A History of Siku Model Cars - Part I: Plastic Perfection. story by Remco Natrop color images by Hans Weening (from his collection) black/white images by Doug Breithaupt

These plastic Skiu models are part of the collection of Hans Weening of Holland
from the left - #V52 Mercedes-Benz 180 Police, #V40 Streetcar with #V572 Gate and #V1 Mercedes-Benz 300

 

In 1949 the Sieper company decided to complement its assortment of toys, which at that time consisted of mostly mechanical tin toys, with plastic toys. The company registered the name Siku in 1950, which stands for SIeper KUnststoff, and started producing plastic toys. After producing among other things a model railroad and several hundred different plastic figures, the so-called "margarine figures" because they came free with margarine, Sieper began to produce some plastic model cars and trucks. These models did not yet have any identification numbers and were large scale models. The first models that Sieper produced were:

1951: firetruck
1952: racecar
1953: amphibious truck
1954: removal van
1955: Porsche 356 with Gescha Patent engine

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Three American Cars from Siku - 1956 Buick Century #V74 - 1957 Mercury Voyager # V170- 1960 Chrysler New Yorker #V186

The margarine figures proved to be a big success and provided Sieper with enough capital to expand their toy range. Since cars began to get popular again after WWII the company decided to start production on a series of plastic car models. There were various debates about the scale these models should be in. 1:43 would make the models too expensive and 1:87 (HO) would encounter heavy competition from Wiking, another German based company which dominated the 1:87 model market at the time. (Sieper bought the Wiking company in 1984) The scale that was eventually chosen was 1:60 which was found to be competitive in costs and still large enough for details. The models were to be identifiable as the V-series in which V stands for 'Verkehrsmodelle' (Literally: Traffic Models).

In 1955 the V-series of plastic models were presented at the 'Nurnberger Spielwarenmesse' an annual convention in Nurnberg on which companies present their new toys. Besides the 32 models that were presented in the Siku V-series there was also a range of accessories consisting of traffic signs, figures, trees and buildings. The main reason these accessories were made was that Sieper wanted their models to be both enjoyable to play with as well as educational.

The Siku plastic V-series were made to be as accurate as possible, with exception to the larger models which often feature mechanics for their owners to play with. They generally feature clear plastic windows, metal axles that offer good rolling abilities, metal weights to make them a bit heavier, wheels with rims that match those on the real model and the characteristics of the original. Special are the sets produced for driving schools. They have a small magnet glued to the bottom of the model for use with a thin plated table on which traffic situations could be simulated.

When Sieper switched to die-cast metal models in 1963 (see part II of this story in a future issue) the number of plastic models in the Siku model assortment were gradually reduced. The last of the plastic V-series were produced in 1969.

The plastic V-series are now hard to find, especially in good condition. Mostly offered in moderately or heavily damaged condition outrageous prices are asked for them. These prices range from $12 to $750 depending on the model, color and condition. Common defects are dents, missing weights, broken edges on bumpers, scratches and partially or completely repainted models.

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Three German Sports Cars from Siku - 1957 VW Karmen Ghia #V81 - 1956 Mercedes-Benz 190SL #V58 - 1957 Porsche 550 Spyder #V87

Below is a list of the plastic V-series Siku produced between 1955 and 1969:

V 1 1955 - 1961 Mercedes 300 (model 53)
V 2 1955 - 1961 Mercedes 180 (model 53
V 3 1955 - 1959 Mercedes 220 (model 51) 
V 4 1955 - 1959 Mercedes 170 S (model 49
V 5 1955 - 1959 Lloyd LP 400 S
V 6 1955 - 1961 Hanomag 2t (model 52) 
V 7 1955 - 1959 Opel Rekord (model 53) 
V 8 1955 - 1959 Opel Kapitan (model 54) 
V 9 1955 - 1959 Opel Caravan (model 53) 
V 10 1955 - 1961 Opel Blitz 1 3/4t (model 52) 
V 11 1955 - 1963 Goliath threewheeler
V 12 1955 - 1959 Goliath 30
V 13 1955 - 1959 VW 1300 (model 53 and model 57) 
V 14 1955 - 1959 VW transporter I ambulance (model 50) 
V 15 1955 - 1961 VW transporter I pick-up (model 52) 
V 16 1955 - 1963 VW transporter I mini van (model 50) 
V 17 1955 - 1959 VW transporter I (model 50) 
V 18 1955 - 1964 Porsche 356
V 19 1955 - 1959 Ford M 12
V 20 1955 - 1960 Ford FK 1000
V 21 1955 - 1964 Ford 3500 D (model 51) 
V 22 1955 - 1959 Ford M 12 stationwagon (model 53) 
V 23 1955 - 1959 DKW Kombi
V 24 1955 - 1962 DKW pick-up with 
V 25 1955 - 1961 DKW pick-up
V 26 1955 - 1959 DKW Sonderklasse (model 53) 
V 27 1955 - 1960 Borgward 2400
V 28 1955 - 1959 Borgward 1800
V 29 1955 - 1959 Borgward 2400 Pullmann
V 30 1955 - 1963 Messerschmitt Kabinenroller (model 53) 
V 31 1955 - 1963 Mercedes L 3500 tipper truck
V 32 1955 - 1962 Borgward Diesel 4t tipper truck (model 52)
V 33 1956 - 1960 Mercedes 220 A
V 34 1956 - 1964 NSU-Fiat 1100 (model 53) 
V 35 1956 - 1963 Borgward Hansa 1500 Isabella (model 54) 
V 36 1956 - 1963 BMW 501
V 37 1956 - 1963 Trailer for small 
V 38 1956 - 1961 Goggomobil (model 55) 
V 39 1956 - 1969 Bussing Trambus 6, 
V 40 1956 - 1969 Streetcar
V 41 1956 - 1959 Henschel semi-tanker-truck
V 42 1956 - 1961 Henschel tow-truck
V 43 1956 - 1964 Henschel breakdown truck with semi-trailer
V 44 1957 - 1965 Trailer for small truck (like V 37) 
V 45 1957 - 1962 Henschel semi-tanker-truck "Aral"
V 46 1957 - 1967 Henschel semi-tanker-truck "Shell"
V 47 1957 - 1967 Henschel semi-tanker-truck "Esso"
V 48 1957 - 1965 Fahr dieselpuller
V 49 1957 - 1962 Fiat 600 (model 56) 
V 50 1957 - 1961 Renault 4 
V 51 1957 - 1963 BMW Isetta (model 55 and model 57) 
V 52 1957 - 1965 Policecar (Mercedes 180 or Mercedes 190) 
V 53 1957 - 1964 Trailer for cars
V 54 1957 - 1965 Whittener caravan
V 55 1957 - 1964 Mercedes Metz LF 15 fire brigade tooltruck
V 56 1957 - 1966 Mercedes Metz DL 22 fire engine
V 57 1957 - 1963 Trailer for streetcar
V 58 1957 - 1961 Henschel semi-tanker-truck "PAM"
V 59 1957 - 1964 Mercedes 190 SL
V 60 1957 - 1965 Trailer for tractor
V 61 1957 - 1965 Borgward wood transporter
V 62 1957 - 1965 Trailer for wood transporter
V 63 1957 - 1962 Mercedes glass transporter
V 64 1957 - 1962 Hayrake for tractor
V 65 1957 - 1962 Hanomag livestock truck 
V 66 1957 - 1960 Borgward with ski-gear (either 1800 or Isabella) 
V 67 1957 - 1960 Opel Caravan with imperial (model 53 or 60) 
V 68 1957 - 1962 Circus trailer
V 69 1957 - 1962 Animal trailer
V 70 1957 - 1966 Opel Blitz mail van
V 71 1957 - 1966 Mercedes 180 ambulance
V 72 1957 - 1964 Bussing 1 1/2 Deck-Aero_bus
V 73 1957 - 1963 Zundapp Janus 250
V 74 1957 - 1965 Buick 
V 75 1957 - 1961 Citroen 2
V 76 1957 - 1964 Citroen DS 19
V 77 1957 - 1965 Ford Fairlane Sunliner
V 78 1957 - 1961 Mercedes Taxi
V 79 1958 - 1966 Kemna Gigant street-roller
V 80 1958 - 1965 VW Karmann Coupe
V 81 1958 - 1965 VW Karmann Cabriolet
V 82 1958 - 1961 Ford M 17 Coupe (model 57) 
V 83 1958 - 1961 Opel Rekord (model 58) 
V 84 1958 - 1963 NSU Prinz
V 85 1958 - 1963 Goggo Coupe (model 57) 
V 86 1958 - 1963 BMW 600
V 87 1958 - 1965 Porsche Spyder
V 88 1958 - 1968 Mercedes LP 315 truck
V 89 1958 - 1961 Borgward truck with snowplough
V 90 1958 - 1962 Potato plucker
V 91 1958 - 1963 Mercedes box truck
V 92 1958 - 1964 Jeep
V 93 1958 - 1964 Trailer for Jeep 
V 94 1958 - 1968 Borgward army truck
V 95 1958 - 1967 Ford 3t army truck
V 96 1958 - 1961 Mercedes refrigerator truck
V 97 1958 - 1963 Mercedes removal truck
V 98 1959 - 1963 Ford Edsel
V 99 1959 - 1965 Hanomag K 60 E
V100 1959 - 1967 Henschel auto-transporter
V101 1959 - 1963 Henschel auto-transporter with 5 cars
V102 1959 - 1961 Borgward grocery truck
V103 1959 - 1967 Hatra-Schwenk loader
V104 1959 - 1965 Unimog
V105 1959 - 1965 Krupp 15 C 5 tipper truck
V106 1959 - 1961 Hanomag poultry transporter
V107 1959 - 1961 Cultivator
V108 1959 - 1964 Unimog with floating bridge (army colors) |
V109 1957 - 1961 V 10 + V 44
V110 1957 - 1963 V 21 + V 37
V111 1957 - 1961 V 8 + V 54
V112 1957 - 1961 V 13 + V 53 
V113 1957 - 1961 V 40 + V 57
V114 1957 - 1961 V 48 + V 62
V115 1957 - 1961 V 48 + V 60
V116 1957 - 1961 V 48 + V 64
V117 1957 - 1961 V 48 + V 68 + V 69
V118 1957 - 1961 V 48 + V 90
V119 1958 - 1963 V 92 + V 93
V120 1959 - 1964 Scheuerle low-loader for trucks
V121 1959 - 1965 Trailer with canoe
V122 1959 - 1961 V 48 + V107 
V123 1959 - 1964 Ford truck with army radar installation
V124 1959 - 1964 Henschel with semi-trailer
V125 1959 - 1963 OGM transport band
V126 1959 - 1966 Magirus garbage truck
V127 1959 - 1961 V 82 + V121 
V128 1959 - 1965 Trailer for Mercedes LP 315
V129 1959 - 1968 Daf - Hentocar bus
V130 1959 - 1969 Menck M 60 Excavator
V131 1960 - 1965 Unimog (army colors) 
V132 1960 - 1965 Crede DFG 3500 forklift 
V133 1960 - 1963 Miag airport lorry
V134 1960 - 1963 Miag trailer with luggage
V135 1960 - 1963 V133 + V134 (2x) 
V136 1960 - 1963 Trailer with army field kitchen
V137 1960 - 1963 V 95 + V138 
V138 1960 - 1967 Ford military hospital truck
V139 1960 - 1965 BMW 700 Coupe (model 59) 
V140 1960 - 1965 Renault Dauphine 
V141 1960 - 1964 DKW Junior
V142 1960 - 1963 Lloyd Arabella
V143 1960 - 1961 Opel 1200
V144 1960 - 1963 Ford M 17 stationwagon (model 59) 
V145 1960 - 1965 Auto-Union 1000 (model 58)
V146 1960 - 1965 Mercedes 220 S (model 60) 
V147 1960 - 1964 Opel Caravan (model 60)
V148 1960 - 1965 Opel Kapitan (model 60)
V149 1960 - 1964 Trailer for horse transport
V150 1960 - 1961 V 2 + V149
V151 1960 - 1964 Robuster III/48
V152 1960 - 1963 Henschel cable transporter
V153 1960 - 1963 V 88 + V128 
V154 1960 - 1965 Cobolt tipper-trailer
V155 1960 - 1965 Mercedes/Hoschle silo transporter
V156 1960 - 1964 Mercedes overhead maintenance truck 
V157 1960 - 1964 Magirus road cleaning truck
V158 1960 - 1969 V 99 + V 154 (2x) 
V159 1961 - 1969 Liebherr tower crane on trailer
V160 1961 - 1964 Porsche 356 highway patrol car
V161 1961 - 1965 Renault Floride Cabriolet
V162 1961 - 1963 Airplane tow-truck
V163 1961 - 1965 Meiller skip lorry (Krupp) 
V164 1961 - 1967 Henschel with Stetter AM 40 cement mixer 
V165 1961 - 1965 Hanomag construction tractor with tipper
V166 1961 - 1964 Temp Matador with lifting hold and cart
V167 1961 - 1964 Flexmobil
V168 1961 - 1967 Opel Blitz (model 60) 
V169 1961 - 1963 Swiss container car
V170 1961 - 1965 Mercury Voyager
V171 1961 - 1964 Opel Rekord (model 60) 
V172 1961 - 1964 Ford M 17 (model 60) 
V173 1961 - 1964 Meilli Agromobil
V174 1961 - 1964 Zettelmeyer vibrationroller on trailer
V175 1961 - 1967 Hanomag Markant 3t
V176 1961 - 1963 Trailer with overhead maintenance ladder
V177 1961 - 1964 Henschel Scraper
V178 1961 - 1963 3-axled tipper-trailer 
V179 1961 - 1965 Henschel with Atlas rocket on semi-trailer
V180 1962 - 1965 VW 1500
V181 1962 - 1965 Porsche 1,5 l racecar
V182 1962 - 1966 Hanomag 55 PS construction tractor
V183 1962 - 1966 Duck amphibious truck
V184 1962 - 1964 Tempo Matador with overhead maintenance platform
V185 1962 - 1965 Klaus Autoshovel 
V186 1962 - 1965 Chrysler Windsor (model 60) 
V187 1962 - 1964 VW 1500 Kombi (stationwagon) 
V188 1962 - 1968 Liebherr A 350 hydraulic excavator
V189 1962 - 1965 DKW - Auto-Union 4x4 F 91/6
V190 1962 - 1965 Mercedes 190 (model 61) 
V191 1962 - 1965 Mercedes 300 SE
V192 1962 - 1964 Mercedes 190 Taxi
V193 1962 - 1968 Krupp-Ardelt 15t salvage crane
V194 1962 - 1963 VW T1 police van with speakers
V195 1962 - 1967 Borgward special forces truck 
V196 1962 - 1965 1-axled trailer with cover (military) 
V197 1962 - 1965 Jeep with cover (military) 
V198 1962 - 1965 Faun UK 10 tipper truck 
V199 1963 - 1965 VW 1200 radar detector car
V200 1963 - 1966 Berliet heavy-duty tipper truck
V205 1963 - 1965 Ford Taunus Transit pick-up
V207 1963 - 1964 Trailer with rolled up cable
V208 1963 - 1965 Krupp DK 801 tipper truck
V210 1963 - 1965 Hanomag Markant 3t with Esso oil tank
V213 1963 - 1969 Menck M 60 crane grabber
V214 1963 - 1965 Crane bridge with magnet
V215 1963 - 1966 Ford mobile catastrophe lab
V216 1963 - 1965 Mercedes mail truck with 6 containers
V217 1963 - 1964 Trailer with 4 mail containers
V219 1963 - 1964 VW 1500 driving school car
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