Collecting Diecast Model Cars

collecting-model-carsCollecting diecast model cars can be rewarding. They are much more than mere toys. Showing the mechanical and historical advancements and innovations of the original vehicle. For most of the 20th century and into the 21st century, diecast model cars have been a popular and fun pastime for boys and men of all ages.

Throughout history, humans have collected objects. Coins, stamps, books, and tools are some examples. But diecast cars remain the most popular form of collecting for over 100 years. In the 1950s, after World War Two, collecting diecast cars exploded and men sought cars to collect. Because they are made of metal and metal alloys, they last longer if cared for.

How to Start Collecting Diecast Model Cars

There are no hard and fast rules to building your own unique collection. It would help if you decided in advance what you want your collection to look like. Personal preferences will decide how your collection will look like. There are so many options to choose from among diecast vehicles. There are trucks, cars, busses, farm vehicles, and motorcycles. Each category has hundreds of options to choose from and collect. When you select a specific category that you want to collect, it will be more accessible to source diecast models that will work together to form a more comprehensive collection.  As with any collectible, the most sort after is the Special Edition (SE) or Limited Edition (LE). Because of their rarity, be prepared to pay a premium price.  Always remember to keep the original packaging, it helps to increase the value of your collection.

Popular Scales

There are a few things to consider when starting your collection. Diecast models come in a wide variety of sizes. They are usually designed on a scale of 1:10, which is large, 1:12 and 1:18, which are smaller, and 1:43 and 1:48, which are some of the smallest of them all. 1:48 is a standard size for Matchbook diecast cars that children play with. Diecast models are 2-12 inches, which makes them ideal for a bookcase or glass display case. The size of the model is a deciding factor in how much it is worth. So a size 1:18 model would be more valuable than one sized at 1:48. The value and rarity of the models also increase with the number of moving parts that it has. Some more expensive models are closer to the real thing that feature functioning parts like a moving set of suspensions, steering, doors, windows, mirrors, an operable bonnet, and boot. Most common manufacturers issue licenses to several vendors, while other companies keep their licensing more exclusive. This makes their diecast models more valuable and expensive than other models.

How are Diecast Models Made

Diecast models are formed when a hot zinc alloy is poured into a mold and allowed to cool. The finished product is detailed for its size, level of detail, and it will appeal to car lovers and collectors alike. This method will also enable the product to be priced and will allow for a variety of models to choose from and enjoy. The most pioneering company of diecast models is Dinky Toys. This was a British company that started in 1908. They began their company by creating model trains. They saw the coming car boom, and by the 1930s, they moved to make diecast cars. They were initially sold in sets of six, and they were a hit with Depression-era kids. Once they were established as a popular maker of diecast cars, their product line increased.

Dinkys were made of lead. This offered an advantage in size and durability over the more traditional tin plate toys. Other tinplate convertible-cars-collectiontoy manufacturers noticed this and made the change to lead. One company that became a significant competitor was Corgi Toys, and they made the advance in design by installing plastic windows in every car. They were the first company to do this with their vehicles. This was in 1956 and was an enormous deal, and Corgi Toys had a leg up in the diecast toy arena. Until Corgi did this, diecast cars were generic and did not have many distinguishing features and details. Corgi also had their focus on English vehicles of that era. Their most sought after cars were the Morris Cowley, Austin Healey, and Triumph cars, and to this day, they are sought after vehicles.

Matchbox Cars

They built Dinky and Corgi toys to the “O” scale, which was a proportional designation that went back to their model train days. At the time, “O” scales were the smallest of the model trains and diecast cars and were built to similar scales ranging from 1:43 to 1:48. As car model making techniques improved, other companies were entering the diecast car arena. One significant new competitor was another British company, Lesner Products.

Lesner Products introduced matchbox cars at the scale of 1:65. They packed these in boxes that looked like actual matchbook boxes. They were less expensive than any other company and became an instant hit with buyers of diecast cars and children alike. There was intense competition for over ten years.

Hot Wheels Car

A competition buster named Mattel Toys came on the market. Their Hot Wheels production line, which was a vast assortment of imaginable cars with bright colors and fantastical features, became an instant hit. It introduced them into the United States in 1968 and then worldwide. Hot Wheel was American made, and European companies could not compete with them. Over the years, Mattel’s Hot Wheels remained on top and absorbed the European companies one by one. We can still find today Corgi and Dinky cars in auctions and antique stores with most of their model cars and can fetch a premium price. The rarity of the cars can also make them much more valuable.

The love of collecting diecast cars will not diminish soon. As long as Americans and the world have a fascination with cars, so will the market for model car collectors. Don’t forget you must buy or build a display case to show off your unique collection.