By David Busfield
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
I have a particular affection for this book, given that my dad worked as a supervisor at Meccano in Binns Road, Liverpool, where the Dinky Toys were manufactured, for twenty years or so. It was where he first met my mum, who worked in the production room.
George used to regularly bring home to me newly created Dinky Toys, all of them mentioned in David Busfield’s book, which I incessantly played with.
Sadly, due to the competition posed by Corgi toys and other toy companies, Meccano was forced to close in 1979.
There is a profusion of colour photographs of the toys Meccano, founded by Frank Hornby, dating from 1931 to 1969.
This book will be a delight to view for folks of my generation and of earlier times, in recalling Christmases past, when Dinky Toys came in wrapping paper!
In the publicity material accompanying this book, it rightly states ‘that few men over forty never owned a Dinky Toy when the were a child.’
As early as 1934 the company had already produced 78 diecast toys in their range. They included cars, trains, animals and a military tank.
After a slow start in returning to normal levels of production following the end of WWII Meccano introduced a new range called Dinky Supertoys.
This was a range of diesel-powered right-wheel trucks and the Shetland flying boat.
By 1953 its range of models had increased to 114 in total.
A year later saw the commencement of what Busfield describes as ‘a superb range of post-war military vehicles, which was, and still is, my favourite Dinky Toy’s range of all time.’
The competition in the toy market grew at a fierce rate during the 1970s and Meccano faced what Busfield remarked as a ‘Perfect Storm’. Their product development was questionable.
As a consequence Meccano were acquired by the Airfix group.
In 1979 they laid off all the staff, closed the factory gates and put Meccano up for sale.
A lot of the source material for the book came from Busfield’s own large collection of models, publishing materials and memorabilia from the Meccano factory. He also produced top quality photographic images for this book.
This story of Britain’s favourite toy cars, priced at £8.99, is a bargain indeed.
To buy this book: www.amberley-books.com/dinky-toys.html