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A Beginnerís Guide to Collecting Die-Cast Race Cars

A Beginner’s Guide to Collecting Die-Cast Race Cars

Pretty much every boy in America has at least a couple die-cast car models. He’s raced laps with them in his bedroom ever since he was three years old. Back then, he didn’t really care what make or model they were just as long as they had wheels. But, as he started growing up, he noticed that certain cars were just cooler than the others. So, he started adding the model versions of the sportier Lamborghinis, Porsches, Mercedes, BMWs and Ferraris to his collection. Grown men also share his passion for the sleek race cars. And, if they can’t own the real thing, the next best thing is to own the 1 18 die cast cars and proudly display it. Die cast car models were originally manufactured as toys or models for automobile companies. It wasn’t until the 60’s that there was actually a market for collectables. Manufacturers then started creating models with higher levels of detail specifically to please adults. Nowadays, most collectable models are in 1:18 scale. However, the more expensive ones that appear in this article are in 1:8 scale. Models were released of vintage automobiles, the newest and rarest sports cars and cars that were made famous by being featured in movies.  

Hot Wheels and Matchbox Toy Cars

Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars originally started off as competitors in the 60’s creating small scale affordable diecast toy cars. They are now both owned by Mattel, Inc. These brands are typically on every toy store’s shelves and in every three-year-old boy’s toy box. Hot Wheels is best known for their smaller scale cars, but they have also had success in the 1:18 scale market.

1:18 Scale Die-cast Race Cars

These are your typical collector cars. They’re manufactured by companies like Maisto, Bburago, Hot Wheels, Highway 61 and CMC. Pricing depends on their availability, quality and demand. 2007 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione 2007 Ferrari FXX Evoluzione by Mattel - $39.99 The FXX Evoluzione, with an 860 hp engine, was designed specifically for track racing and has been praised for its advanced traction control system that enables different drivers to make their own adjustments depending on their handling techniques. It has been driven by less than 50 different people. So, this model is probably the closest you’ll ever get to one.     2010 Lamborghini Reventon by Bburago - $29.99 Only 20 of the actual Reventons were sold to a select group of VIPs at 1.6 million dollars a piece. It boasts a 661 hp engine, has a 0 to 62 time of 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph. The model features opening doors and trunk, folding bucket seats, a highly detailed dashboard and an opening hood.       2011 Mercedes Benz SLS Gullwing AMG2011 Mercedes Benz SLS Gullwing AMG by Maisto - $29.99   This detailed reproduction of the 563 hp SLS AMG features an opening hood as well as the recognizable Gullwing doors. The real SLS has a base price of only $185,750.         1935 Audi Front 225 Roadster by CMC - $333.00 This limited edition model has over 1,600 parts that have been skillfully hand-assembled. The dashboard is fully instrumented to match the original roadster. The inside of the trunk and doors, as well as the seats, are finished with leather.  

1:8 Scale Collector Cars

These models are made specifically for collectors. You don’t want to see these collectible toy cars on the living room floor. Porsche 917 1970 Le Mans Winner by Amalgam - $6,100 This winner of the 1970 24 hour Le Mans race has been faithfully reproduced as a limited edition collectable. Everything from the Type 912 flat-12 4.5ltr engine to the controls and dials in the cab are extremely detailed.   2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport by Amalgam - $6,350.00 The Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is currently the fastest street legal car in production in the world with a top speed of 267 mph. This model is limited to 199 pieces. The interior is exquisitely made to match that of the impressive 2.4 million dollar Veyron.  

Die-cast Movie Cars

Automobile companies are always looking for new ways to advertise their models and make them popular. One of the best ways to do that is to have a car featured in a movie or TV show. Several cars have become movie stars themselves and are now displayed in museums as die cast movie cars. Here are a few cars that graced the screen with their presence and were made available as models to collectors and fans of the movies.   1966 TV Series "Batman" Batmobile1966 Batman TV Series “Batmobile” by Hot Wheels Elite - $99.99 Dada-dada-dada-dada-Batman! Just as recognizable as the man in the blue pajamas himself, the amazing Batmobile could do just about anything. The original concept for the Batmobile was actually a Ford Lincoln concept model called ‘The Futura’. This Batmobile model is part of a collection celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics.     1969 Dodge Charger "Dukes of Hazzard"1969 Dodge Charger from “Dukes of Hazzard” by Johnny Lightning - $59.99 Approximately 256 different Dodge Chargers were used in the Dukes of Hazzard TV show by Bo and Luke. This was due in part to the high flying jumps that commonly took place in the show. The Chargers would have to be retired after a jump because of structural damage. The model features ‘The Stars and Bars’ on its roof and has an opening hood. Don’t be surprised though if the doors seem jammed.     1968 Ford Mustang Fastback GT390 from “Bullitt” by Greenlight - $80.00 This Mustang was part of some of the most famous car chases ever filmed. The chases, filmed in the streets of San Francisco, were considered revolutionary in stunt driving. The model has all the details of the Mustang driven by Steve McQueen all the way down to the California license plate. As you can see, there are models out there for everyone. Your kids will want the cheaper Matchbox and Hotwheels models or maybe Disney cars characters from their favorite movie like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. There are the 1:18 scale truck can car models and even some 1:32 diecast trucks that can be used for play or collections. And, then you have the high-end 1:18 and 1:8 scales that are strictly for your display case. With so many different makes, models and genres of collectable die-casts, you may wonder where to start as a collector. My advice would be for you to limit yourself to a small category at first. Maybe start with just a certain make to begin with. Or, if you’re a European racing circuit fan, stick to that genre. Focus on creating a complete collection within your field. Maybe then you can think about branching out into something new. Happy collecting!    

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