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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In the 1970s, Pirate Models (UK) began making (HO) 1:87 scale model bus kits. They were founded by Peter Cox and Guy Harrison who were (2) avid model bus collectors from North West London.

One of their first projects together was to salvage old brass toys from a Blue Peter Appeal (scrape metal drive) arranged by BBC TV. They and others sorted thru 50 tons of donated toys and light fittings. This effort saved thousands of Dinky and Tootsietoy castings from the smelter and raised tens of thousands of pounds via individual auctions for the effort.

This lead to their next major project which was to sort out replacement parts for these and other similar models. This lead to the organization of Pirate Models which specialized in making and sourcing needed replacement parts for collectors and restorers. The name Pirate was chosen as they didnt really have permission from Dinky to do this, but Meccanaco was delighted and referred their own received inquires for spare parts to them and advertised their service in their magazine editions.

The next step was finding a designer and starting production of new modern bus models. Mike Sheppard a pattern maker was brought on and a long line of buses and then train models followed - mostly in HO scale. Advertisements in model railway publications lead to featured articles and soon Walthers (USA) added their product line to their own catalogue publications. Production expanded to OO and N scale offerings.

A decision was made to form a partnership as a limited company to be called Pirate Models Limited. With the increased numbers of new kits, various other pattern makers were added in addition to Mike Shepperd, notably names were Brian Lawrence of LDM, Adrian Swain and Martin Beacom.

Three factors lead to the decision to sell Pirate Models - 1) Shepperd was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident; 2) the raising cost of tin - a major part of the white metal used in making their bus kits and 3) the increased number of makers using cheaper brass and cast resin parts. Pirate Models was first sold to Brian Emberton and then to John Gay.

Known castings -

Bristol K5G Maidstone & District
Bristol VR
Bristol VRL EWC (Thomas Cook) (Ribble Motor Services) (Standerwick)
General Motors Bus
Dennis Lowliner Aldershot & District
Grrhound Bus 1
Greyhound Bus 2
Interstation Special
Leyland P2 Sheffiedl
Lincoln Transporter RT
Paris Bus

Sourced references -

Membership - @karl s
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)

28,051 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks they were both interesting reads and I did a condensed updated version of the provided history for Pirate Models in the OP. If you feel like anything needs to be added or clarified based on your knowledge of them just let me know.

I added a review of diecast bus makers for further down the road on my own to do list and the article on Cox/Harrison and Gay provides a lot of leads to follow, but I want to finish up with the diecast cars before I start down that road. 🤙

(If anyone else wants to start on a bus (or any other diecast type) makers history - feel free to do so. It will be many months (or a year) before I will have the time to follow up on that project.)
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