Galant Eterna - Matchbox
3000GT Spyder (Premier Ed.) - Matchbox
3000GT Spyder - Matchbox
2000 Eclipse - Hot Wheels (McD)
X2S Concept - #D-107 - Zylmex
Galant Lamba 2000GSR #18-2 - Tomica
Lancer Turbo Pro-Rally #38-4 - Tomica
|Mitsubishi automobiles have never received the much attention from 1:64
scale toy car makers. Nissan, Toyota, Mazda and Honda models seem to get
the most attention. Mitsubishi, Subaru, Isuzu and Suzuki are treated as
junior marques when it comes to model-making. To be fair, this situation
follows the production levels of the Japanese automakers. Another key factor
is the production of more sporting models, favored by the toy car industry.
Without Nissan's Z cars, Mazda's RX-7 models and the Toyota Celica/Supra
models, very few models would remain in 1:64 scale. |
The other major impact on Japanese miniatures has been Tomica. No other diecast manufacturer has provided as extensive a history of home country automobiles as Tomica. For over 30 years, Tomica has provided small-scale replicas of virtually all the important Japanese vehicles. Tomica has also been willing to move beyond the sport/GT cars and provide a wide, cross-section of Japanese cars, trucks and commercial vehicles. While Siku has done the same thing for German-made automobiles and Majorette and Norev have provided the most French, cars, Tomica can honestly claim to have provided the history of Japanese vehicles in miniature.
A variety of Mitsubishi vehicles are represented by Tomica models but for the purpose of this story, the focus is on cars. The trucks, military and commercial vehicles will be addressed at a later date. The models represented here are all of a sporting nature. Only four manufacturers are represented,; Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Zylmex and of course, Tomica.
Matchbox has produced two Mitsubishi models. The first is the Mitsubishi Galant Eterna made in 1978. It was produced by Lesney in Hong Kong and features opening doors. Matchbox offered this same casting as the Dodge Challenger, a U.S. clone that was produced for Chrysler. The second Matchbox model is the Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder of 1994. This model has come in a variety of colors including blue, green, black, yellow and red. A Premier Edition version was also offered in yellow, green and red colors, with chrome wheels, rubber tires and detailed paint.
Hot Wheels has provided the latest Mitsubishi model but only through it's McDonalds promotional give-away. The 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse is presented in silver with a sheet of stick-on decals. The casting does not include an interior and comes with dark windows. While this is a very basic model, it does capture the look of the current generation Eclipse and is so far the only example of this car in small-scale. I have heard that Ertl did the first generation Eclipse but have yet to actually see this model.
Zylmex produced the Mitsubishi X2S concept car, #D107, from the late 1980's. This car featured many of the design cues that later appeared on the 3000GT and Eclipse models. This model can still be found from Red Box.
Tomica has done the most Mitsubishi cars and the first was the Colt Galant Hardtop GS, #13-1. This was followed by a Colt Galant GTO-MR, #30-1. The Galant Lamba 2000GSR, #18-2 was produced in 1977. Mitsubishi's pro-rally car, the Lancer Turbo, was offered as #38-4. The Starion 2000 Turbo was produced as #48-4 and was also offered in a police version. The most recent model is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV pro-rally car, #104, produced in 1997. This is the car that won the World Rally Championship for Mitsubishi in 1999. It comes with sticker decals that represent the rally sponsors. It is curious that Tomica did not do the recent 3000GT model . They have also not done any of the U.S. built Eclipse models. As Tomica makes little effort to sell their models in the U.S. market, perhaps this explains the absence of these popular cars.
Mitsubishi's automotive production is now closely tied to Daimler-Chrysler. This may result in a wider market for Mitsubishi automobiles. If this occurs, we may also see more toy cars sporting the three-diamond logo.