This page lists model car brand names past and present. The list is inclusive with slush mold, tinplate, pressed steel, diecast zamac, white metal, plastic and resin models and toys from all over the world. A few are even made of crystal, glass, wood, coal or other materials. Some of the brands here are more toy-like and others are purely for adult collectors. Some are from design model organizations and were never intended for sale. The price of some when new was less than 50 cents, while others cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some are kits, some are kits that are specially handbuilt, but many are factory preassembled. Some are promotional in approach while others are solidly set in the retail realm. Some are stationary and do not roll while others roll or have friction or pull-back motors. At a different end of the spectrum, many are remote control. Models of all different sizes are represented, but the typical range is between 1:18 (about 11 inches) to 1:87 (about an inch and a half).
A model vehicle or toy vehicle is a miniature representation of an automobile. Other miniature motor vehicles, such as trucks, buses, or even ATVs, etc. are often included in this general category. Because many miniature vehicles were originally aimed at children as playthings, there is no precise difference between a model car and a toy car, yet the word 'model' implies either assembly required or the accurate rendering of an actual vehicle at smaller scale. The kit building hobby became popular through the 1950s, while the collecting of miniatures by adults started to pick up momentum around 1970. Precision-detailed miniatures made specifically for adults are a significant part of the market since the mid-1980s.
Matchbox is a popular toy brand which was introduced by Lesney Products in 1953, and is now owned by Mattel, Inc, which purchased the brand in 1997. The brand was given its name because the original die-cast Matchbox toys were sold in boxes similar to those in which matches were sold. The brand grew to encompass a broad range of toys, including larger scale die-cast models, plastic model kits, and action figures.
A model commercial vehicle is a scale model or die-cast toy that represents a commercial vehicle: truck (lorry), bus, etc.
Revell is a manufacturer of plastic scale models. The original American Revell merged with Monogram. In 2007, American Revell was purchased by Hobbico while the European Revell Germany separated from the American company in 2006 until Hobbico purchased it as well – bringing the two back together again under the same company umbrella.
A die-cast toy is a toy or a collectible model produced by using the die casting method of putting molten lead, zinc alloy or plastic in a mold to produce a particular shape. Such toys are made of metal, with plastic, rubber, glass, or other machined metal parts. Wholly plastic toys are made by a similar process of injection moulding, but the two methods are distinct because of the properties of the materials.
Maisto International Inc. is a globally marketed toy brand that is part of the May Cheong Group. Though the brand is now headquartered in California, its origins and main company today are in Hong Kong. Maisto mainly manufactures die-cast models of automobiles, aircraft, and motorcycles. The company has also manufactured a number of Tonka products under license from Hasbro. It also now owns the former Italian Bburago and Polistil brand names.
SIKU is the range of toy vehicles and related products produced by the German company Sieper Lüdenscheid GmbH & Co. KG in Lüdenscheid, Germany. The company manufactures many vehicles, but the Super Series 1:55 scale die-cast line is the core product, thus Siku historically could be seen as the "German Matchbox". The company also owns the well known HO scale producer Wiking-Modellbau.
Majorette is a French toy manufacturer which mostly produces small die-cast cars and other construction and military vehicles, particularly in 1:64 scale. This is a normal 2.5 to 3 inch size, thus Majorette has sometimes been called the Matchbox Toys of France. Traditionally, production was centered in the urban area of Lyon, but models are now made in Thailand.
Playart was a toy company owned by Hong Kong industrialist Duncan Tong (唐鼎康) that specialized in die-cast cars, similar in size and style to Hot Wheels, Matchbox or Tomica. Cars were well done, but were often diecast seconds from other companies like Yatming or Tomica. Cars were made from 1965 to 1983 at the factory in San Po Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Plastic cars and trucks of 1:43, and 1:24 scale were also made, while trains and other theme toys also appeared.
1:43 scale is a popular size of die-cast model cars in Europe, Asia and the US. It has its origins in the British / European O scale for model trains and the rise of certain accessories made for that scale which since have become popular in their own right.
1:18 scale diecast replicas are 1/18th the size of the real vehicle. Most popular in this category are 1:18 scale automobile replicas – usually made out of Zamak zinc diecasting alloy with plastic parts. "1:18 scale" is the colloquial reference to this class of toy or replica.
Britains, earlier known by the founder's name W. Britain, is a British toy company known for its diecast lead toy soldiers. The company, however, with its factory in London, also diversified into other associated toys such as diecast zamac military trucks, agriculture and commercial vehicles, and toy cars.
Tootsietoy is a manufacturer of die cast toy cars and other toy vehicles which was originally based in Chicago, Illinois. Though the Tootsietoy name has been used since the 1920s, the company's origins date from about 1890. An enduring marque, toys with the Tootsietoy name were consistently popular from the 1930s through the 1990s.
Solido is a French manufacturer of die-cast model cars and trucks based in Oulins, Anet, France, 40 miles (64 km) west of Paris. Vehicles are usually made of zamac alloy in varying scales, but mostly 1:43 and 1:50. Typically, Solido's main competition in France was Norev, but internationally, Polistil, Corgi Toys, Dinky Toys, Mercury, and Tekno produced similar style toys.
The Hubley Manufacturing Company was an American producer of a wide range of cast-iron toys, doorstops, and bookends. Toys, particularly motor vehicles and cap guns, were also produced in zinc alloy and plastic. The company is probably most well known for its detailed scale metal kits of Classic cars in about 1:20 scale. Starting in 1960, Hubley participated for a couple of years with Detroit automakers as a plastic promotional model maker. Many Hubley toys are now sought-after collectibles.
Norev is a French manufacturer of diecast metal model cars. traditionally based in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon. It has normally produced modern and vintage European vehicles, especially those of French origin – though Italian, German, British, and American vehicles were also produced. Norev's closest competition was Solido, but that company had more pan-European influence, while Norev was more national in orientation.
Gama is a German maker of toys, usually cars and trucks, dating from before World War I. The company is headquartered in Fürth, Bavaria, near Nürnberg, a traditional German toymaking center. Other German companies that competed with Gama Toys were Schuco Modell and Conrad Models.
Minialuxe was a brand of detailed and authentic plastic car and truck models made in Oyonnax, France. Models were usually made in 1:43 scale, but some larger 1:32 scale vehicles were also manufactured, for example, a Peugeot 403. The official name of the company in French was Établissements Minialuxe.
Dugu Miniautotoys was a brand of diecast metal models, mostly in 1:43 scale, made in Varallo Sesia, Vercelli Province, Piedmont, Italy, north of Turin and west of Lake Orto. The company made models for the Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia Automobile Museum in Turin. They were made from approximately 1961–1975, and perhaps a few years longer.
Mercury is a brand of diecast toy cars manufactured in Italy from about 1945 through the 1970s. Along with Dinky Toys in England, Mercury was a pioneer in 1:43 scale diecast toys made in Europe. Today, Mercury models are rather rare and not easy to find. The company logo was the word Mercury within a rectangle with a round toothed gear behind the company name.