This is a Meccano tin-plate clockwork “Motor Car Constructor Outfit No.2,” it’s a model car from the 1930s that remains in unassembled form. Kits like this came long before those made by companies like Tamiya, and provided generations of children their first taste of model building.

The brand name Meccano is said to have come from the phrase “make and know,” in that Meccano kits allowed children (and adults) to build working models and develop and understanding of how they work. The fundamental concept of Meccano was developed by Frank Hornby in England in 1898.

Meccano Car Kit Close Up

Image DescriptionAll the parts are here to build the clockwork-powered car, it’s been waiting to be assembled for almost 100 years since the 1930s.

The first Meccano kits were available for sale by 1901, they consisted of reusable metal strips and plates, along with angle girders, wheels, axles and gears that are connected using small metal nuts and bolts. Though the parts were relatively simple they could be used to build a remarkable variety of models, from cranes and bridges, to buildings and windmills.

Before long the company began producing kits that allowed the construction of trucks, busses, locomotives, ships, and racing cars – and they proved wildly popular. The was long before Lego, Tamiya, or Airfix, decades before in fact, and Meccano had essentially cornered the market.

Meccano still exists today, it now belongs to Spin Master, as of 2013, and many of the most popular Meccano kits can be bought online. There are also many new kits that have been developed recently, all of which were developed following the ethos of the originals – to teach people how build them and how they worked from the inside out.

The Meccano kit you see here would be of great interest to collectors. It’s a rare Motor Car Constructor Outfit No.2 set from the 1930s that remains unassembled – very few remain in this condition as most were excitedly assembled the day they were received.

This kit consists of all the parts needed to construct a 1930s-era open tourer sports car with a clockwork mechanism that allows it to drive along under its own power once it has been wound up. The car has cream bodywork with red fenders/running boards, white rubber tires, a red steering wheel, cream chassis rails, and a chrome grille and headlights.

Meccano Motor Car Constructor Outfit

Image DescriptionThese kits were wildly popular in England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and many other nations for most of the 20th century.

The car comes with a period correct driver wearing a red leather helmet to match the car, and the clockwork mechanism to propel the car. It all comes in a green reproduction box with an original set of instructions (worn with taped repairs) for the set, colour scans and photocopies, and other related ephemera.

It will be up to the new owner if they want to assemble the car, almost 100 years after it was first manufactured, or keep it preserved as it is now. It’s due to roll across the auction block with Bonhams in the first half of March with a price guide of £500£700, or approximately $675 – $945 USD. If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can visit the listing here.

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Images courtesy of Bonhams + Meccano

Published by Ben Branch -