DINKY 103 SPECTRUM PATROL CAR (1968-1975):
The Spectrum Patrol Car (SPC) was first produced in 1968 and was available until 1975. It was part of a range of three vehicles from the TV series ‘Captain Scarlet’ produced by Gerry Anderson. The other two models were 104 Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (SPV) and 105 Maximum Security Vehicle (MSV).
The first version of the SPC was red, true to the colour of the TV model although a later bronze version was produced. It also had indents, probably meant to be air intakes or vents on the front wings. The first box had a sticker proclaiming ‘First Again! Jet Engine Sound. On later boxes this was printed onto the box.
The most common version has a red body, blue windows, yellow interior, transfers and a white base.
The car was fitted with a ‘Jet Engine Sound’ which was produced by pushing the rear of the car down while pushing.
The sound was generated by a large gear attached to a pinion, which turned the shaft on which was mounted a pressed steel flywheel . After it spun up to speed and the pressure on the back axle was released the flywheel spun freely and a spring steel “clicker”, which rested against the pinion on the flywheel shaft, made a whining noise. This was then amplified by the white plastic soundbox to which was riveted.
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons was a 1960s British science-fiction television series produced by the Century 21 Productions company of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, John Read and Reg Hill. It was first broadcast on ATV Midlands (now run by the ITV network) from September 1967 to May 1968.
THE SPECTRUM PATROL CAR:
Accessible only to Spectrum personnel, the Spectrum Patrol Car SPC was 18 ft (5.4 m) long and equipped with a four-wheel drive. It could seat up to four people, reach speeds of up to 195 mph (312 kph), and was powered by a gas turbine located under the rear roof. The road-tyre friction heat at high speeds is countered by wing intakes, while a central housing and rear-mounted fin maintain the vehicle’s stability at speed.
TV PROP v ACTUAL DINKY:
The Dinky model is an accurate representation of the prop used in the TV series, perhaps not as curved and a dab of silver paint around the windows would have helped as well.
There were two main colour variants, the red version and the later bronze version. The red version was produced first and at the end of the production run a bronze version appeared. It looks likely that this was introduced to ‘update’ the model and use up stocks of paint.
The bronze versions has no air intakes, had stickers for roundels and had either a five bolt or single bolt wheels.
(Text removed 12 March 2019) Since this section about differences in the red colour used for these versions was originally written there has been some doubt voiced about the colour differences which may be due to photographic issues or be code 3 versions. Confirmation needed please.
The air vents only appeared on the very early models and were not included when the casting dies were changed. Later models had the 5 nut wheels and the transfers which were harder to put on and more expensive to produce were replaced with less colourful stickers.
The most common base colour for the red version was white. Grey blue, bright blue, black, unpainted matt and shiny bases have also been seen.
The bronze version usually had a white base but could be yellow or black. There may be other base colours. As the model had screw fixings it is also possible to swap bases from red version to the bronze one.
The usual window colour was tinted blue, there were darker and lighter shades, but some later versions had clear windows.
Four versions of the red variant are shown below. Clockwise from the top: (1) Decals, blue windows and cast/one bolt wheels. (2) Decals, clear windows and cast/one bolt wheels. (3) Stickers, blue windows, and five bolt wheels (4) Stickers, clear windows, and five bolt wheels.
Blue windows were fitted to the earlier red models and occasionally clear later. The bronze had blue windows but its possible there were clear windowed versions as well.
The rear lights were usually painted silver but the last red versions and all the bronze version were left unpainted.
The red car mostly had a yellow interior, but some later versions had white. The bronze version had a light blue grey, white or yellow interior.
A red 103 version was sold with a grey aerial by an auction house although the white aerials are usually fitted and were also used on the 105 Maximum Security Vehicle
There is a rare yellow prototype version. Not a prototype for the original model but for experimental models with a plastic body with a metal base. They were a cost saving experiment which never went into full production and only a handful of these were ever made.
103 BLUE VERSION:
Was there a blue version? There was according to the Fanderson Dinky Toys book and also confirmed by Jamie Anderson, son of the great Gerry Anderson, who has one from his father’s collection.
Note the decals, rather than the later less colourful stickers, which implies it is an early version. This colour variant is very rare so may be a pre-production colour trial, a special for Gerry or a small production run. It also has a clear window rather than blue tinted which is rarer and also usually seen on the later stickered versions.
There were three box types produced. The first was cardboard, the second a bubble top with a wide blue base and then finally the narrow bubble top version.
The first cardboard boxes for the SPC had a sticker advertising this sound, later versions had the message printed.
An instruction sheet came with early models only.
The bubble boxes had a blue base but had font variations.
‘103’ font variations on the bubble box type.
There is a text variation between the box above and below, with the former carrying licensing text which is missing from the latter.
The SPC first appeared in the 1968 catalogue and was last seen in the 1974 issue.
12 thoughts on “103: Spectrum Patrol Car”
you really have a wonderful website here!
I own a small collection of Dinky (and Corgi) TV models myself, which I started collecting as a young boy in the early 70ies.
You mention the Fanderson Dinky Toys book, which I think is the “FAB book of Gerry Anderson Dinky Toys”. I try to get hold of a copy of that book since a while, but did not succeed so far. Seems to be a very rare book.
Do you know of anyone, who would be willing to sell this book? Or do you know any ressource, that provides at least scans of the book? The only scanned pages I could find on the web are from the Eagle on catacombs.space1999.net.
Any help would be appreciated.
Hi Rolf, Thank you for your kind comment about the site. The FAB book of Gerry Anderson Dinky toys was only made available to purchase by Fanderson members, this was. I understand, because of the licensing arrangement they had with the rights holders of the TV programmes. Occasionally they do come up for sale on eBay but there are quite expensive. I am not aware of anyone who wants to sell one but perhaps a viewer of this site will see this and make contact. Kevin
Hi Kevin, thanks for the reply. And yes, if someone reads this and has the FAB book of Gerry Anderson Dinky toys to sell – please give me a note. Rolf
I’ve two dinky spectrum control cars. One with flat doors and one with cast circles.. what is the oldest
They are two red ones by meccano dinky.. I can send pics..all the best james
Hi James, The variant with the ‘cast circles’ that border the decals on the door is older than the variant without this. The very first variant also had air intakes, small indentations (see pics above) on the front wings. Cheers Kevin
Excellent overview!, very helpful to my complete restoration of the three Spectrum vehicles. There are some great cottage industries out there on EBay for specialised parts.
Hi Alan, Glad you like the site! Cheers Kevin
HI, Can you tell me the paint code of the bronze car. I have one and I would like to restore it.
The colour of the car now is black, I can see the bronze colour underneath.
Many thanks Mark.
I don’t think the Dinky colours were ever that precise, not like RAI codes. Even the red paint on the SPC varied I believe. I would suggest a good approximation on existing photos should suffice.
LikeLiked by 1 person