When Benbros added No.9 Fire Engine and Ladder to the TV Series, they based it on a Dennis F7 vehicle which In 1955 was only just starting to be introduced but before long became familiar in most towns and cities so it was a good choice. As to why Benbros chose the number 9, maybe one need look no further than Lesney who also ran a Fire Engine model at No.9.
The Benbros Fire Engine was a conventional design of cast body and rivetted base which held the axles. It was, of course, painted red but had widespread silver trim added to the grille, headlights and bumper, the side control panels, hoses on the top deck and sometimes the bells above the cab. The wheels were unpainted metal. 'Benbros' and 'Made in England' was cast on the base. The model measured 53mm in length and sold in a TV3 box.
There were few changes to the Fire Engine itself although the red paint varied from quite dark red on early and late issues to a bright red for most of the models. Metal wheels were used until the final issue which had small black plastic wheels. The axles were round-head & crimped to start with, then switched for a time to nail-head with the change to Mighty Midgets, and then back to round-head on later models including the last one with black plastic wheels.
The Ladder on top was a single casting to which was attached two painted metal wheels. In all there were four versions of the ladder but the first one was probably the most realistic, being unpainted metal with open rungs and two large bright yellow wheels. With the switch to Mighty Midgets and the desire by Benbros to use metallic paint on their models, the ladder and wheels were re-coloured metallic light-brown or gold but retained the open rungs and large wheels.
Next it was decided to close the rungs of the ladder, perhaps to improve strength, so the third type was pale metallic brown with closed rungs and large wheels. Finally, the fourth version, which was used with the last bpw model, had small metal wheels on a closed-rung ladder and was painted metallic mid- or dark-brown.
The Fire Engine was a popular toy so turns up quite often but the ladders are harder to find in good condition.
Benbros No.9 Fire Engine
(1) DARK-RED body & base silver trim umw type 1 ladder TV3 box
(2) RED body & base silver trim umw type 2 ladder MM box
(3) RED body & base silver trim umw type 3 ladder MM box
(4) RED body & base silver trim small bpw type 4 ladder MM box
(Type 1) UNPAINTED metal ladder with open rungs large YELLOW painted metal wheels
(Type 2) METALLIC BROWN ladder with open rungs large METALLIC BROWN wheels
(Type 3) METALLIC BROWN ladder with closed rungs large METALLIC BROWN wheels
(Type 4) METALLIC BROWN ladder with closed rungs small METALLIC BROWN wheels
Estimated Price Guide
(MINT models in MINT boxes)
All variations £15-30