The Gilbert American Flyer HO Index

Tyco Gilbert Hybrid Passenger Cars

1959 was the 50th Anniversary of the A.C. Gilbert Co.  Gilbert had modified the chassis of the Atlantic to produce an old time locomotive to head a set dubbed The Frontiersman.  This set was heavily merchandised in the S Gauge line, as evidenced by the advertising of that time.  In order to produce an equivalent set in the HO line, Gilbert contracted with Mantua-Tyco, who was already producing an old time set marketed as "The General" of Civil War fame.  Less well known is the fact that Gilbert also provided shells for Tyco passenger cars in that same year.  It is likely that the use of these shells was part of the deal which included the manufacture of the Gilbert HO Frontiersman set by Tyco.

Prior to 1959, Mantua-Tyco had produced aluminum passenger cars but was attempting to transition to more modern plastic cars.  Gilbert had just what they were looking for in the Gilbert streamline passenger cars that were included in the Northern Pacific and Southern Pacific sets.  The Tyco-Gilbert cars did not include a dome car, as was included in the Gilbert line.  While the Gilbert cars had single bulb lighting, the Tyco-Gilbert cars were dual lighted.  They also had different silhouettes than the Gilbert cars.  The insides of the Gilbert bodies used by Tyco are embossed with the Gilbert part number, P13C763, as shown in a photo below, clearly establishing their source.

The cars produced using Gilbert bodies had Tyco frames and were decorated for the Baltimore and Ohio and the Canadian Pacific.  These cars are easily distinguishable from the more common Tyco cars produced in 1960 and following years because they are longer, as can be seen in the photos below from Joe King's collection.  They illustrate the short plastic Tyco cars, the long Tyco-Gilbert cars, and the Gilbert Cars. 

The illustrations immediately below show the two sets Tyco offered in 1959 featuring the Gilbert produced cars.  Click on the illustrations below to view larger images of the sets.

Tyco t5913 Set

Tyco t5908 Set
 Illustrations above and catalog page courtesy of
Click here to view full 1959 catalog page.

Click on Images for a larger view
Tyco B&O Combine - 1959Tyco-Gilbert Combine - B&O - Dom San Giovanni Collection
Tyco B&O Coach - 1959
Tyco-Gilbert Coach - B&O - Dom San Giovanni Collection
Tyco B&O Observation - 1959
Tyco-Gilbert Observation - B&O - Dom San Giovanni Collection
Tyco Canadian Pacific Combine - 1959
Tyco-Gilbert Combine - Canadian Pacific- Dom San Giovanni Collection
Tyco Canadian Pacific Coach - 1959
Tyco-Gilbert Coach - Canadian Pacific- Dom San Giovanni Collection
Tyco Canadian Pacific Observation - 1959
Tyco-Gilbert Observation - Canadian Pacific- Dom San Giovanni Collection
Size Comparison Photos of Tyco shorty cars, Gilbert Tyco cars, and Gilbert Cars
Tyco Gilbert Combine
Tyco-Gilbert Combine - Photo Courtesy of Joe King
Tyco Gilbert Coach
Tyco-Gilbert Coach - Photo Courtesy of Joe King
Tyco Gilbert ObservationTyco-Gilbert Observation - Photo Courtesy of Joe King
Gilbert-Tyco Frame ComparisonFrame Comparison of Gilbert (top), Tyco for Gilbert body 1959 (middle) and Tyco 1960+(lower)
Photo Courtesy of Joe King
Inside of Tyco-Gilbert 1959 shell showing Gilbert part number
Inside View of Tyco-Gilbert Shell with Part No.
PhotoCourtesy of Joe King