Almost everyone has played with diecast vehicles when they were young. As a kid, my friends and I collected Matchbox & Hot Wheels cars. It was fun to make race tracks and play zones at each of our houses and bring the cars from house to house. I remember having a holder that looked like a race car tire only smaller. It could hold maybe 25-30 Hot Wheels cars in individual compartments that would prevent them from banging into each other during transport. We would play in the dirt with our diecast vehicles, racing them on dirt tracks that we would dig with tunnels, hills and bridges in the dirt. Most people probably lost or threw away their cherished childhood Hot Wheels and Matchbox diecast vehicles they had as young children, or they got lost like all of the other toys we had when we were young. Some people did manage to save them and these rare cars are probably quite valuable to diecast collectors. Rarer still would be to find a vintage car that is in an unopened package that doesn’t have the battle scares accumulated from years of play.
Back then, the most common diecast cars were Hot Wheels and Matchbox. Today there are tons of different companies and they make diecast vehicles of every kind… cars, airplanes, construction vehicles, boats, military vehicles, and more. They also come in many different scales. The most popular scales around today are 1:18 scale and 1:24 scale. The smaller the second number in the scale – the larger the car. For instance, a 1955 Ford in 1:18 scale will be about 12” long while a 1:24 scale replica of that same car will be about 9” long. A 1:64 scale will be about 3” long – the size of a typical Hot Wheels or Matchbox car. When first starting to collect diecast vehicles, you must decide which scale and types of cars you really want to collect because there are so many choices that you can’t possibly collect them all.
That brings us to price. Years ago, these cars were small (1:64 scale) and inexpensive. Today, most of the cars are much larger, heavier and more expensive. As a result, most diecast cars that collectors are searching for are no longer available in mass market toy stores or retail chains. Today, your best bet for finding these cars is online, or through specialty toy and hobby shops if you have one in your area.
Once you start building up your diecast vehicle collection, you should consider getting a display case to show it off. If you have some talent and a few tools, you can easily build a display case in your garage or workshop. Or you can always purchase nice quality display cases that are custom made to fit specific scale model diecast. These are usually sold on the same web sites that offer the replicas.
Good luck and happy collecting!