Other European Automotive Toys

Gescha Engine Model Kit


This was a kit of a 1/6 scale four-cylinder side-valve engine made in Germany in the early 1950s, put together using a small screwdriver and box wrench supplied in the kit.
The model had all metal parts except for the see-through engine block, sump, and head made of a very brittle early plastic looking more like cast glass. The base was painted steel as well as the engine mounts, a very sturdy and well-made toy, as well as very educational in teaching a kid on how an engine actually works.





Everything works just like in a real engine. This was apparently patterned after a pre-war Opel engine. The camshaft actuates the valves through long tappets, and the steel valve springs are fully functional. The camshaft is driven by a gear train from the crankshaft. The distributor is connected by wires to the spark plugs and lights them up in sequence when the crank is being turned.



The clutch actually works when the pedal is depressed, and all four gears can be shifted with the steel lever.





When one turned the crank on front of the engine the pistons went up and down, the camshaft opened and closed the valves, and the spark plugs lighted in sequence, powered by a 3-volt battery.

The battery fits in the back compartment that also bears the maker's trademark, the Gescha company of Nuremberg, Germany. The front crank powers the gear drive that provides electrical contact and lights the spark plugs.

Located inside the kit box was the instruction manual, this one in English (there was one in German for domestic consumption).


There, very clear diagrams explain how to build the kit as well as describing the actual working of a real engine.

This kit is of much better quality than the 1960s Revell, AMT and Renwall "Visible Engine" all-plastic kits that many remember.


Yet another one of these beautiful little engines, not quite as good of a condition as the one above, missing a spark plug and its actuating crank. This has now been corrected by the purchase of yet another and an exchange of parts.





On this example, the steel base is painted in black and the battery box is molded in black bakelite. Possibly an earlier version?

It is missing the carburetor, air filter and crank handle, and... one spark plug. I have since acquired another mint engine from France and have completed this model.

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