Introduced: 1969 (by Atlas)
This is not a model, it's a toy. OK, yes, it's able to navigate a circle of track, usually without tipping over or stalling out. But let's face it, it's a joke otherwise. Traction tires eat up a quarter of the pick-up potential, making for iffy contact with the rails and a very wobbly ride. The cheap 3-pole motor and plastic moving parts turn into a shaking, buzzing monster when current is applied. The paint is terrible, the handrails are huge, the couplers are truck-mounted Rapidos, the pilots are wide open, electrical current is ferried around via wires and the non-directional headlight lights up the entire nose from within. In a word - yuck.
Like the rest of Mehano's nefarious line of N scale diesels, this one has a long and tortured history. Atlas was the first importer (starting in 1969). That relationship lasted up until sometime in the mid-1970s when PMI took over. Sometime in the 1980s, PMI vanished and Life-Like and Model Power became the new importers. Life-Like only offered these for a few years before switching over to their own line of Chinese-manufactured diesels. The Model Power imports were a staple of magazine ads for many years, but they finally vanished sometime around 1998. Perhaps due to all of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia?
Unlike Mehano's line of N scale Alco diesels (RSD-15, FA, etc), I don't believe this model ever received any upgrades or improvements over its lifespan. My Atlas GP40 is virtually identical to my Life-Like GP40 which is identical to my Model Power GP40 (with the only noticeable difference being the drive shaft - black plastic on the Life-Like and Model Power versions and white plastic on the Atlas).