Miniature Model Cars from A-Z
by Dave Weber. Images by Doug Breithaupt

This study will probably last close to a year. Each month we will review up to about 15 full size car manufacturers from around the world. Each short history will be represented with an image of a small-scale model car in approximately 1/60-1/87 scale. Some models presented may be slightly larger while others may be somewhat smaller. An attempt will be made to include images of lesser-known toy/ model manufacturers when possible.

Readers will be amazed at the number of marques that are represented in small scale. It is possible that some marques represented by small scale models may be not be mentioned. This may be because of error or lack of knowledge of their existence. We welcome all additions and corrections.

In some cases we will include some "sub-makes " such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Corvair as compared to the full size Chevrolet line. Usually a "sub-make" will be listed only under the parent manufacturer's name. Some vehicle manufacturers also produced trucks and even fire engines that are replicated in small scale. Only models of cars will be included.

We begin this review with Abarth and end with Autobianchi.

ABARTH (Italy) 1950-1971

This firm was founded by Carlo Abarth in Turin. He had formerly been associated with Cisitalia. In addition to producing his own line of sports cars, he also provided modified derivative bodies for Fiats, Porsches, Alfa-Romeos and Simcas. Abarth also entered into the racing scene. This unsuccessful venture resulted in the final liquidation of his company. Fiat then took over the operations. Abarth models have appeared from Tootsietoy, Ertl, Matchbox, Tomica and Zylmex.

Abarth-Fiat concept - Ertl


This firm in Milan was founded by Cav Ugo Stella as the Lombardy Motor Manufacturing Co in 1910. The letters ALFA represent the Anomia Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili. Alfa had originally manufactured small cars in Italy for the French firm Darracq beginning in 1906. In 1933 following financial difficulties, the firm was taken over by the government. They have continued in production to the present. Ford Motor Co attempted a takeover in 1986. But Ford was unsuccessful and the firm became part of the Fiat conglomerate and was merged with Lancia about the same time. Model names included Alfetta, Guiletta and Alfasud Alfa Romeo models in small-scale have been done by many manufacturers including; Polistil, Majorette, Matchbox, Guisval, Impy, Summer, Norev, Yat Ming, Welly, Ertl and Siku.

Alfa Romeo Guiletta Spider - Impy

ALPINE ( France) 1955-1974

This firm produced modified factory Renaults The founder was Jean Redele.His high powered rear engine sports cars were were equipped with 2 or 4 passenger fiberglass bodies. In 1969 the company began to give their main concentration to Rally Racing. Alpines were also reportedly assembled by Renault affiliates in Bulgaria, Brazil, Mexico and Spain. In 1974 Alpine was officially taken over by Renault and the subsequent models were presented as Renault- Alpines. In 1:64 scale, one can find models from Majorette, Playart, Tomica, Summer and Luso


AMERICAN AUSTIN (United States ) 1930-1934

This firm located in Butler PA began manufacture of a licensed version of the English Austin Seven. These cars were small inexpensive roadsters and sedans. Production ceased in 1934 and the company name was changed to American Bantam in 1937. But in 1941 this firm closed following loss of a government contract to produce the Jeep for the military. Only Ecclestone ever did a small-scale model.


AMERICAN FIAT (United States ) 1910-1918

Located in Poughkeepsie New York , this firm was established to produce Fiats in America. They became the US branch for the parent company in Italy. The US made cars consisted of the larger more expensive models. Production ceased in 1918 due to World War I. The machinery was purchased by the Duesenberg Brothers and shipped to their plant in Elizabeth NJ. Although the High Speed model made available by Readers Digest in the 1990's is not specifically specified as the American version, there was a great similarity in appearance of the real cars from both countries. Thus this marque and model are included.

Alpine-Renault A110 - Playart

AMERICAN MOTORS AMC (United States) 1954- 1988

American Motors Corp was the result of a merger between the Nash-Kelvinator Co and the Hudson Motor Car Co. In 1958 all the cars produced were called Ramblers and the AMC name was first used in 1968. Some of the products carried model names including AMX, Jeep, Javelin, Spirit, Gremlin, Hornet, Rebel, Ambassador and Eagle. In 1978 Renault of France provided financial assistance. French cars were then manufactured and distributed in the United States. But in 1988 this firm was purchased by Chrysler Corporation. The only remnant in the present Daimler/Chrysler conglomerate is the Jeep. AMC models in 1:64 have been done by Tomica, Corgi, Playart, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions

AMC Pacer - Corgi

AMX (United States) 1968-1974

This car was produced by American Motors and was introduced to compete in the existing "muscle car" competition. It was a 2 seater coupe that was actually a shortened version of the Javelin which was also introduced about the same time. The AMX had originally been introduced as an experimental concept vehicle. In 1971 it became the top of the line model in the Javelin line. Both cars were discontinued in 1974 due to the lack of continued interest in the high powered "pony cars" from the 1960s. AMX models have been done by Playart, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning, Racing Champions and Mini-Lindy.

AMC AMX - Johnny Lightning

ASTON-MARTIN (United Kingdom ) 1922- PRESENT

These cars have always had the reputation of high cost limited production. But these vehicles have been recognized to be exceptionally built vehicles on both the race track and the open road. In 1947 the firm was taken over by the David Brown Group. They also acquired the Lagonda make as well. The Brown control was sold in 1972 which resulted in a reorganization .

The DB sports car models received an added bit of notoriety when a coupe DB 5 was featured in a James Bond movie some years ago. It had many extra features to help Agent 007 to fight crime. This firm was taken over by Ford Motor Co in the mid 1990s . It is now part of the high end special products group which also includes Jaguar and Land Rover at the present time. Aston Martin cars have been done in small-scale by Matchbox, Majorette, Johnny Lightning and Corgi

Aston Martin DB6 - Husky

AUBURN (United States ) 1900-1936

Located in Auburn IN, this firm began operations as a carriage manufacturer in the later 1800s. It became part of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Co in the late 1920. The most spectacular cars were the supercharged Speedster roadsters that were produced in the early to mid 1930s. The cars especially produced in 1935-1936, just before production ceased are now recognized as true classics. Auburn models in 1:64 have only been done by Hot Wheels and Rhino.

Auburn Roadster - Hot Wheels

AUDI (Germany) 1910-1939, 1965 - PRESENT

August Horch founded this firm after departing his former company; A Horch & Co that produced the Horch from 1900-1939. He called his new firm the August Horch. Automobilwerke Gmbh which was located in Zwickau East Germany . Due to political reasons, Horch was required to modify the name and chose Audi . In 1932 Audi along with DKW, Wanderer and Horch became part of the Auto-Union conglomerate.

The Audi name was deleted in 1939 and was not revived until 1965. The VW Group had taken control of the remnants of Auto-Union in 1964. The Audi marque has survived to the present and is now a competitor to the BMW cars also from Germany. Many small-scale Audi models have been done by Siku, Norev, Matchbox, Maisto, Majorette, Yat Ming, Guisval, Schuco, Welly, Real Toy, Hot Wheels and Summer.

Audi 100 SL - Siku

AUSTIN (United Kingdom) 1906 - 1990's

Herbert Austin founded this company after leaving the Wolseley firm as General Manager. In 1922 the Austin Seven was introduced . It was the smallest 4 cylinder car made in Great Britain at that time. This car reportedly was also manufactured under license in France, Germany, Japan and the United States. The "Seven" was replaced by a larger "Eight" model in 1939. In 1952 Austin and Morris merged to form British Motor Corp. Both makes introduced the Mini. Austin also produced the Metropolitan the following year for Nash and Hudson (later AMC) distribution in the US. In 1968 Austin and BMC became part of the British Leyland Motor Corp ( BLMC) for a short while. They then were taken over by BMW in Germany but were released fairly recently. At present the name is owned by the MG Rover Group. No Austin vehicles are currently being produced. Austin is represented in 1:64 scale by Matchbox, Corgi, Tootsietoy, Impy and Budgie.

Austin A95 Westminster Countryman - Budgie

AUSTIN-HEALEY (United Kingdom) 1953 - 1971

The Healey 100 was presented as a concept car at the London Motor Show in 1952. Actual production was undertaken by Austin and not the Donald Healey Motor Co. Two different size chassis were produced. The larger sports roadsters were the 100 and later the 3000 models. These were canceled in 1968 possibly due to the extreme low center of gravity which caused the bottoms to scrape when on an uneven road surface . Also introduced in 1959 was a much smaller and less expensive "poor man's sports car". The actual model name was the Sprite, but the common nickname to which these little cars were referred was the " Frogeye " or "Bugeye" , depending on which continent you were in. These cars had large round headlights that protruded form the long low sloped engine hood. Later Sprites became almost identical to the MG Midgets. Austin Healey models have appeared in small scale from Morestone, Corgi, Johnny Lightning, Hot Wheels and Mini-Lindy.

Austin Healey 3000 - Mini-Lindy

AUTOBIANCHI (Italy) 1957 - 1990's

The first Autobianchi was produced after Pirelli and Fiat took over the Bianchi company, founded by Edoardo Bianchi in 1898. All Autobianchi models are essentially revised Fiat models. The A112 has been the most popular and is available in an Abarth version of which can reach 94 mph. The only small-scale Autobianchi is this Abarth A112 by Majorette. No Autobianchi models are current being produced.

Autobianchi Abarth A112 - Majorette