by Dave Weber, images by Doug Breithaupt

Many people have the false notion that Olds has always been synonymous with GM Corporation. For many years this marque has been situated in the middle of the General Motors hierarchy between Pontiac and Buick. This grand old name is slowly being added to the graveyard of former US made automobiles. It will soon become a nonentity!

Oldsmobile was originally founded by Ransom E. Olds in 1897 as the Olds Motor Vehicle Company. At present this auto manufacturer is recognized as being the oldest existing producer in the US. The first models were Horseless Carriages. A small horsepower gasoline engine was used for propulsion. A corporate reorganization occurred in 1899 and the Olds Motor Works was established. Production of the famous "Curved Dash" runabout models began in 1901. This early car was equipped with a 1 cylinder engine that produced 7 horsepower. In 1904 R. E. Olds left the company over a production dispute. After leaving, Olds founded Reo Motors. Both cars and trucks were produced for many years. Diamond-Reo trucks were existed into the late 1900s.

In 1908 Oldsmobile was purchased and became part of GM. As a division, it became a luxury car producer. Following the Stock Market Crash in the late 20s, Olds attempted to issue a less expensive companion make called the Viking. This unsuccessful venture lasted for less then two years. In 1940 Olds introduced the Hydra-Matic fully automatic transmission. This innovation was cited as "the most important engineering advancement since the self starter."Subsequently, Olds introduced many model lines over the years which are recognizable to the consumer. These were the Rocket 98, Cutlass, Toronado, Aurora and Alero to name a few! For the past few years this Division has experienced a downsizing in sales and production, some of which was due to internal competition within the GM structure.

A fair number of toy/ model companies have produced replicas in approximate 1/64 scale of this car make. Since I recently completed a series on Cars of the 50s here on TofTC, I will begin my summary from 1960 to the present-including mention of the Concept Cars by Maisto.

Surprisingly a fairly large percentage of the small models are representations of Nascar Race Cars from the 80s and early 90s before Olds dropped their "stock car racing" program. But there are many other contributions in small scale also. I will present these toy/ model manufacturers in alphabetical order. I do not promise that all replicas have been included and welcome any additions or corrections.

ACTION PERFORMANCE produced a Nascar model of the #3 Dale Earnhart Sr car from the early 80s. This was issued in the mid to late 90s.

AURORA produced a plastic model of the original 1966 Toronado. It contains a metal base and was available about 25-30 years ago.


BUDGIE of England produced a Town Sedan #21 over 25 years ago. This model does not portray the fine detailing evident in models at present. It appears to represent a car from the 1967-69 vintage.

CHINA , is the only identification on the base of an early 90s race car. It represents the sponsor Hardees Restaurants of that era.

ERTL produced a model of the #4 Kodak Race Car from the early 80s. It was produced in the early 90s. No driver is identified.

HASBRO in their WINNERS CIRCLE line issued a #2 Mike Curb sponsored race car copyrighted in 1997. It represents a very early 80s car driven by Dale Earnhart Sr. In the late 90s an agreement between Hasbro and Action Performance was instituted in which Hasbro utilized designs and tooling provided by Action. Different baseplates were used on very similar castings by these two companies.

Just recently, HIGH SPEED of Hong Kong has issued a very detailed model of the 69 "442" Coupe # HF 442. At present it is only known to be available from Readers Digest Magazine. It has been included as a free premium with the purchase of the Select Condensed Books program as part of a set of Classic Cars. It is available directly from the Magazine at a cost of $8.95 which includes shipping costs.

HOT WHEELS issued a 69 Cutlass model "Olds 442" # 6467 in 1971. This coupe was reissued in 1973 as a Police Cruiser #6973, ( Fire) Chiefs Special # 7665 in 75, Maxi Taxi # 9184 in 76 and a Army Staff Car # 9521 also in 76. In the early 1980's, the 442 name was re-used and Hot Wheels produced a stock car version. A mid-1980's sedan, perhaps a Cutlass Ciera, appeared in the 'Flip Out' series as a police cruiser.A retooled casting of this car was subsequently issued in 93. It was part of the Demolition Man set and was designated as "Olds 442 W-30" # 11082. This model and the Aurora # 10566 were issued in conjunction with the unsuccessful movie from Warner Brothers. The Aurora was also available as a Police car until recently. In 1999 HW also issued an enhanced 69 "442" in their Collectibles line which was identified as a "Hearst " coupe. Also in 1999, a model of the Aurora GTS race car was introduced # 20158. By the time the model was introduced Olds had ceased their racing operation with the modified Aurora.

1969 442 'Maxi Taxi'

1970 442 W-30

1980 442

1985 Cutlass Ciera

1993 Aurora concept

1999 Aurora GTS racer

HUSKY, the predecessor to CORGI JRs issued a Starfire Coupe # 31A in 1966. It was available through 1969. It is believed to represent a 1975 car.


In 1981 MAJORETTE of France issued a model of the compact Omega # 253b. It remained in their line through 1986.


JOHNNY LIGHTNING has issued many models since being introduced by Playing Mantis in 1994.Their first Olds was a 69 "442" # 208 in the Muscle Car 1 Series in 1995. It was followed by the Custom Toronado # 110 the same year. It was issued as part of the Commemoratives Series which recognized the original Topper casting from 1969. Models of the 70, 74 and 77 Pace Cars were issued in 1996 as part of the Indianapolis 500 Champions Collection. In 1998, two Pro Stock car models in the Racing Dreams line were introduced. They carry model # 341 and are sponsored by Kelloggs Frosted Flakes and Mc Donalds Big Mac. Also issued that same year was a 70 "442" Convertible #462. It was part of the Classic Gold Collection. A 72 model # 481 was also issued in that same line. Also in 1998 a Nascar #11 race car driven by Cale Yarborough and sponsored by Travelers Checks was issued in the Stock Car Legends Series. Also in 98 , the 66 "Hairy Olds" # 057 was issued in the Showstoppers 2 Set. In 1998-99 the above 3 mentioned Pace Cars were reissued and joined by a 74 Hurst model # 463. A 1967 Cutlass 442 was also offered in the the Muscle Cars series. At present JL is producing a Super 70s series. Available are the 76 and 77 Cutlass. Although both models seem to be cast from the same die, an innovative process recently announced has provided minor style changes . Not yet available but announced for 2003 is a 66 Toronado which will become part of the ongoing Classic Gold Series.

1966 Hurst 'Hairy Olds' Cutlass

1967 Cutlass 442

1969 Hurst 442

1970 442 Convertible

1972 442 Convertible

1974 Cutlass

1976 Cutlass

1977 Delta 88 Indy Pace Car

1978 Cutlass Stock Car

1970 Custom Toronado

KODAK FILMS produced a distorted model of their sponsored race car from the early 90s. The actual manufacturer is not identified. The baseplate reads "Oldsmobile Delta 88, Made in China and Kodak Films".


MAISTO recently issued models of the Olds Concept cars from the Transit Authority line. They are the 2000 Profile and 2001 "04 Concept".

2000 Profile concept

2001 04 concept

MATCHBOX produced the Aerotech concept car of the early 1990's.


MINI DINKY produced a model of what appears to be a 66 Toronado #22 in approximately 1968. It was produced in Hong Kong. Although it featured a hinged engine hood and trunk lid the metal composition is very susceptible to breakage. This is due to the metals used to produce this casting.

PIT ROW owned by Funstuff Inc existed for a few years in the early 90s. They did produce an early 90s Nascar race car model . One of these was a #94 sponsored by Sunoco.

PLAYART of Hong Kong produced a 1961 sedan that is called the "Man From Uncle" car , taken from the TV Series by the same name from the 60s. CORGI also produced a larger scale version of this model in 1966.

PLAYING MANTIS, the parent company of Johnny Lightning also produced a less expensive and smaller model in their SPEED REBELS line in 1997. The model was a downsized replica of the Muscle Car 69 Cutlass #408. The baseplate does not identify JL and states the car is a "Dominator "

POLE POSITION issued a similar model to the Pit Row race car in the early 90s The baseplate , also on a #94 sponsored Sunoco car is dated 1992 .

RACING CHAMPIONS issued a 69 "442" in 1196 in their Mint Editions Series Set Issue #4 . A smaller version of this same casting was offered in the Street Wheels series as well, including a nice Hurst model in white and gold.. They also produced a late 80s race car in their first Nascar series in 1989. This casting was somewhat crude in detail. An upgraded model of the early 90s car was issued in 1991. One of these upgraded castings represented the #68 car sponsored by Country Time.

1969 442 W-30

1969 Hurst 442 (Street Wheels)

RACING COLLECTIBLES ( RCI) before they were sold to Action Performance, issued an early 90s race car in the early 90s which was actually produced by REVELL. My copy carried Nascar # 44 and was sponsored by Piedmont.

STOCK CAR MINIATURES ( SCM) existed in the late 80s into the early 90s. In the early 90s they produced extremely crude nondescript castings of Nascar models . It was only after the accompanying decals were applied that the casting gave a professional appearance. These decals even showed additional opaque windows and name plates representing the fullsize manufacturer. An Olds model was offered along with other race car brands.

SIKU of Germany has produced 2 Oldsmobile models. The "98 Holiday" Sports Coupe # V245 was issued from 1964 -1969 . The details are very well defined, but the body proportions seem to be slightly distorted. This model appears to represent a 1963 fullsize car. Also a Toronado # V267 was issued from 1967-1974. It is a good representative of the first car in the series produced by Olds in 1966.


TOMICA of Japan issued their model of a Toronado XSR in about the late 70s. It carries model # F54 and was readily available in the second hand dealer market in recent years.


TOPPER produced their Johnny Lightning rendition of the Custom Toronado in 1969 . It appears to represent a 66 car. The business closed in 1971 and the brand name remained dormant until it was resurrected in 1994 by Playing Mantis.


TOOTSIETOY produced the original 1966 Toronado (example shown has been re-painted).


ZYLMEX also produced the Aerotech concept car of the early 1990's.


This completes my review of all known models of the once popular Oldsmobile. This marque has had a remarkable lifespan of 106 years! I have attempted to make mention of all models known to me. The possibility exists that others might have been omitted . I have discovered that not all models are equally distributed throughout regions in the US and the world! Any additions or corrections are invited.

I wish to recognize the following authors whose books were utilized for source material and data confirmation.They are MAC Ragan, Ron Lohr and Ron Gold, Dr Ed Force and Mike Strauss.