This nice Lledo City of Toronto Double Decker Bus is another of my Candian-themed finds from the collector’s estate sale of several years ago.
When Lesney was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1982, founding engineer Jack Odell hand-picked the best personnel from Lesney’s design and production team, purchased machinery and tooling from the company, and created Lledo. The models produced by Lledo, which were manufactured in Enfield, England, were larger than the Matchbox 1-75 series, yet not quite as large as the Models of Yesteryear. Lledo’s Days Gone range of models included both horse-drawn and motorized vehicles and were much like the nostalgic Yesteryear series.
Lledo’s bread and butter was its line of promotional models. About thirty basic castings – among the most popular of which were the Ford Model T delivery and the Double Decker Bus – were used to produce hundreds of variations, usually in runs of 500 or 1000.
In the 1990s Lledo introduced the Vanguards range, which replicated classic British vehicles and other European models. Unfortunately, the well-crafted Lledo models couldn’t compete with lower cost products from Hong Kong and China, and the company went bankrupt in 1999. The naming rights and model range were purchased by Corgi. For a time, Corgi produced Lledo models in China, but eventually merged them into the Corgi Classics range.