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.
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).
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…