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Vintage toy cars

The popular hobby of collecting old toys shows no sign of abating, whether it's collectors looking for toys they remember from their youth, or younger collectors hunting down rare items from an era that pre-dates themselves but is of interest.

Any branch of collecting contains many sub-categories within it. Postcard collectors may search for subjects relating to a particular period, or subject matter. Enthusiasts that collect vinyl discs will probably focus their collecting habit on one particular type of record, perhaps old 78s or more recent 33s, and the field of toy collecting is no different. For every type of toy there will be someone somewhere keenly looking for the next piece to add to their own collection, whether it be Barbie dolls or Action Man / GI Joe figures. And exactly the same lines are drawn across the toy car collecting world. Most diehard car collectors try and restrict their search to a particular type of toy car (diecast, tinplate, plastic or remote control for instance), or subject (eg ambulance, racing car, police car, fire engines etc) or maybe all models produced by a certain company, such as Dinky, Corgi, Schuco or Matchbox.

If you have very deep pockets then this kind of focus becomes less of an issue, but with the values of rarer toys going through the stratosphere, it is often the only realistic way to build a collection by focusing on one particular make or genre.

tinplate recovery truck - make unknown
In this section of oldclassiccar I plan to feature photographs and information on a wide variety of toy types, some dating to recent times (eg 1970s and 1980s), and older examples dating right back to the 1920s and before.
If you have photographs of older models or toys that don't yet feature on these pages, by all means email them over and I'll feature them here, ideally with a few words about the toy and who made it. For now I'm focusing on examples built years ago, rather than modern reproductions or re-issues.

You can email me via the contact page on the main Old Classic Car website. If you are interested in all things vintage and classic motoring related, please have a look around the oldclassiccar site before you leave.

Powered model cars

Older children and adults, who perhaps felt that they'd outgrown small toy cars, may well have looked to tether racing for their next hobby. Home-builders would construct amazing scale model racing cars, often from scratch, powered by small diesel engines and go racing with them. Some years ago I found an example built in the late 1940s, or early 1950s, based on plans found in a contemporary model-builders book. That car is described below.
Homebuilt tether racing car A home-built tether racing car, powered by a Mills diesel engine, as described in "Model Car Manual" of 1949.
Tether racing car from the 1940s

Toy and model-building magazines

Alongside production of some great toys and models, there used to be some fascinating model-making magazines on the market that are also well worth hunting down now, some of which will feature here.
Hobbies Weekly magazine Post-war issues of Hobbies Weekly, a model-maker's publication with designs for ride-on cars, garages, and even a flying car.
Meccano magazine A look back at classic Meccano Magazines from the 1950s.
Model Cars magazine Read about the Model Cars magazine from 1965

Other motoring-related toys

The Tri-ang Car-Car A neat ride-on toy car produced by Tri-ang and called the 'Car-Car'
Read more about the Car-Car
Cheetah Cub child's race car A super petrol-engined child's racing car, based on the Jaguar D-Type, called the Cheetah Cub.
Read about the Cheetah Cub racing car
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Dinky shop sign
Dinky Toys
Alfa Romeo 23F
Aston Martin DB3S
Auto Union
Bristol 450
Connaught Type B
Cooper Bristol 233
Cunningham C-5R
Ferrari 234
Jaguar D-Type
Maserati 23N
Mercedes GP cars
Mercedes streamlined car
MG Record Car
Racer 35B / Midget Racer
Speed of the Wind
Streamlined racers
Talbot Lago 230
Vanwall 239
Crescent Toys
Aston Martin DB3S
Connaught 2litre A6
Cooper Bristol 2 Litre
Ferrari GP 2.5 Litre
Gordini GP 2.5 Litre
Jaguar D Type
Maserati GP (250F)
Mercedes 2.5 G/Prix
Vanwall GP car
External Toy Links
Marx Toy museum
Brighton Toy Museum
Restoration of old toys
Matchbox car memories
A Schuco tinplate Mercedes toy racing car
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