.The KIDCO-Dinky Connection
by Dave Weber
Photos by Doug Breithaupt

Dinky Toy cars first appeared in the early 1930's and were manufactured by the Meccano Company in England. Reference to Dr. Ed Force's book Dinky Toys is recommended for a good historical summarization. It is noted that most Dinky models were closer to 1:43 scale, as compared to the smaller Matchbox/Hot Wheels 1:64 scale.

However, Dinky on at least three separate occasions ventured into manufacturing this smaller scale model. The first episode were the "Dublo" models (Double "O"-"OO" model train gauge) which carried model numbers 062 to 076. The second venture was the issue of the 12 known Mini-Dinky models in plastic garage boxes, which were excellently reviewed a few months ago on this website by Brian Willoughby.

The third set of cars was issued in 1980; possibly as a last ditch effort to fend off bankruptcy and closure of the owner of Dinky at that time, Airfix Company, the parent.

This set of models, according to Force, carried model numbers 101H through 130H and was actually manufactured by Universal Products of Hong Kong. These models did not carry the Dinky name when issued in the United States. Instead, they were issued by KIDCO, Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Illinois as "Tough Wheels" and were reportedly available in local Kresge/K-Mart stores at that time. Although Dr. Force stated the bases indicated Dinky and made in Hong Kong on them, the models in my collection all show KIDCO on the base. However, I did find a 56 T-Bird during a visit to England almost ten years ago that has a Dinky base on it and is the same casting as my KIDCO model.

The following list compares the KIDCO list to that presented by Dr. Force. I would also like to point out the connection that in 1982 Universal Products of Hong Kong purchased Matchbox Toys and soon after the owner, David Yeh, obtained the licensing for the Dinky name; which is still being used today by Mattel for a series within the Matchbox Collectibles line. Under Universal's ownership, the Dinky name was used to market a small number of Matchbox models in 1987. This was done to protect the Dinky trademark and lasted for only a brief period. Some of these Matchbox models packaged on Dinky cards are shown below.

The following is a list of KIDCO models that were also offered as Dinky models.
Dinky # - Vehicle Description - KIDCO #
101H 56 Corvette 115-1
103H Chevette Hatchback 119-1
104H Honda Accord 119-2
105H Toyota Celica 119-3
106H Datsun 280Z 119-4
107H BMW Turbo 154-2
108H Alfa Romeo 154-3
110H Chev Stepside P/up 120-1
111H Chev Camper P/up 120-2
113H Chev 4x4 P/up 120-4
114H Pontiac Firebird 152-1
115H Chev Camaro 152-2
116H 63 Corvette 152-3/115-2
117H 69 Corvette 152-4/115-3
119H Ford Van 170-2
120H Jeep Renegade 121-2/117-3
121H Chev Estate Van Unable to ID from list
122H Sun Van 121-1
(123H-126H Motorcycles 122-1 to 122-4)
129H 56 Ford T-Bird 151-3
130H 57 Chev Conv 151-4

Like other car models, these KIDCO/Dinky castings have become fairly scarce in availability in the last few years.

The comparative list of KIDCO models was taken from the back of several "Tough Wheels" blister cards copyrighted in 1979 and1981. The KIDCO total list includes models which may have duplicate model numbers. This indicates that not all were issued as Dinky models. These models are listed in sets of 4 or more models each and are as follows:
KIDCO Model Number - Description
10000 Construction Vehicles (6) No Dinky
11500 Corvette Classics (4) Dinky models
11500-1 '56 Corvette
11500-2 '63 Corvette
11500-3 '69 Corvette
11500-4 '78 Corvette
11600 Tough Wheel Trucks (12) No Dinky
11700 Off Road Vehicles (4) Dinky model
11700-1 Ford Bronco
11700-2 Ford Van
11700-3 C.J.7 Jeep Renegade
11700-4 Chevy Blazer
11800 Hot Rods of 30's (4) No Dinky
11800-1 '30 Ford Touring
11800-2 '32 Ford Roadster
11800-3 '36 Ford Coupe
11800-4 '37 Chevrolet Coupe
11900 Hatchbacks (4) Dinky models
11900-1 Chevrolet Chevette
11900-2 Honda Accord
11900-3 Toyota Celica ST
11900-4 Datsun 280Z
12000 P/up trucks (4) Dinky models
12000-1 Stepside
12000-2 Camper
12000-3 Warlock
12000-4 4x4
12100 Super Vans (6) Dinky models
12200 Motocross Cycles (5) Dinky models?
12300 Motorcycles (8) Dinky models
15000 Super TW Trucks (6) No Dinky
15100 Classic Convertibles (4) Dinky models
15100-1 '53 Corvette
15100-2 '66 Mustang
15100-3 '56 T-Bird
15100-4 '57 Chevy
15200 Muscle Cars (4) Dinky models
15200-1 Firebird
15200-2 Camaro
15200-3 '63 Corvette
15200-4 '69 Corvette
15200-5 Hemi 440
15200-6 Daytona Charger
153 European Racing Cars (6) No Dinky
15300-1 Lotus JPS 76
15300-2 Ferrari 312T2
15300-3 Heskith 852
15300-4 McLaren M32
15300-5 Ferrari 512M
15300-6 Porsche Audi
154 European Sports Cars (6) Dinky models
155 TW Tuck & Trailer Set (9) No Dinky
16000 Commemorative Cars (4)
16000-1 Corvette 1978 25th Anniversary
16000-2 Firebird 1979 10th Anniversary
16000-3 Mustang 1979 Indy Pace Car
16000-4 Datsun 1980 10th Anniversary
16600 Emergency Vehicles (4)
16900 Deluxe Sports Cars
16900-1&2 Mazda RX-7
16900-3&4 Ferrari 308GTS
16900-5&6 Lamborghini Countach
16900-7&8 Porsche 935 Turbo
17300 Super Cycles (4)
I hope this analysis will be of assistance and interest. Any additions or corrections for the good of the readership are welcome (click here).

Chevrolet Corvette

Fiat Abarth

Pontiac Firebird SE

VW Golf

1956 Chevrolet Corvette

1979 Chevrolet Chevette

1963 Chevrolet Corvette

1956 Ford Thunderbird

1979 Pontiac Firebird (Anniversary Edition)

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

1978 Chevrolet Corvette

1979 Ferrari 308 GTS

1979 Mazda RX-7