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Tri-ang Toys / Triang Pressed Steel Toys / Triang Pressed Steel Vehicles : Large-Scale

December 27th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

An Introduction to the Range of Large Scale Pressed Steel Commercials from Tri-ang Toys :

This post is meant as an introduction to the Tri-ang range of large-scale pressed steel lorries which were produced from the early 1930’s through to the demise of Tri-ang in the mid-1970’s. Please be aware that dates given for the vehice ranges are approximate and intended only as a guide.

During this time frame nine different ranges of lorry were produced along with trains and cranes although it should be mentioned that up to the mid 1950’s most of the trains produced were made from wood and between 1957 and 1970 Tri-ang brought out their iconic pressed steel buses which I may well return to at a later date.

1930 – 1937 saw Tri-angs first metal lorries range being produced, these were an open cab type vehicle with a long bonnet, radiators were either silver or black with thin metal wheels fitted with thin rubber tyres. Best described as a toy and not a model, relatively crude and nieve in their design and manufacture yet having said all that are today seen by many as being full of charm and character.

This first early series of metal lorries included a tipper truck, milk lorry and breakdown truck together with the timber lorry pictured above. To compliment the lorries a series of box vans in different liveries was also produced which included amongst others the Carter Paterson van shown opposite.


1937 – 1956 saw the arrival of the Bedford range of Tri-ang pressed steel lorries, so called as they were made to resemble the Bedford trucks of the day.

The range of vehicles produced was similar to the previous metal lorries range but now featured an enclosed cab and came complete with a load where appropriate.

The ‘Bedfords’ could have any of  three different radiator grills fitted, a standard unpainted one or ones painted in either cream or black. As a rough rule of thumb the pre-war models came with thin metal disc wheels and tyres which were replaced post war with thick rubber tyres but as always there was some overlap as there were some Tri-ang vehicles produced even in 1950 with metal disc wheels. By far an easier way of identifying a pre-war Bedford series is to check the underside of its chassis. Pre-war this would be constructed using a single sheet of steel whereas post war versions would see the chassis having circular and/or rectangular sections cut out of it in order to save metal. Tyres on the Bedford series of lorries were always 7cm dia. except on the breakdown lorry where the diameter was increased to 9cm. (3.5″).

1948 – 1957 saw Tri-ang bring out their third series of pressed steel lorries known as the ‘200’ series. In this series the lorries adopted the new square shaped forward control type cab. Initially three models, two tipping/builders lorries and a transport van made up the series with a petrol tanker and mobile crane being added later. Of the two tipping lorries one was manufactured with ‘remote control’ steering, this had a raised steering wheel at the rear and steered the front wheels via a universal coupling.

1955 – 1960 brought about Tri-ang’s ‘Diesel’ series. This Tri-ang series although smaller than the 200 series carried a much larger range of vehicles. Initially the series began with just two lorries, the first was the usual tipper lorry but the second was a much more unusual working cement mixer lorry which had a drum which was linked to the lorry axle and thus revolved as the lorry moved forwards. The drum could also be tipped to allow its load to be emptied through a rear trough just as on an actual cement mixer.

These lorries were in turn followed by the Express Delivery Lorry, a Breakdown Services lorry which had a working crane jib fitted with hoist along with a toolbox with tools. The range also included a Farm lorry complete with its load of plastic pigs, a Milk wagon with milk churns, a Petrol Tanker with ‘Shell’ logo to tank sides and rear and a Fire Engine complete with bell, rotating and extending ladder, fireman and working hose. The Diesel series also included several six-wheeled which included amongst others Military lorries and a Side-Tipping Ballast Truck. Around 1957 Triang also added several articulated lorries into the Diesel range which included a low loader with excavator and a car transporter.

1957 – 1963, as Triang lauched its articulated lorries in the Diesel series it dropped the ‘200’ series lorries and launched a new ‘300’ series (Still with me ?). Gone were the square cab shaped 200’s to be replaced by a more rounded cab, similar to the Diesel in some respects but now with front protruding wheel arches which reflected a more modern ’50’s styling.

The ‘300’ series carried the same body styles to that of the ‘200’ series but added to the range was now a mobile cafeteria van with side opening canopies and came complete with various plastic items including a jug and drinking glasses ! Later models included a horse transporter which came with two wooden horses, later changed to plastic and several six-wheel vehicles amongst which was a circus van together with various animals and a long distance transport van.

1959 – 1966 saw Tri-ang attempting to keep pace with the changing face of road transport of the day with a range of commercial vehicles which mirrored their modern day counterparts thus the Thames Trader range was launched.

Fifteen vehicles made up the Thames Trader range and included all the old favourites such as the tipper lorry, farm truck, milk lorry, delivery van, fire engine, breakdown lorry etc.etc. Also included in the range were several articulated lorries, the car transporter, low loader, rocket transporter, removals van, flat truck, open truck and petrol tanker.

Interestingly Tri-ang also added working headlights into some models which used small torch bulbs powered by batteries housed underneath the chassis and operated by a simple push-in switch located on the side of the chassis behind the cab.

1958 – 1967 was the time frame for Tri-ang’s Junior Series, launched with just seven commercial vehicles making up the range they always remind me of the big American trucks of the ’60’s with their high cabs and large radiator grills. The initial seven comprised the farm truck, tip lorry, petrol tanker, milk lorry, delivery van, open back truck and a breakdown lorry. All seven carried a header board sited on top of the cab with the Tri-ang name prominant.

A host of  other commercials were added to the series over time including some more unusual ones such as the army transport van with canvas tilt, a similar raf van, a police van, mobile shop van, musical ice cream van, a radar control truck and an airport crash tender. All in all over twenty different lorries were to make up the Junior series.

There were now three commercial ranges running simultaneously :

The smaller Junior Series / The medium Thames Trader Series / The larger ‘300’ Series.

1962 – 1966 saw Tri-ang update the tiring ‘300’ series with the addition of plastic bumpers and lights, side mirrors, air horns, plastic windows and windscreen wipers all under the Regal Roadster series banner. Colours were now in metallic paint rather than the usual red, blue and turquoise enamels and the vehicles now had grey plastic wheels and for novelty value a ‘clicker’ mechanism was fitted to the front axle of the commercial which made a noise as the lorry was pushed along.

All three of the Tri-ang commercial vehicle ranges that is the Junior, Thames Trader and Regal Roadster series all met their end at about the same time. Around 1966 they were dropped for a new Tri-ang range of vehicles which was the Hi-Way series and branded as ‘modern trucks for modern children’. This series would continue through to the demise of Tri-ang in 1973. This Hi-Way series was perhaps the worse that Tri-ang put out, garish in its looks and lacking in appeal the trucks were smaller than even the Junior commercials and comprised more plastic in their make-up yet gone were the plastic extras that proved so popular on the Regal Roadsters. A sad end to a once mighty toy maker.

a picture gallery of some of the rarer vehicles :




Categories: General Discussion Tags:
    May 10th, 2011 at 18:24 | #1

    A brilliant and informative site
    Could you tell me where I could get a double tyre for my Diesel series Fire ENGINE????
    Thank you.

  2. Frits
    November 5th, 2011 at 15:03 | #2

    Maybe somebody can help me, I ‘ve a Thames trader with a open cattle unit. The Cabin is white and below red, the frame is red en the catleunit is blue. The tipe of car is exactly thesame as the Thames Trader Delivery Van as pictured above. I need a grill and headlights, and one wheelcap…..are those things still available ? This car was bought in de early 60’s in Holland, but I cant get tri-ang material in Holland anymore…………


    Frits Lorié
    Alkmaar Netherlands

  3. dave
    November 10th, 2011 at 19:12 | #3

    Hi there Frits, don’t know anyone in the UK who just deals in spares for the Tri-ang pressed steel range of vehicles but you could do worse than contact the Tri-ang Society which is easily accessed through the web. I think I’m right in saying that these guys do publish a spares directory but whether it includes any or all of the items you require I couldn’t say. Only other option is to keep checking the internet auction sites where you often find ‘wrecks’ sold for the spare parts. If anyone knows any better info just drop me a line.
    Best of luck, David.

  4. Terry Bradwick
    April 9th, 2012 at 20:28 | #4

    Do you sell spare parts for these pressed steel toys

  5. dave
    June 18th, 2012 at 18:55 | #5

    I dont really have many spare parts im afraid, as I advised Frits in the post above I can only suggest keeping an eye on the usual places for cheap auctions selling any toys as spares. If I do get hold of any I will let you know. Many Thanks.

    June 28th, 2014 at 16:53 | #6

    i am a french collector i recently found 5 pressed steel models by triang in mint condition for 4 of them and 1 very nice .1 tanker Shell red 15 inches long 2 dump trucks red and blue 10 inches long and 2 trucks with canon red green and black 10 inches long. i do not know the prices of them and i would like to sale them.can you help me ?
    best regards

  7. jan
    July 12th, 2014 at 14:05 | #7

    Excellent info narrowed down the red tip up lorry to a Bedford series 1944-1956 found in the shed today, also Jones crane sadly no wheels just the top. Not sure how to sell these on for a sensible price to a lover of this model and or for parts?

  8. dave
    August 6th, 2014 at 15:43 | #8

    Hi Jan,
    Hate to say it but probably the best bet is the dreaded Ebay site with all its shortcomings its still by far the largest audience your items will get. Yes I know it will cost a fair bit to post but you can always try ‘collection only’, it will limit your market but it does away with the hassle. Unfortunately for you the items are not hard to come by in good condition but spares are quite often required, especially truck spares.
    Cheers, David.

  9. steph
    September 9th, 2014 at 14:12 | #9

    Hi, im after some more information on a tri-ang fire engine i have i do not seem to be able to find the exact one. i wondered if i am able to send a pic accross for some idea?

  10. dave
    October 3rd, 2014 at 13:43 | #10

    Hi Steph and thanks for bearing with me. Received your fire engine pics the other day and have included one in this post so everyone knows what we are talking about.triang f.e. This pressed steel fire engine came from the Tri-ang Thames Trader series where all the vehicles were based around the actual Ford Thames Trader trucks which were introduced in 1957. The Tri-ang range was produced from 1958/’59 until 1966 and included around 15 models some of which you can see in my listing. The Thames Trader cab came with two different style grilles, the early version was a simple pressed plated grille with headlights included whereas the later version had actual working electric headlights. This second version being by far the harder to find especially in working order.Unfortunately yours is the more common first version. The fire engine has a rotating and extending turntable ladder and originally came with a model of a fireman and also I believe included a fire-hose, although I have not seen that on any engine. Later versions also had plastic windows. Todays price unboxed for first versions depending on all the usual conditons c£30/£40.
    Hope this is of some help, David

  11. linda halsall
    June 11th, 2015 at 16:55 | #11

    Hi sorting out the loft come across truck similar to the 200 series in your photo gallery not in such good condition would it be of interest to anyone.

  12. Marc Büchler
    July 28th, 2015 at 11:30 | #12

    Sorry my english is not so good,i want an cabine from an Bedford Lorry from the year 1937-1954.Please send an answerd .

  13. dave
    July 29th, 2015 at 20:20 | #13

    Hi there Marc,
    Sorry do not have any of the Triang steel models or spares in at present, but will keep your details and message you if anything comes along.
    All the best, David

  14. steve
    September 22nd, 2016 at 17:03 | #14


    Great site just wondered if you know where I can get spare parts for a Tri-ang circus van (lorry) 1960’s I need the head lights.

    Many thanks if you could reply to my email address I have spent hours on the net with no joy!

    Kind Regards


  15. dave
    October 1st, 2016 at 21:05 | #15

    Hello Steve, try dinkyclub.com, not sure if they can help but I know they do some Tri-ang spares. Also I have never dealt with these people so cannot personally recommend them.
    Best of luck, David.

  16. Berend Muntinga
    January 14th, 2018 at 16:05 | #16

    Iam in need of an grill for my Bedford tri Ang early 1950 tipper
    please do you something for me or somebody who can help me ?

  17. dave
    January 27th, 2018 at 16:49 | #17

    Sorry to say I don’t know anyone who offers a comprehensive range of spares for the Triang pressed steel range of vehicles but you might try triang.nl who do some replacement grilles but I haven’t come across anyone in the UK.

  18. Melvyn Eanor
    April 26th, 2018 at 06:43 | #18

    Hi did any of the large steel double deck route masters have a driver & conductor.The reason I ask is because mine have holes in both the cab seat & a slot on the platform.Theres also a bracket welded underneath the platform.Would this have anything to do with the bell?

  19. dave
    April 28th, 2018 at 20:07 | #19

    Melvyn, as far as I am aware the large pressed steel Routmasters never had a driver or conductor fitted (no doubt someone will contradict that statement !) I thought you might have mis-represented the holes for where the rear staircase was fitted to the platform and where the cab seat was located but you say yours has the drivers seat in place so I am at a loss on this ! and yes there should be a bell fitted to the underside fitted with a pull cord.
    All the best, David.

  20. Chris Lenton
    June 28th, 2020 at 13:56 | #20

    Hello David
    Your site is a mine of information about the Triang pressed steel trucks – thank you!
    I have just bought a ‘Pickfords’ Thames Trader truck which is missing the coupling unit from the front of the trailer. I was wondering whether you had a decent picture of what the coupling unit looks like, or know where I might find such an image, as I intend to try to recreate the unit. Of all the pictures of the truck I’ve found on the internet, not one shows this vital part.
    Lastly, do you know if it’s possible to obtain a nut for the end of the axle for a 300-series truck? My tipper has had a loose wheel for decades!
    Thanks very much.
    Best wishes,

  21. dave
    July 22nd, 2020 at 21:19 | #21

    Hi there Chris,
    Sorry to be a while responding to your enquiry and to make matters worse I have nothing but bad news for you.
    Looked through all of my reference books to see if I could find a picture of the said coupling unit for the Pickfords truck without any joy but then again I thought it would be a long shot !
    Most references tend to concentrate on nice pics of the cab and trailer complete rather than showing them split apart with jockey wheels down and certainly not with the trailer unit on its side or inverted to show the coupling unit itself.
    So if anyone can provide us with the required pictures it would be appreciated.
    As for the spare part for the 300 tipper … I have said many times before one could make serious money supplying spares for the Triang range of pressed steel trucks … sadly I am a little too old and worn out to start up such a venture ! Again if anyone can help Chris out just message in.
    Cheers, David.

  22. Chris Lenton
    August 15th, 2020 at 20:30 | #22

    Hi David,
    Thank you so much for your reply. Having continued to search I really appreciate your efforts – there’s surprisingly little out there. I did come across two fairly useful photos of an incomplete unit, which will have to do. I also found a suitable nut for the axle-end of my 300-series tipper – not a perfect match but at least the wheel is secure now. In addition, I managed to remove most of the hammerite with which I coated the tipper body many years ago. I will check back to see if anyone has found anything further but in the meantime, thanks again. I’m very grateful.

  23. dave
    August 24th, 2020 at 21:42 | #23

    Hi again Chris and thanks for your comments. I will keep my eyes open and get back to you if anyone messages in or I find better photos.
    Cheers, David.

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