Benbros Zebra Toys
100 (16) Ready-Mixed Concrete Lorry
The first model in the new Zebra Toys range by Benbros was a neat little Concrete Lorry closer in scale to OO/HO than the earlier Qualitoys models. It was based on a Foden truck and although a simple design, was well made with appealing play value.
The cab and chassis were one casting without a base. The chassis had a central opening and side lugs for the frame which supported the barrel. Underneath 'Zebra Toys Made in England' and 'Cement Mixer Truck' were included in the casting with the number '100' at the front. On the right side of the chassis there was a short pole for the spare wheel.
To hold the barrel, Benbros designed a frame which fitted onto the chassis and had a side handle so that it could be tipped back. It was a simple but effective design.
Benbros issued the Cement Mixer in three colour combinations. The first model had a beige cab & chassis with yellow & red 'Cement Mixing Co' decals on each side and was fitted with an orange-red barrel. Silver trim was applied to the front grille (with a gap in the centre), also to the fuel tank and on the front & rear bumpers, and as with all Zebra Toys crystal headlights were added on the front. The wheels, including the spare, were unpainted metal with large hubs and black treaded tyres.
It was not long before the cab colour was changed to red and the drum to beige or pale yellow but the silver trim finish remained the same and the model was still fitted with metal wheels.
The third and last variation saw a switch to yellow plastic wheels and the drum colour changed to a rich yellow. The silver trim was also modified with none put on the rear bumper or fuel tank but more fully applied to the grille.
Numbering of the Zebra Toys was apparently haphazard and because Benbros did not issue catalogues it is not known how they were applied. The Concrete Lorry, as mentioned, had the number '100' cast under the chassis but the black & white striped box carried the number '16' on the orange end-flaps. Both picture faces of the box included the new logo of a running Zebra.
All the Zebra Toys are scarce but the third variation of the Cement Truck is among the easier ones to find. By contrast, the first beige issue (which may have been a pre-production model) is very rare.
photo Vectis Auctions
Variation 1: Beige with orange-red drum & unpainted metal wheels
Variation 2: Red with beige drum and umw
Zebra Toys Ready-Mixed Concrete Lorry
1) BEIGE cab/chassis, ORANGE-RED drum, UNPAINTED metal wheels
2) RED cab/chassis, BEIGE drum, UNPAINTED metal wheels
2) RED cab/chassis, YELLOW drum, YELLOW plastic wheels
photo Mark Woodford
Variation 3: Yellow drum & yellow plastic wheels
Variation 3 showing revised silver trim
Variation 2 (left), Variation 3 (right)
Variation 3 details
photos Mark Woodford