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email BIG RAT

Last updated
9 April 2009

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THE 1960s/1970s

Dinky Toys had previously produced vehicles from Thunderbirds (Thunderbird 2 and FAB 1) and Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons (Spectrum Patrol Car, Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle and Maximum Security Vehicle), so Joe 90 was an obvious choice for them. However, with the emphasis more on characters than hardware, their choice was limited to the two vehicular stars of the show - Mac's Car (produced as "Joe's Car") and Sam Loover's car (produced as "Sam's Car").

Joe's Car on display tray
Joe's Car - box

© A.T.V. (OVERSEAS) 1967

"Joe's Car" was vehicle number 102 in the Dinky catalogue, and measured 5 1/2" (139mm) in length. A button on the left side of the car made the wings spring open to their flying position - a slider on the bottom of the car closed them again. The wheels did not retract (they did on the Vivid Imaginations version 26 years later) but were independently sprung. The exhaust "flashed" by way of a small bulb powered by a 1.5V battery underneath the car.

The original (and best) packaging featured a nice display base with artwork of the car outside the cottage.

The original cardboard box was later superseded by a "bubble pack", which at least gave the potential buyer a chance to easily see the toy without having to open the thing up. Today these are harder to come by than the boxed version, as the plastic cover tends to turn yellowish and crack if it's been left in the light.

The version seen here is also unusual as it has red turbines instead of the usual silver ones.

Made in England.

Joe's Car - red turbines variant
Sam's Car on display tray
Sam's Car - box

© A.T.V. (OVERSEAS) 1967

"Sam's Car" was vehicle number 108 in the Dinky catalogue, and measured 4 3/8" (111mm) in length. Not as much play value as a flying car, but it was motorised with a "powerful key-less clockwork motor" - which basically meant that if you pushed down on it and pulled it backwards, when you let it go it would tear across the room and smash into the wall, chipping the paintwork on the car, damaging the skirting board, and resulting in a clip round the ear from your dad.

Pictured in red on the original box, the closest to the "real thing" was the silver version, but it was pot luck which one you got. As the box legend told us, Colour of model may differ from illustration.

The car was available in several different colours (we think silver, blue, two different reds and even white and gold). Three of the variants are shown on the right.

Free with the car was a small self-adhesive version of Joe's W.I.N. badge.

Made in England.

Sam's Car - three colour variants
Meccano Magazine April 1969

The April 1969 issue of Meccano Magazine (Volume 54 Number 4) contained a one-page article by Chris Jelley on the features of the new toy. Sadly, unlike the SPV from Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons which featured in the May 1968 issue, "Joe's Car" didn't make the front cover, although the back cover was a full page advertisement for the Dinky range of Anderson-related toys. Click here to see the article.

Anderson-related vehicles  frequently made the front cover of the Dinky Catalogue however, and Joe 90 was no exception. The toys' first appearance was in No.5 (1st May 1969 - 3d), where "Joe's Car" has a recommended retail price of 25/11 (AU$4.50 in the Australian catalogue), but "Sam's Car" doesn't have an RRP at all!

Dinky Catalogue No.5
Dinky Catalogue No.5 page 3

Page 3 of the catalogue reveals the two Joe 90 vehicles, sharing a page with FAB1 and Thunderbird 2 from Thunderbirds.

"Joe's Car" is described as having "Automatic opening wings and extending tail fins", "Flashing engine exhaust" and "Independent super suspension", while a silver "Sam's Car" is "With Automatic Drive".

Dinky catalogue No.6 (I assume 1970), and "Joe's Car" is back on the cover again, together with "Sam's Car" and a whole host of others in a group photograph.

Page 3 is almost identical to the previous catalogue, except the word "New" has been removed, and "Sam's Car" is now described as "With Keyless Clock-Work Motor".

Dinky Catalogue No.6
Dinky Catalogue No.7 page 2

Catalogue No.7 (1st July 1971 - 2p), UFO is on the cover, and "Sam's Car" is now shown as red.

"Joe's Car" has a post-decimalisation recommended retail price of £1.49, and "Sam's Car" has an RRP of just 75p. Try finding that sort of bargain on eBay these days!

Catalogue No.8 (1971 for 1972 - 2p) has the two vehicles from Joe 90 sharing a page with the car shown in the opening titles of the original Pink Panther cartoon series.

Dinky Catalogue No.8 page 4
Dinky Catalogue No.9 page 12

Catalogue No.9 (1973) features the final appearance of "Sam's Car", with the two Joe 90 vehicles shown above - a train. How exciting. That's what happens when you're relegated to page 12.

Catalogue No.10 (1974 - 4p), and "Sam's Car" is no longer being promoted, although you could probably still find it in the shops - at least until stocks ran out.

"Joe's Car" remains though, sharing a page with the vehicles from UFO.

Dinky Catalogue No.10 page 4
Dinky Catalogue No.11 page 5

Catalogue No.11 (1975 - 5p), and Space:1999 is on the cover.

"Joe's Car" is still available, although it is pictured with red turbine engines instead of the usual silver.

When catalogue 12 came out in 1976 (5p), Joe 90 had completely disappeared from its pages. But in catalogue 14 (1978 - 5p) on page 6 was the new "Galactic War Chariot" (No.361). This was partially constructed from the silver turbines from "Joe's Car" which were turned around to become jet engines, and the rocket launcher from the "Shado 2 Mobile" (No.353) from UFO. Dinky obviously found a box or two of spares kicking around...

Dinky Catalogue No.14 page 6

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