Third of the models which Benbros created based on the Caterpillar Tractor was the Excavator. Like the others it was a chunky toy and the shovel size gave it a useful amount of play value.
To adapt the tractor to being an Excavator, Benbros again used support arms fixed to the axles on the outside of the wheels but unlike the Bulldozer there was a little less decorative 'ironmongery'. The front wheels held the twin arms to which the shovel was fixed and the rear axle on the right side secured the lifting lever which linked onto the support arm on that side.
To distinguish it from other Caterpillar Tractors, the Excavator was first coloured bright orange with a green shovel, yellow outer rollers and dark-green tracks. The separate spindly driver was usually green.
Later, Benbros unified the colours of this group of models with metallic blue paint on the tractor, yellow rollers, and red attachments and support arms. Silver (or sometimes gold) trim was added to parts of the engine and sometimes the grille. For these metallic painted variations, Benbros changed the thin driver and instead used the figure from the earlier Ferguson Tractor.
Most of the Excavator models included a Lifting Arm mechanism attached to the right side of the shovel frame and fitted to both axles which were lengthened to accomodate it. This system did not give much lift to the shovel but it was sufficient to increase the play value.
Benbros also issued versions (probably at the end of the model's life) without the Lifting Arm and with normal length axles. These variations seem to have been fitted with green tracks and came with a green driver.
The Excavator box was a traditional end-flap one with two brightly coloured illustrations on alternate sides and 'Excavator' in a little panel at the top of each picture. On the red end-flaps, the 'Benbros Qualitoy' emblem was printed.
Despite being a good working toy, the Excavator is quite hard to find especially in nice condition. The box is rare.
Benbros Qualitoys Excavator
(1) ORANGE GREEN shovel Lifting arm YELLOW rollers DARK-GREEN tracks GREEN driver
(2) METALLIC BLUE RED shovel Lifting arm YELLOW rollers DARK-GREEN tracks RED driver
(3) METALLIC BLUE RED shovel No Lift Arm YELLOW rollers GREEN tracks GREEN driver