Today’s vehicle is practical, but it is pretty crazy to modern eyes. This is Lesney Matchbox 10b, the Mechanical Horse and Trailer. It’s not a figural horse robot that might be made by an odd lab in Japan, but a small three wheeled tractor with detachable trailer. This casting entered the range in 1957, and it’s not the kind of thing you see on the road these days:
To be specific, this is a model of a Scammell Scarab, produced by the venerable commercial vehicle company. The casting is not marked as such possibly due to licensing etc, but the design is obvious. This type of vehicle was created for use in rail yards/stations and in low speed urban environments where horses were still used for some time after motorized transport became the norm:
This particular example, with metal wheels and a pristine earlier B box, was likely produced in 1957 or early 1958. The trailer is detachable, and the casting has plenty of detail for something of its age, price point, and market position. This little truck definitely has an unusual look:
This casting replaced Lesney Matchbox 10a, a smaller Mechanical Horse. I also have one of these, pictured alongside the featured model. 10a is quite small, maybe close to HO scale, and entered the range in 1955. One can see the relative crudity of box printing at that time - kind of odd to think of a 60 year old Matchbox car:
And a couple 1:1 examples from wikipedia and flickriver:
More to come tomorrow!