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Part 20

 The Vickers Vigor Tractor

Victory's Vickers Vigor Tractor is a lovely, weighty model, beautifully detailed but sadly one of the most difficult of all Victory products to find. Powered by two Mighty Midget motors - one driving each track, the model moves and steers on its rubber tracks just like the real thing and includes accurate working suspension. The real tractor was none too successful and the model appears to have fared little better despite a press release in early 1962 which claimed it was one of Victory's most popular models. This model was used as the basis for many of the tracked vehicles in the Thunderbirds TV series including the Mole and Firefly. 

The Vosper Turbine Yacht

Stavros Niarchos, shipping magnate and archrival to Aristotle Onassis was responsible for commissioning this super cool luxury speedboat from Vosper.

'Mercury' as the boat was officially christened was an adaptation of the Royal Navy's Brave Class motor torpedo boats - at the time the fastest warships in the world, origins perhaps just a touch brutal for a millionaires pleasure cruiser and rather akin to a Hummer golf cart. Her three Bristol Siddeley Proteus gas-turbine engines could push her to more than 50 knots, woefully stressful on the old handmade silk deck pumps and more than enough to jar even the largest gold filling but hey, he who pays the piper as they say. This boat was less of a promotional model for Vosper than a celebratory toy for Victory & Vosper Director Peter du Cane who must have rubbed his hands with glee when he heard about this commission. Like the earlier Vosper RAF boat, this model stayed in the Victory range right up until the company closed in 1969 and was then produced by Wrenn for a short period when they bought the tooling after closure.

Sadly, although no one knew it at the time, these would be the last models in Victory's large scale promotional range.

More Roadway Bits

Victory added two more items to the roadway range this year. A double supply power unit (providing two independent 12 Volt 1 amp supplies to run the track and accessories like traffic lights at the same time) and a scenic bridge (MR510). A simple five-piece kit made of pre-coloured cardboard held together by interlocking tabs and clip-on grey plastic balustrades. The design is slightly different to that shown on the instruction sheet in that the bridge carries advertisements for KLG Spark Plugs on the sides and the only mention of VIP anywhere is on the box.

The MR510 Scenic Bridge

Despite all the minor tweaks and improvements made during the previous three years, Victory's Roadway 'Set A' had remained fundamentally unchanged and sales throughout Christmas 1959 saw a marked decline. By mid-year the Board had decided that the time had come to completely revamp the system to try to meet the growing competition.

Although Victory had yet to abandon it's original roadway concept altogether, it had become clear that there was a huge demand for Formula One - Grand Prix type models. Something that would be next to impossible to produce with the existing VIP motor and chassis design. There had also been much criticism of the VIP track system for being over complex, unrealistic and not least very, very heavy.

Rather drastically it was decided to scrap all the original tooling for the track and to produce a new motor/chassis design from scratch. How did the new track and cars turn out? Well you'll have to turn to 1961 to find out. 


From Roadway to Raceway - 1961