Dave, congratulations with the Dinky Military 1950s article, part 2, as published in The Journal vol 8 ed 1! (and, by the way, the whole new issue, of course). May I pay attention to an interesting detail, not yet mentioned?
In the article two versions of the Austin Champ were shown, an early one with metal hubs and driver (on top), and a later one, of the 1960s, with plastic hubs and driver.
But there is more with the early one shown. That one happens to be an example of the very first batch, issued between July and end 1954, before all then available military vehicles got their drivers. Before that moment there was no standard military driver yet, the one that we all know from the regular 1950s army vehicles.
As you can see on the comparative photo above, the regular military driver had a black beret and his arms directed straight forward, as shown in the no. 673 Scout Car on the right - the other one on the left also before end 1954, without driver, but having accommodation to receive two men.
Before end 1954 the Champ was the only military vehicle with a driver, an individual one, just for the Austin Champ alone. He had no beret but black hair and his arms are more spread in comparison with the later regular one, which was introduced for the Champ end 1954 as well.
Kind regards, Jan Werner
Amazing attention to detail by Jan. In all my 50 years of collecting I had never noticed the variation in drivers or wheels on the Champ, now ther's more to search for. Well done!
As I am sure members will know I am passionate about the 674 Champ as I own a full size one. Here is an interesting variation, it is a Champ mounted on a wooden plinth to a Capt. G Clarke. I am trying to find out more about this person but there are not many clues to work on.
On Jan's pictures below, one can notice the early diecast four spokes stering wheel and the later three spokes one made of black plastic. There MAY also be an army green plastic steering wheel but this is not confirmed. Can any one post a picture with such a green steering wheel ?
Some freshly made pictures illustrating the odd characteristics of a newly added late no. 674 Austin Champ, without driver, with dark green plastic hubs and black three spoke plastic steering wheel (no box, unfortunately). Reference works are not very clear about the presence or not of a driver on some of these models. The driver might have got lost, but I do not see the slightest trace of a possible former presence of a driver. A plastic one may have left no clearly visible damage or slighter traces. On the other hand this may have been a final desperate attempt of the factory to reduce costs, around 1970. The 1970 catalogue picture of the final appearance of this Champ might have been of use, but it still shows the older traditional version, with diecast hubs, driver etc. The dark green hubs are remarkable too, because other contemporaries have plastic hubs in a neatly matching army green colour.
Well, for the record, your opinions and comments are appreciated, kind regards, Jan
I have just received this Austin Champ with a plastic driver. It also has plastic wheels and a plastic steering wheel with 3 spokes so it is a very late version. I wasn't sure at first whether the driver was plastic but I have since weighed one with a metal driver and this is 4 grams heavier than the one with the plastic driver. The plastic driver is painted in more detail with a black beret, painted hands and face. The driver is glued securely onto the seat.
Hi Chris, that is an interesting addition. Congratulations!
In the light of my previous post you can imagine that I am curious of the exact way the driver is attached to its seat.
So there is a 'dot' of glue between its bottom and the seat? And is there still a pivot under his bottom, protruding through the seat? Perhaps you could show some more details?
If the glueing is the standard way of fixation with these late plastic drivers, it should have left traces whatsoever on mine - if it had been present initially. Kind regards, Jan
The Austin Champ in UN finish does not have holes in the seats. Are there any late army green models without these holes ?
Here are a couple of photos which show the glue which holds the driver onto the seat. As you can see the peg extends to the underneath of the seat and you can see the glue around it. I would suggest that your Champ did not have a driver, or else it was never glued to the seat, as otherwise there would signs of the glue or even some loss of paint on the seat if the driver had been removed.
Jacques, I have never seen a late Champ without the holes in the seats, except for the UN version, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.
That's indeed the evidence I was looking for. Thank you, Chris!
Here is the 674 Austin Champ in a hard to find export box. The Champ is still held to the box base by rubber bands. The third photo shows it with a 626 Ambulance also in an export box. See the Ambulance in the appropriate file.
These are nice finds, Chris, the flimsy export boxes are so vulnerable that they have often gone, leaving the mint model behind. I guess this also may have happened with my two examples shown. Both came from different, non-British countries and may also have been packed in such visipac export boxes. As I found a second example recently, now with driver, I understand what may have happened with my first one. When the new addition with plastic driver arrived the driver was carefully separately packed. Indeed, it is very easy to be removed and get lost, because there is no firm fixation at all (and leaving no trace of fixation below the driver’s seat either). The pin is short and hardly sticks in place. That’s why the previous one – although hardly or not played with – must have lost its driver. I wonder if these plastic drivers were separately available in those days, but I doubt it. Anyone may comment on this. Possibly Chris’s driver was glued in with a tiny drop of glue by a previous owner in order not to get lost.
Still, my example without driver remains a remarkable one, as its plastic wheels have an undeniably darker green colour, different from the regular olive shade of green of the military models. Some photos below, my first issue with the driver with widely spread arms included. Kind regards, Jan
I was very happy to recieve this white UN version of the austin champ today.
Only sold in Germany in 1971.
On these pictures together with my other 3 versions of the champ.
That UN version is a desirable, hard to find model indeed, Kas!
A photo below to demonstrate the missing box I was looking for. I found it on eBay at a very friendly price the other day. So now, three years after, my dark green wheeled Austin Champ is complete, with driver and correct box!
An unusual version of the Austin Champ with a black painted windscreen. This is the late version with plastic wheels and plastic , 3-spoked steering wheel.