By Major James Augustus
The Scammell Recovery Tractor was modelled by Dinky as No. 661 and was based on the post-war Scammell GS 6x6 Explorer. This had been designed as a replacement for the Scammell Pioneer (first introduced in 1927) because the wartime Pioneer was limited in its cross-country ability by having only 4 of its 6 wheels driven. However the Explorer did bear a strong resemblance to its predecessor and the two trucks are often confused. Brisbane readers may remember the city council using ex-army Pioneers to re-rail trams that had left the tracks.
The Explorer was fitted with a 10.3 litre petrol engine instead of the previous Gardner 6LW 8369cc six cylinder diesel unit and its rear axle and transmission layout was virtually the same as the Pioneer except that a shaft from the main gearbox provided power to the driven front axle. The body and cab on the Explorer were also very similar to those on the Pioneer. However the flatter bonnet line and wide mudguards on the Explorer quickly identifies it. The jib crane on the Explorer was winch powered but ironically the earlier Pioneer had a manually cranked lifting hook like the later Dinky!
The Dinky 661 came both with and without driver and windows and late versions were fitted with the plastic wheel hubs. They were a ruggedly built model except for the jib boom and ratchet lever that were easily broken. Reproduction hooks are readily available.
Scammell Explorers remained in service well into the 1980s. However in 2001 it is still much easier to find a Dinky 661 although MIB examples are becoming scarce and command high prices.
In 1970 the Dinky factory in France accurately modelled the GMC Troop Transporter as No.809. The prototype for this model was the GMC CCKW353 2½ ton 6X6 long wheelbase truck that was first introduced in 1941. Over 560,000 of these trucks were produced until they were withdrawn from service with the US Army in 1956.
The Dinky 809 utilized a diecast chassis and body with a moulded plastic tray, cab roof and tarpaulin (tilt). It came complete with plastic driver figure and front mounted winch. Apart from the winch-hook it was supposedly in 1:43 scale. However the real GMC truck had a wheelbase of 4166mm and as the Dinky was 110mm this made the scale more like 1:38.
Underneath the Dinky a clever one-piece black plastic moulding included differentials, tail shafts, crankcase and exhaust that, together with a fold down tail board, added a good degree of realism to the model. Unfortunately the tray did not include the side bench seats and was therefore a basic cargo body.
The GMC truck, or Jimmy as it was affectionately called, wasable to climb a 65% slope and ford a depth of 3 feet. Its maximum authorised speed was 72kmh from a Type 270, 6-cylinder petrol engine (4416cc) developing 91.5 HP. Fuel consumption on the road was an expected 35L/100km but off road this could reach a staggering 75L/100km.
Many 1000's of these trucks were assembled in France during World War II from partly knocked down shipments and it is easy to speculate why the French Dinky factory chose it to add to their range.
Next Edition: We look at 621 and 810