Vintage Model Trains: 1956 AC Gilbert HO Scale Transformer Car

The AC Gilbert was a long running manufacturer of HO scale products. This model, Transformer Car 503 was listed in the 1955 & 1956 catalog.

For it's age (66 years old in 2022!) the model holds up well to modern standards. The trucks are cast metal, and actually sprung, with decent flex that isn't too springy.

This model came in as a donation to the museum I manage. What you see in the photos is exactly how we received it.

Honestly I'm quite impressed, with a kadee replacement, this car could be used in a model HO transition era layout right along side Exactrail or Athearn products and not look too out of place.

The transformer on mine is screwed to the metal body. Amazingly enough the couplers are body mounted, which wasn't commonplace. I've looked, they're cast into the metal body.

AC Gilbert was a pioneer in using the then decided upon standard NMRA coupler (now referred to as X2F or Hook Horn).

Weight comes in exactly at NMRA recommend practice, 3.5oz. Even modern models fail to do so (see: Side-by-Side: HO Scale Railgon Models).

If you see one at a swap meet, I'd suggest buying it.