“Dinky” like “Matchbox” is often used as a generic term for all diecast cars. I didn’t have many Dinky toys as a child, they were more expensive than Matchbox and less interesting than Corgi.
I have three quite vivid early childhood memories involving Dinky Cars.
- I remember stealing a Dinky Lotus Europa from a furniture store that had a toy department, when I was about ten. I’m not proud of the memory, like many kids I went through a brief shoplifting phase, not sure if it was the thrill of doing something wrong or the desire for the particular model but not having the money that drove me to crime at the time.
- My brother in a fit of rage threw a Dinky Ford Capri at me. It missed but went on to break a window.
- On my first day at school (September 1969) I remember playing with a Dinky Maximum Security Vehicle from the Captain Scarlet TV Programme. Corgi had most of the good film and TV tie-ins (James Bond, Batman etc….). Dinky just had the Gerry Anderson TV programmes like Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90.
Today, I have only three Dinky Toys in my collection, the first, a purple Cadillac Eldorado, dating from the early seventies, which I bought from an antique shop in Worcester for £10.
I didn’t have this model as a child it was too expensive. I remember seeing it in Hamley’s (a massive toy shop in London) one Christmas (1970, possibly, because it was something like 20 shillings in old money). I came out with a cheaper Dinky Car (Can’t remember if it were the Jensen FF or the Mercury Cougar…I’d love either of those cars now).
Cars don’t have massive bonnets (US: hoods) like that these days. In my 1968 Ladybird Book of Motor Cars, the Cadillac is the last car with the biggest engine, a whopping 8194cc…at the time my dad’s Ford Escort had just 1098cc.
I used to put my pin numbers in the boot (US: trunk) of the Cadillac. Somewhere safe, where I could find them if I forgot them.
Dinky Toys were made in Liverpool from 1931 until 1979. The fifties were the boom years and the seventies marked a gradual decline as they could not compete with other cheaper manufacturers (like Corgi and Mattel Hot Wheels) and from increasingly sophisticated toys and a growing interest in computer games.
Dinky produced over 1000 models and are much sought after today by collectors. There are a few that would interest me:
- Mercury Cougar
- Jensen FF
- Opel Commodore
- Jaguar E-Type
- De Tomaso Mangusta 5000
- Range Rover (especially in the Fire Chief Livery)
- Captain Scarlet Spectrum Patrol car
- Lotus Cortina
These were all in the range in the early seventies, I’d be happy to find them but I won’t pay silly money for them.
Update: 14 February 2016, I found a Dinky Austin Champ at Drybridge Market, the asking price a mere 10 lari (£2.76). This model was produced from 1958 to 1970. It has holes in the seats where soldiers were attached. I’m not usually interested in military models, but this has no guns, I thought it was a Jeep at first.
4 October 2016, Gocha at Drybridge Market showed me a Dinky model of a Triumph Herald, at 40 lari (down from 50 lari) I couldn’t resist adding a third Dinky to my collection.