Benbros Zebra Toys
Lansing Bagnall Fork Lift Truck
In the Zebra Toys range, there were several examples of high quality diecast toymaking and the Fork Lift Truck is among the best. It was a working model based on the Lansing Bagnall Rapide 2000 vehicle which first appeared in 1960.
A number of separate castings were made for this model. The main body was one, the base another, the lift unit two more, and the front forks, the lifting handle, lifting arm, internal mechanism and the metal steering wheel were all additional componants. It was worked by simple levers attached to a side handle on the left of the model; when the handle was pushed down and forward the forks were raised and when reversed they were lowered.
Assembly must have been a delicate task. In order for the forks to move up and down the sliders, they were rivetted to a rear panel onto which the upright lifting lever was fixed using a little crimped axle-pin. This in turn was linked internally to the lifting handle. The separate steering wheel (which did not turn) was added and a brown plastic seat fixed to the top of the body.
When ready, the body and base were secured by a rear tab and two central rivets. On the base 'Zebra Toys Lansing Bagnall Fork Lift' was cast along with a raised panel for the usual ' Made in England'.
Blue 6-bolt plastic wheels of two sizes with black tyres were attached directly through the base. The axles were the round-head rivetted type which Benbros frequently used for plastic wheels.
Lansing Bagnall trucks were usually painted red so the Zebra Toys Fork Lift was similarly coloured with just the lift rails or guides and internal levers being unpainted. Two decals with 'Rapide 2000 Lansing Bagnall' were added to each side of the body and the Lansing Bagnall name was included on both sides of the lift unit.
Finally, the play value of the Fork Lift Truck was enhanced by the addition of an open-topped brown plastic 'crate' which could be placed onto the lifting forks.
The box for the Fork Lift was rather more colourful than the usual Zebra Toys boxes although it still had the trade-mark black & white design and logo. The pictures on both faces depicted a lorry being loaded at a port with a ship in the background. On one end-flap the number '48' was included which is the only reference to a number for this toy.
Both the model and box of the Fork Lift Truck are quite rare. It was a complex toy to make and might have been quite expensive to buy in the early 1960's so despite being a good example of diecast toymaking with good play value, it was possibly not a popular toy.
photo: JK Die-Cast Models
Zebra Toys Fork Lift Truck with original plastic crate
Zebra Toys Fork Lift Truck
RED body, base & forks
'Lansing Bagnall' decals
um lift sliders
BROWN plastic seat
Illustrated Zebra Toys box with '48' on end-flaps
Lever-operated forks in lowered and raised positions