styling. The same applies to toys. When Hubley and Arcade kept cranking those heavy door stops made of cast iron and vaguely resembling cars (while their trucks were generally better) and eventually going broke doing so as sales were poor, Dowst Manufacturing Co. (Tootsietoy) produced inexpensive but beautiful small models of 1933 Graham-Paige and 1935 LaSalle models that children embraced by the millions. Does not this says it all? The Japanese were very successful at what they were doing in the 1950's not because the toys were cheaper (they were not), but because the toy makers did have respect for what they were doing, it was not "just a job". There was a recent exposition at the Japan Society in New York, displaying a collection of tin toy cars and their history, showing how much respect for their toy makers do these people have today. American tin toys from the late 19th century are beautiful, mostly had made, had "charm" that is reflected in their respect today by sophisticated collectors. Today's American toy industry is run from China, and the toys are with little exception, plastic garbage in horrid colors. Piles of them end in American garages or in the thrash, none will ever grace the shelves of future collectors, unless ugly becomes the new beautiful in this ever twisted new society. Sad, is it not? We are all collectors here, of large and small cars, but we do not collect too many 2005 Chevrolet Impalas, do we? If we own one, we use it as we use a toaster, it has become an utilitarian vehicle with not much to smile about, and likely will end as recycled metal because not worth keeping. Sorry if I sound a bit passionate here, I admit, I am. My house is full of the best toys I could find, and I have a large collection that includes American toys, the "few good ones" in my opinion. But the larger Japanese toy cars are so overwhelmingly more beautiful, they are taking front stage in the display and for good reasons... In the 1950's, there was still a lot of resentment for Japan and the misery that their imperialism caused to much of the far east and the United States. Unfortunately it also led to a lot of bigotry, to this day. Many people do not understand how they are manipulated by the elitists that run them on a daily basis as their puppets, shaking them for money. Most of every country citizens are basically innocent, but are often forced into committing crimes, though propaganda and manipulation by elitists with dark agendas. I do not blame the average German or Japanese for what their masters did, and I certainly do not blame their children for anything. I cannot recall a 1961 Ford Police car toy, and could not find one in specialized books. Most 1961 models of police cars were Chevrolet, the best being a splendid 1962 Impala by Yonezawa, of which I added a picture below.
  8. The cost of the many missing parts will kill you.
  9. Jeff, I am sure that by searching "1964 T-Bird tin toy car" and variations of this on Google, you will eventually find it.
  10. Ouch! Yes it is a bit steep, but they do sell at that price if absolutely pristine and in their original box... I was lucky to purchase mine in a Swedish auction about 10 years ago for a fraction of the asking price here. There are four other colors for this beautiful toy, but the yellow with red roof is my favorite. They are very hard to find in any condition and are part of the "ten best" in my opinion, in the literally, thousands of different models offered by the Japanese toy industry from 1946 to... this day. The Marusan 1956/1957 Ford being my personal all-time favorite. Most people who have never had one of these tin cars in their hands have little clue of how beautiful they are, for being what they were, just toys for kids. The current Chinese die-cast can't even come close to convey the magic of these toys.
  11. Actually, I now have two because I love colors, so I have both the two-tone blue as well as the beige and maroon... I love these things. I also have several of the large 1958 ATC 2-door coupe, my favorite being a two-tone green that I was able to get from Canada in un-played condition in a perfect box. I also have a 1959 Invicta (or Electra) by Ichiko in light blue and cream roof, with gold trim and working horn. I have not see another yet.
  12. Brian, You are probably right about the Buick, its size would be more like the MT toy. The SK Suda '59 Century is a very rare toy, and I am lucky to have one (same color as yours) in very good condition. Its story is quite interesting as it came from a very enthusiastic lady who runs a doll hospital in Alabama! This is a 14" friction toy, a pretty nice model made by that rather obscure Japanese company in 1960. I always LOVED the '59 Buick, especially the Electra. The rear wrap-around window of the Century was so cool... Fortunately not too many saw the thing on E-Pay or did not know what it was, so it did not cost too much. It is all original and never played with, and had only minor flaws, a bit of rust here and there and a couple of minor scratches. Unfortunately the original box is long gone... Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. You can PM me so that I can put the proper credit under the picture. My toy website also includes some of my full-size toys, and is here: CLICK HERE. I hope that you enjoy it, I am adding stuff to it all the time. It was built for my nephews abroad so that they have a connection to their uncle. Also the "Ichiko" connection looks more like a "Modern Toy" connection, so we have a double correction here! I saw my first '59 Buick, a cream colored Centurion, on a turn table at the 1959 Paris Auto Show. I was 16 years old and I LOVED that car, and still do!
  13. Gentlemen, Thanks for all your great answers, and let me try to argue with some is you allow me. I also believe that antique toy automobiles and automobilia (versus currently produced models of older cars or parts trying to play the part) should be part of a forum based on the full size examples, such as AACA's. It is of course up to the forum owner to decide if this should warrant an actual sub forum, but reading the numerous responses here, I would think so myself. I personally own a slot car oriented forum with no less than over 3000 subscribers! Actually, the Tonka line as well as the Tootsietoy lines of toys are a perfect example of what I am talking about: they were just as complicated as the Japanese tin cars or the British Dinky Toys, cost pretty much the same the same, they simply did not have any "soul" if I may qualify a toy having some, in the same manner as today's die-cast models made in China sorely lack besides their dead colors since lead was banned from paint matter. My opinion of course, but having been a toy designer much of my 69 years, beginning as a plastic model kit engineer in the early 1960s, I have some background to judge a toy by such a qualifier. Before WW2, the Japanese already made gorgeous toy cars, of which both construction and aesthetics greatly surpassed the heavy and clumsy pressed-steel or cast-iron utilitarian toys made in America. The only exception: the prewar Tootsietoy line of very elegant and finely executed "10-cent" line of Graham-Paige, LaSalle and Lincoln models, of which I am very fond. The Japanese quality was called "crummy" more by tradition than according to reality in my opinion, and remember that in 1941, the Mitsubishi Zero-sen aircraft was vastly superior to the American Curtiss P36, that was the mainstay of our forces until the P47 and P51 truly came off production lines... I think that berating the Japanese is a great injustice to very talented people, and simply remember what they did to the British oil-leaking motorcycle industry in the early 1960's... I am very lucky to own one of more examples of these. However your pricing is incorrect: while a small 1/60 scale Matchbox (the King Size did not exist then) or the smaller examples of the horrid postwar Tootsietoy models cost 49 cents and a Dinky Toys a dollar in 1960, the Haji Ford, the Marusan Ford and the ATC Imperial were in the 3 and 4-dollar range. I have boxes of both types with original price stickers to prove it... The true sad fact here is that these fantastic Japanese toys that are virtual metal art today were produced in limited quantities because of the wholesale system used then by large stores toy buyers. Hence those great toys are rare today. Unfortunately their appeal was limited by the very subjects they represented, a bit too utilitarian for most children who wanted nice road or racing cars to play with... But it PROVES my point that it could be done, if the right people do the job. The same applies to the prewar American toy industry of mostly utilitarian vehicles, with few examples of the great full-size cars made then. As an example, no American company EVER made a toy of a 1938 or 1939 Packard or a 1930's Duesenberg, when there are several magnificent Japanese toys made of them at the time, and in the late 1950's, there were no American made toys of the magnificent Watson or Kurtis Indy cars, while Japan was producing beautiful replicas. So there was and still is a disconnect today... These are GREAT pictures, I would love to have your permission to use them on my toy website. The toy is in fact a '59 Buick, but not by Bandai. It is by another Japanese company called Ichiko. I have several of these as they were issued in different decor over three years. Here is your toy as an example sits today in a showcase of my "home museum":
  14. While we all love our "big" old cars, I am pretty sure that many car collectors here are also fans of nice old toy cars, but like in all sizes, there are winners and there are losers. Here, for my first post, I am presenting what I think is a true winner, one that could grace the shelf of the most sophisticated and discerning car and memorabilia collector. I am also pretty sure that many AACA members played with one of these when they were kids. In 1951, the Japanese Marusan Company was trying to become a viable tin toys business. With the financial and managerial help from the American Armed Forces under General MacArthur's command, the reborn Japanese toy industry was able to become the country's largest exporter, bringing much-needed currency to the nearly-destroyed country. Marusan secured the services of Matsuzou Kosuge, a well-known toy maker before the war, to produce what would become one of the all-time classic toys ever made, the 1951 Cadillac. This was produced as a friction-powered toy, as a self-propelled battery-powered version as well as a cable-controlled version with a steering wheel on top of a battery box. The toy was made of stamped steel with a painted body and chassis base, with a lithographed steel-sheet interior. The tires are real rubber but the whitewalls are stamped and painted steel rings. The wheels are steel as well as the whole friction mechanism. The windows are acetate, stamped from flat sheet. The paint quality is outstanding for a toy, and there are over 150 pieces in each, over 200 in the electric versions. All were assembled by women over long tables, the final product boxed, then packed into large wooden crates for export to American toy stores. The colors were very precise, the more common friction-powered model painted in gray, with less common versions in black or red, and in 1953 after the success of "A Solid Gold Cadillac" movie featuring Judy Holliday, a... gold version. The self-propelled electric battery powered models were yellow with a green roof, and that was an actual Cadillac factory color scheme. However, the friction-powered models were never produced in that color scheme. At least that is what all the books and documentation, including that of the still existing Marusan company itself, advanced. Out of the blue surfaced this brand new, mint in its original box model, that contradicts all previously known information, a yellow and green model, but friction-powered and without the electric headlights and taillights of the "electric" model. After insuring myself that this was not a restored car, stripped and repainted in the "wrong" color, I had to accept that it is real. Here is the beast, recently discovered in an online estate sale: It is always nice as a collector, to find something that is supposed to never have existed... but does! The question now, is why American toy companies appear to hav e been unwilling or incapable to produce such beautiful toys in the early 1950's, when the market was so ripe for them, and left the market wide open for Japan? The products of toy companies like Tonka or Smith-Miller were never that nice. And Japan produced over the years and until the dreaded advent of plastic, many more tinplate models of Ford, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Buick, some even nicer than this Cadillac. I have often wondered. If you like this post, I would be pleased to share some of my other 2000 + vintage car toys with you.
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