Volume IX, Number 2

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.

The Best Toy Cars and Toy Car Manufacturer of 2005

1st Place - Matchbox 2005 Dodge Charger with 26% of votes cast
2nd Place - tie
Siku Porsche Carrera GT with 17% of votes cast
Hot Wheels Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9 concept with 17% of votes cast

1st Place - Norev Renault Dauphine with 19% of votes cast
2nd Place - Biante 1977 Ford Falcon XC Cobra with 7% of votes cast
3rd Place - Revell 1939 Chevrolet with 6% of votes cast

1st Place - Hot Wheels with 25% of votes cast
2nd Place - Matchbox with 17% of votes cast
3rd Place - Norev with 8% of votes cast

Congratulations to Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Norev for their first place finish in each category.

In the 'regular line' competition, three models were the obvious favorites with the Matchbox Dodge Charger winning by a clear margin. The Siku Porsche Carrera GT and Hot Wheels ' Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9 were tied for second and well ahead of Real Toy's Porsche Carrera GT3 which gathered 9% of the votes.

The 'collector line' models had one clear favorite with Norev's Renault Dauphine and then a host of other favorites all finishing with less than 8% of the vote. Revell's 1939 Chevrolet finished in a surprising 3rd Place behind the 2nd Place Ford Falcon XC Cobra of Biante.

For 2003 and 2004, Norev claimed the 'Toy Car Manufacturer of the Year' award but could only manage 3rd place in 2005. Hot Wheels proved that they are still very popular with the win in 2005. A rebounding Matchbox came in second. Johnny Lightning finished in fourth place with new-comer Grell in a well-deserved fifth place.

There are some surprises here. First, in a year that saw the most success for Matchbox since becoming part of Mattel, the 'manufacturer' title went to their alter-ego, Hot Wheels. It is hard to see 2005 as a better year for Hot Wheels than for their competition but that is how the voting went. True, Hot Wheels did move toward more realistic paint and tampos for their regular line and stand-out models like the B.A.T. 9 must deserve some of the credit. After victories in the past two years, Norev slipped to third place. This is not difficult to understand as the Norev models are perhaps beginning to be taken for granted. Maisto received some support and they certainly did jump into the collector market in 1:64 with both feet in 2005. Grell and Kyosho made some amazing models in 2005 but are too small and too hard to find to get much credit.

The choice of the Matchbox 2005 Dodge Charger as the 'regular line' winner is well-deserved. The competition was serious with excellent models from Siku, Hot Wheels and Real Toy showing strong support. I expect the new Matchbox Ford GT, Dodge Magnum or several other new models might have fared as well. Matchbox is clearly back with the living and here is the credit.

It is a surprise that Norev's charming Renault Dauphine ran away with the 'collector line' award. It is a wonderful model but the competition is very good too. The Schuco-High Speed Alfa Spider or Grell EMW 327 are just as high quality but had just 3% responses. The Muscle Machines Nissan, Kyosho BMW V12 LMR and Jada Ford GT are even better quality but could do little more than 3%. It does not seem to be an issue of availability as Biante's Ford Falcon Cobra took second place but is not available outside Australia. I suspect that with all the great cars to choose from, the votes were too widely disbursed. The Dauphine represents what we all knew that Norev could do if they tried, create a classic line as spectacular as their modern line. Perhaps it was the eye-catching 'French blue' that helped.

2006 looks to be as good or better than 2005. It is hard to be anything but optimistic about the toy car hobby.

The percentage of votes for each model/manufacturer are shown below.




Hot Wheels 25%
Regular Line - Alfa Romeo B.A.T. 9 17%
Collector Line - 1971 Plymouth GTX 3%

Matchbox 17%
Regular Line - 2005 Dodge Charger 26%
Collector Line - 2005 Mitsubishi Eclipse 3%

Regular Line - Renault Megane 8%

Norev 8%
Collector Line - Renault Dauphine 19%
Siku 3%
Regular Line - Porsche Carrera GT 17%

Schuco/High Speed 3%
Collector Line - Alfa Romeo Spider 3%

Columbia Telecom
Collector Line - Chrysler C300

Grell 6%
Collector Line - EMW 327-3 Coupe 3%

Collector Line - Mercedes-Benz CLK320

Yat Ming 2%
Regular Line - Honda Civic custom 1%
Collector Line - Dodge Magnum Wagon 3%

Racing Champions/Ertl 1%
Collector Line - Nissan 350Z 1%

Muscle Machines 1%
Collector Line - Dajshin Nissan Silvia 3%

Kinsmart 1%
Collector Line - Lincoln Limousine 2%

Collector Line - Ford GT 3%

Collector Line - 1939 Chevrolet 6%

Johnny Lightning 7%
Collector Line - 1961 Lincoln Continental 5%

Maisto 4%
Regular Line - Chrysler Hemi 8 concept 2%
Collector Line - BMW 645Ci 3%

Real Toy 4%
Regular Line - Porsche Carrera GT3 9%

Regular Line - VW Passat Wagon 1%
Motor Max
Regular Line - Pagani Zonda 4%

Konami 2%
Collector Line - Isuzu Bellett 1600GTR 4%

Trend Syndicate 1%
Collector Line - Honda Civic Si 1%

Kyosho 4%
Collector Line - BMW V12 LMR 4%

Tomica 4%
Regular Line - Mazda Demio
Collector Line - Prince Gloria 5%
(courtesy Rob Gras)

Collector Line - Holden FJ 3%

Biante 2%
Collector Line - 1977 Ford Falcon XC Cobra 7%

Bingo Toys 1%
Regular Line - Daewoo Lanos 1%