Budgie 324 Duomatic Tipper Truck
Budgie 308 Pitt Alligator Low Loader
Budgie Diecast Toys A5 Box
Budgie No.210 US Army Personnel Carrier
Budgie No.300 Lewin Sweepmaster
Budgie No.294 Horsebox
Budgie No.262 Racing Motorcyclist
Budgie No.270 Esso Tanker

The Story of Budgie Diecast Toys  

1959-1970

When Budgie Toys was formed in 1959, Sam & Harry Morris, creators of the Morestone Series range and the 'Esso' Petrol Pump Series of miniatures, already had more than a dozen years experience of making and selling diecast toys through the business of Morris & Stone (London) Ltd.. The worldwide appeal of British toys had enabled them not only to build a successful and expanding business but also to see an opportunity for a completely new range of large scale models.

 

Their first attempt, in 1958, had been to create a range of models 'Trucks of the World International Series' based on a collection of international commercial vehicles but, while the models were good, the boxes were not eyecatching.

 

So it was that the Budgie Toys concept was born, good quality diecast toys in bright yellow boxes with an instantly recognisable identity.

 

Several early models were transferred from the Morestone range but new models quickly appeared so that by 1961 there were 37. To start with they were not numbered but in 1960 a system of using even numbers was introduced starting with the Refrigeration Truck No.202.

 

In addition, the miniatures range was expanded with new models now that the 'Esso' Series was being discontinued. These appeared in 'Mobile' and 'Modern' boxes and in yellow Budgie blister-packs.

 

In 1960 also, the Morris brothers moved their main office from Stoke Newington in North London to St Albans but continued production at the R.Smith (Diecastings) Ltd. premises in Hoddesdon. Sales continued to expand but when, in 1961, they were approached by the toy business of S Guiterman expressing an interest in buying Budgie Toys along with Morris & Stone and the R.Smith foundry, Sam & Harry Morris decided to sell.

 

The years under Guiterman ownership were highly productive with many innovative models appearing. The name was changed from 'Budgie Toys' to 'Budgie Models' but in appearance the Budgie range continued to thrive. Miniatures continued to be sold in 'Modern' boxes but now also in blue blister-packs or Toy House packs in the US.

 

Then suddenly on 7 March 1966, the Guiterman toy business collapsed and entered voluntary bankruptcy. With that, the majority of the Budgie toy business ceased although various remnants, especially the Miniatures, later re-emerged under new ownership. 

 

What was left of the business was put up for sale, including a large number of moulds (reportedly 182 in total) of Morestone and Budgie large-scale models but sadly these were destroyed in a fire before they could be sold. Some models, such as the Routemaster bus, did survive and a few more like the Rolls-Royce appeared under various new ownerships but Budgie as a mainstream toymaker had ended.

 

Many of the Budgie Miniatures however did continue because several of the models were made by Modern Products Ltd. and faced with toy orders left outstanding after the Guiterman collapse, they successfully bought the 'Budgie Models' name and continued to sell them, later introducing new models and expanding the range. Finally in 1970 the owners of Modern Products sold the firm but the new owners were not interested in selling diecast toys so production ended. 

Budgie Miniatures No.5 Police Car
Budgie Miniatures No.53 'National' Tanker
Budgie Miniatures No.26 Road Roller
Budgie Miniatures No.7 Mercedes Benz Racing Car
Budgie Minatures No.22a Mobile Crane
Budgie No.202 Refrigeration Truck
Budgie No.312 Super Tip-Master
Budgie No.302 BOAC Cabin Service Lift Truck
Budgie No.214 Salvage Crane
Budgie No.280 Air BP Superfueller
Budgie No.290 Tonibell Ice Cream Van
Budgie No.288 Bulk Flour Tanker
Budgie No.434 Wells Fargo Stage Coach

Nicholas Martin Diecast

Morestone, Budgie, Benbros Vintage Toys

Britains Lilliput Vehicles     Kemlows Sentry Box

Abbreviations used on Nicholas Martin Diecast

   

  • bpw  - black plastic wheels

  • pmw - painted metal wheels

  • pw    - plastic wheels

  • spw  - silver plastic wheels

  • um    - unpainted metal

  • umw - unpainted metal wheels

  • id.     - maker's identification

 

 Most images on model pages will enlarge with a click