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Pre-war Dinky 35b racing cars.

Photo of 13 pre-war Dinky 35B toy cars
More cars together
Pre-war racing cars photo
Side view of the silver Dinky Racer
The other side
Shown with a pen for scale
Base of the Dinky toy
Base of the other cars showing the construction
Copy of the Dinky car

A closer look at these pre-war diecast toys.

There has been plenty of information published regarding post-war Dinky toy racing cars, and several of them feature on this site. Examples of the larger diecast toys that were produced either side of WW2 turn up reasonably often, for instance the single-seater Mercedes GP cars, and the Auto Union land speed record cars. There seems to be less information around on these tiny little toys though, reference number 35b, which first broke cover in 1936, and are very reminiscent of the types of car seen in action at Brooklands during the '20s and '30s - some refer to the MG R-Type as being the inspiration.

I collected these over a number of years at toy fairs, although I'm not sure that all of them were actually produced by Dinky. Those shown on the front row were, while those on row two are un-marked, and of a lot heavier build quality it has to be said. While those on the front row feature delicate bodywork, cast quite thinly, those to the rear are much heavier and, despite also being of the pre-war era, have stood the test of time much better. Unusually, a number of those stamped with the manufacturer's name underneath vary slightly in overall dimension.

Some of the originals are showing worrying signs of cracking, not uncommon with older diecast models made from low-grade metals, while the others are in great condition for their age. Were the latter also produced by Dinky, using the same moulds, but simply left un-marked? Or did another company purchase the moulds and produce their own versions, perhaps when Dinky moved on to making the larger Mercedes, Auto Union and other racing toys?

"Racer" and "Midget Racer"
Toy reference 35b was simply titled "Racer" by the factory. So far I've only found the following nuggets of information: The first cars of 1936-1939 could be purchased with a red body, silver grille, no driver, and either black or white wheels, and were 61mm in length. In 1939/1940 the car (now measuring 59mm) could be found with a silver body, brown driver, red grille, with solid black rubber wheels. Other colour schemes were probably offered, as I've examples of red, silver, and light blue racer. Between 1954 and 1957 the range was titled "Midget Racer", code number 200, measuring 57mm in length. Various colours were produced, and were distributed in plain trade boxes of six to retailers, for sale individually.

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