After the successful Foden models in the TV Series & Mighty Midgets (No.20 Flat Truck & No.21 Diesel Wagon), Benbros developed the idea of creating more cab/chassis castings to which different bodies could be added to enlarge the range. Two were designed and these were based on the AEC Monarch vehicle and the versatile Bedford 'S-type' lorry.
On No.23 the van body used was interchangeable between both AEC and Bedford cab/chassis versions and was a simple hollow box without a floor or rear doors. On the AEC it sat flush with the rear of the cab but on the Bedford there was a small gap.
The AEC was the first to appear and had the honour to be the last model to be packed in a TV Series box (although it seems to have also been issued in Mighty Midget boxes). The cab & chassis was painted orange and the body green. It had unpainted metal wheels on nailhead & crimped axles, and 'Benbros Made in England' cast under the chassis.
The TV3 box reveals that perhaps Benbros had initially planned a Foden for this model. The picture shows the eight-wheeled vehicle as used for Nos.20 & 21 with a box-van body, opening rear doors and 'Benbros' signs on the sides. What Benbros actually produced was a four wheeled model without rear doors and no decals on the AEC version.
This inaccuracy between the picture on the box and the model inside came to be repeated by Benbros on several later models but the worst was reserved for the final articulated Bedfords when it was hard to know what the model inside the box would look like, or even what vehicle it was based on!
When Benbros introduced the Mighty Midget box for the Delivery Van they put a more accurate picture of an AEC lorry but showing opening rear doors which were probably never intended for this model.
After the first two-tone AEC, Benbros switched to single colours with an all-red variation (shades from orange-red to bright red) and then metallic blue and metallic green. Many of these early metallic models were re-paints of red variations and included wheels and axles, and usually the old red colour is visible inside.
When the Bedford versions were introduced they were painted plain red (in various shades including an orange-red colour) and were fitted with unpainted metal wheels and carried no decals. Under the chassis they had cast 'Benbros Qualitoy Made in England'.
Before long, however, 'Dunlop' decals were added to the Bedfords using the early type transfers without a logo. Also, the red colour of the models was darker but the wheels continued to be unpainted metal.
The final variation of the Bedford Delivery Van was a dark-red model with black plastic wheels and 'Dunlop' decals without logo.
The AEC Delivery Van in red can be found at auction fairly often but the other models are more scarce or rare and the orange & green AEC in the TV3 box is very hard to find. The Bedfords are less scarce although variation 2 (red, umw, with decals) is rare.
Benbros No.23 Delivery Van
(1) ORANGE cab & chassis/GREEN body NO decals umw TV3 or MM box
(2) RED including body NO decals umw MM box
(3) METALLIC GREEN including body NO decals painted mw MM box
(4) METALLIC BLUE including body NO decals painted mw MM box
(5) METALLIC BLUE including body NO decals umw MM box
(1) RED including body NO decals umw MM box
(2) RED including body 'Dunlop' decals umw MM box
(3) DARK-RED including body 'Dunlop' decals bpw MM box
Estimated Price Guide
(MINT models in MINT boxes)
AEC (1) : £90+
AEC (2) : £20-25
AEC (3) (4) (5) : £45-60
BEDFORD (all variations) : £45-65