Toy Box Treasurers - Playart, A Far-East Favorite

Posted by: Doug in Member Blogs

The miniature vehicles produced by Playart in the 1970's and '80's deserve much more recognition then they have received from collectors. Primarily seen as Asian diecast of moderate quality, these 1:64 scale models represent much more. Perhaps the greatest attraction to the Playart models is the fact that so many are examples of cars never done by any other manufacturer in small-scale. Of the 27 examples in my collection, eight are one-of-a-kind in 1:64 scale. Most of the others are of models seldom done.

The Playart story is not easy to trace. Most major diecast directories provide only a brief summary of the company. From the age of the company's earliest products, it appears that Playart was a Hong Kong based response to the success of Hot Wheels. Indeed, as the Honda S800 package to the left shows, the brand name 'Fast Wheel' was used with '70's graphics not unlike Hot Wheels packaging of the same period. Playart vehicles are not dated on the base but must have first been offered in the late '60's, early '70's. They were produced for about 15 years although when production stoped and why is unclear. The last were produced sometime in the 1980's. Some Playart diecast appear to be close copies of models from other manufacturers but the majority are unique castings. Playart vehicles were re-packaged for sale by large department stores including Woolworth's, McCrory's, Sears and others. Any additional information or literature on Playart would be greatly appreciated. Below is the most complete list I have available. Much of the list is courtesy of Brian Willoughby, a fellow Playart collector from Kentucky. Brian's own remarks about Playart follow on the next two pages of this article. Car numbers have been added where available. The number proceeding the entry is the earlier Playart number. The number that follows is the later Playart/Yatming number. Cars currently in my collection are in bold type. For a detailed look at one Playart car, the Jensen FF.

 

My collection currently consists of the 27 Playarts pictured (the Bulldozer is not pictured) on this and the next two linked pages. If you have a Playart model not in my collection, please let me know if you have an interest in a trade or sale. Full image profiles for each of these cars are linked to my 'minicars' list. The story continues and the next eight Playart models may be viewed if you click here.

 

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1970 Datsun 240Z - 1975 Citroen CX 220 - 1968 Cadillac Eldorado - 1968 BMW 2002
...
1974 De Tomaso Pantera - 1968 Jaguar 'E' type 2+2 - 1968 Jensen Interceptor FF - 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SL

Tags: Tales of Toy Cars

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