US Cars of the 50s in Miniature: 1955-1956
by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

By 1955, all of the GM cars received wraparound windshields and the protruding rear fender fins had become more noticeable. The Chrysler and Ford Corporations had also introduced new styling with their own wraparound windshields and rear fender fins. The cars presented a longer and lower appearance when compared to the same models from 1954. A new innovative paint scheme on some cars used a three-tone approach. The use of pink and charcoal also became prevalent.

The following summary of miniature (approximately 1/64 scale) replicas of this time period reflects that most of the toy/ model manufacturers have basically selected the same few cars to be produced, unfortunately. Other lesser known makes and models have yet to be reproduced. I will review these miniatures in alphabetical order by the marque and then review the existing models in chronological order. Although some castings may be repeated in other series, I am only citing the one which is usually the first issue. I also purposely have omitted all trucks as I no longer collect them and my knowledge of what exists would not be complete.

BUICK - Siku produced a 1955 Riviera HT in plastic # V74 from 1958-1965. It is very difficult to find at present.

Matchbox issued a 1955 Fleetwood Sedan and a 1956 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible with top down in their Elvis-Graceland Collection set in 2001. Both were re-issued in 2002 as part of the 50th Anniversary and Barrett-Jackson series.


These models were previously reviewed in TofTC as part of the Tri-Chevy article.

However, a new product is the 1955 BelAir HT by High Speed of Hong Kong which is presently offered as a premium by Reader's Digest Condensed Books. This model is a very nice replica of the full size car.

CHEVROLET CORVETTE - These models have also been previously reviewed under the TofTC Corvette C1 article.

CHEVROLET NOMAD - These models were also previously reviewed under the TofTC Chevy Nomads article.


Racing Champions issued a 1955 C300 model in 1999 in their Petty Anniversary Nascar series

Johnny Lightning issued a 1956 300B #141 in 2000 in their American Chrome series.


Imperial Toys recently issued a 1955 Sunliner Convertible with the top down in one of their 4 car sets with a Semi Tractor Trailer.

Johnny Lightning produced a pro-modified '55 drag racer model # 328 in 1995.

Johnny Lightning produced a very detailed 1955 Crown Victoria HT and Sunliner # 142 in their American Chrome Series.

Action Performance produced a 1955 NASCAR Coupe race car about 3 years ago in recognition of Dale Earnhardt's first race.

Ertl produced a 1956 HT over 20 years ago in their replica Series.

Racing Champions produced a very detailed 1956 Crown Victoria HT #48 in their Mint Edition Series in 1996

Hot Wheels
has just issued a customized 1955 Station Wagon # 56363 in their first Editions series for 2003. Although the external body is mostly realistic, the purplish windows and chrome engine in the rear are distractions.

Matchbox issued a 1956 Customline Station Wagon # 31A1 in 1957 which has incorrect windshield posts reminiscent of the 1954 car. This firm also produced a 1956 Sunliner Convertible with top down in 2002 as part of the Elvis at the Drive In Set.
Benbros Qualtoy of England issued a distorted model of a 1955 Convertible with the top down over 25 years ago. Goodee produced a stylized 1955 Four door Police Cruiser about 30 years ago. This was made as a one piece casting with no base plate. The axles were supported by 4 posts extending from the underside of the casting. A single bubble gum light was present on the roof. Siku produced a plastic model of the 1955 Fairlane Sunliner # V77 with the top down. It was available from 1958-1965 and is very scarce at this time. Tootsietoy reportedly made a 1 piece casting of the 1955 Custom over 30 years ago.


Tack Cheung of Hong Kong offers a 1955 HT in their recently introduced Car Chain Series.

Johnny Lightning has produced a 1956 HT and Roadster with top down in their Thunderbird Series.

Racing Champions issued a very nice 1956 HT #6 in 1996 in their Mint Edition Series.

Kidco/ Universal issued a 1956 Roadster with the top down in 1979-80. This model carried the Kidco name in the US, but in the UK the same casting was discovered to carry the Dinky tradename.

Zylmex/ Zeetoy
issued a 1956 HT # p 356 which was available in the early 90s.

Road Champs issued a 1956 HT about 15 years ago.

Summer produced a 1955 HT that includes a continental kit.

Summer issued a stylized 1956 HT over 10 years ago.

Best Box offered a 1956 HT in the mid-1980's

Kinsmart/ Kintoy offers a 1955 HT # KT 2519 pullback model in their present catalog.

OLDSMOBILE - Welly announced a model of a 1955 Super 88 Convertible # 2247 in their 2002 catalog. At present, unfortunately it has still not made its appearance yet. Maybe we will see it in 2003!

To my knowledge this concludes the list of 1955-1956 cars reproduced in miniature.Any corrections or additions are welcome. I make no claim to have provided a complete list. Various models are only available in certain parts of the US and the world. For example, the Tack Cheung T-Bird is apparently only available on the US West Coast. The assumption for this lack of full distribution and coverage is that certain toy distributors do not have exposure of their wares equally over all 50 states, unfortunately. I will complete my review of this decade next month when we look at the cars of 1958-59.