The history of Hong Kong based toy car companies is one full of complex twists. The connections between these companies is often confusing and somewhat mysterious. One of the more interesting stories comes from the 1970's and involves the toy cars produced by Playart and Yat Ming.
We can credit Mattel's Hot Wheels brand for the explosion of small-scale toy car makers in Hong Kong. The overnight success of Hot Wheels convinced Hong Kong businessman that there was a potential gold mine in little die-cast cars. One of the first companies from Hong Kong to follow Hot Wheels to market was Playart. In the late 1960's (no clear date has been established)they began to offer a line of small-scale die-cast vehicles that were well-made, realistic and offered a wide variety of models. Playart offered these models as their own brand but also produced them for re-packaged branding by a variety of chain stores like Woolworths and Sears. Playart offered a variety of unique models, not seen from other toy car makers and the brand was a commercial success. More on the Playart story can be found in an earlier 'Tales of Toy Cars' article.
In 1970, Wai Ming Lam established the Yat Ming Industrial Factory Ltd. in Hong Kong. According the Diecast Motor Vehicles (2002), "Yat in Chinese means 'best' or number one'. The Ming portion came from the founder's middle name." The earliest models began with number 1001. There is substantial overlap between the model choices offered by Playart and the earliest models to come from Yat Ming. For many years, collectors have wondered how this might have happened. More on the Yat Ming story can be found in an earlier 'Tales of Toy Cars' article.
This poster of Volvo Wagons inspired me to take images of all my small-scale Volvo Wagons.
Corgi Junior 246 Wagon.
Majorette 246 Wagon
Yat Ming Volvo 850 Wagon
Hongwell Volvo 850 Wagon
Hongwell Volvo V80 Wagon
Siku V70 Wagon
Majorette XC 70 Wagon
Now, would someone please give us the 1800ES Sport Wagon!
There are three BMW 320i racers in my collection. The 320i is the sometimes overlooked middle child between the stylish 3.0 CSi and the E30 models of the 1980's, including the M3. As such, models of 320i racers are far fewer. The two diecaat examples are from Bandai of Japan (orange) and Kenner's Fast 111's series (green). Also shown is a slot car version of the 320i racer. Tomica produced the stock BMW 320i and some carry racing graphics.