SLSF 78543 Lionel Mechanical Reefer

Discussion in 'General' started by adams, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. adams

    adams QLA-QSF

    Hello All,

    Many of you have probably seen the mid-1970s Lionel HO-scale tan Frisco mechanical reefer.

    Is there a prototype for this?

    I know Frisco had some tan boxes, but do not know about reefers.


    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2024
  2. mark

    mark Staff Member Staff Member


    Unfortunately the Lionel brand does not make researched scale models.

    Their products are geared for the "toy" train market, are crude characters at best and largely use technology from the 1940s. Again as in this case there is no Frisco prototype for the car they released. The imagined tan paint scheme is loosely based on the Frisco's Pacific Car and Foundry SLSF 600000-600264 series XLI boxcars. However, the paint scheme is very incorrect (herald on wrong side, lettering wrong color, incorrectly includes Ship It slogan, etc.).

    Further the car number is totally inappropriate. The indicated car number (SLSF 78543) is for for a Frisco American Car and Foundry (ACF) two bay covered hopper, SLSF 78500-78749. The ACF hoppers were 100 ton cars with a capacity of 2,970 cubic feet. These gray cars, with black lower hopper bays had black lettering.

    The Frisco's refrigerator cars were yellow with black lettering. The cars were built by Fruit Growers Express in 1971. These cars were numbered in 2 groups, SLSF 222000 - 200049 and SLSF 333000-333049.

    As an unprototypical toy that is grossly inaccurate, incorrect car type, incorrectly painted and incorrectely numbered some folks may be willing to accept the total fantacy car. Unfortunately supporting poor products and little to no research encourages more crap and no growth.

    A much better bet is to patironize and support financially the manufacturing companies that produce really nice, accurate models of actual protype cars where the manufacturer did their research. These companies are then encouraged to move forward with additional and further improved products we can all enjoy.

    Hope this helps.


    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2013
  3. adams

    adams QLA-QSF

    Thanks, Mark for the information.

    Fortunately, so much more exists now than back in the 1970s, when the only store-bought Frisco I had was Athearn's offset hopper.

    I do not know how close the old Athearn hopper was, but it sure looked like the strings I saw in Springfield on the Ozark branch!

    Athearn's recent GP15-1 even sports the elusive Gyralite, whose absence always drove me crazy!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2024
  4. paul slavens

    paul slavens Member

    Lionel has made several Frisco cars and a few diesel engines over the years and none are accurate.

    But, I like seeing the Frisco paint and lettering on the trains even if they are crude fantasy junk. And I can say this about Lionel trains, my 8 year old and 6 year old LOVE playing with them. The trains are big and easy to put on the track, they run very well and they stay on the track which is great for younger kids.

    They are certainly not scale models by any stretch of the imagination but they are fun toys for kids even with incorrect Frisco paint and random car numbers.

    Ship it on the Frisco!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2024
  5. William Jackson

    William Jackson Bill Jackson

    Even though they may not be accurate, they are still a production run tribute to the Frisco.

    I like these models and do not like to change them. Most of them I do not run, yet are still neat to collect.

    The new ready to run models are really putting the kits almost out of thought. The cost and time to do the work, not worth it.

    I can not do that good anyway.

    William Jackson
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2024

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