Posted by: DaveWeber in Member Blogs

In collaboration with Christian Falkensteiner, Images by Doug Breithaupt

We are nearing the middle of the alphabet. For the letter "M" we have found it necessary to split this section in half! The amount of marques beginning with this letter is amazing! Two of these marques recently represented in small scale diecast are replicas of former "kit cars" , Manta and Meyers Manx! This section will end at Mercer, and next month's section will begin with Mercury.

MANTA (US) 1970s -1985 (?) Actual production dates are not confirmed

Located in Santa Ana Calif, this firm produced a kit car in the Sports GT Class. It featured a modern styled body with scissors type doors. The body was composed of fibreglass and seated 2 occupants. It was featured in the TV series of that era, "Hardcastle and McCormick".

RC2 recently re-issued a model of this TV car named the Coyote, from the original Ertl casting. A stock version of the manta and a racing version have also been issued from this same casting.

Manta - Ertl/Racing Champions

MARCOS (GB) 1959-1973, 1982-PRESENT

This company from Bradford on Avon started producing unusually designed sports cars with bodies made of a combination of plastic and wood, using engines by Ford and Volvo. Wood gave way to steel in the late 1960s. A smaller model introduced in 1965 was based on the BMC Mini. The company went bankrupt in the early 1970s, but was resurrected about ten years later and still continues producing sports cars which look very similar to those from the 1960s.

The only proper small-scale diecast model of a regular production Marcos is the very rare Marcos Volvo by the Japanese company Popy. Corgi's 1:43 scale Mini Marcos might be regarded as a small-scale diecast model as well due to its small size, and there was a model of the Marcos XP in the Corgi Juniors range, but that one was a one-off prototype which did not reach production. The Corgi Juniors XP was copied by the far east companies Wheeler and HW.

Marcos GT - Wheeler (Kimmo Sahakangas)

MARMON (US) 1902-1933

This company was named after the founder Harold Marmon. From their onset these cars were very advanced machines. The intent was to capture the Upper Class market. This is one of many well-known firms that failed to survive the ramifications of the Great Depression. The name is still present in the transportation world on limited production heavy duty trucks. A 1/87 scale resin model is reportedly available from Greg's Garage in Saginaw MI.

MARQUETTE (US) 1929-1931

This short lived marque was introduced by General Motors as a less expensive companion to the Buick. This appears to have been an attempt by GM to gain a larger piece of the market after the Great Depression occurred! It was basically a small Buick with a different radiator design and nameplate. Tootsietoy produced a model in their 3 inch line in the early 1930s that is identified as a Marquette or "Little Buick".


Until the late 1950s this company from Modena produced cars mainly for racing purposes and in very small quantities only. This changed with the introduction of the 3500 GT in 1957. Maserati's powerful sports cars featuring bodies designed by renowned Italian coach builders became famous around the world but did not keep the company from financial trouble. Its association with Citroën which started in 1968 ended in 1975, after which it was rescued by De Tomaso. From 1981 onward cheaper cars were made in larger quantities, starting with the Biturbo model. From 1989 to 1991 Maserati collaborated with Chrysler to produce a convertible called TC utilizing Chrysler parts, which was only available in the USA. In 1998 Maserati was passed on to Fiat who turned it into a subsidiary of Ferrari.

Most producers of small-scale diecast models have made models of Maserati cars, particularly the sports cars of the 1970s. Models of more recent Maseratis are few and far between, but the current Quattroporte is now made by Hot Wheels.

Maserati Indy - Buby

MATRA-SMICA (FR) 1974-1979

The French aerospace and weapons company Matra got into sports car production when it acquired the small sports car factory of René Bonnet in 1964. First it continued with that factory's rear-engined Renault-based Djet models, then in 1967 it introduced the 530 model powered by a German Ford engine. In the early 1970s it became associated with Simca, then Chrysler's French subsidiary. As a result the brand name changed to Matra-Simca, and a new model called Bagheera was introduced, an unusual feature of which was the fitting of three seats in one row. When Chrysler's European factories were taken over by Peugeot, the brand name changed once again, this time to Talbot-Matra.

While no small-scale models are known of the earlier Matras, models of the Matra-Simca Bagheera were made by Majorette, Norev, Guisval, Playart and Schuco.

Matra-Simca Bagheera - Majorette

MAXWELL (US) 1905-1925

This firm began operations in Tarrytown NY. It was founded by sheet metal producer Benjamin Briscoe. He had formerly been involved with Buick production. Jonathan Maxwell, an engineer, became a partner in the company. Thus the firm became known as the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Co. In 1910 the Maxwell became part of the US Motor Co. Also included was Columbia and later Stoddard-Dayton and Brush also were included in this early automotive conglomerate. But it collapsed in 1912 and in 1914 following reorganization, the Maxwell Motor Co debuted. In 1922 Maxwell merged unsuccessfully with Chalmers. In 1924 Walter Chrysler became president of the existing Maxwell-Chalmers organization. The first Chrysler appeared the same year and in 1925 the Chrysler Corp was founded. In 1926 the Maxwell lost its identity as a separate marque and became the new 4 cylinder Chrysler. At present Chrysler Corp has recently become part of the world conglomerate DaimlerChrysler! There is reportedly a 1/87 model of the Maxwell made by Dyna Models quite a few years ago. Plus the Matchbox Yesteryear model also exists but is recognized to be somewhat in excess of our 3 inch limits for this series.

MAYBACH (GE) 1921-1940, 2002-PRESENT

Gottlieb Daimler's co-worker Wilhelm Maybach founded his own company in 1907 together with his son Karl with the intention of producing engines for the Zeppelin airships. Both factories were located in the town of Friedrichshafen. After WW I the company started producing cars. All Maybach cars were big and expensive luxury vehicles made in small quantities. Their production was not continued after WW II. Instead the company concentrated on manufacturing heavy diesel engines for various uses and was eventually taken over by Daimler-Benz in 1966. Recently DaimlerChrysler has reintroduced the Maybach brand for a new range of super-luxury cars to compete against Rolls-Royce (BMW) and Bentley (VW).

We are not aware of any small-scale models of the pre-war Maybachs. The current Maybach 57 is made in H0 scale plastic by Herpa.


The Toyo Cork Kogyo Co was established in 1920. They produced various pieces of machinery and in 1923 introduced a line of small motorcycles. In 1927, the firm became known as Toyo Kogyo Co LTD which name remained in use until 1984. They produced a 3 wheeled truck in 1931 which was called the Mazda DA. Their first prototype car was built in 1940, just prior to the outbreak of WWII. Although half the plant was destroyed in the war, the company began manufacturing 3 wheel trucks in 1945. Production of 4 wheel trucks followed in 1950. But the first car did not appear until 1960. In 1961 an agreement was made with NSU of Germany to produce Wankel rotary powered engines under license. This engine can be found in the recently introduced RX 8 sports car! Also in 1988 Mazda established a joint venture with Ford Motor Corp to build the MX-6 cars in Flat Rock Michigan. Models have been made by Tomica, Muscle Machines, RCErtl, Hot Wheels, Autoart, Matchbox and many others.

Mazda Cosmo - Tomica

McLAREN (GB) 1991-1998

McLaren of Woking is mainly known as a producer of racing cars including those competing in the Formula 1 world championship. In the early 1990s the company developed a super sports car using a BMW engine, which was called McLaren F1. It was put into very limited production and was suitable for driving on the road, although many examples were used for racing as well. Later on McLaren teamed up with DaimlerChrysler to develop the new SLR which is made by McLaren but marketed under the Mercedes-Benz brand.

Small-scale models of the McLaren F1 were made by Microchamps and Pioneer.

McLaren F1 - Microchamps (Raed Ammari)

MELKUS (GDR) 1969-1973

Heinz Melkus of Dresden was one of the few racing drivers in communist East Germany. Due to the lack of appropriate vehicles to race, he started building his own race cars, mostly using mechanical components from Wartburg. The road-going sports car called Melkus RS 1000, which was made in small numbers in the early 1970s, was also based on the Wartburg 353.

An H0 scale plastic model of the Melkus RS 1000 is available from the German company V&V.

MERCEDES (GE) 1901-1926

The cars made by the German Daimler company were all called Mercedes following the success of a racing car by that name, which had been instigated by Daimler dealer Emil Jellinek - Mercedes was the first name of his daughter. Mercedes cars were more advanced than most of their competition and provided a pattern of motorcar construction which was followed by many other manufacturers. In the economically difficult time after WW I, Daimler merged with Benz, and from 1926 onward all cars made by the combined companies were to be called Mercedes-Benz.

Small-scale metal models of early Mercedes cars are made by the German Marks company in H0 and N scales.


The company which was created by the merger of Daimler and Benz has remained at the forefront of German motorcar production for all of its existence. While it opened truck factories in many different countries over the years, it retained all of its passenger car production in Germany. This excludes off-road vehicles which are made in countries such as Austria, Greece and the USA, as well as the SLR super sports car which is made by McLaren in the UK. In 1998 Daimler-Benz merged with Chrysler to form the DaimlerChrysler company, which has brought many changes to various aspects of the lineup, but the Mercedes-Benz brand name and its reputation remain unchanged.

Due to this brand's popularity, small-scale models of it have been made by almost every manufacturer.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL and 1928 SSK - Siku

MERCER (US) 1910-1926, 1931

The Mercer Autocar Co of Trenton NJ was named after the County where the cars were produced. The most famous model in the line was the Raceabout which some people refer to as the forerunner to the modern sports car. It was an open bodied 2 seater model. In 1915 the styling was radically altered when doors and a new bench-type seat were introduced. The original character of the car had been lost. Unfortunately the company failed to find a market for their product in the early 1920s. An attempt by the Elcar Motor Car Co of Elkhart Indiana was made to reintroduce the marque in 1931. Only 2 prototypes were reportedly made. A model of an early Mercer was made by Top Speed for the Readers Digest subscription promotional a few years ago! Also the Matchbox Yesteryear model could be considered, although the size is slightly larger than the 3 inch limit we have strived to maintain.

Tags: Vehicles, Tales of Toy Cars

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