The Tale Of The Headless Transporter
“T’was a dark and stormy night …”. Oh ok there’s nothing really ghostly about this model, it’s just a little bit of a strange one that’s all.
The 984 Car Transporter is one of the most sought after Dinky models, and I’ve had some in here minus their rear ramps or even their top deck and sides before now, but as the cab and chassis are a one piece item I’ve never before had one like this in the picture above. Somehow, and for a reason that completely failed me, it had been very neatly beheaded and arrived to me minus it’s entire front cab and wheels.
The chances of finding a replacement 984 cab on it’s own were pretty much non-existent, so first task was to find something else that could realistically be used. Wanting to keep it an all Dinky affair, the only alternative I could find in my ‘to do’ box, was this rather beaten up AEC Articulated lorry tractor unit. Two models in need of repair were about to become one.
First they needed to be stripped, and any bits not wanted cut away. Not as easy as it sounds, as for various reasons this was going to be an awkward one to combine. Part of the transporter top ramp winding gear, is a slider that runs under the chassis and into the cab. Obviously the AEC had no provision for this, and so I would have to adapt it. This also mean’t that it would reduce the amount of metal available to join the cab to the chassis.
This picture shows the first matching up of the two pieces after the cutting away had been done. The metal punch is there just to hold the cab in place. As can be seen even at this stage, they do look like a good match, size wise at least.
Here we are a few days later, and that difficult join has been accomplished. As can be seen from the pictures below, a space down the centre of the join had to be left for the top ramp sliding arm. A hole also had to be drilled into the cab chassis to allow the arm to run into it. The strength of the join therefor had to be either side of that central space, and this was accomplished by two small flat steel brackets, initially held in place by resin and then covered with steel putty.
We are a few weeks on into the restoration now, and as you can see, with fresh paint and some careful hand detailing, and a new reproduction windscreen, she is starting to look the part. Next to the model is a complete origional 984 Transporter that is awaiting restoration. It makes an interesting comparison I think between the two.
An interesting comparison underneath as well, and the sliding arm is put back in place and moves freely. With the front end painted in satin black to mimic the origional, even though it does not have a seperate base plate any more, I think it has worked very well.
The completed model ready to display. The trailer was restored in the same way and at the same time as the lorry. This was one of my favourite restorations. Both models were pretty much scrap at the start, but with a bit of time and thought they are once again a very displayable item. I would like to do a ‘continental’ version at some stage, so can’t wait for my next ‘headless transporter’ to come along …