Reviewed by Glenn Morson, Associate Webmaster


From Left to Right
John Dennis (Grandson of the founder of Dennis Fire Engines)
Bernard Goves (Director Original Classics)
Roger Paice (General Manager-Dennis Fire)

Original Classics is a new  U.K. based company specializing in the production of high quality larger scale diecast models of classic British vehicles, “we aim to go that little bit further to provide the added details and authenticity required by the discerning collector” Original Classics

Company Background 

Stephen Green and Bernard Goves are equal partners in Original Classics with no other outside involvement, they started the company around two years ago. With the intentions of producing models across the whole range of scales, but financial reality and recognition of a niche for larger scale classic British vehicles lead them to concentrate only on the larger scale models. Stephen Green is not new to  Die-cast models or the Toy industry; I asked if he had worked in this field before.

Stephen replied, Yes I have worked in the die cast industry before. I started the UK operation for The Ertl Co. of Dyersville, Iowa and spent around ten years with them introducing Ertl die cast toys and models to the European market place. I later moved onto a Japanese toy company and then headed up Nintendo in the UK where Bernard was also a Director.”

Their aim is to introduce a unique range of classic British vehicle models in larger scales such as 1:18 and 1:24. These models will tend to concentrate on public service vehicles of a period from the 1950 to the present day and will reflect a particularly high level of authenticity and detail. Original Classics is working on a line of new models which includes a bus, a second fire engine and a police car.  The scales for these are going to be 1:18 and 1:24 but at this time there is no information on what manufacturers these models will represent. 

The First Model from Original Classics is a Dennis F8 for Leeds City Fire Brigade

  All Photos courtesy of Original Classic
Click on any image to see larger

The actual truck was supplied to the city of Leeds in 1953; the model is based on one of five custom built machines for the city. This was a variant of the standard F8 body layout, in that to access the rear crew compartment you had to enter via sliding doors at the back of the cab. For me after seeing Dennis F8’s at shows in the U.K when I was younger, I was confused as to why they did not go with a more conventional body style i.e. the standard four door version. I asked Stephen a number of questions; firstly, why the City of Leeds and why the Dennis F8?

“The reasons for choosing the Leeds City F8 are as follows:-

A.     We wanted a unique model not produced by any other manufacturer in any scale.

B.     More information was available within the Dennis archives about the five Leeds machines than any other apparatus. In addition, Dennis Fire was very helpful to us in locating the research material and has been very complimentary indeed about the finished product.

C.     I was born in Leeds and remember the vehicles well! In addition, they were/are great looking fire engines.

   The reason for choosing a Dennis F8 was that we felt a large scale fire engine was a good choice first model and we needed a reasonably compact sized machine which would not be too large for a model. The F8 also tends to epitomize British fire engines of the period.”

I also asked why 1/18 scale and not 1/24? “Our first model had to be unique and make a statement, there appears to be a growing market for 1:18 scale vehicle models throughout the world.”

One question that always get brought up is how much does it cost to produce such a model and how long? “The setup costs are HUGE!!!! (I can not be specific without taking a tablet) seriously though, I can not give that information out for various reasons. As for how long it takes to produce a
Die-cast Model, well from commissioning the first prototype to first shipment it was around twelve months.”

In one of the paragraphs above you said one of your new releases is going to be a new Fire Engine; could you give the readers an idea what that may be? “No sorry, I cannot give out further details at this stage; all new models are still in the planning stage. I would suggest to your readers that they keep checking back with our web site for updates.”

 Model Review

On opening the shipping box you will see a white mailer box with a sealed label on each side giving instructions on what direction to have the box when opening. Once opened, you will see a Styrofoam packing case securing your model and a ladder positioned on the outside of the Styrofoam in a recessed area. Carefully lift the top section off to expose the model. On the inside you will find a small plastic bag containing add-on parts: two mirrors and a front spot light. Also included in the packaging is a Certificate of Authenticity (Limited Edition of 5000 pieces) and a welcome letter from Original Classics with a how-to-care for your model instruction sheet.

The first thing you notice is the size of this model (WOW, IT IS BIG!) as the slogan says, used by Original Classics “SIZE DOES MATTER!”, with the vital statistics of 12 3/4" (32.4cm) LONG, 7" (17.8cm) HIGH and 4 1/4" (10.8cm) Wide also weighing in at 2.2 Kilos (over 4 3/4 lbs) this is one hefty model; but don’t be deceived it is also very delicate, so handle with care.

I had mixed feelings about this model when it was first brought to my attention. After seeing the super sized photos that were on the Original Classics web site; I was concerned about the quality of their product. I noticed some imperfections like interior paint showing on the outside and casting flash on the ladder not removed. BUT, I’m pleased to say when I received the review sample I was taken back by the quality, this has to be one of the nicest reproductions of a Classic British Fire Engine ever produced.   

The model boasts a number of features like opening front cab doors and rear sliding doors, when opened they reveal a realistic cream and gray interior. Inside you will see the detailed dashboard,  life-like seats and controls. Going back to the exterior of the model, you have opening equipment compartments, two on each side containing stowed hoses. All the lockers and side doors have separate chrome handles; this is a nice touch as it would have been simpler to cast them as part of the body. The wheels are very detailed with the front being posable.  Original Classics has paid great attention to detail on this model right down to the working hinges on the doors and compartments that have the correct look and feel about them. Looking to the front, you will notice the details are all there. The Dennis signature grill looks amazing. It’s just as I remember it. All the lights have clear lenses; the interior officer’s spotlight is visible through is own little window plus above the windshield, there are two amber warning lights. This model just oozes with nostalgia.



Photos Copyright 2004 FireEngines.net 
Click on image to enlarge

The pad printing for the City of Leeds coat of arms is crisp and faithfully reproduced with vibrant colors; the model is painted in high quality paint with a mirror finish. Chrome is everywhere as it was on the real truck. The rear pump panel is also realistically replicated with all the gauges, valves and handles. In addition, at the rear you will find removable hard-suction, opening sliding doors, a chrome search light with a clear lens and a hose reel in the authentic pink rubber hose color of that time. All lenses are clear, orange or red transparent plastic. The Ajax 35-foot ladder is molded in brown plastic then painted over with a flat brown to give it a more realistic look; there are also the pulley and ropes.

To sum this model up, Original Classics did an outstanding job replicating this classic Dennis Fire Engine with nothing overlooked.  This model would be the proud centerpiece of any fire model collection with attention being drawn to it by its shear size and overall quality. This is a Museum standard model at exceptional value for money, with attention to detail that can not be faulted. The photos on Original Classics site do not do this model justice one bit. You need to see it to appreciate what Stephen and Bernard have brought to the collectors’ world. I personally cannot wait to see the next Fire Engine in their collection.


 “60% of our UK customers have telephoned us following receipt of their model, saying how superb it is and how reality is so much better than
 the advertising photographs suggest. Most also comment on what a good value the model represents at the price.”
Original Classics

I would like to say reviewing this model has made me just a little home sick; as I’m from a town named Huddersfield which is located about 22 miles outside of the City of Leeds in West Yorkshire. When I was younger, my sister and I, along with my Dad used to ride a Dennis F8, Ex-West Ridings Fire Service, which was stationed at Brighouse, West Yorkshire and a Dennis F7 Pump Escape Ex-Huddersfield to the vintage vehicle shows around the U.K. I would like to thank Original Classics for bringing back some of those memories. Glenn Morson, Associate Webmaster, www.fireengines.net

International Prices

All Prices Pounds Sterling and include shipping + handling 


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Original Classics, PO BOX 1233, SOUTHAMPTON, SO16 7UA, UK

 Web Site: www.originalclassics.co.uk


 Phone: +44 870 444 3690 (out side the U.K.)

E-mail: sales@originalclassics.co.uk


When ordering please state numbers of models required and allow 28 days for delivery from payment clearance

Delivery by insured carrier ? Signature will be required ? 10% for orders of six or multiples of six

For more information on bulk purchase please E-mail: sales@originalclassics.co.uk

Please Note:  Postage is required if mailing orders from outside of the U.K.

All orders are subject to acceptance by Original Classics Limited

Any orders in multiples of six units (master carton) attract a 10% discount
but all six have to go to one address and have a single payment source.

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