The Corgi model shown here features the livery of the Foster brand of lager. This would appear to be anachronistic as the Morris truck has features dating from the 1930s, but the truck is carrying a tank of Foster’s lager, which was first imported into this country in 1971. Moreover, only in 1981 was Fosters available in draught form.
Corgi toys was launched in 1956 by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd and became one of the best known makers of die-cast metal vehicles. Despite the enduring appeal of its models, Corgi, like its main rivals Dinky and Matchbox has had lean times and changes of ownership. It is now part of the Hornby group. It has produced a vast range of planes, cars, buses and trucks mainly marketed for collectors, but with other ranges produced especially for children. Some of the company’s most popular models were of cars made famous on screen, including the Batmobile (see below), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, which remains the largest selling toy car ever produced.
Many Corgi models were sold in collections, either boxed together, or issued separately. The individual Cameo Village Collection had drawings of a village on the interior of the box. The boxes indicated that these vehicles were not suitable for children under the age of three, due to them having small parts.
The Morris truck illustrated does not have its box and except for the facts that it was made in Great Britain by Corgi, has no additional information on its underneath. However, it appears to be from the Corgi Cameo range, which, in its Village Collection, has the same truck, but decorated in different commercial liveries. Some are shown below featuring Typhoo Tea, Flower’s Best Bitter, Camp Coffee, Shell Petrol, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Double Diamond Beer. This range was launched in the 1990s.
William Richard Morris designed the Bull-Nose Morris in 1912, but car production ceased on the outbreak of the First World War. He formed Morris Motors Ltd. in 1919 to resume the manufacture of cars in Oxford and by 1926 was producing 42% of British cars. The company commenced the manufacture of trucks and commercial vehicles in Birmingham in 1924. The company merged with Austin in 1952 and, after a further merger, the brand name was dropped by British Leyland in 1984. The Morris Minor, first introduced in 1948, was arguably the most famous and popular car produced by the company, selling over 1.6 million vehicles.
Foster’s lager has become the world’s best selling Australian lager. It was first brewed by American brothers William and Ralph Foster in 1888. Note the Morris truck has both the Foster’s logo on the tank and the initials CUB on the doors. The initials stand for Carlton and United Breweries, a company formed by the merger of five breweries. Foster’s lager was regarded as the company’s premium brand, but is no longer so well regarded in Australia