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Contemporary Diecast Cars, Trucks and Vans

Young children and adults alike have sat around the family room and played with toy model cars year after year because of their imaginative play and ease to create another world for those cars. Model cars have been produced for almost as long as real automobiles. In search of replicas to mimic cars children yearned to have or ones sought after as a prized possession, model cars have stood the test of time. Built to scale in great detail out of materials like wood, resin, tin, steel, cast iron, and plastic, collectible model cars run the gamut from the commonplace to the exotic.

Tin Model Cars

Tin model cars were mostly made in Germany and popular in the early 1900s. These cars were either just push-powered by young children, but others were powered by tiny clockwork or wind-up systems. These were larger than the model cars we think of today and often built at larger scales. Some of the most notable large models built were the 1/8 and 1/11 promotional models built by the French car company Citroen in the 1920s.

Cast Iron Model Cars

Cast iron cars became popular before World War I, but gave way to prestressed steel models, which were popularized by the American company Buddy L Toys. These cars consisted of separate pieces fastened together, as die-casting had not yet been perfected.

Car History

After World War II, diecast companies like Matchbox made a fortune with their smaller, more-affordable models. In the 1960s, Hot Wheels greatly expanded the collectible model cars market by producing different models every year and special limited-edition runs. Today, Hot Wheels produces a variety of cars in all colors and various vehicles. Diecast model cars are still hugely popular today, for example NASCAR limited editions. Most diecast model cars are 1/43 scale, although they can be found in both larger and smaller sizes. The major difference between model cars and toy cars is that model cars are scaled and detailed meticulously, whereas pure toy cars tend to be improperly proportioned and lack attention to detail. Highly detailed models have been made for almost every type of vehicle, including buses, tractors and trucks. In the late 1950s and '60s, plastic models called promotionals were produced, representing cars by General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and American Motors. Promotionals were given away with the purchase of a car at a dealership or could be bought individually. Every year of Ford and Chevy was made, and new plastic models were produced as new features were added to the real cars.

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