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

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Champion Milk Express Reefer

In a prior post I had some good basic information on the OO products by Champion Model Company, but little on their Express Reefer. I believe this model to be an example.

It is in the collection of Ed Havens and he provided the photos. Actually, I am not certain it is Champion but the details would appear to match what I recall seeing at the home of Bill Chapin some years back. It took a little digging to find but I found my car side list from him which he typed up based on the actual cars and sides in his collection at that time. He had two different versions of the Champion GARE express reefer but they were lettered GARE 783 Wieland Dairy and GARE 710 Western Dairy. His list includes many other Champion, Nason, and Scale Rail sides. He only lists four styles of this model; the only other Champion OO express reefers listed are GPEX 755 Mars-Milky Way and SFCX 1000 Sheffield Milk.

I am still inclined to say this GARE 764 Dairymen's League car is Champion as there are so few other options and I also believe there must have been more than four versions of this car produced. According to Ed the car does not look to have decals and must have printed sides. So at the least this car has Champion sides. It has also picked up some Scale-Craft trucks.

The bottom view is somewhat inconclusive as well, except to say it is a rather plain underside. Click on the photos for larger views.

Digging around to find the Chapin list I got back in my letter archive. I really need to do more digging in this; there are many, many interesting things in those old letters, mostly from “OOldtimers” who have passed on. More on those another day.

UPDATE 2012: This Champion model was introduced in early 1942, see this article for more, which includes a scan of the original advertisement for these models.

UPDATE 2014: See this article for two more, recently rebuilt examples of the Champion milk express reefer. Comparing them, for sure the car above has upgraded doors at least and I wonder if it is simply a car nicely built up on a Picard body, the body that the Champion sides were intended to be on.

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