US Cars in Miniature (1950-1952)
by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

Welcome to my second installment of US Model Cars of the 50's. This section will attempt to include all 1/64 scale ( 3 inch) miniatures representing full size cars produced from 1950-1952. Subsequent monthly articles to complete this decade will be divided into sections including cars made from 1953-1954, 1955-1956 and 1958-1959. I have purposely omitted including trucks from this era unless they have sedan bodies.

Most automobile manufacturers introduced new styling changes to their various lines as the new decade arrived. Some designs remained very conservative, such as the early Chrysler Corp products. Others such as Studebaker presented radical innovations to their exterior body designs. The major change was the introduction of the bullet nose grille in 1950. Some other manufacturers lowered their cabin areas and began lengthening their wheelbases to usher in this new decade that became the 'fabulous Fifties'.

The following summary is probably not complete. Due to regional availability, not all models/ toys are plentiful in all parts of this country and World! As a practice I only list one casting for each model . It is usually the first one issued. Luckily some models that may have been issued up to 10 years ago may still be available in more recently issued series.
Hot Wheels introduced a model of a 1950 customized 2 door Station Wagon in their Elwoody Custom Cars Collectibles set in 1997. This model was issued in recognition of long time Mattel Designer Larry Wood. It is noted that Buick did not produce a 2 door wagon in 1950 . However the presentation of the basic design details are otherwise very accurate.

Johnny Lightning issued a 1950 fastback model #555 of the customized 'Bumongous' in their Hot Rod series in 1997. The roofline appears to be slightly incorrect.
Yat Ming issued a 1950 convertible model # 8904 about 10 years ago. Both top up and top down versions were available.
Hasbro re-issued a the Yat Ming convertible (top up model) in the mid 90s. It was part of a Batman vehicle set. The baseplate is inscribed 'DC Comics 1995 '. The casting is almost identical to the Yat Ming except the rear bumper is installed upside down and there are side vent windows on the Hasbro version - which suggests this latter model may have been a modified copy.
Summer produced a crude copy of the Yat Ming casting that is clearly the same Buick model.

Golden Wheel Diecasting issued a very nice model of a 1950 4 door sedan in the late 90s. This casting was included in 4 car taxi, police and fire sets.
Ertl produced 2 Fleetline fastback 1951 models in their Replica Series about 20 years ago. The models are # 1630 and #1922.
Summer issued a somewhat stylized replica of a 1951 coupe in about 2000. It was never found in the Notheastern US and seems to have only been available on the West Coast and Canada .

Imperial issued a 1950 Convertible ( top down) in their Mighty Machines Hot Rod Hauler set which included a semi- car carrier. These were produced in the late 90s and were available about 2 years ago on a limiited basis.
Hot Wheels issued a customized 2 door 'Shoe Box' Coupe # 24395 in 2001.
Ertl issued 1950 Convertibles (top up) in the early 80s as part of their Replica Series. They carried model #s 1631 and 1919.
Kinsmart is presently offering a small pullback Woody Wagon. This model carries # KT2527 and is designated to be 1/82 scale by the manufacturer Kintoy.
Racing Champions offered a 1950 Ford convertible in custom trim in 1998 and through their Street Wheels line, did a stock 1950 Ford Coupe, also from 1998.
In their Street Wheels line, Racing Champions did this nice 1950 Ford Coupe. Other than the small custom wheels and rear fender skirts, this is a stock model.
F+F , a plastics promotional producer offered 1950 and 1951 Fordor models for Post's Cereals over 40 years ago

Racing Champions offered a very nice 1951 Hudson Hornet in 2000. This is the only release of this model so far and it has proved quite popular. Additional releases are expected from RC.

Ertl issued a 1950 custom 2 door models # 1629 and 1913 in their Replica Series in the early 80s.
Johnny Lightning is presently producing a 1950 Station Wagon model # 146. Although this casting was originally used for a 1949 model in the Hollywood on Wheels series in 2001, it is now designated as 1950.
Johnny Lightning also produced this mild custom 1950 Mercury in their Show Stoppers series.
Hot Wheels' Purple Passion is based on a 1950 Mercury. This has become one of HW's more popular modern models and has risen in value.


Racing Champions issued a very accurate replica of a 1950 fastback sedan # 226 in their Mint Editions series in 1998.

Racing Champions produced a distorted model of a 1950 coupe in their Petty NASCAR Anniversary Series in 1999. The cabin area appears to be too high in comparison to the 1/64 scale size of the car.

Tootsietoy produced a somewhat distorted model of a 1950 '3 inch' sedan over 20 years ago.


Lledo- Days Gone issued a model of a 1952 Sedan Delivery in the mid 90s. Although it is slightly larger then 1/64 scale, I include it since no other producer has offered a similar model closer to the true 1/64 scale size.

Johnny Lightning issued a radically customized 1950 'Frankinstude' coupe model # 553 in their Hot Rod Series in 1997.
Racing Champions produced a very accurate 1951 Coupe #150 in their Mint Editions Series in 1997.
While Hot Wheels offered this 1950 Studebaker Wagon as one of their McDonalds models, a Studebaker Wagon was not produced in 1950. So, where did the wagon tail come from?

This concludes my inventory of known models in the 1950 -1952 time span. Hopefully I have included all models that have been issued. Corrections and additions are always welcome.

Major Sources:

Ragan, M., 'Tomart's Price Guide to Johnny Lightning Vehicles', Tomart, 2001
Strauss M., 'Hot Wheels', Tomart, 5th Ed , 2002
Wieland, J and Force E., 'Detroit in Miniature', Motorbooks Int . 1982