225 Sunderland Dropside Wagon
Model without silver trim
Model with silver trim (photo Gary Galvin)
Model without silver trim
Benbros made several models based on the ex-Timpo AEC cab & chassis and called this version 225 Sunderland Wagon, but a better description would have been AEC Dropside Lorry.
The 'Sunderland' name was not an AEC one but derived from the Timpo model which promoted the Vaux Brewery based in the town of Sunderland. Benbros left the name on the sides of the cab but added 'Benbros', 'Qualitoy', and 'Made in England' underneath the chassis when they removed the Timpo name.
The 'Sunderland' models had the cab and chassis as one casting with a small unmarked base rivetted under the cab to help provide strength and to hold the front axle. Benbros did not use the original Timpo body casting but created a new multi-model flat-bed for the AEC range. For the dropside model, two long side sections and an opening tailgate were added.
The body fitted into the back of the cab with a bullet-shaped tab and was rivetted onto the chassis at the rear of the model. At the rear the opening tailgate hinged with a clip-fit system at the bottom corners with two little tabs on each of the top corners which fitted into slots on the side sections. To open the tailgate, it could be lifted and swung down, and closed by reversing the process but oddly, when shut, there remained a little gap between the tailgate and the flat-bed floor.
No.225 Sunderland Wagon was issued by Benbros in several bright colours. The most common variation had a red cab & chassis with a mid-blue dropside body and red painted metal wheels. This was followed by a variation with red cab and a pale-green body with red pmw, and finally an all-over metallic green model with green or dark-green wheels.
In addition, there was a red & blue model with unpainted metal wheels with large hub-covers more commonly used on Zebra Toys, and also models issued with red plastic wheels. On most variations silver trim was added to the front grille, headlights and number plate.
The Sunderland Wagon shared a multi-model yellow box with other models numbered 220-228 with illustrations on all four sides. See Qualitoys 226 Petrol Tanker for pictures. The Benbros emblem was on both end-flaps and the model inside was identified by having number and/or name stamped or written on a panel at one end. The boxes provide the only evidence of numbers for the AEC models.
The Sunderland Dropside Wagon is quite a scarce model and boxed mint examples are rare.
Variation 2: Red cab/chassis, pale green body, red pw
Benbros Qualitoys 225 Sunderland Wagon
1) RED cab/chassis MID-BLUE body RED pmw/pw/umw Multi-model box
2) RED cab/chassis PALE-GREEN body RED pmw/pw Multi-model box
3) METALLIC-GREEN cab/chassis METALLIC-GREEN body GREEN pmw Multi-model box
Tailgate closed & open
Variation 1: Red cab/chassis, mid-blue body, red pw
Variation 1 with unpainted metal wheels and large hub-covers