Volume VIII, Number 3

MINIATURE CARS FROM A-Z "S" (PART 2)
by Dave Weber and Christian Falkensteiner, Images by Doug Breithaupt


We have almost completed this series! It appears that we should wrap up this project with about 3 more sections. It has been an interesting and challenging undertaking. We hope you the readers also are getting some value from it!

SPYKER (NL) 1898-1925, 2000-PRESENT

Jacobus and Hendrik-Jan Spijker started building cars in Amsterdam using licenses from Benz of Germany. Early on the company produced some of the most advanced cars of its time, pioneering four-wheel drive and six cylinder engines. During WW I production was switched to airplanes. Concentrating on expensive luxury cars after the war, Spyker was unable to sell sufficient quantities to survive the economically difficult 1920s.

At the turn of the century the Spyker name has been resurrected to stand for a new line of exclusive supercars built in very limited quantities. Small-scale models of early Spykers have been made by Benbros and Charbens, but we are still waiting for a model of a current Spyker to appear.

 

SS (GB) 1931-1940

Swallow Sidecars, founded by William Lyons, manufactured motorcycle sidecars in Blackpool during the 1920s and 1930s. From about 1928, the company also made sports bodies for cars of various brands, which led to the first original car named the SS I, using components from Standard of Coventry. 1935 and 1936 saw the introduction of the SS 90 and SS 100 sports cars. 1936 also saw the first use of the name Jaguar on a new range of sedans. During the war the factory was turned over to aircraft and munitions work. When car production was resumed after the war, the brand name was changed from SS to Jaguar.

In the 1980s Matchbox produced a small-scale model of the SS100. Dinky also did the SS100, which is about the same scale as the Matchbox version,


SS 100 - Dinky

STANDARD (GB) 1903-1963

Reginald W. Maudslay founded the Standard company in Coventry, originally producing a range of rather large four and six cylinder cars. During the 1920s the focus shifted to smaller mass-market cars. In 1944 Standard merged with the Triumph company. The Standard Vanguard introduced in 1948 was the most modern British mass-production car of the time, but subsequently the company failed to maintain its position and lost ground to the bigger British manufacturers. Eventually more emphasis was put on the more popular Triumph brand, and discontinued Standard models were replaced by new cars branded Triumph. In 1961 the company was purchased by the truck manufacturer Leyland, which resulted in it becoming a part of British Leyland in 1968. By that time the Standard brand had already been given up. However, a Standard branch founded in India in 1948 survived until 1988, producing Standard-branded versions of Triumph and Rover cars beside vans and trucks.

A small-scale diecast model of a very early Standard was made by Charbens, while a plastic model of another early Standard could be found in Ferrero's Kinder Surprise eggs. A 1950s Standard Vanguard was one of the few small-scale models made by Mettoy before the introduction of the Corgi brand.

 

STANLEY (US) 1897-1927

The Stanley twin brothers had originally been in the photographic dry plate business in Newton Mass. They ventured into the automobile manufacturing world with the production of their first of many light steam propelled vehicles in 1897. Their products were a success and they also sold manufacturing rights to the Locomobile and Mobile Companies. In 1899, Locomobile even advertised some Stanley vehicles under the name Stanley-Locomobile. A new design for the Stanley Steamer was introduced in 1902 and Locomobile began producing gasoline powered vehicles in 1903. By 1908 the cars had increased in horsepower and were acknowledged to out accelerate competitive gasoline powered cars. They were able to operate for a distance of 50 miles on a full water container. The main problem with steam power was the required wait for the water to heat up. The introduction of the electrical self starter is recognized as a major factor in the subsequent failure of this company and other steam car producers. But Stanley did continue production until the beginning of the Great Depression. At the end, the cars continued to be steam powered, but resembled the competitive gasoline powered cars with the same type body shell design.

A model in 1/87 scale was made by Dyna Mo(dels) many years ago.

 

STERLING (GB) 1987-1991

A side effect of the collapse of the British Leyland group in the early 1980s was its complete retreat from the US market. After the group had been re-organized several times and turned into the Rover group, it decided to re-enter the US market with its then-current Rover 800 model, which had been developed in cooperation with Honda. However, instead of the Rover brand the new name of Sterling was used for this venture. Success of this car in the USA was very limited, and after a while Rover retreated from the US market once again.

The Rover 800 model by Matchbox can be regarded as a model of a US issue Sterling, mainly because only this name is cast on its baseplate.


Sterling - Matchbox

STEYR (A) 1919-1959

The Steyr company, which was named after its location in Upper Austria, originally produced guns and bicycles and diversified into cars and trucks after WW I. While the cars enjoyed some success, the Austrian market was too small for many independent producers to survive, so the company merged with Austro-Daimler and Puch in 1935. The resulting Steyr-Daimler-Puch group then continued to produce cars under the Steyr brand until WW II, but thereafter it was decided to switch to assembling Fiat models instead, which came to be called Steyr-Fiat. From 1953 onward the Steyr 2000 series was produced, which was based on the Fiat 1900 but fitted with Austrian-designed engines. After this had been phased out, the Steyr brand survived only on trucks and farm tractors and in combination with the Fiat and Puch brands. During the 1990s, the truck division was sold to MAN and the farm tractor division to Case International.

The German company ADP produced a white metal H0 scale model of the Steyr 55 from the 1930s.

 

STEYR-PUCH (A) 1957-2000

When the Steyr-Daimler-Puch group developed a new range of small cars during the 1950s, it was decided to market it under the combined brands of Steyr and Puch. Although an original design was conceived first, eventually the cars were based on the Fiat 500, but using their own Austrian-designed engines. In 1959 an off-road vehicle called Haflinger was added, and ten years later the larger Pinzgauer followed. While the smaller vehicles were phased out during the 1970s, the Pinzgauer continued until the car division of Steyr-Daimler-Puch was sold to the Canadian Magna group in 1999. As Magna was not interested in producing complete vehicles under its own brand, Pinzgauer production was transferred to a licensee called Automotive Technik in the UK, which does not officially use the Steyr-Puch name.

While there are no small-scale diecast models of Steyr-Puch cars, H0 scale plastic versions are available from Busch (500) and Roco (Pinzgauer)

 

STUDEBAKER (US) 1902-1966

This firm was located in South Bend Indiana. The Studebaker Brothers began as a blacksmith and wagon building shop in 1852. Although they began Horseless Carriage production just after the turn of the next Century, they continued producing horse drawn vehicles until 1919.

Their first automobile was electric powered which continued in production until 1912. Gasoline powered vehicles were introduced in 1904. For a short time the firm decided to also market cars made specifically for them by other companies. The expensive Garford (1907-1911) was built by that company in Elyria Ohio and the EMF and Flanders were built by Everett-Metzger-Flanders Co from 1909-1912 in Detroit Mich. But by 1913 all cars were again being produced at the South Bend facility. The company became very successful and introduced a less expensive brand called the Erskine in 1927. The Pierce-Arrow firm was purchased in 1928 for a short while, but again became independent in 1933. Another compact car called the Rockne was introduced in 1932 to replace the unsuccessful Erskine. In 1933 the company faced financial difficulties but made a satisfactory recovery the next year . The Post WWII cars designed by Raymond Loewy were very stylish and became quite radical in appearance. In 1950, they introduced the "Tucker-like" bullet nose design. This was followed in 1953 with an even lower but elegant styling design. The company merged with Packard Motor Car Co in 1954, but this attempt to regain solvency did not improve the situation for either former independent. In 1956 the Hawk sports coupe design was introduced and was followed by the compact Lark models in 1959. But by 1964 all production was transferred to Hamilton Ontario Canada and the US plant was closed permanently. Canada had been also assembling this marque since 1912. But this move was not successful and all production ceased in 1966. Only the Avanti, a radically designed 2 door fibreglass sports car survived independently for a little bit longer. The Studebaker firm continued in operation as a producer of the successful STP oil and fuel additives. In 1967 The Studebaker Corp merged into the Studebaker-Worthington Corp. And in 1969 this firm was absorbed by McGraw-Edison Co, a diversified book publisher.

Models of this marque have been fairly scarce until the recent issues by Racing Champions and Johnny Lightning. Other models have been made by Tootsietoys, Hubley, Anguplas (plastic), EKO (plastic), Ferrero (plastic), Matchbox, Corgi Jrs and Hot Wheels.


Studebaker Golden Hawk - Johnny Lightning

STUDEBAKER AVANTI (US) 1963-1964

Although the parent Studebaker firm was hurting financially, they introduced a new fibreglass bodied sports car with modern styling, which was quite radical for that era. Although the parent company ceased production a year later, this car continued to survive independently in South Bend Indiana as the Avant II . Two former dealers had purchased the production rights and equipment.to perform limited production.

Models in small scale have been made by Galoob and Anguplas and EKO (both plastic).


Studebaker Avanti - EKO

STUTZ (US) 1911-1938

The first cars to carry this name were made by the Ideal Motor Car Co in Indianapolis Indiana.

The name was changed to Stutz Motor Car Co in 1913. The most famous model which was first produced in 1914 was the Bearcat Speedster. It was introduced by Harry C Stutz, a former racing expert. It was an open bodied low slung 2 seater roadster. It was designed to compete outright with the already successful Mercer Raceabout car of similar design. In 1919 Stutz left the company to establish another marque H.C.S. By the early 1920s, the sporty open design had been modified and in 1926 the company experienced a big change in management. An emphasis was placed on safety. The cars were sold with the slogan "The Safety Stutz". But in 1927, another Speedster model was introduced as a companion marque. This was the Black Hawk which was later also called the Blackhawk. In 1929 the Bearcat name was revived. This car featured a supercharged power plant. In 1931 the high powered sporty DV32 model was introduced to compete with other high end products at that time. But due to the Great Depression and resulting financial difficulty, the company ceased automobile production in 1934. They continued on by producing a light delivery van under the marque Pak-Age-Car. Production was reportedly taken over by Auburn Central Co by 1938.

Models in small scale include Dyna Mo(del) and a nondescript model by Summer.

 

STUTZ II (US) 1970-1992 (?)

The Stutz Motor Car Co in New York was a revival of the name only of the above marque. The car was equipped with a Pontiac V8 engine and chassis. The design even showed some resemblance to this GM marque. But the bodies were designed by Virgil Exner, formerly of Chrysler Corp. and were hand built in Italy for US sales. Later body styles were fitted to other chassis from GM. This limited production company was founded by investment banker James O'Donnell who died in 1997. No documentation could be found to indicate when this firm ceased operations. Documents list cars with 1992 VIN numbers but an additional car from 1995 has been found. It appears that the company started to slowly close down their operations when the founder retired in the late 1980s.

Hot Wheels produced a very realistic model of the Coupe a few years ago.


Stutz Blackhawk - Hot Wheels

SUBARU (JA) 1958-PRESENT

This firm was developed by Fuji Heavy Industries in Tokyo. Fuji was formed in 1953 when the Nakajima Aircraft Co was disbanded follow in WWII.. Fuji first introduced the Rabbit motor scooter in 1956. They then went on to develop their first automobile which was a rear engine minicar. Their first full size car appeared about 10 years later. In 1968 Fuji reportedly became part of Nissan Group. But Subaru has continued to remain separate and produce a superb automobile.

Models in small scale include replicas from Real-X, Tomica and a few other toy manufacturers. Recent successes in rallying have led to some models of Subaru's WRC cars being made available, e.g. from Hot Wheels, Majorette and Norev.


Subaru Legacy Wagon - Tomica

SUNBEAM (GB) 1901-1979

The Sunbeam company of Wolverhampton started out as a bicycle manufacturer in 1887. Its first cars were oddly designed small vehicles with an unusual wheel layout, but soon thereafter more conventional cars were made, and Sunbeam became famous for its successes in motor racing. In 1920 Sunbeam merged with Talbot and Darracq of France to form the STD group, but due to economical difficulties this group split in the early 1930s, and the British branch was taken over by the Rootes group in 1935. The Sunbeam brand then stood for sports-oriented versions of Hillman and Humber cars. After Chrysler took control of the group in the 1960s, the name came to be used for all of its British products on most export markets. When Peugeot took over Chrysler's European operations, it was decided to phase out all of its former brand names and re-introduce the Talbot brand instead.

Not many small-scale models of Sunbeams have been made. The best known diecast version is the Alpine by Husky. More recently another model of this car was made by Johnny Lightning.


Sunbeam Tiger - Johnny Lightning

SUZUKI (JA) 1955-PRESENT

This company began operations as the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. It was founded in 1920 by Michio Suzuki. Prior to WWII , Suzuki began testing experimental 4 wheel vehicles. But they did not reach the production stage before war broke out. This firm is also recognized to be a prominent manufacturer of motorcycles. Their first 4 wheel vehicle was the Suzulight utility car. By 1966, the size of the cars had been increased. In 1984 the Cultus model was exported to the US to be sold as the Chevrolet Sprint. By this time, GM had already obtained a sizable ownership portion of this company. The Sprint was followed in 1989 by the Geo Metro which was also marketed by Chevrolet dealers until 1997. This marque has also been available in the US since 1986 from independent dealerships. Nowadays Suzuki cars are also made in countries such as Hungary, India (Maruti) and Spain (Santana).

Models in small scale have been made available by Maisto, Edocar, Hot Wheels and others, but are mostly restricted to off-road vehicles and concept cars.


Suzuki Cervo - Tomica

SYRENA (PL) 1955-1983

The Syrena was a small front wheel drive car powered by a two-stroke engine which was originally made at the FSO factory in Warsaw. It enjoyed a long production run during which only very few changes were made. In 1972 production was transferred to FSM in Bielsko-Biala, as FSO concentrated on making larger cars. FSM also made the Polski Fiat 126p, which eventually replaced the Syrena completely. Nowadays this factory is wholly owned by Fiat.

A 1:72 scale plastic model of the Syrena 105L is produced by a Polish company.

 

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