Moto Magazine

1953 Redex Trial Diorama – Pt 2 – the Tubman Car

Posted on the 02 June 2015 by Gardenamateur

Non-Australian car fans can be easily forgiven for not knowing anything about Ken Tubman, but to older Aussies (like me), and French car fans (like me) this man is a bit of a legend. In his home town of Maitland in the Hunter Valley, the bypass is called "Ken Tubman Drive", and to people in the long-distance car rallying world, Ken Tubman wasn't just a guy who got lucky and won once. He competed for many years and took out several more prizes (including the London-Sahara-Munich World Cup rally in a Citroen in 1970), but all that aside, Ken Tubman will forever be the guy who won the initial Redex Reliability Trial of 1953, and it's the story of the win in the unassuming little Peugeot which is the one that has inspired this diorama.

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

In my previous posting to launch this diorama build blog, I
featured a photo of Ken and his co-pilot, John Marshall. Now
John was the one who owned the car, but Ken was the guy
who already had established a reputation locally as a driver.
The car itself is a Peugeot 203A, the first in the 203 series.

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

There are many minor differences between a 203A and its
successor, the 203C, the most obvious of which is the smaller
rear window on the 203A. Up until recently I hadn't seen any
diecast models of 203As at all. Everything I had seen was the
later 203C. An online friend (thanks RT!) showed me a photo
of a diecast 203A, so they do exist as diecast cars, but for
my diorama I wanted to build, then modify a plastic model
of a 203, just for fun, and also because modding plastic is easier.

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

So it was with real pleasure when I opened the Heller kit box
to spot that small 203A rear window. I've got the correct model!

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

Hopefully if you click on this image it'll come up a bit bigger.
This is just a diecast 203 with arrows showing the proposed mods
needed to get the Tubman car looking like the original.
Fortunately, it's not much work.

I've already made the very small number of decals needed, the main one being the stencil on the door (in red, the colours of the race's sponsor company, Redex). At the rear passenger window is an ad for Edgell canned goods and on the rear bodywork is a Kellogg's ad. That's it! Minimalist decals. 
Easy changes include switching over the steering wheel so it's right-side driver, and adding a radio aerial. Either side of the radiator, against the front grille, will sit two extra headlamps.
The final mystery object to add is a "thing" on the bonnet (or hood) of the car. See the photos below, and if anyone knows what this is for, I'd love to know. Most cars in the rally seemed to have them. 

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

You can just see it side-on here as Tubman passes through
the cheering crowds in Kipling, South Australia. It's in the
centre of the bonnet, both lengthways and crossways, and is
only a few inches high.

1953 Redex Trial diorama – pt 2 – the Tubman car

And here is the "thing" viewed from the front passenger seat.
Its shape and purpose is a mystery to me, but I am going to add
one to the Tubman car simply because it's there!

For my next two blog postings, I'll try to do a similar thing for the Holden FX, and also for the Peugeot 203 van used by the Cinesound film crew. Of the three cars the Tubman car needs the least modification to be brought up to a "replica" standard. The Holden isn't such a tough job, but the real challenge will be to get the Cinesound van looking the part.

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