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British Toy Companies : Timpo Toys

October 26th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Timpo Toys – History ( Vehicles )

Although Timpo produced a variety of toys both metal, and later plastic, for this introduction to Timpo Toys I am concentrating purely on the metal vehicle element of the company.

Timpo Toys Ltd. operated out of No.26 Westbourne Grove, London W2., the name of Timpo came out of ‘Toy Importers Ltd’ and was to become the Company Trademark, as the name implies an importer of toys rather than a toy manufacture and was founded  in 1938 by Sally Gawrylovitz (1907-2000) a Jewish refugee from Frankfurt, Germany . With the outbreak of the Second World War importing became impossible and in order to continue Timpo began to manufacture for themselves. In saying that materials were scarce for toy production at that time, never-the-less four models were produced during those war years, namely the hollow cast  MG Record Car and the diecast/zamac Streamlined Saloon,  Pick-up Truck and Light Saloon. It wasn’t until 1946 that more models were to see the light of day.

1946 -1947 saw the range grow with the addition of various racing cars / saloons / utility vans / commercial vehicles and articulated box vans and trucks.

Timpo Toys were represented at the British Industries Toy Fair held at Olympia in 1947 and were advertised as a manufacturer of cast metal toys both mechanical and non-mechanical

More saloons, trucks and vans followed from 1948 through to 1950 with the introduction of friction drive motors from 1948 into both existing and new models. These later production models also saw an increase in the finished quality of the vehicles but sadly the ban in the use of zinc in the manufacturing process around 1951-’52 meant that Timpo discontinued all their diecast/zamac vehicles with some of the Timpo dies taken up by Benbros. (AEC Slumberland / Bedford Commer Moving Van / Fordson Tractor amongst others).

1953 saw Toy Importers moving production to Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland and changed its name to Model Toys but retained the Timpo trademark.

By and large the Timpo range of vehicles were by any standards somewhat crude yet sturdy in their construction and perhaps for that reason are viewed today as being rather attractive in their simplicity. View for yourselves and make up your own mind.



Here we have three TIMPO  SALOONS >





<  On the left a selection of TIMPO RACING CARS



Below are two examples of Timpo articulated box vans in the livery of United Dairies and Pickfords both these would date to 1947. As you can see from the images the castings are the same. Simply a matter of different colourways and decals to effect a different model.  


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  1. Roy
    January 24th, 2013 at 18:53 | #1

    Hi – I enjoyed reading your informative article on Timpo toys. Do you have any Timpo trucks for sale?

  2. dave
    January 27th, 2013 at 11:05 | #2

    Hi there Roy,
    Thanks for your comments so glad you enjoyed my post but sorry to say no Timpo trucks available at the moment. If you tell me which ones you are looking for I will see what I can do.
    All the best for now, David.

  3. pete
    July 21st, 2013 at 15:31 | #3

    Hi Just seen a timpo at a toy fair one side of the cad didn’t have a lot of paint on. The dealer said this was normal is this the case ?. pete

  4. dave
    July 23rd, 2013 at 13:45 | #4

    Hi there Pete, is it normal ? In my opinion no its not. Certainly Timpo vehicles are often seen with a fair amount of paint loss, but like all older metal vehicles it depends how well they were looked after. I wrote in an earlier article how as kids we threw stones and hard clumps of earth at our Dinky military models and even shot at them with our air pistols !! anyone picking up one of those toys now would say its well playworn !!! but they were toys and meant to be played with. On the other hand I have had many Timpo vans and trucks, some boxed some not, but all in good to excellent condition, complete with good decals where appropriate. Lets face it you will get what you pay for but I repeat as far as I am concerned its not normal to have paint loss to one side only.
    Thanks for visiting and your question, hope this helps, David.

  5. Richard H
    March 16th, 2015 at 01:39 | #5

    I have “scored” a Timpo ESSO petrol tanker in well worn condition but wheels are OK, just needs new tyres. Should I repaint it and are the ESSO decals available?

  6. dave
    March 24th, 2015 at 22:13 | #6

    To be honest I don’t know how to answer this question … I suppose it depends what you want to do with the finished model.
    Lets be honest an unboxed Timpo model won’t fetch a million whether its in poor but original condition or whether you repaint it.
    However if you do repaint the model again it will need to be done properly .. model stripped, primed etc. etc.
    As for decals … sorry but I don’t know anyone off hand who produces replacement paper decals for Timpo models. There are several people on the internet selling Dinky Toys decals.
    Dinky obviously did an ESSO tanker, the wording and logo were the same as the Timpo model so they may be suitable for you.

    Another option for you to consider and one I would personally go for is to do your own Code 3 model.
    Instead of ESSO look for an alternative logo .. repaint in a totally different colourway than the usual Timpo models .. what about green with CASTROL decals ?
    Let us know how you get on, pics appreciated.
    All the best, David.

  7. andy
    January 19th, 2016 at 18:32 | #7

    Hi I just found your most informative website and wonder if you can help me?

    I have just bought three Timpo racing cars – the same model as the three shown in the front line of your website photo and quite similar to the Dinky Speed of the Wind.

    Could you advise me of an approximate date for these models please?


  8. dave
    January 26th, 2016 at 16:24 | #8

    It’s hard to be specific about the dates of the Timpo ‘Speed of the Wind’ record cars. I do know that they appeared in the boxed Timpo Petrol Station Set and the Racing Car Set which were introduced from 1946 onwards but as they are probably the most common of all the Timpo vehicles I think its fair to say they must have been sold individually. So I would suggest a date range between 1946 to 1955 would be a good guide.
    Cheers, David.

  9. April 5th, 2016 at 19:24 | #9

    My interest in Timpo is their link with “Skybirds” (Givjoy).
    I was given to understand in my extensive research of
    “Skybirds” toys (WWI & II aircraft kits, 3/4ths inch metal
    Soldiers, ’30s & WW I & II buildings, die-cast vehicles
    Made specially for them by Taylor & Barrett before they
    Introduced their own range, etc.) When their factory was
    Destroyed in Blitz in 1940 Timpo allocated factory space
    For them, however that was at Catford, Lewisham? Yet
    You indicate Timpo’s premises to be in Westbourne Grove.
    Can you shed any light on this, please? I do know that
    factory still exists in Catford, although don’t think it was
    original building. In the late ’90s it was being used by a US
    die-cast model aircraft manufacturer which in the millennium
    reduced its ranges & I believe may now be redundant. Ken White

  10. dave
    April 7th, 2016 at 16:26 | #10

    Hi there Ken,
    As you can tell by many of my company listings I tend not to go into great detail on their history, more like a simple thumbnail background to each one. If I was to do more I might as well sit down and compile a book on the subject whereas this site is just meant as a general overview on the subject. As you will appreciate the history of many British toy companies is difficult to follow, many of the early companies being interlinked etc. etc. I source much of my information from the listings obtained from the exhibitors of the early British Industries Fairs. The Information gives me Toy Importers based at 26 Westbourne Grove, London W2. With a Telephone : Bayswater 7251 (6 lines), Cables : ‘Timpo, London’ (1947). This information is also confirmed in ‘The Great Book of Hollow-Cast Figures’ by Norman Joplin with a date line of 1945. Without delving further it may well be this was an office/admin. address with production based somewhere else ? however I have no info relating to a factory at Catford. Further confusing is the info I have is that when the Taylor Barrett factory at East Finchley was destroyed in the blitz they transferred production to a factory in North Finchley !
    Can of worms methinks …. can I resist trying to resolve this ?
    Cheers, David.

  11. Andrew
    January 6th, 2017 at 16:40 | #11


    Wondering if you have any information on the Timpo Open Top Roadster?
    Anything at all would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  12. dave
    January 11th, 2017 at 19:43 | #12

    Andrew you asked for info on the Timpo open top roadster, I’m afraid I can’t give you loads of detail but here goes :
    I always thought the car was based on the Brtish Jowett Javelin but have been told that was wrong and was in fact based on the American Lincoln Continental. I will let you make up your own mind on that.
    Dates to around 1947 or so, diecast metal with a seperated tinplate base.
    Stamped to the underside of the front bumper casting with Timpo Toys and Made in England underneath the rear bumper.

    As far as I am aware the model came in red, green and blue colourways and maybe brown ?
    Seats were cast-in to the model which had a separate pressed aluminium windscreen.
    Both axles were fitted through cast-in pillars and had crimped axle ends.
    I think that’s about all I have, let me know if I’ve missed anything.
    Cheers, David.

    PS Like your other profile pic but thought better not !

  13. John Sharp
    May 2nd, 2018 at 20:19 | #13

    Hello, At the age of 70 I’ve just acquired the Timpo van model my uncle had on display when I was a child. My uncle and dad both drove for Chivers Jellies and this van has the logo’s on the side which look very like the ones on the side of the Dinky Trojan except it is in the correct dark green/blue of the real Chivers livery and not in the incorrect Dinky grass green livery. Did Timpo make a Chivers liveried van or is the model I so coveted as a child a hybrid of Timpo casting and Dinky transfers? I can vouch that the model was already well playworn when I first got to see it in around 1955. Regards John Sharp.

  14. dave
    May 11th, 2018 at 19:17 | #14

    Hi there John and rest assured Timpo did indeed produce a Forward Control Box Van in dark green colourway finish with Chivers Jellies transfers sometime around 1949, the model being later re-issued by Benbros. Unlikely that you will ever find one in anything other than good condition, if you could find another that is, and the only reference I have for one at auction was back in 2014 when one sold as part of a ‘job lot’.
    Now you can give it pride of place knowing ‘Its a Good ‘Un’ as we say in Yorkshire !
    All the best, David.

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