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55Zephyr
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AustraliaDTCA Member

-990 Pullmore Car Transporter Set (1956-58)

Greetings to everybody, especially Dave B !

I suppose that the Dinky 582/982 Pullmore Car Transporter is one of the more popular and long-lived Dinky models, having been available for eleven years from 1953 until 1963. I find it surprising therefore that the 990 Gift set with four cars, which offered so much play potential, was only available for just under three years - maybe it was just too expensive ?

In Ramsays catalogue, it is listed as available from 1956 to 1958, and indeed I have an early set which has an inspection stamp on the inside of the lid 'XB 1056', being October 1956, and a pencilled price on one lid end of 28/6d. Although the set was not included in the June 1956 catalogue, my copy of that catalogue has a hand-written note on the back cover next to the picture of the 982 - "with 4 cars, 28/6d" - but of course, that could have been added months after the catalogue print date which is 7/456/800 i.e. April 1956.

The first official reference I can find for it is in the February 1957 leaflet DT/CF/3 which has a price of £1-8-11, and this price was maintained over the next two years until it last appeared in the April 1958 catalogue. There appears to be no reference to the set after this date, although I would imagine that there were still some stocks available up until Christmas that year - so it would seem that the information in Ramsays is correct.

Having always had a desire to obtain one of these sets, I eventually won a set from Wallis & Wallis in their September 1995 auction - but when it arrived, I was rather disappointed that the actual set did not seem to live up to the auction catalogue description (does that sound familiar, Bruce?) as the box was worn, punctured, missing packing pieces etc. and the cars and transporter were considerably paint-chipped, rusty baseplates etc. - so much so that the set didn 't join the other models in my cabinet. Although my search for a better set didn't stop, all the good ones which I saw at toyfairs and auctions were priced way out of my reach, so the set just stayed on my 'wish-list '.

However, in 2008 I came across a set which looked in unbelievably good condition, from an eBay seller in Brisbane, and I was fortunate to win it at what was a most reasonable price. When I received it a week later, I was amazed - it was literally 'Mint-Boxed' - so I contacted the seller, and he told me this story :

His father was one of two brothers, and the other brother (Uncle Brian) had never married. He lived in a nearby suburb in Brisbane, but the two brothers didn't see each other very often. In 2008, Uncle Brian, in his 80's, passed away - and the nephew (Peter) was delegated to clear out his uncle's house which was to be sold.

In the living room was a sideboard which contained all sorts of household items - but right at the back, Peter found a brown paper package tied up with string (aren't they some of your favourite things?) and written on the paper was the inscription "To Peter, happy christmas 1957, from Uncle Brian". Of course, Peter was mystified - obviously something had happened to prevent the present from being given, but what? Had he done something wrong? Had his father and uncle fallen out? He could think of nothing, but of course unwrapped the package to reveal the Dinky 990 Gift Set, brand new and never taken out of it's box all those years. He then said that, as he had now grown out of toy cars, he would sell it, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This is how I found the set once I had taken the lid off :

Bearing in mind that in Ramsays, the set is described as having one packing piece, this is 'what's in the box' when you unpack it :

If you include the sleeve for the ramp, there are actually seven packing components: the ramp sleeve; a cover with folded ends for the ramp sleeve; an upper and a lower packing cut-out piece; a corrugated card base cut-out for the cab and cars to rest on; as well as :

two extra corrugated card pieces, one which slides in over the roofs of the cars on the lower deck to protect them from rubbing on the underside of the upper deck, and one to separate the two lower-deck cars. Paint protection 1957-style !

So now, all we have to do is warn the driver of the Zephyr to exercise careful clutch and accelerator control - that ramp looks almost as steep as Porlock Hill - and to jump on the brakes as soon as he gets to the top, or look out Somerset !

The only thing I didn 't mention is that the box lid has the inspection stamp 'HJ 577' which of course is July 1957 - bear in mind the time for shipping from England to Australia, so this set would have probably been in the Dinky dealer's shop in Brisbane by October that year, and I would think that the set was bought soon thereafter. You may notice that the base packing cut-out is torn in two places, which I have subsequently repaired - probably done when taking the transporter out of the box to show Uncle Brian ?

Although my earlier set has both a "LF" sticker on one box lid end, and the transporter has a "20" decal on the tailgate, this later set has neither. The earlier set also has a Zephyr with dark green lower sides, whereas the later set has one with lime-green sides and the rear numberplate mask-sprayed in aluminium - so confirming that these changes happened some time between October 1956 and July 1957.

I spent a worthwhile afternoon yesterday cleaning and repairing the earlier set box, which I am pleased to say looks much better than the over-enthusiastic description given it by Glenn B. in 1995 in his Lewes auction catalogue !

As always, I hope you find this of interest - if anyone can add more specific information about production dates, I would be pleased to hear from you. And Dave B. - hope this contribution has lived up to your expectations !

Regards to all, Adrian.

janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

Thank you, Adrian, for this amazing story. This is the only condition which enables mint/boxed models to survive! And still I'm surprised that the box contents wasn't only unpacked, but unmoved too. I can imagine that no matter how good is was packed, even moving the box might have caused some rubbing to the sides of the inside cars. And now for you the task to leave this set in untouched condition like this! I wouldn't dare to touch it ...
By the way, the packing of the loading ramp seems to differ from the 'regular' packs. Is it for this set only packed in that particular box or do other single Pullmore's occur with that box too?
Kind regards, Jan

dinkyfan's picture
dinkyfan
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DTCA MemberUSA

Adrian
A wonderful set, and what a story behind you getting it......sometimes dreams do come true! I had never seen closeup photos befor of the set, and it is lovely.....and mint! The mix of cars looks quite nice in it, so it must display very nicely. A wonderful find and it certainly went to a nice home.
Best regards,
Terry

55Zephyr
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Hello Jan and Terry,

thank you for your appreciation, yes - sometimes dreams do come true, and I like to hear the personal stories which accompany some of the models we collect!

Jan - for reasons of preservation, I have never put this set on permanent display, it is usually kept in a drawer beneath my display cabinets along with other 'special' models - and today is only the second time in six years that I have removed the contents from the set box, to take the photographs.

To answer your question - I have six other examples of the 582/982 Pullmore - three in 'Dinky Toys' boxes without ramp, and three in 'Supertoys' boxes with the ramp ('Supertoys' in upright capitals, then with Italic capitals - both of these with the text 'with detachable loading ramp', and the last with Italic capitals with the text 'with windows and detachable loading ramp' - rather scarce this one).

All three which have the ramp included have the correct two box packing pieces - and yes, whereas both my 990 sets have the ramp in an open-ended 'sleeve' which is longer than the standard box, and is printed only with the number 794 and text in red, the three 982 models have the ramp in the shorter flap-ended box, (as sold separately under the number 994 or 794) - two are numbered 994, and only the last 'with windows' version has the ramp in a box numbered 794! All three have the text in red and black, and with a line drawing of the ramp on the top face of the box.

Strangely, I also have a separate ramp in an open-ended short sleeve and with black text only, numbered 994 - but I have no idea how I acquired this! According to my catalogue information, the ramp was only numbered 994 for a very brief period in 1954 before renumbering to 794, but it was not included with the model until around June 1955. Seems as though the stock of ramps in 994-numbered boxes lasted much longer than anticipated? Another Dinky mystery!

Regards, Adrian.

Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Greetings Adrian

The Best Man won!! The story behind your set is very unique. Possibly it was wrapped, hidden and then forgotten and no doubt his nephew received a different Dinky Toy for that Christmas! Although how anyone can forget something that cost

Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Morning Dave K (and Al K.)

This Post is also incomplete. I wish now that I had retained a copy when I first Posted it!  (I am doing that now with all my Posts  just in case the unimaginable will happen with this new site!)

Kind regards

Bruce  (150)

23 December 2015

buzzer999's picture
buzzer999
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DTCA MemberUK

The story and the set is absolutely amazing, what a superb find and I can see why you keep it packed carefully away.

I am in utter awe of this!!

As mentioned by Jan I have never seen a ramp box like this before or the packing pieces for the lower deck. New things keep cropping up all the time.

Adrian you have something truly special here I am really envious.

I shall spend the rest of my life looking in the back of sideboards now.

I wonder if anyone at Meccano ever considered a gift set of the 983 and eight cars - now that would have been expensive!!!

Dave

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janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

I found the picture below in my image files, an example from the Ken McRae collection. The big background packing piece looks even cleaner and without tears! The inside packing pieces, however, are not present or invisible. I cannot judge if the ramp box is the same as Adrian's.

The box lid shows slightly more wear, and the Ford Zephyr shows treaded tyres, so slightly later produced.

Kind regards, Jan

55Zephyr
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Hello Jan,

another well-preserved 990 set - however, the ramp box is not correct for this set: in both of my sets, the ramp box is an open sleeve without end flaps, and is the full width of the set box - the ramp sleeve should also have a separate cover which is folded down at each end and acts as a stand for the Pullmore to rest on, rather than it's tyres standing directly on the ramp sleeve. Here is another pic which shows the ramp sleeve more clearly:

and to follow up on Bruce's notes: as I mentioned, my first set has the inspection rubber-stamp on the inside of the box lid 'XB 1056' i.e. October 1956 - so there is no doubt that it was released in time for Christmas 1956.

Pity my background insert is not quite as good as the one in your pic, Jan!

Regards, Adrian.

Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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AustraliaDTCA Member

55Zephyr wrote:
"Hello Jan,

another well-preserved 990 set - however, the ramp box is not correct for this set: in both of my sets, the ramp box is an open sleeve without end flaps, and is the full width of the set box - the ramp sleeve should also have a separate cover which is folded down at each end and acts as a stand for the Pullmore to rest on, rather than it's tyres standing directly on the ramp sleeve.

and to follow up on Bruce's notes: as I mentioned, my first set has the inspection rubber-stamp on the inside of the box lid 'XB 1056' i.e. October 1956 - so there is no doubt that it was released in time for Christmas 1956.

Pity my background insert is not quite as good as the one in your pic, Jan!

Regards, Adrian."

Hello Adrian

My 982 Pullmore Car Transporter with ramp which I received as an early Christmas present in September 1956 had the 794 ramp in a cardboard sleeve, not as packaged as a "box" with end flaps. Perhaps the ramps in all the later 982 Pullmore Car Transports were packaged in a sleeve similar to the one in your 990, and the end-flap box was only used when the ramp was sold separately.

Many thanks for letting us know the factory inspection stamp on the inside of the lid of your first 990 that confirms the set was available in time for Christmas 1956, and perhaps a month or two earlier.

Kind regards

Bruce

Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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AustraliaDTCA Member

Dinkinius wrote:
"55Zephyr wrote:
"Hello Jan,

another well-preserved 990 set - however, the ramp box is not correct for this set: in both of my sets, the ramp box is an open sleeve without end flaps, and is the full width of the set box - the ramp sleeve should also have a separate cover which is folded down at each end and acts as a stand for the Pullmore to rest on, rather than it's tyres standing directly on the ramp sleeve.

and to follow up on Bruce's notes: as I mentioned, my first set has the inspection rubber-stamp on the inside of the box lid 'XB 1056' i.e. October 1956 - so there is no doubt that it was released in time for Christmas 1956.

Pity my background insert is not quite as good as the one in your pic, Jan!

Regards, Adrian."

Hello Adrian

My 982 Pullmore Car Transporter with ramp which I received as an early Christmas present in September 1956 had the 794 ramp in a cardboard sleeve, not as packaged as a "box" with end flaps. Perhaps the ramps in all the later 982 Pullmore Car Transports were packaged in a sleeve similar to the one in your 990, and the end-flap box was only used when the ramp was sold separately.

Many thanks for letting us know the factory inspection stamp on the inside of the lid of your first 990 that confirms the set was available in time for Christmas 1956, and perhaps a month or two earlier.

Kind regards

Bruce"

Further to the above posts, the following is a photograph of a 990 Pullmore Car Transporter with Four Cars Gift Set showing the type of sleeve used for the loading ramp as confirmed by Adrian.

Kind regards
Bruce

buzzer999's picture
buzzer999
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DTCA MemberUK

I think I am the only one here who doesn't have a 990 - I have my number 1 target for 2015 now!!!

janwerner's picture
janwerner
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DTCA MemberNetherlands

Don't you worry Dave, I haven't got one either and I most probably never will. I would prefer a mint example only, and that will not suit my budget ...
Kind regards, Jan

Townie54's picture
Townie54
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DTCA Member

A superb set and what rare condition. Any child who got given this set would have been very fortunate. Still the bright two tone cars, rare enough themselves, make the transporter look almost dowdy. I have just three Pullmore transporters now, the first bought box less and pre loved in the bazaar in Ankara, Turkey.

Dinkinius's picture
Dinkinius
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AustraliaDTCA Member

For those who may be slightly interested, my Post Number 5 above is incomplete, and in the words I made on another incomplete Post in the 900 Site Building Set topic, the missing part most likely became  "a victim of some sort of "electronic conspiracy" before or during the transfer process from the old website to this site."

The following is that Post in its entirety:

Greetings Adrian

The Best Man won!! The story behind your set is very unique. Possibly it was wrapped, hidden and then forgotten and no doubt his nephew received a different Dinky Toy for that Christmas! Although how anyone can forget something that cost £2/10/6 is difficult to believe! With something a little cheaper, the same happened to me. I bought a "Little Miss Make-up" for my youngest daughter in 1990 or 1991 with she being about 7 or 8 years of age, stored it in the garage for "safe-keeping", where it stayed until I had a clean-up in 2011. By then she was a little too old to be given it, so it has been hidden again if she has a daughter!

Continuing with your excellent treatise there was very little, if any fanfare from Meccano with the 990 Gift Set. It was indeed an expensive set in any man's language, as in Australia it was priced at £2/10/6. Just why Meccano priced the set at £1/8/11 in the UK when one could buy the five models individually for the same amount is strange to say the least. (982 17/11, 154 2/6, 156 3/-, 161 2/6 and 162 3/-) The wholesale price of the set in the United Kingdom was 16/2.

It may not have been all that popular, apart from it being the highest priced Gift Set available at that time, for the simple fact that it would have been one present, rather than five that could be wrapped individually! Not to mention that the recipient may already have had examples of the four cars. Unique colour schemes for all four cars could have been a better selling point, although the paint run would have to have been great, but surplus could have been sold later.

Anyway that is all conjecture like most things dealing with Dinky Toys. From a marketing point of view the set did not make much sense, and no wonder it was only around for two or so years. Of course it was a stop-gap set of a transporter that was already showing its age until the more modern 983/984/985 Car Carrier and Trailer arrived in July 1958 and had established themselves. This may account for the lack of publicity, although with no mention of the set in Meccano Magazine, when Meccano owned that publication is strange, when one would have thought this would have been an excellent vehicle in which to promote and sell this set, at no great cost. The date of introduction is still somewhat cloudy, as the 990 Gift Set is listed in the Meccano Toys of Quality leaflet, although dated 1st February 1957 it has the print code of 16/157/100M, (January 1957). It is therefore possible the set could have been available in time for Christmas 1956. The last leaflet appearance of the 990 Gift Set in my collection was the Meccano Toys of Quality price list with a date of December 1958, with print details of 16/1258/70 (6th Printing). The various price leaflets in January 1959 16/159/100 for the UK and 16/159/6 for Australia do not include the 990 Gift Set.

 

If I thought the 990 Gift Set was expensive in Australia at £2/10/6 just look at the price of the 983 Car Carrier and Trailer without any cars! A whopping £3/10/-!! In the UK, it was priced at a mere £1/18/6!!

Kind regards

Bruce

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