Benbros Qualitoys

Solo Motorcycles

Benbros issued two Series of Solo Motorcycles, the first with fixed forks and the second with moveable forks and other changes. Both types were issued in different colours but later the second type was switched to chrome-plated bikes which were used for all four versions.

 

Metal riders were used for both the coloured models and chrome-plated ones but at the end of production Benbros replaced these with plastic riders in various colours.

 

Much of the detail of both Series of motorcycles remained the same. They were immediately identifiable by having 'TTC 147' cast on the front and rear number-plates and 'Made in England' cast underneath but none carried the Benbros name. All versions had unpainted spoked wheels which were fitted with black rubber tyres. 

 

The Series 1 bikes had the front forks fixed to the fuel tank and the mudguard sealed to the frame in the casting which prevented the forks from turning. They also had seperately cast handlebars which were unpainted. These slotted onto the bike behind the headlight.

 

On the Series 2 bikes the front of the fuel tank was adapted to accomodate a hinge and there was a longer rake to the steering forks creating a clear gap between the mudguard and the bike. The handlebars were still a separate casting but now were painted with the model. In addition, the engine was given a hole at the front to accomodate the sidecar linkage pin for the AA and RAC Motorcycle Patrol versions.

 

The Solo Motorcycle models each had their own colours, some several, and they were finished with silver trim on engine parts, exhaust, fuel tank, number plates, headlight, and also later the handlebars. The most common colour found for the motorcycles is red so it seems that Benbros used this as a replacement when specialist colours were in short supply..

Later Benbros gave up painting the motorcycles in different colours and issued all versions in a shiny chrome finish without trim.

 

There were three castings of the metal rider and a final one in plastic. The first was used only for the blue Telegraph Boy and is quite scarce. This was soon replaced by the main metal rider coloured blue or red with a yellow scarf for the Rally Rider, olive-green with green scarf for the Dispatch Rider, and most commonly, red with a green scarf. The third rider was similar but with a peaked helmet and was probably the only one used for the Police Patrol. Finally, when Benbros switched to using plastic for the riders, the peaked helmet design was the style they copied.

 

Each of the four Solo Motorcycles had its own illustrated Qualitoy box. They were uniform in size but had different pictures and wording although the end-flaps always had 'Qualitoy Benbros' on them. The Series 2 models had similar boxes but with a small alteration to the wording on the sides where 'Front Wheel Steering' was added alongside 'Made in England'.

 

Although they must have been popular, especially the Rally Rider which had the most variations, the coloured Solo Motorcycles can be hard to find in good condition and the boxes are becoming very scarce. The plastic riders are prone to ageing and are rare.

Nicholas Martin Diecast
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