Collecting…Die Cast Metal Toy Cars

Is there anything more charming than die cast metal toy cars?

I love imagining how shiny they were originally. But, I have to say, I love even more the peeling-paint ruggedness of these vintage ones. You can just imagine all of the little boys who played with these on the sidewalk or in their sandbox.

But when did die cast metal toys come on the scene?

The term, die-cast means to force molten metal into a mould. Lead was most commonly used for this purpose in the beginning. The early cars include only a detailed exterior-no interior, and the cars were often accented with plastic window or rubber tires for additional detail.

Die cast metal cars became most popular after World War II in the 1950s, when their detail and quality increased. In 1947, a company by the name of Lesney introduced their line of what commonly became referred to as matchbox cars. These die cast metal cars were actually enclosed in a small box that resembled a matchbox. It wasn’t until 1968 when Mattel actually introduced their line of matchbox cars-Hot Wheels.

Today, these die cast metal toy cars are a favorite collectible for their charm and simplicity.

Do you have any in your vintage collections?





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6 Responses to Collecting…Die Cast Metal Toy Cars

  1. mary t says:

    Hi Michelle,
    Sebastian and Matthew have a whole basket of them at Grandma’s house! I enjoyed reading their history. Thanks for doing the research. What fun! MT

  2. cmvintage says:

    I do have a couple , one is a dump truck. I’ll post it sometime~it is adorable. These are sweet!!!

  3. advintage says:

    I think if my daughter had been a boy we would be overloaded with them. No metal cars but my father has some from his childhood that are cool! The chippy paint doesgivesuch character and shows how loved they were!

  4. Kids Nook says:

    I have a few from the 60’s but have started collecting more now with my son. Our collection of various brands is growing and growing and I’ve written about what we’ve learned so far in an article called Matchbox vs Hot Wheels vs Majorette Toy Cars. Hope you like the photos and the info

  5. Susan says:

    I have over 3,000 die cast cars from a Collector that are at least 10- years old all new in cases. Do you know of anyone I can contact to sell them to, or how to go about finding collectors in Houston/ Louisiana area that would want to purchase the collection. Selling $1.00 each all scales. Inherited the lot. Thank you

    • vintagestreetmarket says:

      Hi Susan,

      That sounds like a neat collection! Unfortunately, I do not. Is there an antique mall or flea market in your area? I’m wondering if maybe one of those vendors can give you some direction. Or, may even be interested in purchasing the collection themselves. I understand your dilemma.

      Good luck, and Happy New Year!

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