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I just received a great three-piece set of Williams “0” Gauge Deluxe Heavyweight Series Passenger Cars.

These seem to be from the 1970s, new old stock, from Nicolas Smith Trains in Pennsylvania.

I’m wondering if anyone has instructions on how to assemble these kits. The instruction sheet was not included in the box with the unassembled parts.

Thank You, Joe Kerzich

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I bought a set a few decades ago and gave up after the first one. I gave them to a then-retired friend who spent "a few minutes" (a day, for a month) assembling them.  What appealed was the fact that the ones I bought were the original Bakelite bodies, not the thermoplastic ones.  They were the original black color and needed to be painted. Too much work for a lazy and unskilled guy like me.

The "assemble yourself" scam was brilliant: get the customer to finish the product. Sort of like the "pick-em yourself" strawberry farms.  A friend claims that the next step will be "plant-em yourself".

Last edited by Arthur P. Bloom

2022-07-01 14-00-58_0582.1Initially, there was no savings in buying the kit because that is the only way they came.

I think we are missing the point here.  This was around 1975.  If you were a collector then and wanted to own the Madison cars the only way to do it was to (1) find them and (2) pay the price.  They were rare (relatively) and expensive.  Then there was the 'condition' issue.  That made them more expensive.  Williams produced this virtually identical set (except for rivet count) made out of the same material for not much money.  It was the only way some collectors and operators were ever going to own the 'Madison' cars.

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Last edited by Bill DeBrooke

It's a scam when you're not the kit-building type and you buy it because you think that you're going to save money.

Mike

Scam = a dishonest scheme; a fraud; a confidence game.  (Of course that's just a explanation from a dictionary)

Mike, you got me laughing on this one.  It's a scam if you don't know that you are not the kit building type?  Someone has made an unethical business transaction by offering a railroad kit to buy and put together?   And in the model railroading industry, mind you, where kit building and kit bashing is commonplace.

BTW, Jerry Williams did a lot for the O gauge market place.  Bringing sorely needed innovation and competition.  And let's not forget Mike Wolf got his start at Williams.

Jerry was a scammer?  Come on.

@aussteve,

My comment is not about who's selling, or what they're selling.  Check it carefully.  It's about who's buying.

None of the sellers you mentioned were scammers.  I didn't intend to imply so.  My apologies if that's how it was interpreted.

On the other hand, people who bought the kits thinking that they were going to save money because they were kits, were scamming themselves.  True kit-bulders, and there were indeed many, many of them back in the day, knew better than that.

Mike

@Magicland posted:

Not much money? $97.50 in 1975 dollars is $530 today, for 3 15" cars. Not to mention you had to put them together yourself...

I don't want to do the research so would someone else look up what a mint three set of Madison cars would have cost in 1975.  When I finally found a near mint set at a TCA meet in the early 70's it required a lot of thinking as to buy them or not.  Later I sold them to help pay Property Taxes that year.

Train collecting in the 70's was a lot different than it is today.  Today anything I want, I can probably find on the net within seven or eight clicks.  If you owned a mint set of those cars, you probably never put them on the tracks.

@aussteve,

My comment is not about who's selling, or what they're selling.  Check it carefully.  It's about who's buying.

None of the sellers you mentioned were scammers.  I didn't intend to imply so.  My apologies if that's how it was interpreted.

On the other hand, people who bought the kits thinking that they were going to save money because they were kits, were scamming themselves.  True kit-bulders, and there were indeed many, many of them back in the day, knew better than that.

Mike

The people who purchased these kits were not 'true kit builders' or 'kit builders' by any description.  A kit builder would have looked at these cars and said, are you kidding me.  Nothing remotely looked correct about these cars from a 'kit builders' point of view.

These cars are aimed directly at Lionel collectors.  Those collectors that had come of age probably in the 50's to early 60's and had missed the opportunity to buy them new from a Lionel dealer.  In the Michigan/Ohio collecting arena at the time they were rare and expensive.

You may also recall that Lionel was doing absolutely nothing in 1975.  They were grinding out pre 69' products and not much of that.

Last edited by Bill DeBrooke

I bought a set a few decades ago and gave up after the first one. I gave them to a then-retired friend who spent "a few minutes" (a day, for a month) assembling them.  What appealed was the fact that the ones I bought were the original Bakelite bodies, not the thermoplastic ones.  They were the original black color and needed to be painted. Too much work for a lazy and unskilled guy like me.

The "assemble yourself" scam was brilliant: get the customer to finish the product. Sort of like the "pick-em yourself" strawberry farms.  A friend claims that the next step will be "plant-em yourself".

They already have that here in NJ. Its called sponsor a row!

Joseph, unless are just want to run these 15" cars, I would pass.  The trucks are like 50's Lionel trucks that do not have needle point axles.  In 1979 if I recall correctly, Williams came out with 18' cars that have trucks that were made in Korea with needle point axles.  The difference is night and day.  These Williams cars look nice sitting on a shelf.

In 2004 Williams reproduced almost Lionel made from the 50's that was worthwhile including these cars.  They were a better product.

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