Who doesn’t recognize, and like, the Michelin Man? He’s probably even more famous than the Pillsbury Dough Boy, although I’ve never heard Bibendum (Bib for short) giggle.
Well, IXO loves him too and has come up with an unusual Michelin tire truck, especially for the North American market. This is a French Saviem truck from 1970, something you’d see delivering tires to the local Michelin tire store, or maybe backed up to the garage area at a European racetrack.
In 1/43 scale it’s a showcase stopper in its yellow and blue trim and runs roughly 7.5 inches long. Our review copy was provided by American-Excellence, which handles IXO, BOS Models and NEO, among other brands.
Saviem’s history is interesting, and to be honest, it’s a truck maker I had never heard of until the sample arrived. Turns out that Saviem existed from 1955 to 1978 in France and the name is a mash-up of its original truck firms that were all merged at that point, by Renault after it has abandoned the commercial truck and bus business following World War II.
Saviem stood for (hang on) the Societe Anonyme de Vehicules Industriels et d’Equipements Mecaniques. It was part of Renault, which in 1955 bought Somua and Latil, both French truck and bus makers. The idea was to boost Renault’s share of the growing truck market. The firm made light-, medium-, and heavy-duty trucks, along with buses. The need for all these after WWII was tremendous.
In 1978 Saviem was merged with French truck maker Berliet to create Renault Vehicules Industriels, or RVI. Saviem was making more than 35,000 trucks and buses a year at the time. A few years later its marque was abandoned and the Renault brand was used on all trucks made by the merged companies.
This is a beautiful truck, as trucks go, because of its uniqueness and Michelin markings. There’s even a white Michelin Man character on the roof mid-cab, just above the windshield. The Michelin logo is writ large on the truck’s sidewalls and doors with the top half of the truck bright yellow and the lower panels and bumpers dark blue, the Michelin colors. Oh, Bib and Michelin are on the back doors too.
Michelin is now one of the top four tire makers in the world and invented the radial tire that we all now use on our cars, trucks and crossovers. The company was founded in France in 1889 by two brothers, Edouard and Andre Michelin. Imagine!
Fit and finish on the truck is flawless, but then it is a truck, so some dents and dings and scratches might be in order. Heck, you can do that after you get it out of the box.
The quad headlights look realistic with textured clear lens covers and the Saviem name is spelled out in photo-etch on the truck’s nose. Wipers are delicate looking and there are other truck markings on the bumper and sides, just over the front wheel wells. Big black mirrors hang off the doors on either side too and an amber turn signal lens is mounted on either side of the cab, just in front of the doors about midway up.
European license plates are represented front and rear and a spare tire is tucked up under the truck’s rear end. There’s a painted silver step across the rear, under each door. Too bad those don’t open.
The cab doors also are cast shut, but the driver’s window is down so you can see the twin reddish brown seats inside and tall flat four-spoke black steering wheel and floor-mounted shift lever inside.
Ironically the black tires are not branded and ride on dark blue wheels.
If you have a garage or racetrack diorama that needs a spiffy tire delivery truck to round it out, this is perfect and would look great with some 1/43 scale racers posed nearby.
Vital Stats: 1970 Saviem JM 21/240
Stock No.: IXOTRU024