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A little about diecast insustry and manufacturers:
Diecast (or die cast, or die-cast) model cars/toys were first produced early in the 20th century by manufacturers such as Meccano (Dinky Toys) in the United Kingdom, Dowst Brothers (TootsieToys) in the United States and Fonderie de précision de Nanterre (Solido DIecast Model Cars manufacturer) in France. The first diecast model cars on the market were basic, consisting of a small car or van body with no interior. In the early days it was common for impurities in the alloy to result in zinc pest; the casting would distort or crack for no apparent reason. As a result, diecast model cars/toys made before World War II are difficult to find in good condition. The later high-purity Zamak alloy avoided this problem.
Lesney began making diecast model cars/toys in 1947. Their popular Matchbox diecast model cars 1-75 series was so named because there were always 75 different diecast model cars in the line, each packaged in a small box designed to look like those used for matches. These die-cast model cars/toys became so popular that "Matchbox" was widely used as a generic term for any diecast model toy car, regardless of who the actual manufacturer was.
The popularity of diecast model cars/toys as collectibles developed in the 1950s, as their detail and quality increased. Consequently, more companies entered the field, including the Corgi diecast model cars brand, produced by Mettoy, which appeared in 1956 and pioneered the use of interiors in their diecast car models.
In 1968, Hot Wheels Diecast Model Cars were introduced in the United States by Mattel, to address the complaint that they had no line of diecast model cars/toys for boys to balance their line of Barbie dolls for girls. Because they looked fast and were fast (they were equipped with a low-friction wheel/axle assembly), Hot Wheels diecast model cars quickly gained an important niche in the collectible diecast model cars toy market, becoming one of the world's top sellers and challenging the Matchbox 1-75 series in popularity.
Although this practice has been used by Meccano (Dinky Diecast Model Car Toys) as far as 1934, during the 1960s various companies began to use collectible diecast vehicles as promotional items for advertising. The idea that children can play a large part in a family's decision as to what products to buy came into wide circulation. In addition, by the 1980s it was apparent that many diecast model cars were being purchased by adults as collectibles, not as toys for children. Companies such as McDonald's, Sears Roebuck, Kodak, and Texaco commissioned toymakers to produce promotional die-cast car models featuring their names and logos, or licensed their use. One early example was an American Airlines London bus model car produced by Matchbox Diecast Models, an idea some other airlines quickly copied.
Beginning in the mid '70s trucks and other commercial vehicles took a lion's share of the diecast model cars market. Matchbox Diecast Models started the trend when they re-launched their collectible Models of Yesteryear range. They made a score of different versions of their Y-12 Ford Model T van diecast model car, along with other trucks in colorful liveries such as Coca-Cola, Colman's Mustard, and Cerebos Salt. They also made promotional versions for Smith's Crisps (potato chips) and Harrods department store. Some diecast models were made exclusively for certain markets and immediately became quite expensive elsewhere: Arnott's Biscuits (Australia) and Sunlight Seife (soap, Germany) are examples.
Corgi Diecast Model Cars copied this idea when they expanded the Corgi Classics line in the mid-'80s, producing more than 50 versions of a 1920s era Thornycroft van. Some diecast cars collectors disparaged this development as "collecting paint," as the castings were identical; only the decorations were different. Other diecast model cars collectors created what they called the "10-Foot Rule" when the collecting of minor variations of the same diecast vehicle got out of hand. The idea was that, if you couldn't differentiate between two versions of a die-cast model from 10 feet away, it wasn't worthwhile to collect both of them.
Despite their popularity, many diecast model cars manufacturers went belly-up in the 1980s. Meccano Diecast Car Models (Dinky), Matchbox Collectible Die-cast Cars, and Corgi Diecast Car Models all went bankrupt within a three-year span, which essentially reflected the economic climate in the UK at that time. It had become virtually impossible to manufacture in England and compete on the world market. Mattel Diecast Model Cars had also long since shifted most of their production from the USA to the far east. Matchbox was purchased by a Hong Kong conglomerate named Universal Holdings, which moved production from England to Macau. Later (1997), Mattel Diecast Cars manufacturer bought Matchbox, essentially making Hot Wheels diecast model cars and the Matchbox 1-75 line sister diecast brands. The two collectible die-cast model car brands continue to sell under their own separate names.
Meanwhile, Corgi Diecast Model Cars had been acquired by Mattel, which moved the office from Swansea, Wales to Leicester, England, and moved manufacturing to China. A new company called Oxford Diecast Car Models acquired the former Corgi factory in Swansea and commenced manufacture for themselves and Corgi. Matchbox also bought the Dinky Toys name, long after the Liverpool factory was closed. Diecast model cars manufacturing resumed in China. In a series of subsequent shifts, a group of Corgi Diecast Model Cars executives bought back the Corgi Classics line from Mattel, and portions of the Matchbox line were sold to an Australian company named Tyco (no relation to the Tyco line of HO scale trains, originally made by Mantua Metalworking in New Jersey, USA).
Effectively from the ashes of Matchbox's bankruptcy arose Lledo, a company created by former Matchbox partner Jack Odell. Odell believed that British diecast car collectibles for British collectors could still be profitably produced in England. Lledo took over part of the Matchbox factory in Enfield, and introduced their "Models of Days Gone" line of collectible diecast vehicles in 1983. The first series of Days Gone diecast car models included re-makes of some of the most popular and respected first and second-generation Matchbox Models of Yesteryear. Lledo die-cast car models were very popular diecast collectibles in the '80s, leading to a period of diversification (incl. the Vanguards line of classic post-war British collectible diecast vehicles), but by the '90s they were eclipsed by other brands, and by 2002 Lledo went broke. Parts of their line were purchased by Corgi Diecast Model Cars, which moved production to China.
Oxford Diecast Model Cars developed a range of promotional stylized collectible diecast vehicles and maintained its manufacturing base in Swansea until 2000 when it relocated its production to a plant it owned in China. As such is was the last large scale producer of diecast car models to manufacture in the UK, although it choose to own and build its own Chinese factory rather than outsource production entirely.
In addition to collectible diecast trucks, Corgi produced hundreds of versions of their 1/64 scale diecast Routemaster bus in the '80s and '90s. Like other collecting and promotional die-cast model car trends, it started as a trickle and soon became a flood. Many versions were made to be sold exclusively in the stores whose advertising appeared on the buses. Harrods, Selfridges, Gamley's, Hamley's, Army & Navy, Underwood's, and Beatties were among the British stores employing this idea. A South African chain called Dion was one of the few overseas firms to follow suit.
Then 1/76 scale diecast buses became very popular in Britain in the late '80s and early '90s, with competing lines from Corgi Diecast Model Cars (the Original Omnibus Company) and Gilbow Holdings (Exclusive First Editions, or EFE) fighting for the market. The 1/76 scale fits in with British 'OO' scale diecast model trains.
By the 1990s NASCAR Diecast Model Cars enjoyed increasing popularity in the USA, and a large number of racing-related NASCAR collectible diecast model cars and trucks, painted in the colors of the different racing teams, appeared from various manufacturers. Racing Champions Die-cast Models was a leading brand of such models, but there were many others.
In addition to diecast model cars, trucks, buses, agricultural implements, and construction equipment, diecast aircraft and military models were popular. While Dinky Collectible Diecast Model Cars had made such models decades earlier, new companies entered the field in the '80s and '90s. One producer was Dyna-Flytes, which went bankrupt in the 1990s, but their market share was quickly taken up by their competitors, including Schabak, GeminiJets, Herpa, and Dragon Wings.
In 2005 Oxford Diecast Model Cars entered the scale accurate market with range of die-cast vehicles in popular British railway scales of 1:76 and 1:148. This and a radically enhanced product in its 1:43 scale range meant the company rapidly grew diecast model cars sales and UK market share, becoming the dominant player within 5 years. Licensing agreements with BBC TV for the Top Gear programme and UK Haulier Eddie Stobart followed as they expanded into licensed product.
Today, diecast model cars are available to the consumer in a wide range of options. The market is rather diverse and includes such categories as diecast sports cars, NASCAR, diecast trucks models, construction vehicles, and die-cast service vehicles.
As for the die-cast model cars scales, the numbers used for these purposes can be confusing because of the comparison of the real item to a small replica of the item. Basically, the smaller the number the larger the diecast car model is to the actually real car or truck size. Therefore the larger the number the smaller the diecast model car. A 1:64 scale car model is a matchbox size car when compared to the real car.
Die-cast model cars/toys come in various scales, the most popular ones being: 1/12, 1/18, 1/24, 1/32, 1/43, 1/64 scales.
Collectible diecast car models are designed and produced by a variety of manufacturers. The leading die-cast model car brands in the industry are: ACME, American Diorama, Anson, APTC, ARKO, AutoArt, Automaxx Premium, Autoworld, Bauer, BBR, Bburago, Beanstock, Biante Models, Bizarre, Bobcat, BUB, Century Dragon, CMC, Code 3, Daron, Diecast Models Wholesale, Diorama, Dragon Models, Eagle Collectables, Elvis Motor Classics, ERTL, Exoto, Factory Entertainment, First Gear, First Response, Franklin Mint, Fujimi, GM, GMP, Greenlight, GT Spirit, Guiloy, Highway 61, Hotwheels, Hotworks, HPI Racing, ixo, Jada, Jadi, Johny Lightning, Kingstoy, Kinsfun, Kyosho, Lane Exact Detail, Lemans Miniatures, Liberty Classics, Lindberg, Luxury Diecast, M2 Machines, Maisto, Minichamps, Mira, MJX, Model Icons, Mondo, Motor City Classics, Motorhead Miniatures, Motormax, Muscle Machines, New Ray, Norev, Norscot, NZG, Oxford, Paragon, Paudi Models, Phoenix Mint, Precision Miniatures, Premium Classixxs, Quartzo, Rastar, Revell, Ricko, Road Signature, Schuco, Shelby Collectibles, Signature Models, So Real, Solido, Spark, Speccast, Sun Trade, Sunnyside, Sunstar, Tamiya, Tonkin Replicas, True Scale Miniatures, Ultimate Diecast, Unique Replicas, Universal Hobbies, UT Models, Vitesse, Washington Mint, Welly, West Coast Precision and XQ.
ACME Diecast Model Cars mostly make collectible die-cast vehicles, F-1 race cars and hot rods in 1/18 diecast model cars scale.
American Diorama manufactures 1/18 and 1/24 figures that will fit perfectly on your layout or diorama.
ARKO Diecast Model Cars is mostly concentrated on creating diecast car models in 1/32 scale.
AUTOart Diecast Model Cars company was established in 1998 and has produced more than 45 different car marques in nine different scales. Sizes generally range from 1/64 diecast car models scale to 1:12 diecast car models scale. Wheels & tires, carpeting, seat belts, door handles, engines, suspension, even sun visors and door/hood/trunk lid dampers are reproduced. Many AUTOart models are of exotic racing, sports, or super performance diecast vehicles like the white, red, and blue BMW 3.0 CSL 1973 winner at Spa diecast model car, or the Showroom Stock 2007 Mustang Road Racer diecast model car, but more mundane vehicles like the New Beetle or the Chrysler PT Cruiser diecast car models are also produced.
The history of Autoworld Diecast Model Cars company started in 1958, when Oscar Koveleski founded Auto World in the basement of his home, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Auto World Diecast Car Models works with top licensors, not only in the world of slot cars but also American Muscle 1:18 scale diecast model cars replicas, AMT, MPC and Polar Lights model kit lines. The most common scales are: 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 collectible diecast scale and 1/64 diecast car models scale.
BBurago Diecast Model Cars is an Italian model car manufacturer, that was based in Burago di Molgora, Italy, which made mostly diecast cars from 1976 to 2005, and then from 2007 as a brand under the May Cheong (Maisto Diecast Cars) Group. Bburago Diecast Model Cars manufactures diecast car models in a wide range of scales: 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale and a 1/64 diecast model cars scale.
Bobcat Diecast company makes construction equipment such as diecast track loaders, diecast steer, skid steer loaders and diecast excavators mostly in 1/25 diecast model cars scale.
CMC, which stands for Classic Model Cars, creates diecast model cars mostly in 1/18 diecast car models scale.
First Gear has a wide variety of officially licensed, authentically detailed, diecast metal replica vehicles made in 1/25 diecast model cars scale, 1/34 diecast car models scale, 1/50 diecast cars scale and 1/64 collectible diecast model cars scale.
Greenlight Diecast Model Cars company produces diecast police, muscle, race and indy car models in a variety of scales (1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale, 1/64 diecast model cars scale). Greenlight also specializes in diecast cars from movies like “Supernatural”, “The Hangover”, "Fast and Furious", “Gremlins”, “Breaking bad” and many others.
Hot Wheels Diecast Models first appeared at the collectible diecast cars market in 1968. Today it offers a huge variety of diecast model cars, including a wide range of collectible diecast movie cars in 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale, 1/50 diecast model cars scale.
Headquartered in City of Industry, CA., Jada Toys is a leading manufacturer of authentically licensed and highly stylized toys, games, and diecast model car collectibles. Jada works closely with major entertainment and vehicle brands to produce the innovative, patented items. Founded in 1999, Jada Toys’ innovative products have lead to explosive growth and today the diecast model cars company offers collectible die-cast cars mostly in 1/18 diecast cars scale, 1/24 diesact model cars scale and 1/32 collectible model cars scale.
Founded in 1963 in Japan, Kyosho Diecast Model Cars company has been building products for over 50 years. They mostly make diecast model cars in 1/12 die-cast cars scale, 1/18 collectible diecast models scale and 1/43 diecast model cars scale.
M2 Machines diecast model cars manufacturer specialize at high-quality diecast car models from brands like Volkswagon, Chevy, Dodge, Ford and many more. Common scales: 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/64 diecast model cars scale.
Maisto Diecast Model Cars company has manufactured a number of Tonka products under licence from Hasbro and it also now produces the former Italian Bburago brand name. With factories in China and Thailand, they are able to product diecast model cars in various scale replicas: 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/64 diecast model cars scale.
Minichamps is another leading diecast model cars company that year after year brings a variety of diecast model cars in 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale.
Motor City Classics Diecast Model Cars has been distributing a fine collection of diecast vehicles for the past 15 years. Their business is diecast vehicles in various scales including 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale, 1/64 diecast model cars scale, and 1/87 diecast model cars scale. Motor City Classics Diecast Model Cars offer a vast selection of high quality deicast car models, trucks, and tractor trailers. Motor City Classics Diecast Model Cars currently holds the license for Coca-Cola, Elvis, and Ford.
Motormax Diecast Model Cars company was founded in 1997. For almost 20-years, it has specialized in manufacturing highly detailed, officially licensed, collectible die-cast and plastic replicas and model kits of various model cars. MOTORMAX produces diecast model cars and motorcycles in scales such as 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/48 diecast model cars scale & 1/64 diecast model cars scale.
New-Ray Diecast Model Cars/Toy Company is a Hong Kong-based company, specializing in the design and manufacturing of die-cast and plastic toys. Established in 1987, New-Ray Diecast Car Models is expanding rapidly with offices being set up in the United States and China. Scales of the diecast cars made by New Ray include but not limited to 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale.
Norev is a French manufacturer of diecast model cars that was started by the Veron brothers in 1946. It has normally produced modern and vintage European vehicles, especially French vehicles – though Italian, German, British and American vehicles are also now produced. Norev’s cars are produced with excellent detail and proportion compared to real vehicles making them truly unique. Their diecast model cars are mostly made in 1/18 and 1/43 diecast model cars scales.
Norscot diecast model cars company manufactures high-quality die-cast metal replicas of construction, transportation, and agricultural equipment in association with leading companies worldwide. Common scales: 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/50 diecast model cars scale and 1/87 diecast model cars scale.
Paragon Diecast Car Models and Jadi-Modelcraft are purveyors of collector grade diecast 1/18 and 1/43 scale model cars. Their licenced products include Rolls Royce, Jaguar, BMW, Triumph and TVR collectible car models amongst many others.
Signature Models produces high-quality vintage diecast model trucks and cars from classic makes like Ford, Chevy, Studebaker, Cadillac, Buick, Duesenberg. Scales include 1/18 and 1/43 diecast model cars scales.
Schuco is a German diecast model cars/toy maker founded in 1912 by Heinrich Müller and the businessman Heinrich Schreyer in Nuremberg, Germany's toy capital since early days. This diecast model car company's specialty is usually model cars and trucks in tin, plastic and diecast. Schuco offers its customers a variety of diecast model cars in mostly 1/18 die-cast car models scale and 1/43 diecast model cars scale.
Shelby Collectibles is a diecast model car company that was established by Carroll Shelby in 2004 to make collectible quality die-cast vehicles at affordable pricing but now is a licensee independent of the
Shelby companies. Their most common scales are 1/18 diecast model cars scale and 1/64 diecast car models scale.
Spark diecast car models exists because of Hugo Ripert, its founder, who's father Andre was in the diecast car modeling business before him. Hugo worked with the Vitesse, Quartzo and Ixo diecast car models brands and was in charge of research and diecast model cars development. He would follow a particular diecast car model from photo research through prototype modeling, hand samples and on into production. His job consisted of attempting to ensure accuracy and quality during the inevitable compromises demanded by producing any diecast car model to a price and cost schedule. Today Spark diecast model cars produces a wide range of diecast model cars in 1/12 diecast model cars scale, 1/18 diecast model cars scale and 1/43 diecast car models scale.
SpecCast is a diecast model car manufacturer of collectible die-cast farm tractors, implements, diecast tractor-trailers, diecast pickups and belt buckles sold through Farm Equipment Dealers throughout North America. As for the scales, this company mostly specializes at 1/16 diecast model cars scale and 1/64 diecast model cars scale.
Sunstar is a manufacturer of die-cast car models for diecast model car collectors worldwide. Their diecast car models range from 1/12 and 1/18 diecast model cars scale to 1/24 and 1/43 diecast model cars scale with many working mechanisms such as wheels, steerings, doors, hoods and highly detailed motors and interiors all packaged in attractive commercial boxes.
Vitesse Diecast Model Cars company manufactures high-quality 1/43 scale vintage diecast model cars from makes like Chevy, Buick and Mercury and also specializes in diecast movie car models such as the Delorean from the "Back to the Future" series.
Welly diecast model cars is a Hong Kong-based manufacturer of diecast model cars established in 1980. Welly diecast car models company has over 30 years of experience producing diecast model cars, trucks, diecast police cars, bicycles and motorcycles of different scales, including 1/18 diecast model cars scale, 1/24 diecast model cars scale, 1/32 diecast model cars scale, 1/38 diecast model cars scale, 1/43 diecast model cars scale, 1/60 diecast model cars scale and 1/87 diecast model cars scale.
Year after year these diecast model car companies invest in creating new collectible diecast vehicles to provide customers with an unforgettable experience!