Matchbox Yesteryear: Y13-3 Crossley (1918) - Worthington's Bottle Truck - Code 3

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This model is the Matchbox Yesteryear Y13-3 Crossley (1918) in the guise of a Worthington's Beer Bottle Truck. I believe this may be a limited edition model by D. G. Models/Autocraft of England*. It is packed in an original type I straw coloured box with Limited Edition label indicating it is model #542 of the model referenced as AC10. This is a Code 3 model based on the chassis from a Y13-3 model (type E chassis).

The Worthington Brewery, also known as Worthington & Co. and Worthington's, was founded by William Worthington in the English Midlands town of Burton upon Trent in 1761. It is the second oldest continuously brewed beer brand in the country after Whitbread. The company merged with its major Burton rival Bass in 1927. Throughout the 1920s until the 1960s the brand, in bottled form, ranked alongside Bass and Guinness as one of only three beers with nationwide distribution. However, bottled beer sales declined as keg beer grew in popularity throughout the 1960s, and the Worthington brewery was closed in 1965. The beers continued to be brewed elsewhere, and Bass used the Worthington brand for its principal keg bitter offerings from the 1960s onward, first as Worthington E, then as Worthington Best Bitter from the 1980s, and Worthington Creamflow from the 1990s to the present. The Worthington brand was purchased from Bass by the American brewing company Coors in 2002, which following a merger became Molson Coors in 2005.

This is one of the earliest examples of a "Bottle Vehicle". It was built in the 1920s to advertise Worthington Beer in England. The five vehicles were fitted out with boiler plate bodies to resemble the shape of a bottle laid on its side and each one weighed about 2.3 tons. When Bass took over Worthington in 1927, they inherited the five of these Daimler TL30 lorries, built in the early 1920s on a 4,962cc 6-cylinder chassis. The very popular Daimlers were eventually replaced by two large and expensive Seddon diesel lorries with the body facing the other way so that the driver peered through the base of the bottle. They proved unsuccessful and have not survived into preservation.

The model has no opening or operating parts. The cab, bonnet, and rear appear to be cast as a single unit, the seats appear to be a new casting or the backs have been taken from another model, the steering wheel looks like a Yesteryear item and the radiator grille is cast into the main body casting. There is no glazing. The bonnet carries the bottle neck and cap (with white shield top), the rear bottle body carries the Worthington's Pale India Ale "label" and, just behind the cab side window the words "Worthington White Shield" in white lettering, and the rear (bottle bottom) has been decorated with a further, smaller, Worthington's Pale India Ale label.

*  I have been in touch with D.G. Models/Autocraft who have confirmed that Autocraft produced the Worthington Bottle Van for Chris King of Norfolk, U.K. in the mid-1980s - whether or not he is in business at this time is not known. They produced only sets of casting for Chris King and were unable to tell me how he boxed or presented the model. Autocraft were able to identify from my photos that the item is one of his models, as the one they produce has Bass Worthington transfers on both sides of the bonnet. All the patterns and dies remain the property of Autocraft as the cost of producing them was not charged to Chris King. The Worthington Bottle Van therefore remains within the Autocraft range and is a current production item.

Coded to the 2002 Yesteryear Book

Body Colour: Red bonnet, Brown bottle, Black chassis
Cab Roof: N/A
Rear Canopy: N/A
Radiator: Black painted cast grille with silver painted surround
Seats: Black painted metal & plastic(?)
Steering Wheel: Black plastic
Wheel Hubs: Black, 24 spoke
Tyres: Black
Plated Parts: N/A
Box Type: I - straw coloured window box
Other Comments/Identifying Features: The model chassis type "B" front springs (additional strengthening web has been added), and the type "E" baseplate. The base is held in place with glue. The front and rear has white on black background number plates [XU 177].

Originally issued 1983 approximately, with a stated scale of 1:47, I do not know when this Code 3 item was produced. Code 3 item issued in the mid-1980s.

Item: 3401