• Aston Martin: DB2, 3 & 4

    Posted by TAFF OXFORD

    In 1947 David Brown, a sports car enthusiast, rescued Aston Martin and Lagonda from collapse by taking over both concerns. The Aston Martin sports cars and grand tourers which followed bore his DB initials.

     

    In 1955 the DB2/4 Mark II was introduced. 199 were built; only 34 of them the new notchback hardtop, and 16 were dropheads. The Mk II had little tailfins on more angular rear wings, Hillman Minx tail lights, more chrome trim and the option of a large-valve 165bhp engine. Three Mark II Spyders were built by Touring in Italy, who later helped to produce the Superleggera body of the DB4. Allemano built a coupe body on a Mk II chassis, and Wacky Arnolt of Chicago ordered eight chassis to be bodied by Bertone, the last time an Aston Martin chassis was sold for special bodies. 

     

    In 1957 the DB Mark III replaced the DB2/4 Mark II. This car had a new grille design resembling the DB3S. The four seater hatchback body from the previous cars continued, as did the drophead coupe (84 sold), and five fixed head coupes were built as well. It had a new dashboard design, and options of disc brakes, overdrive or automatic transmission (only five buyers chose the latter). The tail fins were altered to fit Humber Hawk rear lights. The 162bhp DBA engine had twin SU carburettors, but more power was available from the 180bhp DBD with triple SUs or the 195bhp DBB with twin three-choke Webers. 551 Mark IIIs were built in all. 

     

    At the 1958 London Motor Show  a truly great Aston Martin was launched, the DB4, with a new 3.7 litre engine designed by Tadek Marek. It had exciting new Italian styling with superleggera (tube-frame) body design by Touring of Milan, and an egg-crate grille, over a Harold Beach designed chassis. The DB4 was the first car built at the new Newport Pagnell factory, under the control of John Wyer as general manager. Frank Feeley had left the company, as he was unwilling to move to Buckinghamshire. The new engine produced 240bhp when fitted with twin SU carburettors. Suspension was independent at the front, with a live rear axle on coil springs with Watt linkage and rack and pinion steering. The DB4 went through a number of Series, from II to V. The Series IV, from 1961 onwards,  had distinctive bars in the grille, and it was also offered in 266bhp DB4 Vantage form with three SU carburettors. 136 saloons and 32 convertibles were sold with the Vantage engine. From September 1962 the Series V had a longer, taller body, giving more interior space, but smaller wheels reduced the overall height. The new front end treatment on the Series V continued over to the DB5. The DB4 Series V was also available in Vantage form. 70 convertibles were sold in all, and a few factory hardtops were also built. A total of 1,110 DB4s of all types were made. 

     

    From 1959 the lightweight high performance 302bhp DB4 GT was added, with enclosed headights and a shorter wheelbase. Very few cars had rear seats fitted in the reduced space. The 3.7 litre or 3.8 litre engine had two spark plugs per cylinder, two distributors and three twin-choke Weber carburettors. Its top speed was 153mph. 75 DB4 GTs were built, plus one Bertone Jet, and 20 of the the DB4 GT Zagato. That DB4 GT Zagato was first seen at the 1960 London Motor Show, its sleek low body with short overhangs styled by Ercole Spada at Zagato. Its 314bhp engine gave a top speed of 154 mph. Production of 25 cars was planned, but only 20 were sold, making this car one of the rarest Aston Martins. The DB4 GT Zagato came third on it first race at Goodwood in 1961, driven by Stirling Moss. Two Zagatos, registered 1 VEV and 2 VEV entered Le Mans in 1961, but both cars retired, though they had minor successes later in the year. Zagatos participated again at Le Mans in 1962 and 1963. 

     

    In 1991, four unused chassis numbers were applied to DB4 chassis which were bodied by Zagato as Works Approved Replicas called the Sanction II cars. Zagato had two more bodyshells, so in 1992 permission was granted to make two more Sanction III Zagato Coupes, completed in 2000. A number of other Zagato replicas have been privately built. 

     

    Aston Martin Review and Scale Models Available From Here

    Extract from Auto Review 057 Aston Martin - available from Oxford Diecast at £5.95 plus postage

     

  • Vauxhall: The PA Velox and the FB Victor

    Posted by TAFF OXFORD

    I have been out on the road a lot in the last few weeks, and saw a Cresta parked up in a service station, several people were looking it over. So I thought as I have 20 minutes free I would post this little update, with the help of Rods' Vauxhall Album from the Auto Review series, 

    The Vauxhall PA Velox

    New for 1957 were the six-cylinder PA Velox and Cresta. The body stying was again US-influenced, with various Buick and Pontiac features scaled down into a harmonious design, influenced by Gerald Palmer, who had scaled down US designs for his previous car projects. Its wrap-around glass, long tail fins and abundant chrome produced an iconic design of its period. The large rear window was made in three sections, later replaced by one piece of curved glass. Proponents of more staid British cars disliked the PA’s candy colours, optional whitewall tyres and a grinning chrome grille. But others saw it as an exciting flash of American style in dull, grey 1950s Britain. The PA was not ‘smart’; your solicitor would never be seen in one, but it was flashy; pop singers loved them (Don Lang of ‘Frantic Five’ fame was an early owner). The PA had the 2262cc ohv engine and three speed gearbox from the E-type, plus independent coil spring front suspension and an anti-roll bar with a rigid axle and semi elliptic leaf springs at the rear. It had bench seats, fitted carpet and a heater as standard. Options included a radio, exterior mirrors, fog lamps, a reversing light, and two tone paintwork. The Cresta was better equipped than the Velox, and had two tone paintwork, but was otherwise mechanically similar. The PA could reach almost 90mph, at 25mpg (not seen as poor consumption at the time) and cost over £1000 including tax. In February 1959 the two millionth Vauxhall was made, a PA Cresta.  The PA was facelifted in October 1959 with an enlarged grille (it looked as if the original grille had been turned upside down), a single curved rear window replaced the three piece design, and overdrive was an optional extra. In 1960 the engine grew to 2.6 litres, and Hydramatic automatic transmission was offered as an option. Higher performance was now demanded, and the PA could reach almost 95mph with its new engine. Every Luton-built PA was a four door saloon, but from 1960 Friary of Basingstoke offered a factory-approved conversion to produce the PA estate car. There were optional separate front seats and disc brakes from 1961, and the PA stayed in production until 1962. The PA helped Vauxhall reach two million sales. 

     Above Image: PA Velox in Red

    Above Image: PA Velox Late Type Black DT

     Above Image: Velox-Cresta PA pink

    Extract from Auto Review 049 Vauxhall Album - available from Oxford Diecast at £5.95 plus postage. 32 packed pages.

     Vauxhall Auto Review and Scale Models Available Here

    The Vauxhall FB Victor

    In 1961 the FB Victor was announced, with smoother and more balanced lines than its F-type predecessor. It came as the standard version, Super, De Luxe or estate car, each with the 56bhp 1508cc four cylinder engine. The faster VX Four-Ninety (soon shortened to VX4/90) had twin carbs and a higher compression ratio, increasing the power output by 44%. It also had disc brakes to all four wheels, optional on other Victors. In 1963, the engine grew to 1594cc, giving 69bhp, the VX 4/90 version now capable of over 90mph. A four speed all-synchro box with floor change was now fitted. Many Vauxhall fans think this was the best-balanced of the five Victor designs, and it sold well in the UK and overseas, though US sales were killed by GM’s new home-grown compacts. By 1964 328,642 FBs had been sold. 

    Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB De Luxe 2 tone

    Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB Estate

    Above Image: Vauxhall Victor FB De Luxe

    Extract from Auto Review 049 Vauxhall Album - available from Oxford Diecast at £5.95 plus postage

  • Release 3 2017

    Posted by TAFF OXFORD
    Product Description Release Retail Bodyshape Scale Barcode Quantity Picture
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    76LRL003 Land Rover 1/2 Ton Lightweight RAF - Red Arrows Q1/2018 £5.75 Land Rover Lightweight 1:76 5055530118508    
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    76COM007 Commer Commando Skyways Q1/2018 £16.45 Commer Commando 1:76 5055530122994  
     
    76MW6003 Bristol MW6G Eastern Counties NBC   £18.75 Bristol MW6G 1:76 5055530129795    
    76OWB013 Bedford OWB Belfast Q1/2018 £15.45 Bedford OWB 1:76 5055530123618    
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    76SB002 Saro Bus Maidstone & District Q1/2018 £18.75 Saro Bus 1:76 5055530123724    
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    87BC55004 Buick Century 1955 New York Taxi Q1/2018 £5.95 Buick Century 1955 1:87 5055530124080  
     
    87BS36004 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 Balmoral Green Q1/2018 £5.95 Buick Special Convertible Coupe 1936 1:87 5055530124127    
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    87CSD61002 Cadillac Sedan DeVille 1961 Aspen Gold Metallic Q1/2018 £5.95 Cadillac Sedan DeVille 1961 1:87 5055530124189    
    87OR50002 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950 Crest Blue/Black Q1/2018 £5.95 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Coupe 1950 1:87 5055530124202    
    87PB59002 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe 1959 Sunrise Coral Q1/2018 £5.95 Pontiac Bonneville 1959 1:87 5055530124226    
    ALL Oxford Specials                
    76SET58 RAF Centenary Set Q1/2018 £49.95 Sets ALL 5055530121850  
     
  • Triang - Charles Shave

    Posted by TAFF OXFORD
    Amazingly I spoke to Charles last week. He is well and despite what many said he is alive - he was unwell, which is why for three years he was not contactable. When I spoke to him he was in China, he was preparing to work. So our search for him has finished - we look forward to an exciting future......
  • A New South Wales

    Posted by TAFF OXFORD

     

     

    I have been asked by many ,what this post is about.

    It's about my past. I have found my roots and where I came from - I wasn't really sure until quite recently. On the one side of my family I knew a lot, as I spent a lot of early years with my grandfather (maternal side), he was a great man and was awarded the MBE, but I never knew my own father, as he died when I was very young - I have no memories of him, which has always been difficult. Recently finding out about my fathers history and where he came from in the Rhondda Valley has created a lot of energy in me. Finding a history in the coal industry - Colliery Firemen, Engine Drivers, Coal Weighers and Colliery Cashiers -  shouldn't have surprised me. Everyday I discover more about the hardship of those times, I reflect on the inequality that exists in our lives today.

    I have a distant memory of a Davy Lamp with 1909 engraved upon, it celebrated the birth of my father, a tradition in those times. I draw strength from this memory.

    It has created Hwyl in my heart - I fear nothing for the times ahead.

    The Past Is Hidden From Me Now

    His past is hidden from me now.
    But be quite clear I make this vow.
    To find the truth of why he went.
    Those buried thoughts that he has sent.

     

    The steam, the dust, which filled his eyes.
    The coal, the sweat, that made him cry.
    The heat, the smoke, which made him die.
    Oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why...

     

    Who is this man that I can't see.
    Who is this man who lives in me?
    His life was short and didn't last.
    An engine driver from the past.

     

    How did he look - was he strong.
    Did he die, or am I wrong?
    The truth is there for me to find.
    And so this story will unwind.

     

    His orphan son, who fathered me.
    The orphan son I didn't see.
    The past unknown for far too long
    So now I'll try to right that wrong

     

    I bare my soul to all of you.
    For all these things that I will do.
    To bring to you these things in me.
    From both these men I'll never see.

     

    taff signature

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