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Readers Digest (High Speed) 1974 Mack Fire Engine

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  • Readers Digest (High Speed) 1974 Mack Fire Engine

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    I had another model in mind, but I will bump it to next week, this one just seems more appropriate to the date today.

    High Speed made a number of models that were issued as premiums for Readers Digest magazine subscriptions, including a series of Fire Engines. This was actually the first I found, in a Salvation Army thrift store years ago. It is also a favorite among the models issued. The models were also issued as Grell (I can't think of any exceptions right now), and there are some Grell issues that were not released as Readers Digest - so the High Speed range of Fire Engines is a good bit larger than just the Readers Digest models. Most of the Grell exclusives are "foreign" to American eyes and likely why they were passed over.

    These are heavy on plastic and light on metal, and lack windows or interiors, but make up for it with accurate lines. The range covers models from the horse drawn era (I presume 1890s or so) up to this one in the mid-1970s, and include models not covered elsewhere. The departments are generic (the Grells typically advertise beer). Prices are modest, I think I gave a dollar for this one and I see small lots on the 'bay listing 3 or 4 for $10 or so and shipping...and up from there, which don't usually sell at the higher prices. The Readers Digest issues aren't difficult to find at least in America, but the Grell issues which typically come out of Germany can be a challenge - especially if you are looking for a specific model, and with shipping can be priced several times what the RD models can be had for.
    The image file limits have been reset. Upper limits now are 100,000 when we have some images that exceed 5,000,000. I've set the pixels for no more than 1000 across the longest side, so if you resize to that all should be well. (The limits are larger than what I typically use, and my images turn out just fine, so I know it shouldn't be a problem)

    Thank you for your understanding.

  • #2
    The High Speed fire engine series is a nice set. I was not aware of them until we spent nine months in the CA Bay area - my sister's in-laws lived in Santa Clara and would invite us to come down from Richmond and spend weekends with them. In one of our conversations I mentioned I collected little cars and she went into the den and brought out two or three of these Reader's Digest fire engines - it took me a few years to get them all but they are a nicely done set of fire engine and as you mentioned, not that difficult to find.


    • #3
      I was going to pick up a few beer trucks some time ago (then I decided, with so many done, it was one heck of a rabbithole I did NOT need to go down!), and noticed a lot of these RD castings did see reuse as beer trucks. Even if it meant little sense to me to see German beers not sold here (I don't drink, but some of the stuff I buy is in the beer aisle) on American fire trucks.

      While yeah, there's a lot of plastic, it still looks pretty good. My main defense of plastic (despite how much I hate it on MBX and HW) is the prices on the all-plastic HO scale stuff from the German makers. They manage really fine details, exquisite quality, and high prices. I was looking at a Herpa fire truck this afternoon--$75! My folks got me the old-timer cars when I was a kid, but they never got the fire trucks. I didn't even know they existed until I saw them at an antiques store as a teenager.
      Last edited by cody6268; 09-17-2020, 05:59 PM.