This article was initially published in March 2004 by Dave Weber and Christian Falkensteiner. Images by Doug Breithaupt.
Ferrari 250LM - Speedy
FERRARI (IT) 1940-PRESENT
This firm was was founded by Enzo Ferrari . It was the outgrowth of an official Italian racing team. They used Alfa-Romeo cars during the 1930s. But Enzo began producing his own race cars. After WW II, road cars were also introduced.
These powerful machines were represented by the prancing horse emblem. They used custom bodies from well known coach builders with Pininfarina the primary designer. Names such as Testarossa, Mondial, Maranello and Dino are but a few of the many model names introduced over the past 60 plus years. In 1970 Fiat took a controlling interest in Ferrari production cars.
One of the most prolific producers of Ferrari cars in small scale has been Hot Wheels, followed by its sister company at Mattel, Matchbox. Many other manufacturers have produced Ferrari models including; Zeetoy/ Zylmex, Majorette, Corgi, Maisto, Siku, Tomica and Kyosho.
Fiat 124 - Polistil
FIAT (IT) 1899-PRESENT
This firm trading as Fabrica Italiana Automobili Torino ( F.I.A.T.) , is part of a large industrial conglomerate. The founder was Giovanni Agnelli. Since the beginning other automobile companies have been taken over ( as noted above on the Ferrari section).
Earlier makes include Ansaldo in 1929 and OM in 1933. A US luxury version of this marque was produced from 1910-1918 in NY State. Fiat has provided assembly components to many smaller marque manufacturers including Abarth, Cisitalia, Giannini, Moretti, Siata, Stanguellini and Ferrari.
Fiat products were also manufactured as S.E.A.T. in Spain, Steyr Puch and Steyr-Fiat in Austria, Vaz in the USSR, Lada in present Russia, Murat in Turkey, El Nasr in Egypt, Walter in Czechoslovakia, Simca in France and the NSU-Fiat in Germany.
In 1955 Fiat founded Autobianchi (together with Pirelli), and in 1970 50% of the stock for Ferrari was obtained. Also Citroen provided 15% of stock holdings for a short period of time but they were relinquished in 1974. In 1969 the Lancia marque was also taken over. As of 1980, Fiats were being manufactured in 20 countries. Including those listed above, cars were also available from Argentina (1960) and Brazil (1976) . Also noted are the FSO from Poland, Premier from India and Zastava from Yugoslavia. In 1984 Alfa Romeo also became part of this conglomerate. Ironically, no Fiats have been imported to the US since 1986. Recently it was reported that GM had purchased a sizable portion of stock.
Models of these cars have been made in small scale by Corgi, Faie, High Speed, Hot Wheels, Majorette, Matchbox, Norev and of course by the Italian producers such as Mercury and Polistil.
FMR (GE) 1957-1964
This company located in Regensburg, Bavaria took over production of the cabin scooter previously made by the aircraft company Messerschmitt. While the general public continued to call these vehicles Messerschmitt, the actual brand name was FMR, as indicated by the logo at the front.
While the Messerschmitts had been available as three-wheelers only, FMR added a four-wheeled version called Tg 500 (which was not allowed to be called "Tiger" as originally intended). When sales started to decline in the early 1960s, the company gradually switched to the production of vending machines.
These vehicles were so small that 1:43 scale models of them do not look out of place in a small-scale diecast collection. However, the known models are all of earlier Messerschmitt examples, with the only exception being the Tg 500 made of white metal in the very tiny N scale by MZZ of Switzerland.
Ford Model T - Tomica
FORD (US) 1903 - PRESENT
Henry Ford founded this company and went on to be the "Father of automobile mass production with his famous Model T ". This car also called the "Tin Lizzie", endured an 18 year production span. During this time period, Ford also began production in Great Britain in 1911 and in Germany in 1925. German and British Fords are dealt with in separate sections of this article. A factory in Australia has been in operation since 1925.
Ford also was present in France from 1947-1954. Models identified as the Vedette and Comete were produced. The company was later sold to Simca who continued to produce the Vedette under the new ownership. In the 1960s Ford even had a unique model on the Italian market, called Anglia Torino and actually made by OSI.
Canada also produced modified Ford designs under the Monarch and Meteor marques. Ford in Argentina began in 1962. Ford of Brazil, trading as Ford-Willys do Brasil SA began in 1967. This was the result of a merger of interests between these two formerly independent firms. Ford had been providing assembly operations there since 1924. The various products at this plant included Renault Dauphines, Aero-Willys and a Jeep based Rural-Willys station wagon, plus a large size US type Ford Galaxie.
Models of the above marque have been made by almost all small scale manufacturers. US representations are plentiful which include the Nascar Taurus models. Road cars have been issued by Imperial, Johnny Lightning, Ertl, Racing Champions, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Siku, Realtoy, Tootsietoy, Best Box/Efsi and almost all others you can think of.
In addition, the Brazilian Ford-Willys has been replicated by Roly Toys and some of the Australian Falcons have been produced by Biante, Cooee and Matchbox.
Ford 20 M - Siku
FORD (GE) 1925-1970
Ford Germany began producing examples of the Model T and A in Berlin, but in 1931 the operation was moved to Cologne, where the German Ford headquarters remain to this day. Starting with the 1936 Eifel, Ford Germany produced unique cars not made anywhere else, with the best known model name being Taunus, introduced in 1939.
During the 1960s British and German Fords became more and more closely related, and at the same time Ford opened more factories in other countries, such as Belgium, Spain and Portugal. From the early seventies onward it does not make sense anymore to distinguish between the different European Ford branches, as their products had become interchangeable.
Small-scale diecast models of German Fords were produced by Siku, Schuco and Lone Star when they were current, and just recently they have been re-discovered by current brands such as Bub and (yet again) Schuco.
Ford Corsair - Mini Dinky
FORD (GB) 1911-1970
Like other international Ford branches, the British factory at Dagenham started with the Model T and ventured into unique models designed for the domestic market during the 1930s. Famous model names include Anglia, Prefect, Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac, Cortina and Corsair. In the late 1960s British Ford production was integrated with other European Ford factories.
Not surprisingly, models of British Fords were mainly made by the British manufacturers, led by Matchbox and also including Dinky Dublo, Mini-Dinky, Husky and Lone Star. In recent times Hot Wheels made a model of a modified Ford Anglia Panel Van.
Ford Fiesta - Pilen
FORD (EU) 1970-PRESENT
The integration of European Ford production started in 1968 with the introduction of the Escort compact car, which was made in the UK as well as Belgium. In 1969 the Capri sports coupe followed, and 1970 saw the simultaneous introduction of the Cortina Mk III and a new Taunus, which were basically the same car. When the larger Granada was introduced in 1972, this marked the end of individual German and British Fords. Later European Ford model names include Fiesta, Ka, Focus, Sierra, Mondeo and Scorpio.
Over the years Ford models based on European designs were also manufactured in other countries such as Turkey, South Africa, India, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. Finally, it should be mentioned that cars made in Japan (Mazda) and South Korea (Kia) have also been sold badged as Fords in various parts of the world.
Models of European Fords are plentiful and have been made by very many diecast manufacturers catering for European markets.
Ford GT40 Mk. II - Hot Wheels
FORD GT 40, Mk. II, Mk IV, J-Car/GT (US/ GB) 1964-1969, 2004 - PRESENT
This limited production racing/ road car is being considered as a "sub-marque"! It was developed by Ford Corporation and Carroll Shelby to compete successfully against the powerful Ferraris on the track. Some of the specialty 2 seaters were also produced for street use as well. Models have been made by Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Champion, Summer, Ertl, Zylmex, Speedy, Corgi, Aurora and Siku. The 2004 reincarnation of this vehicle includes many retro styling features but uses modern operating equipment . No model yet has been introduced of this new version, but Matchbox has announced that it is going to introduce a new Ford GT casting in 2004. It is not quite clear yet if this is supposed to be a model of the old or new GT.
Ford Boss Mustang - Racing Champions
FORD MUSTANG (US) 1964- PRESENT
This car is also considered to be a "sub-marque" . It has only been issued as a 2 door sports model since it was first introduced. Over the years, it has appeared in coupe, fastback and convertible body styles. Soon after its introduction, Shelby American produced a limited number of modified "muscle type" cars until 1970. These cars are even recognized in some automobile encyclopedias as Shelby Mustangs. The newest generation of this specialty car is to be issued later this year. It will feature some retro styling reminiscent of the earlier years.
Models of this marque in small scale have been made by such companies as Tomica, Buby, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightning , Wheeler, Siku and AMT Pups/ Mego Fast Wheels/ Tuffys. Matchbox Collectibles has already issued a replica of the 05 Concept car which is very close in appearance to the fullsize machine.
Ford Thunderbird Hardtop - Johnny Lightning
FORD THUNDERBIRD ( US ) 1955- 1999, 2002- 2004 (?)
This car is the final Ford "sub-marque". It was developed and introduced as a 2 seater coupe personal type car. The metal top was designed to be removed to convert the car into a roadster. It was originally created to try to compete with the Corvette which had been introduced almost 2 years earlier. In 1958 the design was radically modified to allow seating for 4-5 occupants. Although most "T-Birds" were produced with only 2 doors including the Nascar racers, there were some 4 door sedans produced in the regular line as well. During the late 1990s , the car lost its former special appeal and met its demise with no regrets. However in 2002 Ford resurrected the name to be used on a new 2 seater car that had many retro styling features of the original cars. But this attempt to revive the once proud name has apparently been unsuccessful and the car and name are again being discontinued.
Models of the original car have been made by Kidco/ Dinky, Corgi Jr, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Majorette, Yat Ming, Johnny Lightning ( also Topper) and others. The present car has been replicated by Matchbox as a Concept model and by Tack Cheung of Hong Kong only.
FRANKLIN (US) 1901- 1934
This marque has been recognized as being one of the most successful producers of an air-cooled car until the advent of the VW. The firm was founded by H H Franklin and remained fairly successful up until the Great Depression of the late 1920s . It did not survive financially . The patents in 1934 were taken over by the Air-Cooled Motors Corp ( later called Franklin Engine Co). This firm specialized in aircraft engine production and was the source for the Tucker power plant in 1948.
Models of all Franklins appear to be almost nonexistent in smaller scales. However, we have noted that Douglas Kelly in his book "Diecast Price Guide" of 1997 makes mention of possibly one such model. He notes that AHI of Japan made a 1/80 scale model in their "Antique" series of a 1902 " Ali Coold Frankline". We assume that this manufacturer was actually referring to a 1902 Air Cooled Franklin and that because of language difficulties in translation, the identity became garbled.
FRISKY (GB) 1957-1964
Frisky was a British brand of microcars founded by racing driver Raymond Flower and produced at the engine factory of Meadows in Wolverhampton. The vehicles were available with three or four wheels, and their plastic bodies had been designed by Michelotti.
The only known diecast model of a Frisky was made by Spot-On of Northern Ireland in their traditional 1:42 scale. As with other microcar models, it is small enough to be included in a small-scale diecast collection.