by Dave Weber
Not much information is available about these models. To my knowledge, no one has written specifically about these pure diecast model cars and trucks. I wish to thank Bruce Manson of the Lancaster PA area; a senior diecast collector and model train expert who presently serves as the Editor of the Train Collectors Association Quarterly for his valued input into this article. He has a large collection of these models of which almost all are in mint condition.
Model railroad collectors have been known to be very ingenious in developing new ideas to show their their collections on their platforms. One of these men was Michael Weston from Massachusetts. As a charter member of the 'Knights of the Rusty Road', he decided to reproduce models of some of the early Tootsietoy castings of General Motors and Ford products representative of the mid to late 1920s. These reproductions were assumably obtained by forming rubber molds around the original products. The reproductions were much thicker in body and naturally weighed more with the added lead type metal material that was used for the castings. The castings which some people presently refer to as 'knock-offs' were produced by Weston for his fellow model train enthusiasts to use on their layouts in the early 1980s. The early Tootsie castings had not been produced for about 50 years by the Dowst Brothers when Weston began this enterprise in the early 1980s. His venture lasted for about 3 or 4 years before he passed away later in that decade.
The reproduction quality and detail is very similar when compared to the original castings. As noted above, the biggest noticeable difference is that some of the (PAC) copies are almost twice as heavy as the originals. They were cast with solid molten lead giving the bodies a much more stabile composition. Until I met with Bruce Manson and reviewed his private collection of Tootsies and PACs; I was under the impression that most of Weston's reproductions were cars. This assumption is incorrect: as a large percentage of his products are copies of trucks and fire engines representing Macks, Chevys and Fords of the late 1920s and early 30s. Some of the original Semi tractor trailer Tootsie rigs were also converted into straight one piece chassis by Weston. An early Tower ( ladder truck ) has a hinged tower that folds upwards from the trailer portion of the semi rig of the early 30s.These models were no doubt great enhancements to model railroad layouts half a century ago as I am sure there were not many realistic model makers at that time as I recall. One of the car models was issued as a 5 window 1928 Ford Model A Coupe. Tootsie only produced a 3 window model. The extra 2 windows are situated just to the rear of the side doors. Some people refer to these as 'opera' windows. The newest model confirmed to exist and produced by Weston is the exact copy and earlier mentioned 'knoc-koff' or unlicensed reproduction of the Tootsie 50s Chevy Panel Truck in the 4 inch size. However, in the early 1980s toy and fullsize car manufacturers were not as litigation conscious as they are at present and I am sure a lot more illegal or non-permissive copying went on then the few that may be copied now from time to time. But the thought does occur that maybe the short life span of PAC may have been due to corporate influence from the Tootsietoy producers.
Wieland and Force in their 'Tootsietoy' book of 1982 report the copies were 'slightly heavier'; which I can state from observation to be correct. The # 230 series consisted of the 3 inch models. These copies were noted to have a "separate chassis and a separate grille with headlights attached". The original models were in one piece composition. The wheels were equipped with de-mountable rubber tires. The comment by the above authors that the copies looked more realistic than the originals bears truth. According to Manson, Weston also copied some early Dinky models but not to the magnitude of the above Tootsietoy venture. These PAC reproductions mainly of the Tootsietoy products still appear at some toy shows and at times are offered for sale by a few select diecast dealers. The prices depending on the models range anywhere from a minimum of $20 upwards.