Heritage100

Thunderbirds FAB1

Front three quarter view of FAB 1

modified by Brains to have a maximum speed in excess of 200mph, be fully functional as a hydrofoil and have machine guns, lasers and missiles.

The first model cars were slush cast plaster or iron toys made in the early decades of the 1900s. Tin and pressed steel cars, trucks, and military vehicles followed in the 1930s and 1940s. Casting vehicles in various alloys, usually zinc also started during these decades and became more common after World War II.

Britain was home to some of the most successful model car producers in the 1950s and 1960s, such as Corgi Toys, Dinky Toys, Matchbox, and Spot-On models.

Early toys were simple die-cast cars in 1:64 or 1:43 scale; as production materials and processes developed, so did the complexity and detail of model cars. Cars began to incorporate plastic windows, interiors, separate wheel/tyre assemblies, working suspensions and opening or moving parts.

From the 1960s model cars and toys began to be produced linked to popular television programmes, such as Thunderbirds.

In the Thunderbirds series Lady Penelope owned a pink six-wheeled Rolls-Royce called FAB1 that had been modified by Brains to have a maximum speed in excess of 200mph, be fully functional as a hydrofoil and have machine guns, lasers and missiles.

This FAB1 model car is part of a commemorative set commissioned by BBC Radio Times Ltd that was produced in 1992.

Quick Facts

  • Date made 1992
  • Place made China
  • Made of metal and plastic
  • Weight 56.7g (2oz)
  • Driven by Parker
  • Made by Matchbox on behalf of BBC Radio Times
  • Dimensions Height 25mm, Length 77mm, Width 31mm

Facts

  • Early toys are often linked to historical events, such as the military vehicles of the World Wars and were rather expensive tinplate vehicles, or wooden toys.
  • Emma Varty (Front of House Supervisor) chose the model car as her favourite object in the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Emma has been a member of staff at Beaulieu since 2007. Watch the video in the gallery to see Emma talk about why she chose it as her favourite museum object.

Did you know?

The earliest motoring themed toys date back to the Victorian era, more commonly from about 1895 onwards as motoring became more popular.

Gallery

Thunderbirds set
FAB 1 side view
Thunderbirds FAB1

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