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.

Toy Car Family Tree

Every time one of the gaps in my diecast collection is filled, I again think about the BIG project. For years I've been tempted to assemble a sort of automotive family tree for different marques. It would show all the years and major models and identify which have been done as small-scale diecast and which remain. This time it is the addition of the 1957 Ford Fairlane 2dr. hardtop from Imperial that got me thinking. The 1957 Fords actually outsold the 1957 Chevrolet models when they were produced but today, toy '57 Chevrolets outnumber '57 Fords by at least 100 to 3. Number two of the '57 Fords is the Ranchero by Racing Champions and number three is a convertible by Tootsietoy.

Getting back to the toy car family tree, here is how it might look for Ford (excluding T-Birds) for the 1950's.











2 door coupe Racing Champions
Hot Wheels
      Renwal Hasbro
Racing Champions
Johnny Lightning
Imperial Lin Mar
4 door sedan       Goodee            
convertible Imperial
Racing Champions
      Renwal Imperial
Racing Champions     Yat Ming
wagon Kinsmart       Tootsietoy Matchbox Tootsietoy   Matchbox
truck Johnny Lightning         Imperial
Hot Wheels
Racing Champions    

I have left off the plastic models by F&F and Siku and have only included toy car smaller than 1:54 or larger than 1:87 scale. I'm sure I've missed something but this is everything I can find. It is interesting to note that while 1950 Fords are well represented, none from 1951 or 1952 appear. Perhaps the Fords of 1951 and 1952 are not as popular with collectors as are the landmark 1950 models. 1956 is also interesting. Next to 1950, 1956 seems to be the most popular year for Fords in 1:64 scale. I'm not sure why 1956 instead of the more handsome 1957 models but that's the way it is sometimes.

One reason that toy cars may be bunched into one year is that toy car makers often 'take advantage of' plastic kits or 1:43 scale models to use in preparing their 1:64 scale versions. If few 1957 Fords are available in plastic kit form or 1:43 scale diecast, it takes a while for a manufacturer to produce a unique casting. Interest in full-size models on the collector car market is another major factor today. Matchbox has even gone as far as to offer cars from the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction as part of their 2002 line.

I often receive e-mail or phone inquiries from owners of real cars wondering if a toy car version of their pride and joy has ever been done. Most recently, the owner of a 1958 Ford Skyliner called me and I had to tell him I have never seen one although perhaps a 1:43 scale model has been done. From my own real car collection, no one has done a 1:64 scale version of the '72 Buick Sportwagon or the 1975 Ferrari 308GT/4. Maybe if I could get one of the characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer to drive one of my cars it would appear? After all, who would have ever bet on a 1959 Desoto 4-door sedan showing up in small-scale?

Let me know if you want to add to the list or offer corrections doug@breithaupts.com.