Auto Loader Car No. 6414 was produced for 11 years (1956-66) during the post war era. Because of this, there are ten different variations. Many of these variations have to do with the quality and color of the autos that came with this flat car. In 1958, when the trucks changed from bar-end to AAR, the number moved to the left of the “LIONEL” inscription. We’ve shown the early issue of this car above left, and a later issue with four RED autos that have GRAY bumpers to the right. The last variation, pictured below, has a BLACK decal with YELLOW letters “6414 AUTO LOADER / EVANS,” and this variation is rare.
Variation A: RED colored car produced on mold 6511-2 with bar-end trucks attached to blackened metal end plates. Number is to the right of the heat-stamped “LIONEL” lettering on the car side. Came with four premium (Chrome Bumpers and clear Window inserts) autos that are almost always colored RED, YELLOW, WHITE, and TURQUOISE. These cars where housed in a cardboard sleeve (2/sleeve) when new. Produced between 1955 and 1957.
Variation B: Same as Variation A except the number has moved to the left side of the “LIONEL” inscription on the car side. Came with AAR trucks that have disc couplers. These trucks are riveted directly to the car chassis. Same colored cars, but it is also found with two RED and two YELLOW cars. The cardboard sleeve that housed these cars has been removed from the original packaging. Produced between 1958 and 1963 and housed in an ORANGE picture box numbered “6414” between 1961 and 1964.
Variation C: Same as Variation B except uses mold 6424-11.
Variation D: Same as Variation B or C except one disc and one solid non-operating coupler. Came with four reduced quality cars (no bumpers and no clear Window inserts) and is found in a rare ORANGE picture box numbered 6414-85. Produced in 1961.
Variation E: Same as Variation B except car is a lighter RED color. Came with four RED autos with GRAY bumpers that match the color of the car. Released in an ORANGE picture box numbered 6414 between 1964 and 1966.
Variation F: Same as Variation E except came with four YELLOW autos with GRAY bumpers.
No. 6414 Orange Picture Box End
No. 6414-85 Box End
No. 6414 Display Box End
Variation G: Same as Variation E except came with four MUSTARD YELLOW cars with GRAY bumpers.
Variation H: Same as Variation E but came with four CHOCOLATE BROWN autos with GRAY bumpers.
Variation I: Identical to Variation E except came with four KELLY GREEN autos with GRAY bumpers.
No. 6414 Variation H – Autos have Gray bumpers
Variation J: Produced in the last year of the post war period for Glen Uhl, a Lionel Service Station owner in Akron Ohio. Production of this car did not exceed 200 units. The car is not numbered and it has late open journal AAR trucks that have one disc coupler and one solid non-operating coupler. The common rubber-stamped lettering on the auto rack has been replaced with a BLACK background and YELLOW san-serif “6414 AUTO LOADER” lettered decal. There is no anti-skid detail on either the upper or lower auto rack.
No. 6414 Variation I – Autos have Gray bumpers
The decals have been reproduced, but forgeries are difficult to construct due to the additional changes to this car. Came with four RED autos that match the color of the flat car. These cars came with GRAY bumpers.
decaled Auto Loader Car No. 6414 – Autos have Gray Bumpers
When first released in 1955 to fit the Auto-Loader car, these automobiles were based, according to Lionel, on “Precision scale molded Ford autos.” While not exactly “scale,” they do bare a resemblance to the 1955 Ford 2-door sedan.
Other manufacturers of toy autos at the time were casting one piece plastic toys.
Typical Lionel Auto with Chrome Bumpers
However, Lionel made their autos from five molded plastic pieces, two metal axles, and four rubber tires. The main mold that was used for the car has six legs (visible in the cheap auto pictured below) four of which were designed to hold the axles in place.
From almost the beginning of the Modern Era in 1970 reproduction automobiles have been available. Fortunately, the manufacturers of these reproductions failed to account for the shrinkage in the injection molding process and they are 1/16″ inch shorter. The measurements shown below to the right are taken from the tip of the cowling over the headlights to the end of the body mold (not counting the tail lights).
Note the Different Enscription
Bottom View of LTI Car
Modern Era productions by LTI show a different inscription on the bottom. The original post war cars are inscribed on the rear of the car “THE LIONEL CORPORATION / NEW YORK NEW YORK” and on the front “MADE IN / U.S. OF AMERICA.” As shown, reproductions do not have these inscriptions on the bottom of the chassis.
From 1955 until 1957 Lionel would package these automobiles in a cardboard sleeve that have holes cut out for the wheels of the cars. Two autos were house in each sleeve. This same packaging was used on the No. 6424 Auto Flat Car. Lionel sold four autos (2/sleeve) separately during these years under the No. 6414-25. The middle classic box end for these is shown below. Only the premium autos were housed in this fashion. Separate Sale Box End of Four Automobiles
Bottom View of an Original Post War Auto Bottom View of a Reproduction Auto
Premium Automobiles and Gray Bumpers
To reduce the cost of production Lionel stopped plating the bumpers to simulate a chrome finish sometime around 1960. They replaced them with GRAY bumpers. Today, collectors only consider the early cars with chrome bumpers and a clear window insert to be “premium.” The assembly of the bumpers trapped them between the body and the chassis. Should the bumpers be broken it is necessary to dis-assemble the body from the chassis, which is problematic because the body is glued to the chassis.
Front View of Premium Auto with Chrome Bumper
Only four colors were manufactured of the premium automobiles, RED, GREEN (TURQUOISE), YELLOW, and WHITE. There are variations in the shades of the colors that are used and the types of bumpers that are found on them and we’ve summarized these below.
1. A DARKER RED was used on the premium cars.
2. A BRIGHTER RED was used on the cars with GRAY bumpers.
1. Actually a BLUISH GREEN color was used for the premium cars. Collectors sometimes refer to this color as TURQUOISE.
2. Those cars that have GRAY bumpers are found with a KELLY GREEN color. This is a scarce variation.
1. A MEDIUM YELLOW color is found on premium cars.
2. Cars with GRAY bumpers have a BRIGHTER YELLOW shade.
3. GRAY and CHROME bumpered cars are also found in a less common darker shade of MUSTARD YELLOW.
1. This color was only produced for premium cars.
2. In 1959, Lionel produced this car with WHITE plastic that is particularly prone to color change. Sometimes referred to as a TAN, or CARAMEL, this change resulted from exposure to the elements and the original color of WHITE can be seen on the concealed inner surfaces.
This is the problem that is found on the No. 57 AEC Switcher, the No. 6014-150 Wix Box Car and the No. 3366 Operating Circus Car.
1. This color is only found on cars that have GRAY bumpers. A rare color.
Yellow Colored Car to the Left, Mustard Colored on Right
1. Sometimes referred to as ROBIN’S EGG BLUE, this color is found on some premium cars and is a very rare color.
1. Is only found on cars that have GRAY bumpers and is more REDDISH BROWN than the
CHOCOLATE BROWN cars. This color is similar to what was used on the No. 1877 Horse Transport Flat Car.
In 1961, as a cost reduction regimen at Lionel, they would produce these cars as one piece castings. These cars have become known as the “cheapie automobiles.” Taken from the mold of the oversized No. 0068 HO Scale Executive Inspection Car they seem to have only been available this one year.
Side View of Cheap Automobile
Because these original one-piece castings looked “weird,” Lionel would fill in the wheel wells with simulated tires. These were only produced in the RED and YELLOW colors. There are twelve variation to the molds that were used, some originating from the above mentioned executive car and others came from modifications done to Lionel’s race set cars. Originally these cars came on a DARKER RED 6414 Flat Car Chassis with the number to the left of the “LIONEL” inscription on the car sides and is equipped with AAR trucks that is occasionally found with one disc coupler and one solid non-operating coupler. See Variation D above.
The 6414 – Auto-Loader is an attractive and popular freight car. Produced for over a decade, it is available in several variations, almost all of which are desireable and collectable.
The original automobiles provided by Lionel are loosely based upon a 1954 Ford. The automobiles introduced in 1955 are referred to as the premium automobiles. These automobiles were equipped with rubber tires that rotated, interior window inserts and front and rear simulated chrome bumpers. The premium automobiles were usually issued in a set of four different colors. They included one each of the following; red, yellow, white and a greenish-blue. Occassionally auto loaders were issued with four cars of the same color. Although not rare, single colored cars on the auto carrier are harder to locate.
As production of the 6414 – Auto-Loader continued, the detail and quality of the cars were reduced. The final 1966 version of the automobile had plastic wheels molded to the car body, no interior windows and no simulated chrome bumpers.
The 6414 – Auto-Loader was produced during the period when Lionel converted most of its rolling stock from bar-end trucks to AAR trucks. As is common with the transition items, this freight car can be located with both bar-end and AAR trucks.
Standard features of this car vary with the year of production. The following list identifies the features unique to each year:
1955 – 1957 – Molded red flatcar with white lettering, black metal automobile structure with white lettering, the number ‘6414’ is always to the right of the word Lionel plus a set of four premium automobiles, usually each being a different color. It was always equipped with bar-end trucks having a tab coupler.
1958 – 1960 – Molded red flatcar with white lettering, black metal automobile structure with white lettering, the number ‘6414’ is always to the left of the word Lionel plus AAR trucks with operating couplers. The automobiles were original premium automobiles, but as production continued, so did the change-over to lower quality automobiles.
As mentioned above, there are several variations to the automobile, several being scarce or rare. Below is a summary of the available autos:
1. Originally issued with four premium autos in four different colors. The colors are red, yellow, white and a greenish-blue.
2. Four ‘cheapened’ automobiles with no add-on features and wheels molded to the cars. The cheapened autos are hard to locate.
3. Four yellow automobile with gray bumpers — these autos are scarce.
4. Four green automobile with gray bumpers — these autos are rare.
5. Four brown automobile with gray bumpers — these autos are rare.
The length of this flatcar is approximately 11 1/4″ long (coupler to coupler).
Different kinds of Trucks
Bar-end Trucks – Generally preferred by collectors and operators. Although production was only half the number of years compared to the AAR truck version, this bar-end flatcar appears to be more common than the AAR truck version.
AAR Trucks – Not as readily available as the bar-end truck version, however there is no significant difference in value.