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

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Nason PRR X-31 Automobile Car

A fairly late addition to the Nason line of American OO models was their Pennsylvania round roof automobile car. It shows up only in their last (1940) catalog, listed as number 5 in their car list. The listing says “Pennsylvania Round Roof Automobile Car, X-31—Red sides and ends.”

This is an example of this model. I have been looking for one for some time, and finally this one and a companion passed through EBay recently. I was curious about several elements of the design of the model. It is a 40’ car and uses the same frame, doors, and coupler pockets as their standard EZ-Built boxcar kits. The body has a different roof which would be a key to getting close to the design of the prototype car. The sides are printed on thin cardboard (or thick paper, more nearly) as seen in their other kits of this type.

The sides of this example look a bit weathered, but I think that is mostly due to the white printing ink wearing off the sides over 70 some years of handling.

Looking at the bottom, the standard Nason boxcar frame is visible. This car was built up with extra brake details, Scale-Craft trucks, and Kadee couplers. Also, note that the ladders chosen by the builder are standard Scale-Craft ladders.

Finally, looking at the end, I think the builder may have used a different end panel than supplied by Nason. The photo in the 1940 catalog would indicate that the car has a flat panel end. But I can’t tell the maker of the end so it may actually be a Nason part; it is on thinner cardboard stock than the comparable Famoco or Eastern ends, matching the material used on the sides.

Other cars in their line were made with several car numbers. The two of these cars that I own have the same car number (69572), and one seen in this article (scroll down), owned by Dick Gresham, has the number 69588. The one in the catalog photo seems to be a different number that ends with a 71. It is possible it is a pre-production model that does not match the production version. The model owned by Dick G. I would note has the flat ends, as seen in the catalog photo.

The model was a first for OO. It filled a niche and was not produced in much quantity I believe. It is one to keep your eyes peeled for if you are looking to own examples of every model in the complete Nason line.

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