“Come one, come all. The greatest show alive is about to begin.”
First I must confess that the tagline was made up but... you never know. Also Chipperfield’s Circus was an actual circus started by James Chipperfield with its performing animals at the Thames Frost Fair of 1684.
So after showing off some of my vintage Dinky models, here’s a vintage Corgi Major Toys issued Chipperfield’s Circus Crane Truck (1121). This was the first of the highly successful and much sought after range of Chipperfield’s Circus vehicles produced during the 1960s, and was issued in October 1960. It was based on a large International truck fitted with a metal crane, hook and pulley, and painted in the traditional Chipperfield’s Circus livery of red and blue, as were all the models in the range.
Before Hot Wheels came into the scene with their springy suspension, Corgi has a name for their version called Glidamatic spring suspension. This, with their slogan ‘The one with Windows’ was probably their way of competing with the Dinky brand which did not include suspension nor clear plastic window on their early released models at that time.
Now let’s look at what makes this attractive to kids and possibly adults as well.
First, the main attraction is the crane with the hook attached to a cord.
At the back is a sort of locking mechanism for the adjustable jib as the crane is move up.
The crane can be adjusted to 4 different heights.
The hook can be lowered and raised by cranking the winding mechanism at the back.
This crane is probably used to lift animal cages that are transported to the circus.
The letters indicated beside the truck are raised and painted in blue. The model is mostly made of die cast so it is slightly heavy. This model was made until 1969 and is also included as part of a gift set 23 that includes animals, cages, trailers and other vehicles.
Overall this has great play value and thankfully all features are working on this model. Too bad this type of toy may probably never be reproduced again due to cost which will discourage parents from buying one. Aah this is probably where the saying ‘The good old days’ is really true.
Here is a picture of the circus lorries of the 50's and 60's.