Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


I WAS RECENTLY emailed a selection of Moss Motors Ltd cutout paper car models. Three caught my eye, the original Austin Mini, the original Austin-Healey Sprite, and the MG TC.

I admit that my experience with paper car modeling is limited indeed: In 2014 I built the Racer from Toys Every Child Can Make, 1927, by Harry B. Wright.

The Racer’s Brooklands silencer was added by artistic license.

Being three-dimensional, the Moss Motors Ltd cutout models are rather more complex than my cut-and-paint Racer. Thus, I start with the tidy boxy Mini. Here, in Parts 1 and 2, today and tomorrow, are tidbits about this paper modeling adventure.

Moss Motor, Ltd. In 1948 (one year after the first R&T), a Southern California fellow named Al Moss bought an MG TC. Within a year, Al opened an MG repair shop, Moss Motors, Ltd. By 1961, his company had evolved into a major parts supply firm. As an example, in 1977 Al bought 48 tons of “obsolete” inventory from Standard Triumph in England, four 40-ft. shipping containers of TR2, TR3, and TR4 spares. A year later (no coincidence, likely) Al was able to sell the business to a friend and devoted his semi-retirement to restoring and racing British sports cars.

E. Alan Moss, 1927–2012, Southern California sports car pioneer, founder of Moss Motors, Ltd. Image from Vintage Road & Racecar.

As the company website noted when he passed away at age 85 in 2012, “If E. Alan Moss had bought a Ford instead of an MG TC, things might have turned out very differently indeed.” And not nearly as entertaining.

The Austin Mini Plan. I printed my Mini on my computer’s supply of ordinary 8 1/2 x 11 paper. I would have preferred a heavier stock, but sheltering-in-place postponed this. And ordering the stiffer paper online would have delayed production.

The Austin Mini, as depicted by Moss Motors Ltd.

Its Livery. The first job was Mini’s paint job (best done before cutting it out). I borrowed Wife Dottie’s collection of high-class Prang Thick Core Colored Pencils, 3.3 Millimeter Cores, 7 Inch Length, Assorted Colors, 50 Count, and chose the Rob Walker livery, blue, with white nose stripe (and, in the Mini’s case, roof).

For later alignment, I left the bonnet stripe for after assembly.

Tomorrow in Part 2, I get really serious with scissors and adhesive. There’ll be no going back now. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020

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