#ThrowbackThursday Shell Tanker from 1970

Welcome to our first #throwbackthursday article of the new site. Each week we dig in to the LEGO vault and look at sets from years ago. A while back, I found some vintage LEGO that was being given away and within we have this absolute beauty, set 621, Shell Tanker

I have always been a fan of petrol tankers, most probably because one of the first LEGOLAND sets I can remember was set 671. I am not going to get all political with this, but the severing of ties with Shell as a brand within LEGO is just a poor. This has been documented here on BF before, so I am won’t bore everyone to death.

Set 621 is a wonderful LEGO vehicle for several reasons. I wrote before that within set 600, Ambulance the appeal was the simplicity of the bricks to create a model. And this is the same for the Petrol Tanker.

Just 9 elements makes up the tractor unit. There is no fuss to this at all and IMHO gives so much more than the complicated techniques used in sets these days. LEGO look to create models for fast play these days but I am sure you could build this part of the model in under 1 minute.

Then we have the Tanker unit. Even back in 1970 there were specialised elements which comprise of the main base of the tanker. The beautiful printed Shell elements stops the need for the dreaded stickers and totally unique. Not an Octan trace in sight. Wonderful.

The wheels are actual double tyres – which I never knew existed! It is only the tyres that are created this way to give the impression that they are a double axle. Compare that with the City sets of today – near impossible to do unless you increase the stud width of the base.

Add to that, the trailer drop stop to allow the tanker to stand on its own – lovely.

You simply cannot beat the models of yesteryear. Whilst I appreciate that today’s builds take the LEGO brick to a whole new level, I really do think that the old skool is how LEGO was purposely intended – imaginative creations with a limited number of elements.

OK, so it doesn’t have the fluid lines of say set 3180, nor can you add a minifigure in it – but the basic nature of the model just appeals. Maybe I am just a bit old in the tooth, but whilst I appreciate modern things, I still love the old. More importantly, it is a Shell tanker. Whereas the Octan IP costs nothing, there will always be something very real about a Shell LEGO tanker…………it is such a shame that it is no more.

So you can pick second hand ones up for around £16.00 GBP but for a MISB you will have to splash the cash there is one for sale on Bricklink for £171.40 described as:”621 Shell Tanker Truck Very Perfect new box, Origional sealed in cellophane, NO shelfwear, NO white discolored box (Still 40 years!!! old) See also other old-items.


My name is Keith and I am a AFOL. Currently an expat living out in Basel, CH, but have a firm footing back in the UK when time permits. I have had had Lego ever since I can remember - and only until my wee one came along have I re-kindled the flame for building again. I also run matchbox1-75.co.uk, a resource site for the 1-75 series of miniatures by Matchbox. There are only three themes that I am get/collect (finances permitting) - City, Creator (Advanced and Expert) as well as the classic Star Wars sets from Eps IV to VI (anything else does not exist). I also keep an eye in Europe with ample chance to see how France, Germany and Switzerland market and offer LEGO.

One thought on “#ThrowbackThursday Shell Tanker from 1970

  • 10/09/2015 at 09:58

    Fab pick I can remember having that 1×4 brick with the grill and lights on in my old box when I was a wee lad but no idea what set it was from. 🙂


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