Most toy collectors have heard of Dinky Toys, Corgi and Matchbox. Four and five figure sums have been paid for single models from these manufacturers.

But there is another range of models, produced for a very short period, between 1959 and 1972, that became very collectible for a while, during the early-1980s. They then went out of favour again, but are now making a comeback.

They are called Spot On Models  thanks to the insistence of the manufacturer. He made sure that the entire range of models was produced to a constant scale of 1/43rd...and were absolutely 'spot-on'.

The company opened a factory in Northern Ireland with the help of a Government grant to produce the models, and the Tri-ang Spot-On Models range was introduced in time for Christmas 1959.


The directors of  Tri-ang made an early decision, that to compete with the Dinky Toy and Corgi models, their models would have be of better quality and to a 1/43rd standard  scale.

The intricate models would look correct in every detail and qualify as models rather than toys. In another bid to help collectors and win custom, the early models had a colored picture of the full-size vehicles in the box.

 A number of problems with the production, packaging, delivery, and the higher price compared with the Dinky Toys and Corgi models of the day, prevented the range from being very successful.

Then, in 1967, the factory in Northern Ireland caught fire and was totally destroyed, with the loss of many of the vital tools and dyes.


Tri-ang had at this time purchased the Dinky Toy Company and saw no reason to rebuild the factory.
Nevertheless, the company made a somewhat strange decision to move what was left of the production tools to one of their factories in New Zealand.

They continued production of a modest range of Spot-On Models, but sadly this lasted for just two years.

In their short history, just over 120 Spot-On models were produced - they are considered by many diecast collectors to be one of the finest ranges of models ever produced.

 It is very rare to come across a mint boxed example of the early models that were made.

The models can be recognized by the maker's name or trademark on the base of the
 Spot-on models by Tri-ang' - with the name of the model also on the base.

The model catalog number was only ever shown on the box.


A novel feature was the number plates on the models. A large range of registration numbers were available to factory production staff and were applied randomly to most models.

 Different number plates are therefore to be expected on different examples of the same model - this has no effect on prices.

It is only recently that the prices of Spot-on model cars have begun to increase slowly.

A One reason perhaps is perhaps the much higher values being put on Dinky Toy and Corgi models  - taking them out of the reach of many  collectors.

Generally, Spot-On models can be purchased at auctions or toy fairs, for between £70 and £200 for more common models, plus a small premium for the NewZealand models.

The larger commercial vehicles, such as the 'British Road Services' Lorry and the 'Shell-BP' petrol tanker - as with most other models with advertising on them - command a much higher price.

However there is a wide variation in price. The BRS lorry has a value of £150-300, while the petrol tanker varies between £350-700.

Many diecast collectors have a passion for model buses and Spot-On produced two buses, both in great demand by collectors.

The two versions of the London Transport Route master Bus, issued in 1963, are today worth between £350-600 each.


The Mulliner Luxury Coach, which was produced in five different colours during 1961, is valued at £400-1,500

the top value being for a model with yellow   and white body and a brown side flash.

Apart from the model vehicles Tri-ang produced under the Spot-On name, a range of 16 models of countryside buildings called The Cotswold Village' series, were also made.

This range featured cottages, general stores, a farmhouse, public house, Post Office, school and even a haystack.These items are hard to find. When they do appear at auction they command prices in the region of £ 200-400

The Tri-ang company added another dimension to keep the quality of the models a main attraction; they called their boxed sets of models 'Presentation Sets' rather than 'Gift Sets'.

These very hard to find in good condition.They also produced a cheaper range of sets around a figure named 'Tommy Spot' featuring in different activities. One example, 'Sailing with Tommy Spot', contains a car and a sailing dinghy.

The rarest of these sets is thought to be 'Royal! Occasion with Tommy Spot', which features a model of the Royal Rolls Royce, with chauffeur and royal passengers, plus six guardsmen.This prize is now valued at £750-850

Collectibles  Coach

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, I have a few original condition and restored Spot On models. I like the link to N Ireland too, a place I know well and love very much. I have a Mulliner coach that I recently bought, it has been repainted to a high standard but does not have the decals. Do you know anyone who makes these? I have tried all the usual suspects. Ta