Maisto and BMW, a long-term relationship
by Doug Breithaupt

Maisto is not the first diecast company that comes to mind when one thinks of small-scale BMW models but perhaps it should be. Maisto has been doing small-scale BMW models for close to 20 years and all are decent castings with realistic paint work. All are still easy to find and can be bought for less than $1. Most, if not al are still in production.

With the addition of the new BMW Z4, Maisto becomes the first to offer this model. This brings the total number of Maisto BMWs to seven. One can only wish that Maisto would reach back to some of the classic BMW models that are seldom if ever seen in 1:64 scale. The 507 would top the list followed by the pre-war 327 and 328 models, the 200 and 3.0CS and the Isetta.

My collection now features 13 different castings of the BMW Z3. The use of the Z3 for a James Bond car certainly helped make it more popular. The Maisto version is a decent job but the wing windows look wrong. The BMW Rondel is smaller than on previous models, improving the looks.
The M1 is the earliest Maisto BMW and as many of the first series of cars, owes a lot to the Matchbox casting of the same car. When Maisto did this car in the mid-1980's, it was already well out of production. The exotic styling of BMW's supercar has kept it in the Maisto line-up, even today. By the mid-1990's, Maisto had decided to drop the interiors on closed cars and smoke the windows. The 328i suffers from this treatment. The casting is fine but only the Rondel adds any detail.
When the 750iL came out, it was one of only two V12 powered sports sedans, Jaguar's XJ12 being the other. It is still a handsome car and Maisto did it justice with nice detail and good color choice. While a few other examples of this car were done, the Maisto models is the best. Seven different castings of the BMW Z8 have joined my collection and the Maisto version is mid-level in quality. New wheels finally appeared with this model but that are not any better than the old ones in terms of quality. The Z8 is BMW's high profile car and another Bond ride.
Putting the V12 in a coupe model resulted in the 850i from BMW. Some thought the styling a bit too generic but from behind the wheel, few complaints were heard. Quite a few models of the 850i were done by others and are of equal quality to Maisto's casting. The new Z4 was not a scheduled Maisto release for 2003 but here it is anyway. it's nice to be surprised this way. First with the new Z4, Maisto has done an excellent job overall with more weight and detail than recently seen. The Rondel is now close to actual size. The new wheels are again chromed.