Thursday, September 18, 2014

Collecting -- and collecting information 18

Three vehicles with many uses. They were sold
both under the Marx name, and Linemar,
their Japanese subsidiary.
 Sometimes the accumulation of knowledge can be incremental -- and very slow.

When I researched Japanese tinplate toy cars back in 2012, I discovered that the 1920's- style vehicles that came with the Marx "Untouchables" playset weren't necessarily made exclusively for the set (see Japanese Tin Toy Vehicles, Part 5).

The four-door sedan and top-up convertible versions of this car were included in the "Untouchables" playset. The set was sold under the Louis Marx and Co. brand, but the vehicles themselves were marked Linemar, the Japanese subsidiary of Marx.

If they weren't marked, you couldn't tell what
vehicles these toys were meant to resemble -- and
even then the markings didn't help much.
I had discovered a third version of the vehicle -- a convertible with the top down. The Marx playset vehicles were labeled "Rolls Royce," but this version was marked "Cadillac." (Any resemblance between the Marx/Linemar car and either Rolls Royce or Cadillac car of the 1920's is purely imaginary.)

As it turns out, though, that stand-alone Cadillac wasn't just a one-off. I recently ran across a Linemar set of six vintage vehicles. Which provided further insight into the efficiencies of low-margin toy production of the era.
The "Cadillac" top-down convertible was
sold separately, as this box documents.

The "Old Timer Collection" features six vehicles inspired by (but not closely resembling) cars and trucks from about 1915-1929. In addition to the Cadillac, there's an Antique Car (looking somewhat like a 1904 Buckmobile), Antique Truck (based on a Model T pickup), Limousine (resembling a 1906 Renault), Station Wagon (based on a 1916 Renault truck), and Delivery Truck (looking a little like a 1905 Mack delivery van).

The Linemar Old Timer Collection
The three versions of the Cadillac/Rolls Royce share many of the same parts, which make them cheaper to make. The fewer unique parts, the greater the savings in production. Just by a few cosmetic changes were the three different cars created.

And you can see the same economies being made in this set. There are only two different wheel sizes, each with its own hubcap. the three cars all have the same headlights.

The three trucks all have the same steering wheel and steering columns.

Click on images to enlarge and more easily
see the similarities between these six vehicles.
The chassis for the antique truck and the delivery truck are the same.

The fender assembly for the antique truck is also used on the station wagon, and all six use the same friction motor.

I haven't seen any examples of those other vehicles ever being offered for individual sale like the Cadillac, but who knows? There still be more information out there waiting to be discovered.

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