Merit 02 (3)

French Racing Blue… Lago Talbot – just like Aussie, Doug Whiteford used for 2 AGP wins.

A little Merit – the era of Farina, Fangio, Moss, Hawthorn & Salvadori in miniature. Or closer to home Davison, Stillwell, McKay, Walton & Whiteford…

Many an enthusiast reading can possibly relate to a misspent youth building model kits. Referring to the instructions, cutting pieces from the sprues, filing, sanding, detail painting & gluing all the pieces together to create a plastic masterpiece. Hopefully with no spares left over!

The Merit brand from North London, UK-based toymaker, J & R Randall Ltd was an early player in the model kit industry. Racing Cars weren’t their only focus, ships, planes and even a Model T Ford played a part too. But here at the racing cars are really the only ones that matter.

Merit 06 (3)

Two times BRM Type 25. The one on the left is pretty much how Merit intended, the other has had a master modelmaker, Alistair Brookman makeover

The whole series cover many of the great racing cars of the late 1940’s through to the mid 50s and although they’re not in the later highly detailed Tamiya level, they make for a well proportioned 1/24 scale rendition of the actual racing car.
Fourteen kits make up a full set – covering the best of Italy, France, Germany and the UK industry.
Alfa Romeo 158
Maserati 4CLT/48
Maserati 250F
Lancia-Ferrari D50
Mercedes Benz W196
BRM Type 25
Connaught B Type
Cooper MkIX
Lago Talbot
Simca Gordini
Lotus 11
Jaguar D Type
Aston Martin DB3S

The kits made their way around the globe, with the Australian distributor being the father of a well known (just retired) Melbourne motoring book dealer. Finding them now is a little harder, but not impossible. The well known internet auction site might be your best friend for a search. As with many collectors items they’re worth more boxed and unbuilt. They are also popular for slot car conversion.

Merit 01 (3)

I see red… the Italian Merits – #2 Alfa Romeo, #17 Lancia-Ferrari, #15 Maserati 250F & #7 Maserati 4CLT/48.

Merit 03 (3)

More FRB with the Simca-Gordini F2, some German supremacy with the W196 Benz that Fangio and Moss dominated long before Hamilton and Rosberg got their gigs. The other car being the Cooper MkIX, these could be fitted with all sorts of Norton, JAP, Vincent or other motorcycle engines.

Merit 04

The British sporties… #2 Aston Martin DB3S, #6 Chapman’s Lotus XI and a Jaguar D Type (that one only part built).

Merit 05 (3)

The GP cars that helped towards Britain gaining on the Italians. #8 Vanwall, #22 Connaught B Type & #4 BRM Type 25.

Merit 10

A bit of Vanwall history and the written instructions to assemble the Vanwall kit.

Merit 11

The other side… Vanwall illustrated instructions

Merit 07

This should be all the Merit racing car collection.

Merit 12

Aussie car magazine, Modern Motor depicted these Merits in a race for April Fools Day 1959. Their cartoonist/artist, Terry Trowel added the drivers.


Merit 08

Side 1 of the Merit brochure. Note that not all the racing cars came out at once and that during 1958 the BRM, Maserati 4CLT/48 & Simca-Gordini would be added

Merit 09

Side 2 of the Merit brochure – note Donald Campbell’s Bluebird kit.


Sept 55 (MS Archive 18/4/15) “J & L Randall Ltd have introduced a Merit Outfit plastic assembly kit which makes up into a 1912- model-T Ford two-seater complete with driver. Their address is Potters Bar, Middelsex.” p43

Modern Motor

Words and Merit Model Collection: Stephen Dalton…

  1. Ken Collins says:

    I loved those kits and coveted them. Never did actually get my hands on one, though……..

  2. Alan says:

    Really enjoyed the article by Stephen Dalton on Merit Slot models from the 1950’s. I have 8 of these models, which I recently purchased from an antique store. I am now in the process of gathering information in an attempt to refurbish these models. If anyone has some suggestions how to improve these models, I welcome their replies.

    • markbisset says:

      Thanks Alan,
      It’s always been a popular article, best of luck with your models, I’ll pass on your comment to Stephen, I emailed him about something else a few minutes ago actually!

  3. Sarah_W says:

    My Dad (Anthony S.Wilson) was the individual who was contracted to build all of Merit’s 1/24 scale model cars, along with all of their 1/48 scale planes, for promotion purposes. The planes were of pretty decent quality, while the cars now show their age. Some of the cars had accessible engines, but most didn’t. At the time, we lived in Northampton, UK. I now live in the Vancouver, Canada area, and own some of the models Dad built for himself, plus the ones he didn’t, in inbuilt kit form.

  4. Stephen says:

    Welcome Sarah. Nice to know a little bit of your family history relates to Anthony building the promotional Merit kits. Paid to do his hobby I guess.

    I’m sure that if you are interested in taking some photos of your dad’s built models, Mark who runs the primotipo site will be more than happy to incorporate them into this feature.

    Stephen Dalton

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s