Added in 2009, this page will feature lots of old diecast toy cars, in addition to the great diecast toys by Dinky and Crescent already shown on the toys homepage. Other sections already cater for tin toys and those made from plastic.
Metal toys have been around for a long time. In the early years of the 20th Century, metal toy cars were usually either constructed from pressed assemblies, or else tin, usually lithographed to add detail that otherwise wouldn't have featured at all.
In the 1930s, die-cast toy cars began to appear on the market. They had a number of advantage over tin types. They were usually stronger than tin toys, so could better stand the abuse that the average child dishes out to their toy collection, and the manufacturing process lent itself to mass production. This resulted in die-cast toys usually being more affordable than the tin equivalents. Road cars, lorries, aircraft, tractors and other forms of transport could be purchased from the big names in die-cast toy manufacturing, with Dinky and later Corgi probably being the best known in the UK.
After WW2, production of die-cast toys continued where it had left off, sometimes from fairly low-grade materials. This mattered not to the child of the post-war years, but in later years these poor materials could cause toy collectors real headaches, as the car's bodies and bases began to crack up. Crescent toys are particularly prone to cracking, whereas Dinkies don't seem to suffer in the same way. However, regardless of the toy's maker, it pays to have a close look at any 50+ year old toy, to assess condition.
Die-cast toy collecting is still big business, with many companies producing not only current cars in miniature form, but also fine "toy" versions of the cars now treated as classics from the olden days. Vanguards are one of the more prolific makers of "classic" die-cast toys. This page will concentrate on toys that young lads would have put on their Christmas 'wish lists' during the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, excluding Dinky toys which have their own pages in the Toy Cars section.