Following the end of
WWII, the larger US automobile manufacturers with Canadian subsidiaries decided
to emphasize production of special brandnamed cars and trucks. All three of the
"Big Three" manufacturers became involved in this venture. The June
2011 "Hemmings Classic Cars
Magazine" presented a most interesting and informative "Geneology of
Post-War Canadian Variants". The
first Variant cited was a Monarch; a companion to the US Mercury.
These Variants sometimes used body parts from a similar
brand with modified grille and chrome strip identifiers. The Variants were
reportedly introduced by
the Canadian subsidiaries to provide their consumers with a larger choice of
vehicles to be purchased.
It is recognized that
until 2011, no toy or model company has produced a Canadian Variant model in
1:64 scale. I do recall that Brooklin of England introduced a model of the Meteor ( Ford) in 1:43 scale, maybe ten years ago, but models of such
vehicles are far from common! Thus
Castline Inc/M2 Machines opened a new
marketing venture when they produced the 1956 Mercury Pickup Truck (somewhat
similar to the Ford counterpart), yet still quite identifiable in its own
Let's start this trip into a country which is almost forgotten in the so-called small scale world. Despite it used to be the biggest country in the world. These cars are new to the collection:
This is the so-called Chaika or GAZ M13, a big car, apparently visually based on the Packard Patrician and you needed to be quite a big boffin to be able to own one.
Some 35 to 30 years ago, the Spanish diecast makers made a plethora of SEAT scale models in 1:64 (or thereabouts) scale. I have some examples below. Around 1985 no new Seat models seem to have been made.
First up: two scale models of the 1st gen Ibiza.
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.