Diecast Mule

M274 Mechanical Mule Wanted, For Sale (NO AUCTION or EBAY), and Knowledge Base
PBragg
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Re: Diecast Mule

Post by PBragg » Tue May 15, 2018 12:14 pm

Good catch Darryl!

These models don't show up very often but one did recently sell on FleaBay a few days ago. Another sold late last October. Finding one with a complete steering wheel is almost impossible. They won't hold up in a child's hand as a toy.

We still don't know how many were made or exactly when they were made. (I'm figuring around 1957 and about 25 or so known to exist.) Banthrico was purchased by another company sometime in the past. Now a lamp company if my memory serves me. I did send an email to them a few years ago but they never replied. It would be really neat if they have historical records of these models but that would be a real stretch.

I haven't spoken to Joe Sommer in a number of years now and don't know if he still makes the steering wheels. If you send me a PM I'll give you the last known email address.
Phil Bragg

2-1968 M274A5s
10-circa 1957 M274 Banthrico promo models
J. Sommer 1/6 scale RC Mule

darryl1209
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Re: Diecast Mule

Post by darryl1209 » Tue May 15, 2018 6:27 pm

Thanks for the great info Phil,
I’m thinking your right about the 1957 date, Banthrico probably made about 150 -200 of these for the army during the Korean war to be used as models. Since the 1970’s I’ve seen about 5 or 6 for sale at toy shows and I’m sure many were destroyed by children when taken home from the post. People have speculated that these were promos for the Willy’s Jeep Company but if that were true they would have made a civilian version instead of the military version, there had been talk about Willy’s making this for the public. There has to be a record of this purchase somewhere. I’m a retired Chief Petty Officer that spent most of my 20 plus years under the ocean, when I was off I spent a lot of time at local swap meets in Washington State and Hawaii. Thanks again Phil for helping me out. Regards Darryl
My email is (reed.123@hotmail.com)

PBragg
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Re: Diecast Mule

Post by PBragg » Wed May 16, 2018 4:51 am

Darryl...you are going to like this!

I have proof that Willys looked at the civilian market for the Mule. The first is a M274 brochure with a Nash dealership from NJ stamped on the back. The second was news article stating a M274 was placed at the American Stock Exchange for show and also a mention that a TV advertisement was included during a showing of the TV series "Maverick". (Around the fall of 1957.)

This may be why we see two different sets of tires used on the promo model.

Thank you for your service!

I'll be in touch.
Phil Bragg

2-1968 M274A5s
10-circa 1957 M274 Banthrico promo models
J. Sommer 1/6 scale RC Mule

darryl1209
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Re: Diecast Mule

Post by darryl1209 » Wed May 16, 2018 5:23 pm

Great info Phil, you could be right.
I would have thought the M274's would have been great for the public, they would have had a ton of uses.

Going on a trip until Monday, I'll talk to you then. Take Care Darryl

crankshaft45
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Re: Diecast Mule

Post by crankshaft45 » Thu May 17, 2018 3:47 am

Back about 1957-58 Michigan had it's first elk hunt in decades. On television they showed some hunters getting ready for the hunt. They were driving mules getting ready to go. Don't know where they got them, some must have been available to the public. Wanted one then, now I have two/
82nd Airborne 1960-63

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