The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Two American OO Coaches of Mystery [Solved: Graceline]


The cars of the day today are these two American OO heavyweight passenger cars. They came to me in a large group of items some year ago, and periodically I get them out and ponder them. On first glance they look pretty average with the typical die pressed paper sides, maybe J-C or Graceline, but whenever I look at them closer their origins are not clear at all.

First I can tell you what they are not. The sides on these cars are not Famoco/J-C Models, and they are not Graceline sides either [see UPDATE]. The rivet patterns and window spacing is unlike that of any side in either line of models. Click on the photos for a better view.

So what does that leave us with? They look too professional to be home made, so I am left with maybe the original 1936 version of the Nason easy-built coach (they briefly sold a side of this type before changing to brass sides) or maybe Raymond Willey (very early productalso mentioned in this article, a friend of Red Adams) or ???

Whatever they are, as to these sides they are in their second use on a car. The builder painted over decals and they had been applied to a previous car body with pins. The holes are still there, but this time around the builder used glue and I think cast Selley parts for the ends and doors and steps and frame, along with Scale-Craft caboose smoke stacks for more of a work train/older time look.

These at one point had trucks based on the screw holes but have never been set up with couplers. The builder knew what they were. I do not. So while I realize this will never be a high traffic article, items like these cars of mystery intrigue me, and hopefully a few other readers out there will take a closer look at cars that look like J-C and find more cars with these early sides.

UPDATE 2013: Working on some Graceline cars the doors at the end of each car tipped me off, they are Graceline doors. Looking also at their catalogs again I realized that the coach is not illustrated. So ... 99% sure these are Graceline coaches, and more inclined to restore them now as well, with correct Graceline under frame parts from the parts supply.

UPDATE 2014: And they are done. See this article for the finished cars. 

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