Britains Lilliput World Vehicle Series
LV/601 Open Sports Car
Issued ?1937 and 1950-1960 'OO/HO'scale (1:76) Length: 58mm
There is some uncertainty over when Britains first introduced the Sports Car but it seems to have dated from before the Lilliput range was formulated, and possibly as early as 1937. The styling and design of the car reflects an early date even if the disruption caused by World War 2 meant that full production was curtailed.
Whatever its origins, with the increasing popularity of 'OO/HO' railways, models in 1:76 scale were in demand and Britains later licenced the design to be manufactured by a firm in Middlesborough, England, called W.Horton (Toys & Games) Ltd.
The Sports Car is not thought to have been based on any real vehicle. It was constructed in three parts, the chassis and base section, the body unit, and the front grille and bumper. Two types of grille fitting were used, one with a retaining tab on the bonnet, the other without. The Sports Car was painted in a wide variety of single or twin colours with further variations given to the seats. The grille & bumper were always silver, as also were the little windscreens.
Two versions of the underside of the chassis are known, one with a covered rear axle and prominent solder at the front (presumably to secure the grille & bumper in place), the other with an open rear axle and no front solder. The underside was always unpainted and carried 'W.Britain' and 'England' on side panels, although rare examples exist with blank panels.
Four types of wheels were used for the Sports Car: unpainted lead similar to those on the pre-WW2 Gas Cylinder Lorry; solid silver plastic inscribed 'Britains Ltd England'; solid grey plastic with rather better detail; and finally red plastic wheels or hubs with black tyres. Some grey plastic wheels were inscribed like the silver ones but these are scarce. The tyres of the red hubs had 'Britains Ltd' and 'England' on both sides.
Early models were most likely sold from multi-model trade packs but when the Lilliput range began in around 1950, the Open Sports Car had its own end-flap 'Lilliput World' box. Beige in colour, these were printed with red text and included a line illustration of the model on each face. Further details were squeezed onto the end-flaps including the only reference to the model number.
Later, after 1956 when Britains upgraded the Lilliput Vehicle Series, LV/601 had a new-style open fronted box with a pictorial insert to which the model was secured. The name and number of the model was printed on one end-flap.
The Open Sports Car was produced for many years and was included in two of the Lilliput Sets (LV/SA Vehicle Set and L/11 Railway Display Set) so it is not hard to find but with such a variety of colour combinations it is an interesting model to collect. The end-flap boxes are harder to obtain and have often become brittle with age. The rarest box is the open fronted one.
Britains LV/601 Open Sports Car
Silver trim was applied to the grille, bumper and windscreens on all variations
Single Colours (body + chassis)
Twin Colours (body/chassis)
Unpainted metal (lead)
Silver solid plastic
Grey solid plastic
Red plastic hubs with black tyres