American Flyer Tank Car Sample
By Leon Sweet
This unusual black American Flyer 1118 tank car was found in the White Hall at York a couple of years ago. I saw it with a Flyer 1116 sand car, which I purchased initially, but I wavered over the tank car and bypassed it at first.
It looked original, but I had never seen a black 1118 tank car. I kept the tank car in the back of my mind and after a couple of hours bumped into a friend.
I said “let’s take a walk” and we walked back to the White Hall. We both looked the tank car over carefully and neither of us had seen this variation before. Finally I purchased the car, because I just could not let it go by. I then walked down to the Blue Hall and showed my purchase to Don Speidel CM5-HR-92, a friend and fellow Flyer enthusiast, to get his opinion.
Don looked the car over carefully and said “the black is lithographed and not painted.” That clinched its originality as the average person cannot reproduce lithography and the car showed its age and dirt.
When I disassembled the car at home for cleaning, the black exterior color of the tank was in fact lithographed as Don had suggested and not painted. The inside of the tank is a shiny gold finish with the exterior lithographed in black.
My thoughts on the tank car is that it must be some sort of factory color sample as the car features similar construction features to the more commonly found 1118 tank cars, with the only difference being the black exterior color of the tank and the lack of lettering.
The earliest 1118 tank cars feature a gold decal lettering design, as opposed to the later lettering which was part of the lithograph. All I can say is the car is a good conversation piece.