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Looking at Chad Valley Fire Vehicles in the Vectis Sale 

The Mike Linham Fire Engine Collection is a fantastic array of vehicles from many of the major manufacturers. If includes several versions form the leading British tinplate toy producer Chad Valley.

With all toy and model makers, the inspiration to manufacture a particular item has to come from somewhere!  As many of the people who were involved in the creation of our classic toys are no longer with us, we can but speculate on what sparked their imagination.

With Chad Valley, the inspiration could have come from the view from the factory windows - the nearby “classic” Fire Station built for the City of Birmingham.  The gleaming fire engines turning out to fires would have been extremely impressive. Chad Valley’s factory was in Harborne, a suburb of Birmingham, located next to the Public Works Depot and the Fire Station.  Today the site houses a very modern high security Police Station and residential properties.

It is thought that Chad Valley produced two engine versions and a fire jeep. Both of the Fire Engine versions will be offered in the sale. 

Both items are “classics” and followed the “trends” in the toy industry at that time.  Pre Second World War “constructor cars” were available from most of the larger makers.  Meccano and Marklin possibly being the more notable.  Chad Valley’s constructor range called “Ubilda” included a simple open fire engine of a classic “Braidwood” body style carrying a wheeled escape ladder in approx 1/32nd  scale.   This item is powered by a simple clockwork motor and was loosely based on either a Leyland or Dennis chassis of the period.  It would have undoubtedly borne some resemblance to the fire engines that operated out of the adjacent Fire Station at the time of manufacture. 

The other fire engine Chad Valley produced was after the Second World War and this was in their diecast range called “Wee-kin” Series.  This was loosely modelled on a Dodge, with the body having a style more associated with the United States of America rather than those seen locally.  The body was designed to fit the standard chassis which was used for various commercials such as tankers, tower wagons, dustbin lorries etc.  This solid toy in approx 1/60th scale, had a ladder which was pivoted at the rear, allowing it to be raised and like its tinplate predecessor had powerful clockwork motor.  The number plate carries the registration ‘CV 1949’ which indicates the date of initial manufacture. 

Both these items are now difficult to find and are sure to arouse interest on Tuesday 20th October when sold. 

To view the full catalogue, click here  THE MIKE LINHAM FIRE ENGINE COLLECTION 

For more information please contact Dave Bowers on +44 (0) 1642 7506160 or email



Chad Valley Ubilda tinplate Fire Engine - scarce clockwork example made up from a nut and bolt kit is red, with tinprinted detail, wheeled escape ladder, clockwork operation in working order driving rear wheels, with key, 10"/25cm long - light age-related wear but overall Excellent, comes in a Good card box with illustrated label to lid.
Estimate: £60 - £80 Sold For: £70
Chad Valley Wee-Kin clockwork Fire Engine - red, gold and silver trim - with original key - overall condition is generally Excellent (couple of small marks around edges) in a Fair to Good (complete) carded box.
Estimate: £80 - £100 Sold For: £140