by Kolner Prameta
One of the nicest collectible car toys from the 1940s-1950s is a diecast wind up car by Prameta Kolner. The car was made in occupied West Germany Brit Zone, after World War Two. These wonderful toys came in a shiny chrome finish or black, as well as yellow, red, blue, cream and green, with differing shades and tones of these colors. Some of the uniquely awesome features of these cars is their front turning wheels and front turn signals that “light up”.
The “light up” feature of the turn signals is figurative – more on that later. The cars are relatively heavy and well built. We think the keys for these cars are cool because they look like little policemen. Personally, we think the policeman can double as a chauffeur, depending on your mood at the time. The cars have three forward and one reverse gear.
Kolner made several models of the Prameta series wind up car, including a Mercedes, Opel, Jaguar and a Buick. Collectors like the car with the box and/or instructions, and are often willing to pay top dollar for a good condition, in-the-box model. Even the wind up key is valuable by itself – if you have a car without the key.
Although the colored cars are more desirable to some collectors, the super shiny chrome finish looks awesome with the cool blue-green windows. The turn signals are activated by the turning of the vehicle – they poke out of the front fender on the left or right as the car turns accordingly.
These beauties weigh in at a hefty 14 ounces (approximately) and sizing varies between 5 to 6 inches long by about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and high.
1. Running Gear
The running gear is wound up by inserting the key into the square under the base plate. The traffic policeman serves as the key.
2. Gear-Changing (speed regulation) Neutral, Reverse
All these gear changes are effected with the little lever at the back of the car (garage headlamp). With new cars, the changing from forward to reverse and vice versa will be facilitated if one of the rear wheels is turned at the same time.
R= Reverse ♦ O= Neutral ♦ 1= Slow gear ♦ 2= Medium gear ♦ 3= Fast gear
3. Self-controlled curve steering and hand steering.
A lever with the positions A, B, C will be found under the base plate behind the left front wheel.
A= Non-automatic, i.e. hand-steering. This is effected by moving the front fog lamp to the right or left, but this should only be done when the curve steering is on “A”.
B to C= Automatic curve steering.
B= Biggest curves.
C= Smallest curves (minimum space requirement).
The lever can also be placed at any desired point between B and C.
Important: Before switching over from hand steering (A) to automatic curve steering (B to C) the wheels must be turned by hand until the left trafficator protrudes.
Do not apply force when changing from A to B. If necessary, allow the running gear to run down a little first.
4. Cleaning the running gear.
The body is fixed to the base plate by two or three screws (D and E or D, E, F). It can easily be removed after loosening these screws. Opening of the car should only occur when the spring is fully run down!
When the car no longer runs at full speed, it is necessary to clean the running gear. This should be done as follows: After removing the body, wind up and hold the car by the front fog lamp and dip it into a container filled with light petrol; now allow the mechanism to run down while in the petrol.
After cleaning, put a drop of good sewing machine oil into the spring drum and on the bearings. Do not oil the centrifugal governor.
Some interesting points for those interested in the technical side of the car:
The front axle rests in a central pivot and thus operates as a jointed cross shaft axis. Therefore, even when the car is standing on an uneven surface, it will always stand on all four wheels. The back wheels run in specially shaped bearings. This prevents any bending of the rear axle even when overloaded and avoids any flapping of the wheels.
With the exception of the screws and springs, the car contains no iron or tin pars. All the running gear parts in particular are of sturdy construction and are made of stainless heavy metal alloy. In spite of the limited space available, the running gear is very strong. It runs for about 20 yards and is protected against over winding.
The speed variation of the infinitely variable speed transmission is effected by means of a centrifugal governor. It is interesting to note that the forward gears, neutral, reverse and also the brake are all united in one lever, via the garage headlamp.
The actual body is not marred by any holes or levers; the three levers controlling all the many functions of the car are situated underneath.
The main technical feature of the vehicle is its irregular and unexpected automatic steering in curves.
The steering impulse is given automatically by means of a steering fork to the right or left for a short period of time. Thereafter the steering of the car is released so that any resistance met with “on the road” can unexpectedly alter the direction of running.
The indicators are connected to the front axle so that they automatically follow the movement of the wheels.
The running gear is protected against dirt and dust by partition walls. The car can therefore be run along a clean asphalt road or on concrete surfaces. It should, of course, be kept away from sand and water.
And now we wish you “happy driving”!