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Discussion Starter #1
SISPLA (DUGU) FIAT 697 N LOW SIDED TIPPER LORRY

Manufacturer: Sispla ex Dugu

Range: "Macchine Da Lavoro" - work vehicles

Model: Fiat 697 N dumper truck

Reference number: 3

Scale: 1:43rd

Length: overall 160mm wheelbase 105mm

Made in Italy


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 4 by Chris*4, on Flickr

3/4 front view


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 8 by Chris*4, on Flickr

3/4 rear view


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 3 by Chris*4, on Flickr

Side view tipper raised


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 6 by Chris*4, on Flickr

Close-up of cab detailing


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 5 by Chris*4, on Flickr

Close-up of wheel detail


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 7 by Chris*4, on Flickr

Close-up of tipper mechanism


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 2 by Chris*4, on Flickr

On location in North Wales


Sispla Dugu Fiat 697 tipper 1 by Chris*4, on Flickr

Another on location in Wales shot

BACKGROUND

Dugu was a brand specialising in vintage model cars and was active from 1961 to 1973. The name was changed to Sispla in 1974 before they closed for business in 1975. The visionary behind this range was Bartolomeo Chiodo, a vintage car enthusiast. As a departure from vintage cars Dugu produced promotional commercial vehicles from 1966 starting with a 1:15th scale Same Centauro tractor. A range of 1:43rd scale truck models commenced in 1970 and were released to the public in 1974. Notification of the first truck model issued appeared in the British ‘Scale Models’ magazine July 1974 edition. Reg Miles provides confirmation that this was released under the Dugu brand. An illustration is also included of a Fiat 90 NC tipping truck. In the ‘Scale Models’ July 1976 issue there is an advert from Auto Replicas which states that they are sole distributors of the Dugu range of trucks. The August 1976 issue of ‘Scale Models’ features illustrations of the four types of trucks available including the 697 tipper and Reg Miles still refers to these models as being from Dugu. He also notes that the firm recently went out of business. No mention is made of Sispla but the model featured in this article is marked ‘SISPLA’ on the cab base. However, Dugu’s owl symbol is cast in the base of the engine block as is ‘Made in Italy’. After Sispla collapsed the truck models became part of the fledgling Old Cars range.

THE MODEL

Originally part of the Dugu range this model was designed from the outset as a promotional model to be used by Fiat. Hence this model features detailing not found on contemporary toy trucks. Most notable are the wheel hubs. These are exactly the same as used on the full scale Fiat. Also the tyres are prototypical with Pirelli neatly featuring on the side walls. The cab is die-cast zinc alloy with interior detailing featuring seats and steering wheel in the RHD position. Separate plated plastic door handles are inset into the doors and a similar method is used for the grill. A Fiat badge is also a separate item applied just above the grill area. Surprisingly the chassis is made from plastic and this component includes the front bumper area. On the bumper are the headlights which are another separate item represented in clear plastic. The fuel tank has a plated plastic cap. For the low sided tipper body and for the hinged tail board zinc-alloy is the material selected. Underside details have not been neglected either with neat representations of the suspension system, axles and prop shafts. The tipping action comprises of a plastic component with one end featuring a hook shape and the other an extended arm pivots on a metal bar in a central location on the chassis. One end of this bar is shaped as a handle. Operating this handle releases the hook and the arm raises the tipper body. The action is not as smooth as the ‘hydraulic’ styles found on contemporary toy tippers but is still effective. The model was issued in an all card Fiat promotional box. There are no references to Sispla or Dugu as being the model manufacturer.

THE REAL DEAL

Production of this heavy truck commenced in 1970 until 1980. Firstly under the Fiat Veicoli Industriali brand (the heavyweight division of the Fiat SpA group) then from 1975 by IVECO. However, it was still built in Fiat’s Argentinian plant until 1996. The ‘N’ denotes a 6X4 configuration road legal truck chassis. It was also available as an articulated tractor, an off-road truck and a military 6X6 version. Until 1974 it was produced for the home market in RHD. This was the convention for Italian made heavy trucks at the time as it enabled the driver to see the edge of the road in mountainous regions. Designed from the outset to be a rugged performer in all markets. It’s reliability became legendary and many are still operating in South America, Africa and Asia. Power was provided by Fiat’s famous 8210 6-cylinder engine with a 13.8 litre capacity which had a maximum torque at only 900 r/min.

Cheers Chris
 

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What a great find of a rare truck. Does this mean the hunt is on for #1 and 2? :eek:
How different are they, I wonder. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
What a great find of a rare truck. Does this mean the hunt is on for #1 and 2? :eek:
How different are they, I wonder. :confused:
Thank you Karl - this one certainly took along time to find!

The complete range of Dugu's 'Work vehicle' series is:

1. Same Centauro tractor 1:15th scale
2-1. Fiat 550 tractor
2-2. Fiat 600 tractor
2-3. Fiat 640 tractor
3. Fiat 697 three axle tipper
4-1. Fiat 90NC lorry
4-2 OM N100 lorry - same as 4-1 but with OM badges
5. Fiat 90 NC tanker

The tractors and tanker models are virtually unobtainable so I think I pass on collecting the full set. But then again ........ ;)

REFERENCES

Scale Models July 1974 ‘Autominology’ Reg Miles pp 378 - 379 published by Model and Allied Publications

Scale Models July 1976 Auto Replicas advertisement p 361 published by Model and Allied Publications

Scale Models August 1976 ‘Die Cast Scene’ Reg Miles pp 396 - 397 published by Model and Allied Publications

Miniature and Collectors number 2 ‘Dugu: old cars in scale with the owl trade mark’ pp 50 - 55 published by Giorgio Nada Editore 2001

Chris
 
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