Road Champs

According to globaldiecastdirect.com, the U.S.-based Road Champs began in the early 1980s making 1:64 scale models. However, they became known for their 1:43 scale vehicles which are popular for use with O guage train dioramas.

These nice 1:64 Road Champs from the RR collection – 3 of them still in their original if well-weathered packages – were made in the 1980s while the company was still owned by JRI, Inc. of Philadelphia. (The company was bought by Jakks Pacific in 1995.) All of these realistically detailed models have metal bases and opening doors. With the exception of barcodes, the backs of these blister cards are blank.

IMG_7952IMG_79601983 Special Editions | ’32 Ford Model 18 Roadster | yellow and black | metal base | blister card

IMG_7954IMG_79611983 Special Editions | ’32 Ford Model 18 Roadster | red and black | metal base | blister card

IMG_7951IMG_79591986 Heritage Series | 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air | turquoise | metal base | blister card

IMG_8245 IMG_8246 IMG_82471985 | Buick Roadmaster | black with flames | metal base

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Ertl Diecast

When I think of Ertl Diecast, I think of farm equipment, which is what the company was making way back when I first became aware of them. During the 2000s, I picked up several of their nicely detailed Novas and Impalas for my collection. The company was owned by RC2 for awhile, and now are a part of TOMY. They seem to have gone back to their farm equipment focus, as their current website proclaims “The Definitive Leader in American Farm Replicas since 1945” and has menus for John Deere, Case/IH and New Holland toys.

There were no farm tractors among the few 1:64(ish) Ertl toys in the box I got from RR. In fact, I was a little surprised to find a nice Rolls Royce model included with the expected American cars.

IMG_8169 IMG_8170Replica Series | Pontiac Firebird | black | plastic base | made in Hong Kong

IMG_8166 IMG_8167 IMG_8168Replica Series | ’50 Ford | red with tan top | plastic base | made in Hong Kong

IMG_8171 IMG_8172Turbo Firebird | black | plastic base | made in China

IMG_8163IMG_8164IMG_8165European Classics | Rolls Royce Silver Shadow | blue | metal base | made in Hong Kong

Zee Toys

According to globaldiecastdirect.com, Zee Toys (also called Zylmex) was based in Long Beach, California, during the 1970s and 1980s. Apparently, they produced toys under various brand names such as Dynawheels, Victory Circle, Rough Riders, Windracers, Mini Macks and others. Most of the cars you’ll see below are made in Hong Kong. Some have the Z logo stamped on the bottom, some include “Zylmex”, and all seem to have a two- or three- digit item number preceded by a “P” or “D”.

Most of the cars I got from RR are loose, but a few are still in their original packages. And though the blister cards are in pretty poor shape, it’s great to think the cars inside are in true mint condition. This nice Porsche 959 is from 1985.

IMG_7950IMG_7958IMG_7953 Zee Toys Pacesetters | Porsche 959 | silver | 1985 | blister card | made in Macau

This nifty Datsun pickup is missing the plastic camper shell – and part of its hood decal.

IMG_8203IMG_8204P319 Datsun Pickup | green | metal base | made in Hong Kong

Two variations of the ’63 Corvette with opening hood. Notice the different wheels.

IMG_8218IMG_8244IMG_8220P364 ’63 Corvette | dark pink | metal base | made in Hong Kong

IMG_8215IMG_8216IMG_8217P364 ’63 Corvette | burgandy | metal base | made in Hong Kong

This fun bulldozer is missing a wheel.

IMG_8201IMG_8241P378 Tractor | orange | plastic base and blade

Glad to see the 427 Cobra still has its plastic windshield.

IMG_8205IMG_8206P389 Cobra 427 | blue | metal base

This GTO has a custom, hand-done paint job.

IMG_8209IMG_8243P391 ’69 Pontiac GTO | blue | metal base | made in Hong Kong

I like the dual carbs poking out of the hood on this Mustang.

IMG_8211IMG_8212P392 Mustang Pro/Street | orange | metal base | made in Hong Kong

Slug bug!

IMG_8207IMG_8208D20 Volkswagen | yellow | metal base | made in Hong Kong

And finally, a little red CRX.

IMG_8213IMG_8214D79 Honda CR-X | red and gray | plastic base

An Interesting Assortment

In the box of cars I got from RR, there was a large assortment of different brands. Some of these I was familiar with, and others I had never heard of.

Playart
I had a few Playart cars when I was a kid. Playart diecast cars were made in Hong Kong from 1965 until 1983 and were distributed through different retailers as Road Mates, Freewheelers and FASTWHEEL. At Woolworth stores – which is probably where I got my childhood Batmobile, Fire Truck, Toyota 2000 GT and ’65 Mustang Convertible  – they were sold as Peelers.

IMG_8176IMG_8177Playart | Lamborghini Marzal | orange | flower wheels | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

Yatming
This is another brand that I’m familiar with, having picked up a few Yatming models somewhere along the way. Also based in Hong Kong, the company was founded in 1970. These days, Yatming larger scale (1:43, 1:24, 1:18) models are distributed in the U.S. by the New Jersey-based company Toy Wonders.

IMG_8184IMG_8185Yatming | Bulldozer | yellow | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8186IMG_8187Yatming | Chevy Stepside Pickup | black | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8188IMG_8189Yatming | Ford Station Wagon | blue | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8190IMG_8191Yatming | Jaguar | blue | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8192IMG_8193Yatming | Lamborghini Miura | yellow | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8194IMG_8195Yatming | Mercedes Benz 350 SL | silver | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

The Rolls Royce Phantom VI is almost identical to the Tomica version from my childhood.

IMG_8196IMG_8197IMG_8198Yatming | Rolls Royce Phantom VI | silver | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8199IMG_8200Yatming | Saab Sonnet | lime green | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

Kidco
I haven’t been able to find much information about Kidco. The brand page on globaldiecastdirect.com mentions that the Illinois-based company was sold to Universal Toys in the mid 1980s. This ’57 Vette is made in Macao.

IMG_8173IMG_8174IMG_8175’57 Corvette | red | 1979 | made in Macao | 1:64

Summer
Summer is a Hong Kong-based company with a reputation for low price and low quality. I’ve noticed they decorate their cars with unusual and sometimes obnoxious graphics. Despite this, there is a certain fun-factor here.

IMG_8182IMG_8183#S676 Ferrari P4 | silver with red trim | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

IMG_8180 IMG_8181#S691 Volvo 164E | off white with blue trim | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

Tintoys
Another Hong Kong-based company, Tintoys was started in 1965. Although they seem to have evolved away from 1:64 scale, the company claims more than 500 licensed products from international automotive brands.

IMG_8073 IMG_8074W.T. 202 Chevrolet Racer | gold | made in Hong Kong | 1:64

Lesney Matchbox Major Pack 7

In the box of cars I acquired from RR, I found this lonely Lesney Matchbox trailer. I knew right away I had to find a mate for it, after all, how much fun is a trailer without something to tow it behind?

IMG_8117 IMG_8118

A little research told me what I needed to find, and eBay offered a few possibilities. I settled on this cab from a lot of 3. The gray plastic wheels match the trailer, the well-worn condition fits with most of my other Lesney-era toys, and I really like the other two models in the lot (which you will see in a future post).

IMG_8119 IMG_8120

The Major Pack #7 first came out in 1960 with the Thames Trader cab towing the Jennings Cattle Truck. There are some variations in the trailer casting and the color of the plastic ramp (missing from mine) and some versions have black plastic wheels. Personally I think my reunited pair is greater than the sum of its parts.

IMG_8121 IMG_81221960 | Major Pack M7 | #7 Thames Trader cab & Jennings Cattle Truck | red cab with tan trailer | gray wheels

One Man’s Junk …

My artist friend, Randy Regier, is moving to Kansas City. Randy’s meticulously crafted sculptures are toys inspired by the expectations of his youth. For this reason, his studio is a storehouse of old stuff – toys, books, advertising materials and mid-century appliances – to use as inspiration or materials for his work. So when Randy invited a few of us to come over and pick through a few boxes of things that he elected not to take with him on the move, I jumped at the chance.

Among other odds and ends, I brought home a box of old children’s textbooks, some vintage slot cars, and a box of mostly loose diecast cars. The diecast cars included some nice Majorette and Corgi models (that I will show in future posts) and an assortment of “off-brand” models. A few of these are unidentifiable brands. I don’t go out of my way to collect these kinds of cars, but you have to admit, some of these have a certain charm.

Even though they spelled Firebird as two words (Fire Bird) and the design on the hood is a little crooked, this is a pretty nice litte casting of the classic Pontiac. It even has opening doors.

IMG_8086 IMG_8087IMG_8251Fire Bird | black | made in Hong Kong

The ’63 Corvette is a beautiful car, but this casting seems a little lumpy.

IMG_8076 IMG_8077’63 Corvette | red | made in Hong Kong

Another lumpy example, this one a ’71 Mustang Fastback.

IMG_8078IMG_8079’71 Mustang Fastback | orange | made in Hong Kong

The photos don’t really show the glittery sheen of the paint on this model, which I think is supposed to be a Ferrari 308.

IMG_8070 IMG_8072Ferrari | silver | made in China

I like the interesting choice of colors and decoration on this Chevy Stepside Pick-up.

IMG_8080 IMG_8081Chevrolet Stepside Pick-up | salmon with Cosmos graphics

The next two are a pair of fun Formula One cars, though I wonder if the paint colors and sponsor decals are historically accurate.

IMG_8092IMG_8093Martini Racing F1 | blue | made in Hong Kong

IMG_8090 IMG_8091Ligier Gitanes F1 | silver | made in Hong Kong

This dump truck (maybe a Hino?) would be fun in the sandbox.

IMG_8229IMG_8083IMG_8230Dump Truck | light blue | made in Hong Kong

And finally, a rather badly proportioned version of KITT, the car from the popular ’80s TV show Knight Rider.

IMG_8088IMG_8089Knight 2000 | black | 1982 Universal Studios | Made in Macao