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Legacy of Diecast Cast Cars Keeps The Industry Strong

Jul 5, 2008
First created in the mid-1900s, diecast cars have been a long-time success in the toy and hobby industry. The automobiles are made out of a zinc and aluminum alloy, and then complemented with plastic parts such as windows or doors. Over the past seventy-five years, die-cast cars have quickly evolved into one of the most popular areas of the hobby and toy industry.

One reason that diecast cars are so popular is due to their scaled-to-life appearance. Unlike the unbalanced proportions of the Barbie dolls from the same era, diecast cars are scaled to appear as reasonable as the real thing. Scales range from a larger 1:12 ratio to a 1:72 ratio, where one-sixth of an inch represents one life-size foot. The 1:72 is very prevalent in the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe, but a 1:48 scale is the one commonly used in the United States.

"Matchbox cars" is an alternative name for diecast cars. This name was made popular back in 1947 when Lesney began distributing their diecast cars in small, matchbox-shaped packages. Although most cars are packaged in larger boxes or sandwiched between plastic and cardboard sheets, the generic name "matchbox cars" still remains in use today.

Die-cast cars are a popular item for collectors of all ages. While the older audience willingly pays the money for higher-priced classics, diecast cars are a popular toy of choice for children as well. "Hot Wheels," Mattel's fast-flying collection target towards young boys, are sold by the millions every year. Because of the young target audience, Hot Wheels typically sell for just a couple dollars. Regardless, some of the rarer models have sold recently for hundreds of dollars.

Originally, only a couple companies were producing these miniature classics. However, the popularity of the toys quickly caught on, and the diecast toy industry grew rapidly as hobbyists flocked to expand their collections with the latest classics and collectibles. The price range for diecast cars varies a lot depending on the condition, age, and rareness of the car. The ever-popular Hot Wheels cars only cost a couple dollars, but some difficult-to-find cars from before World War II can bring in hundreds of dollars each. Lifelong collectors are often able to sell their collections for thousands of dollars.

Over the years, the die-cast industry has evolved greatly. At first, the toys were very simple, including only the main frame of the car. However, the cars now include interiors and detailed mechanics under the hood. Only a couple companies produced die-cast cars when they first were introduced, but there are now hundreds of companies around the world producing die-cast toys.

The diecast toy industry is no longer limited to just classic cars. Airplanes, trains, construction equipment, and military vehicles are now popular toys available for purchase. In addition, scenery and landscaping are now a popular expansion to the industry. Buildings, roads, and shrubs are among the popular accessories used to make the models even more realistic. Die-cast toys are sold pre-built for the buyer's convenience; however, kits are also available. These sets come with detailed instructions allowing the buyer to customize their model with their own paint, accessories, and allow for other personalization.

As the value of these toys continue to rise, expect to see the industry to continue to thrive. If any toy has a chance at remaining popular despite the rise in electronic toys, it's the diecast car, with its century of history and growth leading the way.
About the Author
If you collect diecast cars we have a very large selection of high quality 1:18 diecast cars to select from.
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