Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Straco Layout, Part 25 - The Oldest New Addition

Traffic continues to increase on the Straco Express layout (read more about the whole project here). I recently found another small Japanese tin toy car to use on the display. (click on images to enlarge)

Like many of the cars I've found, the identity of the manufacturer is unknown. But the general style of the graphics and the colors of the lithography suggest to me that this toy might be from the late 1940's - early 1950's.

My understanding is that most Japanese toys made in the immediate postwar era were marked "Occupied Japan," so I'm guessing the early 1950's. Which makes this sedan one of the oldest on the display. Its patina suggests it might even be older than the red, white and blue cars (see Part 20 - A Patriotic Traffic Pattern).

Similar, but not identical. Note the hood ornaments and crests.
Initially, I thought the car bore a strong resemblance to those patriotic pair of cars I added recently. The hood ornament and grille seemed to be the same.

Placing them side-by-side, it's clear that there are similarities. But it's most likely the cars were made by different companies.

I suspect that both drew inspiration from Cadillac. Both have winged hood ornaments and crests that bear more than a passing resemblance to Cadillacs of the era.

Those hood lights don't look
street-legal to me.
One odd thing about the new car, though. It has roof lights that would be appropriate for an emergency vehicle like a police car or fire chief car, yet the family of four riding inside clearly show this is an automobile for civilian use!

Ah well, it was a simpler time. The sedan is a nice addition to the layout/display, so I'm happy. And it's added a little to my understanding of vintage Japanese toys.
The not-Cadillac sedan (center) fits in nicely with the Straco Express layout/display.

Total cost for the project:

Layout construction:

  • Pegboard: $4.95
  • Flathead Screws: $0.40
  • Molding: $2.49
  • SilClear: borrowed from a friend
  • Green Paint: left over from another project
  • Wood Screws: $3.60
  • Felt Pads: $1.99
Power Pack: $5.90
Small Houses: $3.00
Testor's Gray Paint for road: $1.29
Bandai Areo Station: $8.99

  • Two Japanese toy cars: $2.00
  • A.W. Livestock truck: $4.99
  • Taxi: $2.99
  • Ambulance: $2.99
  • Two Japanese patriotic cars: $6.99
  • Namura Police Car $2.52
  • Haji three-wheel sedan $3.00
  • Namura lumber truck $3.48
  • 1950's  sedan $2.99
Total Cost: $64.56


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