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  • OO scale | Royal Mail Wales Leyland Sherpa
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    OO scale | Royal Mail Wales Leyland Sherpa

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    A bit of Welsh flavour introduces the Sherpa Van from the 1970s-1980s into our 1:76 scale series of small commercials. And, for its first outing, it comes in the highly popular Royal Mail livery of bright red with yellow graphics, in this case bi-lingual Welsh/English. Registered HBO 703W, the number plate dates the vehicle as 1980-81 and from Cardiff.

    The Leyland Sherpa van was manufactured between 1974 and 1982. Apparently, it was originally designed to be built on the car production line, which meant it had a narrow back.

    On a positive note, this feature enabled it to negotiate narrow city streets - and in the case of our Welsh model, perhaps narrow country lanes as well! It was launched initially as the Leyland Van but in 1975, the name was changed to Leyland Sherpa.

    The first examples consisted of vans of 1.85, 2.15 and 2.40 tons. In 1978, the 1.7 and 2.0 litre engines replaced the original 1622cc and 1798 cc petrol units and the range was re-designated as 200, 230 and 250. This example is classed as the SHERPA 200, which appears on the rear of the model.

    The Sherpa proved to be very versatile too as its bodyshape lent itself for use as crewbuses and minibuses, as well as various chassis-cab options. Its large load space was also an advantage for small commercial van operators.

    A special piece of free publicity for Leyland came in 1977 when the Sherpa had its moment of movie fame in The Spy Who Loved Me when it was chosen as the vehicle driven by the baddie Jaws across the Sahara Desert. Needless to say, James Bond was not far behind - in fact he was hiding in the back!