Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets
No.3 AA Motorcycle
After two horse-drawn items, Benbros turned to an AA Motorcycle for No.3 in the TV Series. It was a familiar sight on British roads in the 1950's, easily identified by the bright yellow colour of the sidecar and the olive-green livery of the patrolman. AA (Automobile Association) patrols existed to help motorists whose cars had broken down on the open road.
No.3 AA Motorcycle was a neat model made up of six separate castings plus three large metal wheels. Central to the model of course was the motorcycle and sidecar combination which were joined by two extending rods from beneath the sidecar. These slotted into holes on the side of the bike and the whole assembly was held together by the rear axle which joined the sidecar wheel to the back wheel of the motorcycle.
There were two versions of No.2 AA Motorcycle, the first issued in TV Series boxes and the second in the later Mighty Midget range. Both were painted in the AA livery colours of black and yellow with a black motorcycle and yellow sidecar including an integral mudguard. On each side of the pointed front of the sidecar was cast the 'AA' logo although it was not picked out in any black trim. There was an opening lid on the sidecar attached by slot-in hinges at the corners of one side. Underneath was cast 'Made in England'.
The wheels were solid-cast unpainted metal with an outline of spokes on the surface, on nail-head & crimped axles although there was a period when round-head & crimped axles were used.
The first TV Series issue of No.3 had a separately cast black painted luggage rail fixed onto the sidecar lid. This model also had a little yellow screen on the motorcycle around the headlight with the AA logo cast in the centre. The rider, or Patrolman, was painted in the olive-green livery of the AA, wearing a peaked cap, also painted olive green, black boots and black gauntlets, with his face highlighted in light-brown or pink trim.
With the introduction of the Mighty Midget range, the AA Motorcycle had three changes. First the colour became a darker yellow and the rails on the sidecar lid were now painted yellow. Second, the little yellow screen was re-cast without the AA logo, and third, the patrolman lost his black boots and gloves and became all olive-green (although he kept his face trim).
Morestone produced a fairly similar model of the AA Motorcycle in their 'Esso' Petrol Pump Series but it differs from the Benbros version by having open-spoked wheels, cast-in rails on the sidecar lid, and a different screen which looked, oddly enough, very much like the picture Benbros printed on the Mighty Midget box.
Sold in all three types of TV Series boxes plus a few with added labels (TV4) and the later Mighty Midget range, the AA Motorcycle was a popular toy and can be easily found today in good condition although because of the number of separate parts, bits are sometimes missing.
Variation 1 model & rider, box without number (TV1)
AA Motorcycle TV boxes (left to right)
no number (TV1), small number (TV2), large number (TV3)
Variation 1 model, box with added label (TV4)
Benbros No.3 AA Motorcycle
(1) BLACK motorcycle, YELLOW sidecar with opening lid, black rails, yellow 'AA' screen, rider with black boots and gloves, TV1 or TV2 or TV3 or TV4 box
(2) BLACK motorcycle, DEEP YELLOW sidecar with opening lid, yellow rails, plain yellow screen, rider without black boots and gloves, MM box
Left : Variation 1 (round-head axles)
Right : Variation 2 (nail-head axles)