Category Archives: construction vehicles

Road Rollers

I am not generally a great fan of construction vehicles, I tend to collect sports cars. Having said that, however,  I do have a weakness for cement mixers, especially the Foden Cement Mixer (#21) in the Matchbox range at the time of the transition from regular wheels to Superfast wheels (1969-70). I also feel a strong Nostalgia Buzz with the 8-Wheel Crane (#30) of that same period.

frisson of nostalgia crane and refrigerator truck
8-Wheel Crane (#30)  and Refrigeration Truck (#44)

When Lesney launched Matchbox in 1953, the first of the four original Matchbox vehicles was a road roller. A diesel Aveling-Barford Road Roller. So there is an historic significance to road rollers for the Matchbox collector. This was around before I was born, so I have no fond childhood memories of this and I don’t seek out Matchbox vehicles before 1965.

matchbox road roller 1953
A diesel Aveling-Barford Road Roller (not my photo)

Yesterday, on the steps of the clothing market, I was not expecting to find anything interesting except the usual Chinese junk, but I came across a Majorette Rouleau Compresseur (road roller), the asking price just 1 lari. This model has been in the Majorette line for over three decades from 1982 until 2014. Earlier models were made in France, but this is a later model that was made in Thailand, it still has a commendable amount of metal in the model.

rouleau compressor
Majorette Rouleau Compresseur

I only have one other road roller in my collection, a recent Matchbox road roller, which is smaller and more plasticky than the Majorette model. The Matchbox model is in a dark metalflake green, which would look fine on a sports car but is, to my mind, less realistic than the slightly orangey yellow of the Majorette model. Matchbox may be my favourite brand but here I prefer the Majorette.

road rollers
Matchbox and Majorette road rollers

As a young child, a treat was to visit Salt Hill Park in Slough, in the playground was an old traction engine road roller fixed in the ashphalt for children to clamber over and play on. These days it probably wouldn’t be allowed because of health and safety concerns, but I recall it with fond memories.