If you have a little boy chances are he likes toy cars. Even if somehow he doesn’t I bet he still has toy cars. It’s a fact :)… inside every boys toy collection there is definitely a die cast car or two. My own little boy has a lot of toy cars, and when I say too a lot it just means that I am embarrassed to say the exact number of die cast toy cars he has. Sure, not all of them were given to him by me (his grandad and uncles gave a substantial hand there) but a huge portion was supplied by dear ol’ dad and by doing that I learned a thing or two along the way. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, I’m just saying I know a lot about toy cars for someone who is not a hard-core collector.
There are a lot of manufacturers of 1:64 scale toy model cars and this size has been a market standard for almost half a century and the reason is quite simple; children can easily hold them with their little hands. That is why boys are given little toy cars even before they can walk properly. I like that, it’s cute… and way way better than toy weapons :D. The majority of my sons collection are Hot Wheels (which is logical, since you can get 50 of them for under 50 dollars) and Matchbox cars and the reason why is that simply put they are overall the cheapest, most endurable and offer a huge variety of design when compared to other die cast toys like Majorette, Maisto, Siku, Welly and others.
When I was a kid Majorette cars were the best ones to have in my neighborhood. We loved them cause they could bounce due to their “suspension”, the doors could almost always open, sometimes even the engine hood could be opened and they were really durable. So durable in fact that my kid still plays with a few of my own die cast Majorette toy cars from the 80’s. The one’s I bought for my son here in the 21st century however have made me a bit sad. They are not as durable as the one’s from my childhood and break more easily. Some of them still feature doors, hoods and trunks that can open and most of them have good suspensions. However, they are a bit overpriced. Majorette 10-pack’s of toy cars tend to go for around 20 dollars which is really expensive when you compare them to the Hot Wheels 9 car pack which goes for around/under 10 dollars or the Matchbox 20 pack which goes for around 20 dollars (20 cars vs 10 cars for the same price). However when you put Majorette vs Siku then the game changes because Majorette offers better wheels (they are faster than Siku), they have suspension while Siku models do not and all in all offer better build quality for roughly the same price.
Maisto and Welly toy cars are a around the same price as Hot Wheels and Matchbox when you find them in shops but online their prices vary a lot and can sometimes be even more expensive. They tend to break a lot and are the least durable cars from the major toy companies in the 1:64 scale range. If you have a baby in your house or a really small child I would avoid getting them as they are just not safe. The plastic on the bottom is of lesser quality and after a few months they just don’t run as well. Over a bit longer period of times boys will use wrecked cars as make-belief cars that were in accidents, try to repair them and imagine all sorts of games. All though I find it cute I do not like it because when cars fall apart the metal parts can be a risk to both the children and the adults. One time I was only wearing socks while walking through the living room and my left foot found out just how unpleasant toy cars can be.
I’ve only bought RMZ City toy cars a few times and will not do that ever again because the tires on the cars are made from real rubber which sounds cool but is not as little kids sometimes put them in their mouth and no-one likes choking hazards and I have a huge problem with going around the house looking for lost tires which sometimes seems like an eternity. However, they have larger models at the scale of about 1:36 which are really durable and come beautifully designed. You can check how they look and my thoughts on them in my article at RMZ City 1:36 Die-cast cars.
A new player on the 1:64 market but not when it comes to die-cast cars is Bburago. I got my kid a Bburago 1:64 pack of 3 cars. This is the only pack I’ve seen on both the local market and online. Is this just an experiment I do not know. But it seems it could work as the cars I got were slightly cheaper than Hot Wheels and Matchbox. The bottom doesn’t seem as sturdy as with Mattel’s toys though but a single car hasn’t broken yet and they seem much sturdier than the Bburago 1:43 line which I’ve written about. The biggest selling point however is the incredible attention to detail, almost resembling that of Siku. Just look at the picture below. You can see a bunch of details on the cars: exhaust pipes, really detailed license plates, fuel… quite incredible. I will write a bigger article just so I can put all of the photos in it. (addendum: yep, after a few months of play 2 out of the 3 Bburago’s have broken down into a pile of pieces, so no go on that 🙁 ). A
This brings us to Siku die cast toy cars which sometimes look amazing. Seriously, they’re beautiful and the attention to detail is incredible. However, they also have rubber tires which can be taken off pretty easily and they’re also quite expensive which makes them more suitable for older kids who are really into toy cars and not toddlers who tend to dismantle everything they get their hands on. Also, the models differ in the build quality a lot and price. Some of the cheaper ones I got for my kid had doors that would open and close just by my kid rotating the car in the air. The really expensive ones are great but too expensive and the cheapest one’s are just too expensive when comparing to Majorette for example.
You can read a more detailed I wrote about them at Siku. There’s a bunch of cool photos there and some really nice looking models as well.
All in all Mattel makes incredibly strong cars with a very good design. In my personal experience they are by far the safest toy cars around, they I personally prefer Matchbox cars (you can check out my son’s and mine collection at Matchbox cars) because they are a bit more realistic than some of the crazy models HW have and have different hubcaps while Hot Wheel toy cars have the same hubcap which my son loves. Luckily for Hot Wheels they have in my opinion the best selection of muscle cars which are my favorite cars ( I bought my kid a bunch of these and am still looking for cool ones; check out his lovely collection at Hot Wheels Muscle Cars). They also come at an extremely affordable sale price online if you get them in bulk. You can get a Matchbox 20 car pack for little over 20 dollars and a Hot Wheels 20 pack for little under 20 dollars. And if you’re really looking to save money in the long run by buying a bunch of them by the lot or surprise a little kid with the best possible die cast present there are the huge packs of Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars.
If you’re still wondering which die cast toy you should buy for your kid… you can’t go wrong with Hot Wheels and Matchbox (especially if it’s for toddlers because they have almost zero choking hazard). If you’re looking for more complex options and moving parts such as doors, hoods and trunks that can open then Majorette is for your kid because some of their models have such features yet are less expensive than Siku (and lately even better in quality).
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If you’re wondering where to buy Hot Wheels, Matchbox or Majorette cars online, Amazon often has very good offers (much cheaper than in the stores around me 🙁 ).