Pre War & Post-War Models
Dinky Toys were first launched in 1934. Production was suspended in late 1941, with metal toy production being formally banned by the government in the spring of 1942. All metal was then diverted for military use. Britain had been at war since September 1939 but Dinky Toys produced up to the shutdown in 1941 are generally referred to as being “pre-war”. Toy production restarted in July 1945 and the early post-War products were re-launched pre-War models.
Prior to 1958 there were only four types of tyres used on Dinky Toys. These are shown below and identifying which tyre fits which models is a simple matter.
Regular size Dinky trucks and cars had smooth round section tyres either 4mm thick or 5mm thick, giving an outside diameter of 15mm and 17mm. The Supertoys trucks (from 1947) had round tread Supertoy tyres in either black or grey.
1958 saw the introduction of the first plastic window bubbles in Dinky Toys and a new range of treaded tyres was fitted across the range. The 1958 tyres are shown below;
Cars and small trucks were given 15mm treaded tyres in place of the traditional 15mm smooth tyre. A white version of this treaded tyre was used on the new American car models. Slightly smaller (8mm diameter) polished spun aluminium wheel hubs began to replace the conventional diecast hubs on a number of Dinky cars from 1959 and were commonplace by the early 1960’s. These smaller hubs required a tyre with a smaller hole. Then came the 13mm diameter “mini tyre”. From 1958, military vehicles were given a more realistic looking square tread “army” tyre in place of the former 17mm smooth tyres. A square tread tyre was introduced to replace the round tread tyres on Supertoy trucks.
15mm Smooth Tyres:
The vast majority of Dinky Toys from 1934 right through to 1958 used the 15mm x 4mm thick smooth round section tyre. A white version of this tyre was used in pre-War days but by September 1939 all Dinky Toy tyres were black.
The Dinky 25-series Wagons with the type-4 chassis with full front wings and front bumper, introduced in 1948 has 15mm tyres whereas the earlier versions had the thicker 17mm tyres. From 1948 onwards all of the small trucks had the standard 15mm smooth tyres, which is by far the most commonly used Dinky Toy tyre.
17mm Smooth Tyres:
Exceptions to the 15mm rule were the six 36 series and the 25 series small trucks up to type-3, which had been first launched in the 1930’s. The tyre thickness of the small 25g four wheeled trailer was also reduced to 4mm in 1948 to match the slimmer tyres in the new type-4 trucks. The Mechanical Horse & Trailer had 17mm tyres until 1951, when domed axle ends replaced its original crimped axles. The 25h Streamlined Fire Engine (renumbered 250 in 1953) used the 17mm smooth tyres until 1958 when treaded tyres were fitted.
The Supertoy scale Bedford trucks, Guy trucks and vans, and the Commer breakdown Truck were fitted with 17mm smooth 25-series tyres. The Bedford trucks and the Commer were given a lightly treaded version of the 17mm tyre in 1958.
Round Tread Supertoy Tyres:
Dinky Supertoys were launched in 1947 and the range expanded rapidly. The Supertoy tyre is 20mm diameter and made the whole wheel look bigger which was more appropriate to heavy duty vehicles. The first Supertoy tyre had a herringbone tread pattern and was the same tyre used on the Mercedes and Auto-Union racing cars since pre-War days. The more commonly found round tread black Supertoy tyre soon superseded this tyre.
The lighter capacity Bedford and Guy trucks, although built to the same 1/48 scale as the other Supertoys have smaller arches and were fitted with the smaller 17mm diameter, 5mm thick tyre from the 25 series.
The grey round tread Supertoy tyre was fitted to the grey coloured Large Trailer from around 1950 and came to things like the Coles Mobile Crane, the Lorry Mounted Crane, the Supertoy Fire Engines and some of the 1950’s racing cars in the 23 series. From 1952 or thereabouts, grey tyres were also fitted to a number of Foden 8 wheeled trucks, the Leyland Comet trucks and Big Bedford trucks. Whether you fit black or grey tyres these days really comes down to personal preference.
Square Tread Supertoy Tyre:
Sometimes referred to as block Tread Supertoy tyres, the 20mm square tread tyres appeared in 1958. They were fitted to the Leyland Octopus trucks and to a number of the other late version Supertoy trucks. Square tread Supertoy tyres are covered in greater detail under Military Vehicles.
The many variations of the 23a Small Racing Car, renumbered 220 in the late 1950s and the 23b Hotchkiss were both fitted with the 25 series 17mm smooth tyres (white prior to 1939, black thereafter).
The 23c Mercedes Benz, 23d Auto Union and the 23e Speed of the Wind had black herringbone tread 20mm tyres. The round tread black Supertoy tyres are usually substituted as replacements. The post 1953 version of the Speed of the Wind Record Car (221) is occasionally found with grey round tread Supertoy tyres. The 1958 – 65 Vanwall (239 with diecast wheels, 210 with spun aluminium or plastic wheels from 1960 – 62) had the black 1958 treaded tyres, The 17mm smooth tyre is often used as a substitute.
The six 1/38 scale 23 series racing cars from the 1950’s were fitted with round tread Supertoy tyres. The 23k (230) Talbot Lago and 23n (231) Maserati are usually shown in early photographs with black tyres. The others are often illustrated with grey tyres. Many collectors feel the black tyres look more natural or more realistic, but again it seems to be a matter of personal preference.
A lightly treaded tyre is occasionally found on the small 1/60 scale Military models from the 1930’s and 1940’s, but more often than not the standard 15mm smooth tyre from the civilian models is substituted. Collectors use the 15mm tyre for these models worldwide.
The 1950’s model trucks in the 600 series, which included the Bedford RL and Bedford QL had 17mm smooth tyres until 1958. They were then given the square or block tread Army tyre.
About the same time, these trucks were fitted with the driver figure inside the cab. The driver figure is a good rule of thumb guide as to whether the truck should have smooth 25 series tyres or the later square tread Army tyre.
The Austin Champ had standard 15mm smooth tyres until 1958. It was then fitted with the 15mm diameter black tread tyre. Most collectors tend to use treaded tyres on the Champ as they look more military like.
The Mighty Antar tank Transporter from 1956 and the Scammell Recovery Truck from 1957 are both Supertoys and have black Supertoy tyres. These were round tread until 1958 when the square tread Supertoys tyre was launched. The inner wheels on the rear axle of the tank transporter are inaccessible unless the axle is withdrawn so will show whether your Mighty Antar left the factory with round tread or square tread tyres, if they are still there of course.
The six wheeled 622 Foden Army Truck from 1954 and the six wheeled Pressure Refueller from 1957 are again Supertoys and had round tread tyres until 1958 when the driver figure and square tread tyres were fitted.
When it comes to models like the Scout Car, Armoured Car and Personnel carrier, there is no way of telling whether they are pre or post 1958. The tyres can be either 17mm smooth or Army square tread.
Pictures and guide kindly supplied by Kenny Gray of the diecast restoration forum.