O F F - T H E - S H E L F
The following editorial reflects
the personal thoughts of Doug Breithaupt relating to our common hobby of
miniature cars. It is intended to generate discussion relating to 'Tales of Toy Cars'.
Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail.
It's always great to be first. In the diecast toy car business,
being the first to produce a new car model can lead to additional sales
and that's nice too. Whenever a new sports, GT or luxury car is introduced
in 1:1 scale, I enjoy watching to see which toy car manufacturer is first
to bring a 1:64 scale version to the marketplace.
On rare occasions, the toy car has actually preceded the
real car's introduction. The most famous case in point is Mattel's original
1968 Corvette Hot Wheel. The Hot Wheel appeared on store shelves before
the new Corvette hit the streets. That certainly helped sell the toy Corvette
and was a likely contributor to the early success of Hot Wheels.
Since toy car makers usually plan their new models as much as two years
in advance, they often have to wait until new cars are out to add these
models to their production que. This results in the new toy car following
the real car by at least a year or more. A variety of exciting new cars
are currently in the works and I wonder who will be first to offer the miniature
version. Here is a quick review.
Mercedes-Benz - The new SL is out and will certainly be popular.
Almost every toy car maker does a new SL model. Look for Siku, Majorette
or Hot Wheels to be quick on this one although Welly, Hongwell or Maisto
could try to beat the competition.
BMW - The new 7 Series sedan is full of amazing technology and new
BMW styling ideas. Someone will do it but it is unlikely to be as popular
as the Z8 or Z3 models. Siku is again the best bet but I bet a few others
do it as well.
Porsche - The new Carrera supercar will be a very popular toy car
as well. The show car was displayed last year to great success and now that
production is confirmed, watch for someone to move quickly with the toy
version. My money would be on one of the Asian manufacturers like Motor
Max or Welly to be one of the first although Majorette was the first with
the Boxter so that's possible too.
VW - The popularity of the old VW van should guaranty that the new
retro-version is done quite soon. Do you recall who was first with the new
Beetle? Both Maisto and Kinsmart were very quick to get the production model
out but Matchbox was first by doing the Concept 1 show car. Maisto is the
first to do the new Jetta. VW also has new Bugatti and Bentley models due
out but these may be deemed too 'niche market' for toy car producers. I
Audi - With the TT done by many companies now, don't look for any
new Audi models soon. The exception would be Audi's world-beating prototype
race cars. Those must be on someone's list.
Opel - The Calibra European Touring Car was done recently by Matchbox
and Real Toy. The new Opel Speedster should be done by Siku at least.
Volvo and Saab - Hongwell has done a fine job with the new Volvo
coupe, convertible and wagon models. No one else has bothered. The same
goes for the Saab 9-5.
Renault/Peugeot/Citroen - Majorette, Guisval and Siku seem to be
the only ones doing any French cars and that is unlikely to change. The
Citroen Xsera rally car is available from Guisval but where is the Peugeot
WRC 2000 winning car?
Seat - Only Guisval bothers with Seat models.
Skoda - One Skoda every 30 years or so is about the norm. Matchbox
did the last one.
Jaguar - The new 'X' type is likely to be done by someone and the
XK180 show car has been done by Welly so far. The 'S' type has been produced
by Welly, Real Toy, Siku and Majorette.
Lotus - Hot Wheels seems to be keeping Lotus models on the toy shelves.
A new Lotus Esprit form HW is 2002 is already in production.
Rolls Royce - It has been a long time since a new Rolls was offered
in miniature. Now under the BMW umbrella, perhaps Siku will offer one.
Bentley - Other than the Le Mans racer, not b----y likely.
Mini - Majorette is the first to offer the new Mini but they won't
be the last.
M.G. - Matchbox did the MGF several years back and no one else bothered.
Any new M.G. models will be lucky to be done by anyone.
Ford Great Britain - The previous-generation Escort pro-rally car
is available from Guisval and Hot Wheels. Look for Siku or Majorette to
do more British Fords.
Ferrari - Hot Wheels seem to be serious about their exclusive with
Ferrari and that is a major loss for collectors. No automaker should limit
the diecast marketplace in this way, especially for cars as popular as Ferrari.
Lamborghini - The Murcilago will be done by as many as did the Diablo.
Maserati - The new Maser coupe and convertible should be done by
Alfa Romeo - Welly and Yat Ming are the only ones to offer the current
Spider. The Welly version does not seem to be offered in the U.S.
Fiat - Majorette does the Fiat Coupe
Lancia - A new rally car might tempt toy car makers back.
Chrysler/Dodge - The new Viper has been done by both Matchbox and
Hot Wheels, in the same colors even! Others will follow. The PT/GT/Panel
Cruiser models are easy to find. Hot Wheels did the new Charger and Power
Wagon, now slated for production. Now that the Chrysler Crossfire is confirmed
for production, it should be an easy choice, with Maisto most likely to
General Motors - Maisto has done 12 of the 2000-2001
GM concept cars and now the production models will follow. Matchbox has
several of these same show cars slated for 2002. The Cadillac Evoq is a
good bet for several manufacturers and Maisto already has a 1:36 scale version.
Hot Wheels has the Cadillac Le Mans racer. Anything new from Buick or Oldsmobile
beyond the Maisto models is a long shot. With the Firebird on the way out,
it will be harder to find toy Pontiacs. No one has done the Aztec, surprised?
Chevrolet models will also suffer without the Camaro. Some 50th anniversary
Corvettes are sure to appear. The new Monte Carlo is available from Johnny
Lightning and Maisto. The current Impala is offered in police trim from
Matchbox. The Chevrolet SSR concept truck is now going into production so
Maisto's version is well-timed.
Ford - Real Toy now offers the new Crown Victoria in street form
while several police versions are available. Matchbox has done the Focus
in street form and Hot Wheels has done a slammed racing version. Only Matchbox
has done the new T-Bird so far. More variations on the current Mustang are
certain to appear. Hot Wheels has the new Mercury Cougar on their list for
2002. The last new Lincoln was the Continental Mk. VII from Maisto, and
the Mk. VIII is too ugly to get toy makers interested. Several Lincoln show
cars have better prospects. Recent Ford show cars are also likely.
Honda - The new Civic has been done by Hot Wheels and the NSX, Accord
and Integra can still be found. Tomica will continue to do most new models
but Revell seems to have taken a special interest in Honda as well.
Nissan - With a new Z Car ready, Tomica has the show version available.
Hot Wheels will also offer this model in 2002. Tomica offers the basic Nissan
sedans and Hot Wheels does the Xterra SUV. The new Skyline V35 should appear
Toyota - Celica and Supra models are always popular and Motor Max,
Hot Wheels and Tomica were first with the latest models. The new MR2 is
yet to be done but should appear soon. Land Cruiser models are also popular
and Real Toy has a nice one.
Lexus - The new Lexus Roadster is already available from Tomica.
Several others may appear.
Subaru - Tomica is the primary source for Subaru models to date but
the new WRX is changing that. Look for more WRX models form several sources.
Mazda - The new Miata is available from Motor Max and current RX-7
can still be found from a variety of sources.
Holden - The Commodore competition touring car has been done by Matchbox
and Hot Wheels.
Ford Australia - Matchbox has done the Ford Falcon competition touring
car and now they've tarted it up as a taxi!.
Let me know if you want to add to the list or offer corrections email@example.com.