News : Kimberley makes it as a model…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Craig Cheetham

Most die-cast models are of popular subjects – cars that the model makers know will appeal to such a broad cross section of people that they’ll get back their tooling investment on the day that the first Christmas shoppers start panic buying for that person in the family they know likes cars.

I know that from the sheer number of Ferraris or Porsches which appeared under the tree every year in my younger years – whereas, in reality, I’d have got much more excited about this little beauty…

Hats off, then, to Australian model maker Trax for creating a scale replica of the Austin Kimberley.

Trax Austin Kimberley. Photo: Topgear.com.au
Trax Austin Kimberley. Photo: Topgear.com.au

The Kimberley was Leyland Australia’s fattened up Landcrab. Launched in 1970 to replace the Austin 1800 and take on the bigger six-cylinder engined cars being offered by Ford and Holden, the Kimberley retained the 1800’s centre section and doors (as used on the UK Landcrab and Austin Maxi, among others), but came with a new six-cylinder version of the E-Series engine, in a transverse front-wheel-drive formation – the first transverse six-pot FWD in the world, pre-dating Austin and Morris’s own 2200s by two years.

The twin-carb Kimberley, with its quad headlamps and Rostyle wheels, was the flagship of the range – a more basic single-carb model, identifiable by its single, round headlamps, was also offered, called the Tasman. Both were sold in New Zealand, too, but under the Morris brand, making them among the rarest cars ever produced by Leyland.

The Trax Kimberley has so far only been shown in pre-production form, but is available to order from the Trax website priced at AU$84.95 (about £41 at the current exchange rate).

The Trax P76, in this case finished in discreet and cheesily named 'Home on th'Orange'. Other colours include Hairy Lime (as you probably imagine it) and 'Oh Fudge'.
The Trax P76, in this case finished in discreet and cheesily-named ‘Home on th’Orange’. Other colours include Hairy Lime (as you probably imagine it) and ‘Oh Fudge’

It isn’t the first of Trax’s models to feature an ‘unpopular’ Leyland subject, either – the company has also produced numerous versions of the ill-fated P76, including a Force7 Coupe and Targa Florio versions in multiple colours. I own a selection, and can confirm they’re excellent. Trax’s parent company, Top Gear, no longer has any P76s in stock, but they do appear frequently in online models shops (priced at around £25-35) and are well worth hunting down…

 

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

9 Comments

  1. Nice little models of fairly unknown cars in the UK. I still have my collection of Corgis & Dinkys including a Rover 2000TC P6 with golden jack removeable wheels. Plus an Austin 1800 & a few Mini’s, Hillman Imps etc etc.

    Thanks for letting us see these Craig.

  2. The Tasman & Kimberley were a missed opportunity for BLMC in the UK since they came under fire for not keeping teh Landcrab sufficiently up to date.

    The same goes for the Austin Victoria when it comes to ADO16.

  3. Trax have hit on a lucrative export market! Many, many people have expressed their wish that BLMC had foisted Aussie crustacean variants on the British public. Here’s the chance to own one without having to worry about maintaining the beasts. I can only hope that Trax follow this up with an Morris 1500 Nomad, an Austin Freeway and an Austin 1800 Ute! Please, Santa, Please!

  4. The P76 model is great it’s captured it’s looks well. it always amused me the names of the available colours on the car,my favourites were Peel me a grape & Plum Loco. The MG3 has given it’s colours jokey names as well Hello Yellow & Lady Grey for example a change from some of the daft names given to paint colours by other manufacturers

  5. The Kimberley looks very much like the cancelled Maxi 4 door, apart from the grille.

    I’ve no idea how many 4 doors were made, but it was probably in single figures, and I did some work on one of them at Longbridge on 968 or ’69. They wanted some wheel movement measurements made on the stiffer Hydolastic displacers they used on the 4 door and Pressed Steel had all the right stuff for the job, and they sent me to do it. 🙂

    • It hard to imagine that a four door maxi would have failed to sell more than the 5 door, especially in the fairly conservate 60’s. It might not have been a looker but it can hardly have been worse than the maxi anyway and there were certainly plenty of ugly cars that sold well.

      I just don’t understand the rational of only offering the 5 door. It’s as if BL did not want the maxi to sell other than as a niche product

  6. I was wondering if the idea of just selling the Maxi as a hatchback was to compliment the 1800 only available as a saloon.

    Thinking about it a saloon Maxi coming out with the 1750 E series engine would have probably been able to replace the 1800, & rationalise things for BL at the same time.

  7. The Australian Austin Freeway Sedan has now made it as a resin Trax model, in 2 colours. The Station Wagon version is soon to follow and shortly after that, the Morris Major Elite. The Major Elite was the final incarnation of the Morris Major/Austin Lancer/Wolseley 1500 models launched in 1958. It now came with a peppy 1600 engine, fins and 2 tone paint. It was well regarded in it’s day

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