How To Collect

How To Collect Diecast Model Cars

If you’ve decided to turn your love of cars into a hobby collecting diecast models, then I think you’re going to have a lot of fun.

However you have some decisions to make about the scope of your collection since there are far more available than m most people have either the money to buy or the storage room to keep.

The Scope Of Your Diecast Model Collection

Rather than buying your models on an ad hoc, “that looks nice” basis, it’s good to select the parameters for your collection:

  • Scale size – these models are close to exact replicas of the cars on the road but their size can vary significantly. I like the 1:18 scale as a good compromise between detail and cost but we’ll look at other scales below.
  • Model brands – some collectors specialise in a particular brand like Matchbox or Mattel Hot Wheels.
  • Marque brands – if you love Ferraris, then you could specialise in them.
  • Periods – you can start and finish your collection for careers from particular years. Many of us are drawn to the cars of our childhood and I know that my love for cars from the 1960s and 1970s is far more intense that for more modern cars.
  • Particular types of vehicle – e.g. police cars.
  • Condition – you could collect brand new (unopened), new or second hand and there are different grades for the second hand models.
  • Your budget – can you see yourself paying £100+ for a 1:18 model car?

My own collection is based around 1:18 grand tourers and sports cars from the 1950s, 60s and 70s which lets me buy Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and and other marque models that I think are attractive. I’ve also tried to bridge the gap between the years of my youth and present day.

Popular Size Scales

To show the size difference, I have used a Lamborghi Aventador in mm. To convert to proper sizes, 304mm is 12 inches.

  • 1:18 – Aventador 302mm (Bburago)
  • 1:24 – Aventador 236mm (Maisto)
  • 1:36 (popularised by Corgi)
  • 1:43 (popularised by Dinky and consistent with O gauge railway models)  – Aventador 146mm (Bburago)

Diecast Model Car Collecting As An Investment

My advice is to do it out of love of the cars rather than thinking you’re going to make money. You could get lucky but you probably won’t given the size of the production runs and the number of serious collectors.

My father collected stamps for more than 40 years and he had what we thought was a very large, structured collection that had cost thousands of pounds. We had it valued when he died, and it was worth about £1,500 so he would have lost money.

Talking to the stamp valuer, he explained that it was only the really rare stamps that accelerate in value and the prices quoted in a famous stamp catalogue were nonsense.

That said, price is dependent on supply and demand and if you really want a particular make, model, size of car that is out of production, you may surprise yourself how much you are prepared to pay.

Buying Cars For Your Collection

There are four main sources:

  1. Amazon
  2. eBay
  3. Direct from the manufacturers through their websites
  4. From specialist model retailers

The romantic in me would like to support the specialist stores that are a pleasure to walk around but price matters and the best deals are often online where you can choose from a number of competing offers.

One option is to buy from a specialist online model store like Collectable Diecast in Sparks, Nevada, USA.

If you buy from outside of your own country, you need to be aware that you might incur customs duties and charges. These may turn a great deal into a bad buy.

Your Collection Starts With Your First Purchase

It’s easy to get started. You just need to buy a model car and decide how you’re going to look after it.

Then you buy your second and you have a collection.

Excellent Collection Tips From JMCPorsche

Tips For Starting A Collection


Lower End Models – Maisto, Bburago, Welly

Higher End Models (What I’d Call Mid-Range) – Hot Wheels, Ricko, Greenlight

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For those who love classic cars and diecast models of them