Queen Mary’s Daimler: Oxford Goes Old School in 1:43

Jun 10, 2012 No Comments by


Old toy cars have a feel to them that a majority of the new stuff can’t match. No, it’s true: heft an old Corgi, or palm a chipped-up, decades-old Matchbox car, and you’ll see what we mean.

All is not lost; some makers – especially those centered in England – seem to keep that feel in high regard, and it’s that palpable connection with old-time collectibles that makes the current offerings from the Oxford Automobile Company such a pleasure. This staunchly British firm seemingly refuses to play with lightened castings, advanced prototyping techniques, or – gasp! – photoetched parts on their cars – but that shunning of toy car tech gives this maker’s models a distinctly charming quality that’s hugely appealing.

That’s the takeaway from this latest Oxford, a Hooper-bodied 1928 Daimler “Double-Six” 30 limousine as fitted for Her Majesty, Queen Mary. Delivered in 1:43 scale, it’s fairly heavy, ornate, and hard to miss in a green and black scheme over plastic disc/spoke wheels. Up top, the model wears the Royal Standard – something that other models of this type often miss – and the overall look of the thing is dead on. Upright, tall, and stately, the car’s countenance and reserved blackout trim (only the radiator cap ornament – Brittania sitting atop the globe – is chromed) match the real car’s look and stance.

Inside, the rear section is fitted out with a high-backed pleated seat and acres of floor space; the bulkhead has a couple of gauges and detail painted window cranks for the divider, and up front, the driver’s section sports gauges in the dash, a shift lever and hand brake, and a thickly cast steering wheel. Up above, the roof’s been cast and painted to replicate wood strakes, and there’s door panel detailing all around. No jump seats, by the way. HM liked motoring solo.

More of that old-model vibe comes courtesy of the car’s paint and finish. It’s not liquid smooth, but it’s evenly applied, and the decorations around the windows and coachwork, including the crown decos and pinstriping, are straight, neatly applied tampos. The lensing is clear, and small parts for the door handles and the lights atop the fenders are cast and installed cleanly, and add to the car’s visual appeal. And, for what it’s worth, this little bug scoots rather well, thanks to those skinny wheels and tires, and straight metal axles that run through a nicely cast plastic chassis.

This is the kind of model that drew so many into the collecting hobby all those years ago, and still entertains today. It’s simple, well built, and sturdy. Oxford knows its audience well; there’s also a King George V version of the Daimler Double-Six 30, patterned after the car His Majesty ordered for his own use (now parked in the Sandringham Museum). Given the recent celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, and America’s fascination with The Royals, the timing for this release couldn’t be better. Here’s to hoping that Oxford, known and appreciated everywhere, catches on here, as well.

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About the author

I was always crazy about toy cars and car-themed play sets, but I got hooked on car models when my cousin sent me a pair of built-up AMT kits - a '61 Continental and a '57 Thunderbird. I was six or seven years old when another cousin - Carl - showed me how to build and paint, and by the time I was nine, I had a pretty good collection and a great "spares box" on hand. The original Auto World catalogs were my dream books; my allowance was spent before it was ever earned, and I knew every hobby store and model retailer on Long Island. Then came slot cars, Cox .049-engined Baja Buggies and airplanes, and, ultimately, the real things. I still have some of those old models, and when time allows, I still build or detail scale cars. But it's the ready-to-display replicas and scale racing models that have really had me jazzed for the past fifteen years or so. The "mint" diecasts and the 1:18 American Muscle cars that I cut my serious collecting (and writing) teeth on back then led straight to the current crop of offerings from high-end makers and models in every scale. I also love scale model photography, and shooting, scoring, and producing videos of the models I love. I'm a proud member of the DiecastSpace Diecast Hall of Fame, as well as the Diecast Car Collectors' Club Diecast Scale Model Hall of Fame. I'm also proud to be a part of the Die Cast X Team, and as Editor-in-Chief, I'm looking forward to years of growing the publication and showing new collectors how much fun this hobby can be. And, yeah - I still have that spares box.
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