Five Decades of Diecast - 1:64 Scale
by Doug Breithaupt
Have you ever tried to figure out who produced what and when in small-scale diecast cars? It is not easy to track all the different manufacturers over the years. The chart below is an attempt to provide the basic production span for 1:64 scale manufacturers over the past 50 years. It identifies 30 of the major and minor producers, and shows the decades in which they produced small-scale diecast cars.
Many of these manufacturers also produced other diecast scales over the years. The chart only attempt to show the span of their 1:64 scale production. Some manufacturers may be missing or the dates may not be correct. Please leave a message in the guest book if you have corrections or additions.
The earliest small-scale diecast producers began in the 1950's with Matchbox, Corgi (Husky), Siku and Budgie. Siku made plastic models until about 1962, after which only diecast have been produced. The 1960's brought in 11 new brand-names including Majorette, Schuco and Hot Wheels. The 1970' and 80's saw some thinning of the ranks and new Asian companies like Tomica and Yat Ming. The 1990's have seen the re-birth of Johnny Lightning and the success of Racing Champions and Maisto. In addition, mergers and buy outs have seen the end of Corgi Juniors, absorbed by Hot Wheels, and Mattel's ownership of Matchbox. Of the 30 companies listed, over half are currently offering small-scale diecast cars. Some like Norev and Polistil are still in business but no longer in the 1:64 scale market. Ertl has also shifted focus to other scales but did re-release 1;64 scale cars in 1997 (Dukes of Hazzard).
The future of 1:64 scale diecast is strong, even with Mattel in control
of the lion's share of the market. Companies like Siku and Majorette continue
to offer excellent value. Johnny Lightning (Owned by Playing Mantis) and
Racing Champions are forcing the bigger companies to provide better quality
and variety. New Asian companies like Real Toy seem ready to join Maisto
and Yat Ming to offer bargain-priced diecast. For the collector, prices
of new diecast may go up a bit but for the past 30 years, the $1 diecasat
car has remained one of the best toy deals around. Just think what fun the
next 50 years will be.