Wednesday, June 3, 2015

1953 Redex Trial Diorama, pt 3 – The Cinesound Peugeot 203 'Van'

The Cinesound Peugeot 203 "Van" has been my real discovery of researching the Redex. I didn't know about its existence until recently, but to me it's as much a wonderful story as the winning 203 sedan driven by Ken Tubman. Imagine the winning car of a 6500 mile rally being basically the same vehicle which the news crew drove through all the same 6500 miles while covering the event? Probably has never happened before or since!

I know from watching the small number of videos available on You Tube that this photo, above, was taken somewhere near Alice Springs, in Central Australia. The crowd on the hill are local Aborigines, who obligingly waved for the cameras in some cheesy shots used during the newsreels. 

The 203 'van' itself is a bit of a one-off, as far as I can tell. Yes, it has windows down the side like the Peugeot 203 breaks (station wagons) of the time, but that last side window is smaller than on the breaks (see the model below). The various "Commerciale" and "Fourgonnette" Peugeot 203s came either with no windows down the side, or just the first one, after the driver/passenger windows of the main cab. My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the extra windows down the back were added locally. I might be wrong, but Googling Peugeot 203 vans doesn't show many other vehicles with windows quite the same as this one.

So, for my diorama, I was faced with the task of coming up with a "perfect" replica of the 203 Van with the homemade extra windows, or just using the more familiar "break", pictured below. Mostly for reasons of cost, I have decided to go with my Altaya model of the break, as it's already painted in the right mid-grey colour as the Cinesound car – and besides, it's going to need a lot of modifications to look the part.

As I did with the Tubman 203 sedan, I have mocked up in Photoshop what the diecast 1/43 model of the Peugeot 203 break needs, in order to be turned into a reasonably good replica of the Cinesound car. 

If you click on the photo it will come up a bit bigger. I am
planning to build my own roof rack from soldered-together
brass tubing. The decals are easy to do in Photoshop.

As well as bulding the roof racks, I'll have to devise some
canvas-covered "stuff" to fill the racks. The front of the van
needs quite a bit of work. Lots of extra headlights for starters
plus also a replica of the hand-cranked winch at the front.

Here's a still from the Redex movies, of the winch being cranked
by hand by one of the Cinesound team.

For my own amusement, I've also made up a small file on
what I need to think about when making the winch.
I'd hate you to think I'm some kind of model-building or model-modding expert. Far from it, I am somewhat of a newbie with less than two years' experience in model-building, and almost zero, zilch, nil experience at modding. But I'm not going to let that stop me!

For the roof racks for this 203, I'm buying a soldering set and some brass and hope to make my own racks. I have another 1/43 Peugeot 203 Fourgonnette here with roof racks to give me a pattern to follow. And once I have mastered soldering up the roof racks, I am hoping that making the winches from some brass pieces will seem just that little bit easier.

Wish me luck!


  1. Quite a few Aussie 203 vans had the similar windows to that pictured. Some 203 vans were used as ambulances , some had special enlarged bodies , one is known to exist in Qld. Some of the 203 panel vans were converted to "styleside utes" in Melb 14 I believe. 7 are known to remain

  2. Thanks for the info on the 203 Vans. Didn't know all that, so it's appreciated.

  3. The competitors could not understand how the van always got in front of them and Cinesound was accused of having three identical vans. In reality they would drive the van at nearly 70 mph for hours at a time. The panel van was an absolute bargain, less than a saloon, probably because of a favourable tax treatment, so many were sold and fitted with windows and seats.

  4. That's great info on the panel vans, thanks, as various photos I've seen of 203 "vans/breaks" have slightly different windows. The fact that the windows were local conversions to vans explains why there are so many differences.

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  6. l have a 1953 203 van in my back shed, no side windows, 203A

  7. Thanks for that info Pete. Is your 203 van a runner?