The first standard 1953 Pontiac Van (BRK31) appeared in 1990, after a few special models had been released. It is painted orange, different shades exist, with a blue sun visor and interior and Gulf Oil decals. Approximately 30 models are known without sun visor. A baseplate error is noted with 300 of the Gulf Oil vans released with the "1 of 500" designation on the baseplates that were intended for the Charity Ambulance model. It was deleted in August 1992.
The second standard Pontiac Van was the Mobiloil model (BRK31A) It is white with a red sun visor and interior and red, white, and blue decals, including the famous gargoyle. On the front fender is the company’s corporate name “Socony-Vacuum Oil Co Inc” and the Mobilgas crest on the doors.
The third standard Pontiac Van was released in October 1992 (BRK31B), painted in Sunoco’s blue with a yellow visor and yellow/black interior. Blue Sunoco decals are on the doors, while a large decal on the van body features a running rabbit advertising Sunoco’s "Xtra fast starts Regular price!". Another decal on the rear door reads "Premium gasoline at regular price!". It was deleted in April 1997.
CANADIAN TOY COLLECTORS SOCIETY
The C.T.C.S.’s 11th Brooklin special was the world premiere of the 1953 Pontiac Van. Released at the C.T.C.S. Toy Show in October 1989, this special has authentic decals for Trans-Canada Airlines, now known as Air Canada, representing the vehicles used by in the early 1950's at airports across Canada. They were often seen on the tarmac involved in the servicing of aircraft, or on the city streets performing official airline duties. The C.T.C.S. van was painted and decaled using paint samples and logos supplied by veteran painters at Air Canada. A retired Air Canada employee assisted C.T.C.S. in tracking down vehicle data and in obtaining official permission for use of the trademark for Trans-Canada Airlines. This Van is finished in grey blue with grey interior, wheels and trim in Peking red and an orange light on the roof. The number of models was increased from the planned 500 to 600 in response to the overwhelming demand from Brooklin collectors. The boxes of all models have gold labels showing "1 of 600 CTCS 1989", but the first 500 models have baseplate reading "C.T.C.S. ‘89 1 of 500". The last 100 models have "C.T.C.S. ‘89" only, because it was too late to change the casting inscription. A few are known with standard baseplates. A certificate, dated September 1st, 1989 from John Hall with this explanation was included with each model.
WESSEX MODEL & TOY COLLECTORS
The 4th special commissioned by the W.M.T.C. was a 1953 Pontiac Van produced in 1989 and distributed at the Club’s January 1990 meeting. As with the Club’s previous specials, the W.M.T.C. Pontiac Van is maroon with a light tan interior, with the Club logo on the side panels and year designation on the doors done in gold and black. 500 models were produced with “1 of 500” cast in base.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY BROOKLIN CLUB
The special model to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the S.F.B.B.C. was the 1953 Pontiac Van, which took the form of a newspaper delivery truck. The model is finished in white with red interior and black wall tyres on white wheels. Side panels sport the Limited Editions eagle logo and the name and address of the Club appears on the doors. The first 200 models have serial numbers engraved onto the baseplate. An additional 200 models were produced without numbers.
The first Modelex Show was held in October 1990. Established as an annual affair, this show featured not only diecast models, but their manufacturers and the manufacturers of equipment used in the making of those models. A special 1953 Pontiac Van was produced for the show, done in metallic deep forest green and beige interior with the "Modelex 90" logo on the side panels in gold and red. The legend "Solihull, W. Midlands 13-14 Oct. '90" is found in gold script along the front fender margin. The whitewall tyres are used quite effectively on this special, contrasting with the deep color of the body and creating the appearance of a commercial vehicle with a touch of class. Total production numbered 500 models.
The Huggett Electrical building in Bath was used by John Hall when he moved the Brooklin factory from Brooklin, Canada to Bath, England in October 1979. The 1953 Pontiac Van is the 1990 special made for Huggett Electrical, painted in medium green with black interior, it features the Huggett logo on the side panels. 500 models were produced, with the first 100 certificated and given to Huggett Electrical customers.
In 1990 J.M. Toys commissioned a Charity Van for the 50th anniversary of the British Diabetic Association. A total of 500 1953 Pontiac Vans were produced for the charity drive, done in white with "Rocky the Caveman" depicted on the side panels, the B.D.A. logo on the doors and “1 of 500” cast in base. A blue light is placed on the roof. The entire lot of charity specials were sold raising a total of £5.000, with £2.500 going to each of two worthy charities, the British Diabetic Association and the Portsmouth Hospital for their Lithotripter Appeal.
LA SALLE FLORIST
A special released through Brasilia Press is the 1953 Pontiac Van in white with maroon interior, featuring the logo of the La Salle Flower Group, in Chicago, Illinois, on the side panels and the addresses of their two shops on the doors. The lettering is done in maroon, matching the wheels and the interior. With its wide whitewall tyres, the overall appearance of this special is in line with the light delicateness of a florist shop. A total of 750 pieces were produced, but 250 were later modified with decals replaced by the Bender’s Wholesale. Therefore, the correct number of these vans is 500.
Paul Bender and Brasilia Press released a Brooklin special in early October 1993, a 1953 Pontiac Van in white with maroon interior and wheels and bearing the logo for Bender's Wholesale Distributors Inc. on the side panels. The decal further clarifies that this company deals with adhesives, paints, solvents, coatings, cleaners and vinyls. The words "General Offices Elkhart, Indiana" appear on the doors in black and the red and black logo is repeated on the rear door. Brasilia Press received authorization from the Brooklin factory to re-decal their earlier La Salle Florist Van special with the Bender's decal. 250 Vans were re-decaled.
LA VACHE QUI RIT
A Brooklin special was commissioned in 1994 by Momaco of France, a 1953 Pontiac Van done in white with red interior and blue sun visor. The side panel sports the logo of “La Vache Qui Rit” in red, which translates to “The Laughing Cow”. The trade mark Laughing Cow appears several times, on the side panels, on the doors and on a sign to be mounted on the roof. The roof sign has red and yellow lettering on a blue background and reads “La Vache Qui Rit” and “Bonbel”, the manufacturer of Laughing Cow cheese. The baseplate bears an inscription reading “1 of 750”, but 100 pieces were used by Model Car of the World to be converted into hearses, so only 650 exist.
MODEL CAR OF THE WORLD
Model Car of the World, from Australia, converted 100 of 1953 Pontiac Vans into hearses, 50 finished in black and 50 in grey, with red interior and red license plates. The side panels have been neatly cut out to reveal a wooden coffin in the rear and roof bars have been fashioned from brass and silver-colored wire. Each model is accompanied by a certificate. This conversion was made using La Vache Qui Rit Vans and the baseplates is therefore engraved with “1 of 750”.
PILLINGER – CODE 3
Keith Pillinger has produced several Code 3 modified Brooklins including a 1953 Pontiac Van in livery for Pillinger Rescue Service. It is finished in gloss red, with emergency light on the roof and siren on the left front fender. "Pillinger Rescue Service" is found on the side panel in white letters. The brightwork is in 24k gold. 25 models were produced.
A second Code 3 1953 Pontiac Van made by Keith Pillinger is finished in lime green with red sun visor. The side panels have the words “I did it my way” in black with a hand indicating the victory sign with two fingers up, the same hand is also on the doors. 25 models were produced.
One of the Angel Collection series of Code 3 fire models, made in only 15 pieces, is finished in red with black interior. The decals on the sides read “Chicago Fire Department” with “CFD” letters on the doors overlapped as an emblem and “Chief Battalion” over it. A chrome siren is mounted on the right fender and a red light plus two white light are placed on the roof.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Angel Auto’s David Angel made a set of four special models based on BRK009, BRK016, BRK026, BRK031. All are two tone white and blue with original stickers. Each model was made in only 4 pieces.
Author: Gianluigi Cappi