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.

"Most Recognized"

Here is something a little different for August. The following represents the responsed to a question I posted on the Matchbox Collector's Community Hall recently. You will notice a number of TofTC's contributing writers among the responses. I thought readers might enjoy the interesting comments. Please feel free to send your list on to me. Come join us on the Matchbox Collector's Community Hall as well.

Doug, Charter Member,1163 posts Jul-16-03, 08:17 PM (EDT)

"Most recognized"

Do 1:64 scale toy car producers have a single model that best represents them? When someone says 'Matchbox', what image pops to mind? How about Siku, Tomica or Johnny Lightning? What do you think of my list of 'most popular' models for the following 15 manufacturers? These are my honest first impressions.

Matchbox - Ford GT40

Majorette - Citroen SM

Hot Wheels - Red Baron
Ertl - 1969 Dodge Charger 'General Lee'

Johnny Lightning - Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda' (Bridges)

Maisto - 1989 Porsche Speedster

Corgi - Aston Martin DB6 'Bond'
Tomica - Honda Civic

Welly - 1955 Mercedes=Benz 190 SL
Racing Champions - Gary Cooper's Duesenberg SSJ

Norev - Ligier JS2

Yat Ming - Toyota 2000GT
Siku - VW Beetle

Summer - Tucker

Guisval - 1976 Jaguar XJ12

I decided not to include companies no longer in business like Playart or Impy. For me, newer companies like Jada or AUTOart need more time to create a lasting impression.

If this topic is of interest, I'll include this thread in my commentary for the August issue of TofTC.

Doug Breithaupt

MarkF, Charter Member, 3513 posts Jul-17-03, 01:19 AM (EDT)

1. "RE: Most recognized"

Interesting idea. When you mentioned Ertl, I first thought of this one:

I think everybody will have different ideas depending on their ages and what they had as children. People who grew up in the Eighties may not think of the Ford GT40 as the most recognized for Matchbox. They may choose the Porsche Turbo. For me, I think a red double decker bus would be the most recognized vehicle for Matchbox.

I think you are bang on with the Red Baron for Hot Wheels. Then again, someone younger may choose the Volkswagen Drag Van or Purple Passion. Someone else will say the Deora or Paddy Wagon.

Interesting what others think about this.

KimmoSahakangas, Charter Member, 1652 posts Jul-17-03, 01:47 AM (EDT)

2. "RE: Most recognized"

I immediately think of the 53 Chevy for Ertl. It seems you are looking at this from a personal level by not including commercial vehicles that reflect some of these brands. I'll leave mine with cars also for this purpose...

Matchbox-Ferrari Berlinetta (Pontiac GTO a close second)

Hot Wheels-Deora (a must!!)

Corgi-yes, James Bond (or the Saint)

Johnny Lightning-Jumpin' Jag (because my first JL!)

Racing Champions-57 Buick

Tomica-Toyota 2000GT

Guisval-Seat 127

Polistil (Penny)-Ferrari P4

Tootsitoy-3 inch Plymouth Belvedere

Yat Ming-Dodge Coronet

Siku-lots of Mercedes which are far from my favorites but which one?? The VW you describe is a good choice.

Majorette-okay, I'll break away from cars on this one...it has to be that "Dodge" truck! I can never get enough of this casting and it surely reflects Majorette as a mystery.


Remco_Natrop, Charter Member, 651 posts Jul-17-03, 03:25 AM (EDT)

3. "RE: Most recognized"

When thinking of Siku as a brand the first thing that springs to a lot of minds will be the big 5-axle Faun crane. Big, heavy, robust and produced for 29 straight years in a row...

When talking about cars I think the Porsche 930 and Mercedes 300 SL (gull wing) will spark more memories than the Beetles (the only exception possibly being the 1300 ADAC assistance car) over here.

Your SIKU nut - Remco

Mark C, Charter Member, 6722 posts Jul-17-03, 07:48 AM (EDT)

4. "RE: Most recognized"

Matchbox would have to be the doubledecker bus....


bsmith13, Unregistered User - Please Register or Log In! Jul-17-03, 09:48 AM (EDT)

5. "RE: Most recognized"

I agree that this is more of a personal issue, rather than global. All of the cars that I think of when a certain brand name is mentioned have to do with personal memories.

Matchbox - Ferrari Berlinetta

Hot Wheels - Twin Mill

Maisto - Ferrari GTO

Siku - John Player 911

Majorette - None really come to mind

Corgi - Batmobile

Johnny Lightning - Al Unser Indy Car

Racing Champions - Viper GTS

Tomica - Porsche 911

Norev - none

Yat Ming - none

Summer - none

Doug, Charter Member, 1163 posts Jul-17-03, 12:02 PM (EDT)

6. "RE: Most recognized"

This is certainly a personal response with all the factors that Mark F. mentioned in place. Still, some common themes may appear. My primary purpose for doing this is to better understand what other collectors see as the models that best define a manufacturer. I expect manufacturers will find this useful as it will help them understand the products that best represent their style of casting and corporate image. Some might even consider trying to return to that image (you know who you are).

Doug Breithaupt

diecastdingo, Charter Member, 1171 posts Jul-17-03, 07:24 PM (EDT)

7. "RE: Most recognized"

For all it's worth, here's my list:

Matchbox (Lesney)- Studebaker wagon(blue, childhood favourite)

Matchbox (today) - that Radar truck that looks like a Golf Tee (the horror, the horror...)

Hot Wheels - Redline oval-window Beetle (my first)

Siku - VW Passat (green, not sure why)

Majorette - Peugeot 204 Convertible ('cause I don't have one, but want it bad)

Corgi - Aston Martin DB6 'Bond'

Johnny Lightning - Any late 60s, early 70s Mopar (no one does them better)

Tomica - Suzuki Carry Noodle Van (so very Japanese)

tone, Charter Member, 2376 posts Jul-17-03, 09:37 PM (EDT)

8. "RE: Most recognized"

The Chevy fast-back is nice, but I think that many would choose a farm tractor as being most representative of Ertl.

The Matchbox that immediately comes to my mind is the #24 RR Silver Shadow with opening boot. I didn't have the Routemaster bus when I was very young and received my very first Matchbox, but other companies made equally nice models. The Rolls is a "top of the line" MB!

Southern Gent, Unregistered User - Please Register or Log In! Jul-18-03, 10:47 AM (EDT)

9. "RE: Most recognized"

For Hot Wheels, either the Twin Mill because it was the first original casting, or the 67 Camaro because it's been done to death.

For Matchbox, the Lotus F1 in BRG.

Majorette, one of those stretch limos that still clog the pegs at the occasional drug store.

Tomica, the NSX that I finally got thanks to RC/Ertl

As for RC/Ertl, that oversized cast of the 63 Vette coupe.

For Ertl alone, the General Lee 70 Dodge Charger.

Corgi, either the Batmobile or the bond DB6

Maisto, their best is the Ferrari GTO, but the one casting they've done that nobody else has considered is the Trabant, for which I thank them.

Topper Johnny Lightning The Custom Turbine

PM Johnny Lightning a 41 Willys

Siniweb, Member since Apr-13-03, 125 posts Jul-18-03, 11:29 AM (EDT)

10. "RE: Most recognized"

Corgi - Austin Metro

Johnny Lightning - Plymouth Superbird (i still have no JLs for now, but that´s what I think of when I hear "JL")

Hongwell/Schuco - VW Beetle

Hot Wheels - AC Cobra

Maisto - '62 Ferrari 250 GTO

Majorette - Matra Simca Bagheera, Porsche 924

Matchbox - Boss Mustang (and variations)

Norev (old) - Renault 12

Racing Champions - any Nascar (still have no RC in my collection)

Siku - Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

Summer - Porsche 944 Turbo

Tomica - Datsun Fairlady 260 Z

Welly (old) - Mazda Savanna RX-7 (Tomica copy)

Welly (new) - VW Lupo

Yat Ming - Dodge Aspen


D14D, Charter Member, 166 posts Jul-18-03, 12:45 PM (EDT)

11. "RE: Most recognized"





Majorette - BMW M3 COUPE

Corgi - None really come to mind

Johnny Lightning - 2002 ASTON MARTIN V12 VANQUISH

Racing Champions - 2003 DODGE VIPER SRT 10


Norev - none


Summer - none




VW_Dutchy, Charter Member, 173 posts Jul-18-03, 04:38 PM (EDT)

12. "RE: Most recognized"

Do 1:64 scale toy car producers have a single model that best represents them? When someone says 'Matchbox', what image pops to mind? How about Siku, Tomica or Johnny Lightning? What do you think of my list of 'most popular' models for the following 12 manufacturers? These are my honest first impressions.

MBX = type T1 barndoor bus

Siku = VW Karmann Ghia type 34

Tomica = Datsun 240Z

J.L. = Bomb bug series

Mac Ragan, Charter Member, 2810 posts Jul-18-03, 05:16 PM (EDT)

13. "RE: Most recognized"

Great question Doug! My first impressions:

Matchbox - red London Bus

Hot Wheels - antifreeze green Silhouette

Maisto - Ford Pickup (Rallye and Tow Truck versions)

Siku - VW Beetle Coupe and Cabrio

Majorette - Citroen DS Ambulance

Corgi - Aston Martin DB6 'Bond'

Husky/Corgi Jr. - Batmobile

Johnny Lightning (Topper) - Custom GTO

Johnny Lightning (Playing Mantis) - 1967 GTO or Ghostbusters Ambulance

Racing Champions - Contemporary NASCAR Stock Cars

Tomica - Dodge Coronet Taxi, Fire, and Police

Norev Mini-Jet - Renault Fuego

Yat Ming - 1964 Chevrolet Impala

Summer - I don't think I've seen one of these.


Share your thoughts on this topic with me and you may see them in the next issue. Send to: doug@breithaupts.com.