Dinky Diecast

Dinky Diecast was a range of "modeled miniatures" that was initially produced by Meccano Ltd of Liverpool, England in the early 1930s. Regarded by many diecast collectors as the "mother of all toy car collectibles", Dinky Diecast models became very popular in the UK during the early 1950s. They served a dual function of being a toy as well as being a replica model and during that period, had no equal. Most the models produced then were in the 1:48 scale which complemented the O scale railway model sets. But there were also scales ranging from 1:8 to 1:2000 being produced. In addition, the Bus and Truck genre of Dinky Diecast models were further scaled down to around 4 inches long.

Nevertheless, the larger Dinky Super Toys were not scaled down but instead started to have more movable features. The most notables of these were the opening doors of the Coles Mobile Crane and the Horse Box. Towards 1954, Dinky Diecast was reorganized so that the cars were sold in separate boxes. There was also a separate production line in France producing a different range of Dinky Diecast models.

By 1956, Dinky Diecast models faced a serious challenge to their business model when a rival company, the Mettoy Company, introduced the Corgi line of diecast models. The Corgi ranges of diecast were more sophisticated than Dinky Diecast models with new features like plastic interiors and suspension. To counteract this competition, Dinky Diecast Company introduced additional features like detailed engines, fingertip steering and workable doors and trunks. By the mid 60s, Corgi diecast had already surpassed Dinky Diecast in terms of sales by producing diecast cars that were featured in TV shows and movies like the Aston Martin used by James Bond.

The fierce but healthy competition between rival diecast companies meant that they had to continually upgrade their product range. Imitating Matchbox “Models of Yesteryear”, Dinky Diecast tried to venture into the antique cars genre as well. However, the move was abandoned after a few trial models. Instead, Dinky Diecast continued the line of cars in the 1:42 scale that were originally meant for Spot-On, a third competitor at that time, when the parent company (Tri-Ang, a division of Lines Brothers), acquired Meccano. Later Dinky Diecast decided to only stick to the 1:43 scale already popular in Europe then.

When the U.S. Company Mattel introduced the “Hot Wheels” series in to the UK market in the late 60s, their low friction wheels gave their diecast immerse play value, something which both Dinky Diecast and Corgi Diecast couldn't match. Even when Dinky Diecast introduced the “SPEEDWHEELS”, the high cost of manufacturing couldn't be justified with the current production volume. This ultimately led to the diecast market contracting and forcing Dinky Diecast into receivership by the mid 70s. The Dinky brand changed hands many time before being acquired by Matchbox which in turn was later taken over by Mattel. Since 2000, Mattel no longer manufacture the "Dinky Collection". Instead this series has been absorbed into the Matchbox Collectibles series. However, these Dinky Diecast offshoots are regarded as models and are not as tough as the original Dinky Diecast “toys”.

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