Dinky North-East

Dinky in the name of this site refers to Meccano Dinky Toys.   Northeast comes from my location in North-East Scotland.         __________________________________________________

As  one  of  the   tens  of  thousands  of Dinky Toy   enthusiasts  throughout the  world, by 2009 it was time that I added  a  website.      I can scarce believe that was four years ago.      My   aim   is   to  share information,  and   to  consolidate  and   widen my cyber connections with like-minded people worldwide.

As time permits, I shall add more pictures of my own collection and I invite fellow-collectors to exchange photographs of interesting Dinkies produced by Meccano.    I strikes me that I have yet to upload pictures of the late-1940's and 1950's car models, like the Standard Vanguards and the glorious Austin Devon.  I passed my driving test in a real life A40 Devon the day after my 17th birthday back in 1955 having practised driving on private roads in a Ford-8 and my father's XK120 Jag since I was about twelve.

A number of photographs already appear on the site under the "Friends' Photos-1" and "Friends' Photos-2" headings, and  the  photographs of early Dinkies under Australia's "Wilmington Museum" are well worth perusing.    The original Meccano company, established by Frank Hornby in 1901, went to the wall in 1964 and so-called Dinky Toys later produced by Lines Brothers who bought the assets and by Airfix leave me somewhat cold.   When I was a kid, oh so many years ago, a Dinky was simply a relatively accurate diecast representation of a real-life road vehicle on four or more wheels with rubber tyres.   With no computers or electronic games back then, we still played with our Dinky Toys until we reached secondary-school age.  We loved playing with them, and much was left to our imaginations.   There were no interiors and no plastic windows.   Such niceties didn't come along until Corgi came on the scene in 1956 and our beloved Meccano company was faced with serious competition.   Opening doors and opening boot (trunk) lids or bonnets (hoods) with chunky hinges spoiled the clean lines of the traditional Dinky Toys with their 'pretend' doors.

We all know that the first Dinky Toys in 1934 were virtually copied from Tootsietoys.   The earlier Hornby Modelled Miniatures with all-metal wheels were excellent models for the period.   The introduction of rubber tyres and the new range of 'Dinky Toys' in 1934 followed the Tootsietoy Grahams and LaSalles, even down to the design and assembly methods.   Following Tootsie's lead, our Dinky Toys had white tyres until 1939 when somebody in the Liverpool factory finally realised that real cars in the UK didn't have white tyres, or even American-style white-walled tyres.   From then onwards the tyres were black.   But we loved our Dinky Toys, and nothing could compare with their realism until the mid-1950s.   Tootsie's postwar products lost the realism of the 'golden age' Tootsies produced between 1933 and 1940.   It was left to Meccano to lead the way worldwide with their realistic Dinky Toys until Corgi came along in 1956.

So, the  glory  days  of Dinky Toys from c1934 to 1964 are the ones to be honoured.     Some  of  the classic Dinkies continued in production under Lines' ownership, but the true spirit of Dinky Toys was irretrievably lost and never really resurfaced.   The sci-fi and TV-related stuff from the late-1960s and 1970s were gimmicky 'toys' rather than model vehicles.   And the models produced by Matchbox in the late-80s  to  c1992,  as  the  'Dinky Collection'  when they owned the Dinky name, were  designed  as Collectors' items.   Nice models, but with too many fragile plastic bits; and far too realistic wheels and tyres.

This website was to be dedicated primarily to 'true' Dinkies from the 1934-64 period.

However, an interesting development in the past few years has been the introduction of the 'Editions-Atlas' models from Norev in France.    Produced  in  China,  these are accurate copies of the original French Dinky Toys from the 1950s; and the use of the name Dinky is fully authorised by Mattel who now own the rights to the marque.   Initially frowned on as mere reproductions, they are so close to the original Bobigny products that even Dinky 'gurus' have come to accept them as modern re-issues rather than copies.  They have no cheap plastic frills and, like the originals, are cast in mazac ('zamac' if you are in the US).  They even have Dinky-style wheels, and it is difficult to tell the difference between one of these new models and the originals.   These factory-produced models are of much higher quality than any white metal copy can ever be.   Importantly, the baseplates are stamped  'Editions ATLAS © Mattel' and 'Made in China' so there can be no confusion in future years with the original French Dinky Toys.   I have acquired a few of these for my own collection, and may or may not add more.   These first ones were simply to satisfy my curiosity as to what they looked and felt like.   I really was impressed and have added pictures and descriptions of these 'new Dinkies' under the heading ATLAS Dinky Toys on the Navigation Bar.

Clicking any of the titles on the green heading (Navigation Bar) above will take you to the appropriate section.   The Information pages are nested under "Dinky Information" with a drop-down menu taking you the section you want.

I  supply  thousands  of  replica  tyres  for  Dinky  Toys  during  the  course  of a year and have been persuaded by diecast collectors to stock a range of tyres for the original Corgi Toys as well as tyres for my beloved Dinkies, and in early 2012 I added a range of Rubber Tracks for  Matchbox  tractors and bulldozers   The 15mm black round-tread  tyres  for 1956-67 Corgi Toys are very similar to the lightly-treaded  tyre used by Meccano  on  their 1930s  and 1940s  military models, and  although it is meant to be a 'Corgi' tyre a number  of  Dinky  enthusiasts  now  fit  them  to  things  like  their  six-wheeled  Transport Wagons, Reconnaissance  Cars  and  Anti-Aircraft  Guns.    You  will  find  all  of  these under the  BUY TYRES! heading on the navigation bar.  I also sell these tyres and tracks regularly on eBay, where my eBay ID is simply kennygray.

Most of the content of this site has been uploaded in JPG (JPEG) photographic format, and you can freely download most sections by right-clicking that page and selecting either “Save Picture As ...” or “Copy” to save it on your computer for future reference.   One commercial seller in Canada already uses three of my “information” sections on his website, with my name deleted.   I do legally retain copyright and, if you republish any section, I ask that you at least acknowledge the source.   If nothing else, it will relieve you of responsibility if I have got anything wrong!   Ha-ha!   So click away.   My aim is to freely share my observations and information with fellow enthusiasts.

If you have need to contact me you can email me by clicking this link: [email protected].


It is with great sadness I and my brother Kevin have to inform all members that our father Kenny Gray passed away suddenly but peacefully on 20th April 2015.  However we will continue to run this website in his memory for as long as we can.   For tyre orders etc. please contact us on email address ... [email protected]


Beverly Osler (Kenny's daughter)



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