Now here's a neat little Nifty '50s toy - a Panel Van from Ideal. The van itself is really a slab-sided, plain-Jane, nothing special design. What makes it interesting is the customized paint job applied by a previous owner back in the day. I have quite a few plastic cars and trucks that have been altered by previous owners and they are all special because of their connection to the past. Remember, back in the '40 and '50 there were no extensive lines of decals, Letraset rub-on lettering was non-existent, and you didn't have home computers and printers. If you wanted to customize your toys all you had was paint and brushes!
This truck would no doubt be all white but if you look closely you'll notice that only one side is painted (along with the bumpers and roof) with the name of - I'm guessing - a department store. Now why would someone only paint one side I thought at first? And then it struck me. Recalling my days in HO scale model railroading, the Wizard of Monterey and dean of HO scale model railroading, John Allen, devised a method of making one vehicle do the work of two. By painting only one side of a car or truck and then placing it carefully near a mirror positioned in the background it gave the appearance of there actually being two separate vehicles. Enjoy! Fritz and Bettina Berg