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 the 'Guest Book'.

Happy Birthday TofTC

With this issue, Tales of Toy Cars (TofTC) celebrates the completion of two years of publication and 24 issues. As we begin our third year, the popularity of all scales of diecast cars is better than ever. From 1:87 to 1:12 scale, new products are arriving more quickly and with better quality and prices than ever before. I my favorite scales of 1:46 and 1:18, the best just seem to get better. Companies like Johnny Lightning, Maisto, Siku and Anson have successfully challenged the industry leaders like Mattel and Bburago. I've said it before but it bears repeating, this is the golden age of diecast cars.

Is TofTC contributing to this new generation for our hobby? With all modesty, this appears true. If it is true, much of the credit goes to the many contributors to this publication. While these contributors are recognized on our masthead, I would like to make special note of the excellent work provided by Brian Willoughby, David Cook and Remco Natrop. This is an all-volunteer publication. The only payment we receive is the simple joy this hobby provides. Any revenues received (they have been very modest) from our sponsors, go to help cover the monthly server charges. If you appreciate and would like to help sponsor TofTC or provide articles for publication, please let me know via the Guest Book.

With all the toy cars being produced, are manufacturers running out of new models to offer? Sure, American muscle cars and European/Japanese sports cars are the most popular to re-produce in miniature. Toy cars will and should always follow the market for their full-sized relatives. Even so, it is curious how some very popular cars are seldom modeled. Let's look at a case in point.

In 1965, Pininfarina offered a new concept car at the Paris Auto Show. The Dino Berlinetta was shown to the public as a potential junior Ferrari, In mid-1968, the production version known as the Dino 206GT was put into showrooms. In Fall 1969, the Dino's engine was enlarged and it became the 246GT. Never badged as a Ferrari, the Dino 246 was much acclaimed for it's styling and readability. A total of 3,883 were built before a new Dino, the 308GT4 was offered in 1974. The 308GT4 survived until 1980 with 2,826 produced. In 1976, all Dino's were re-badged as Ferrari models. Today, the 246GT is valued at $60,000 and the 308GT4 at $25,000 for excellent examples. The 246Gt is often a choice for top ten automotive design lists.

Diecast collectors might reasonably expect that the Dino models would be represented in 1:64 scale. While one example of the production car was done many years ago, the Dino has been largely overlooked. The only examples are very hard to find. Two Dino Berlinetta show cars were done, the first by Polistil in it's Penny series and the Second by Guisval of Spain. Ertl did the only production car and both Polistil and Aurora-Cigarbox did a racing version.

Polistil - Dino Berlinetta #0/201

Guisval - Dino Berlinetta

Aurora Cigarbox - Dino 206SP #6111

Ertl - Dino 246GT
No examples of the later 308GT4 exist in small-scale although several 1:43 scale versions were done. With the current popularity of the Dino 246GT, world-wide, one would expect that some additional examples might be produced. Maisto did a great 1:36 scale version and Anson and Hot Wheels have done the 246GT in 1:18 scale. The fact that a car with the stature of the Dino 246GT has barely been represented in 1:64 scale is an excellent example of the many wonderful cars still waiting to be produced. The later 308GT4 is a less-likely candidate, much to my lament as an owner, but perhaps it's day will come too. Since the joy of collection is most often in the hunt, we should all have many years of enjoyment in the future. With your help, TofTC will be here to celebrate our collections for a long time to come.