The 2452 gondola was Lionel’s first plastic bodied train. The 2954 semi scale boxcar and the Madison cars introduced in 1940 were made of Bakalite. Bakalite is molded from granulated material. The material is compressed and heated to form the car.
The 2452 is made of a dense styrene plastic. Styrene is molded by forcing liquid material into a mold.
Anyway, the 2452 gondola comes in two basic versions. The O gauge 2452 has brakewheels and came with wooden barrels. The 0-27 gauge 2452X has no brakewheels, and didn’t come with barrels.
There are a lot of different versions of this car having to do with the mold – earliest bodies have three round holes in the floor, while later bodies have a large rectangular hole. The holes are for the electronic receiver used on the 4452 gondola.
There is also a lettering variation. The G27 is either small or large. Large is later. None of the variations mentioned above effect the value of the car.
There is another variation that does effect the value. The trucks. The 1945 cars come with flying shoe trucks. The pick up for the uncoupler is open. Later cars have a metal plate under the entire truck to provide support for the shoe.
Two versions of flying shoe trucks were made. The earliest versions have wheels with spirals on the backs – “Whirley wheels,” while later flying shoe trucks have plain backs. Plain backs are shown above.
Flying shoe trucks double the value of this car. A 2452 with whirley wheels can bring 4 times the value of a standard gondola.