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Published Dec. 11, 2020

The world’s obsession with cars has long been apparent. Since the early 1900s, automobiles have been at the forefront of people’s attention. To honor them, diecast models began to be made of classic or noteworthy cars. These scaled-down replicas are matched precisely down to the stitching in the steering wheel and the rubber writing on the tires. For any car lover, a diecast model makes an incredible gift. While most are created to signify a unique vehicle, some diecast cars hold intrinsic value for their history and craftsmanship. A great diecast car is a perfect replica that holds a memory for people. 

These model cars also help engage the next generation with the value of vehicles; their care and function. Options range from precision models of classic cars to matchbox cars meant to get kids to play. It’s all about finding the right fit and expanding your collection (whether for you or your kids). To help you along, we’ve curated a list of the best diecast cars available along with some tips on how to pick the right set.

The Best Diecast Cars

The best overall diecast car is Brian’s Car from the first Fast & Furious movie. The Fast & Furious franchise has been revered amongst car gurus since it began filming. Unfortunately, while this diecast car is awesome in itself, it took on a different meaning when Paul Walker tragically died in a car accident. Since then, the diecast model of his car in the first Fast & Furious has been a highly sought-after item. This officially licensed movie decoration is rich in details with opening doors, hood, and trunk. The interior is exact, while the engine compartments and chassis are also designed with meticulous detail. In addition, the diecast car is made with heavy metal body and chrome accents to make it durable yet authentic. 

While this car is really valuable aesthetically, the sensitivity of the material makes it less well-suited for hands on play. To get the most out of it, stick to decorative and collectible use.

Key Features
  • Scaled-down, authentic appearance
  • Licensed from the movie studio
  • Fine attention to details on chassis
  • Made of high-grade metal
Specification
  • Brand Jada
  • Model 97168
  • Weight 1.1 pounds
PROS

Exact in color and appearance to film

Excellent as a collectible

Large enough to appreciate details

CONS

Sensitive to rust and corrosion

Paint will fade in the sunlight

Only viable for decorative use

Saving a few bucks now and then is always nice. The best value diecast car is the Ferrari Laferrari by Bburago. The LaFerrari is considered one of the best Ferraris ever built. It was the last of its kind to have a mid-engine V12 motor. These reasons make it the perfect car for a diecast. With a 1/24 scale model, the Bburago Laferrari comes in both iconic Ferrari colors — yellow and red. This particular diecast comes in the original factory box with opening doors and engine compartments. The best feature of the diecast LaFerrari is full-function steering capabilities. While most collectors won’t be taking it out of the box, being able to steer a Ferrari, even if it’s a diecast, is pretty cool. 

Despite its quality craftsmanship and fine details, this vehicle isn’t meant for actual play. It is suited to aesthetic purposes, though the small size and subtle paint job detract from this appeal.

Key Features
  • Looks exactly like a Ferrari
  • Bold red color and black tires
  • Comes in original packaging
  • Scaled 1:24 for apparent accuracy
Specification
  • Brand Bburago
  • Model 18-26001
  • Weight 14.1 ounces
PROS

Steering works smoothly

Identical appearance 

Scaled down precisely

CONS

Monochromatic color scheme

Subject to rust and corrosion

Wheels easily get stuck

Have you always loved the look of the classic Cadillac, from it’s appearance in an Elvis song to its sleek lines and aerodynamic structure? If so, the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible will definitely be a desirable option. Scaled at a 1:18 ratio, this diecast car is large enough to be a functional decoration. It sits low to the ground without impeding the appearance of the wheels. It has a light pink color that stands out all the more. The vehicle is crafted using high-grade materials. This is true both in terms of the windshield and the frame of the structure. The color is true to expectations of a Cadillac’s appearance. This premium selection stands out in the attention to detail and overall durability. 

It’s worth a mention that the strong design and high-end craftsmanship comes with a higher price point. However, the realistic look of the vehicle makes it well worth the investment for true fans.

Key Features
  • Scaled at a 1:18 ratio
  • Made out of sturdy materials
  • Doors and trunk both open
  • Painted in a light pink hue
Specification
  • Brand Maisto
  • Model 36813pi
  • Weight 3.04 pounds
PROS

Precise detailing for exact appearance

Large enough to use decoratively

Comes with stand for storage

CONS

Convertible design leaves it open to dust

Only comes in one color option

Parts that open are subject to damage

The Mercedes-Benz 500 K-Type by Maisto is a classic old-time car. Mercedes is one of the most recognized names in automobile lore. Production on this model was a mere few years between 1934-1936, making this diecast one of a kind. Miasto designed the car with a detailed diecast metal body accompanied by plastic parts for the rest. It has opening doors, full-function steering, four-wheel suspension, and a separate exhaust system. Produced with a display stand the car is put into a Maisto Showroom display package that gives it a genuine feel when unboxing it. If you have a gearhead in your family of any age, this diecast car would be an ideal gift.

However, this vehicle is only available in white. As a result, it is vulnerable to issues from scratches and stains. Store it carefully to avoid these types of problems.

Key Features
  • Constructed with a focus on precision
  • Includes display stand 
  • Doors and hood open easily
  • Includes suspension and steering
Specification
  • Brand Maisto
  • Model 36055
  • Weight 2.7 pounds
PROS

Focuses on absolute realism

Comes in original packaging

Exact replica of this Mercedes model

CONS

Vulnerable to scratch damage

Wheels are prone to rusting

Easy paint color to stain

No diecast list is complete without the classic Volkswagen Beetle. Built by KiNSMART, this diecast is designed for those who are looking to reminisce. Recently, diecasts of the Beetle have grown in popularity because VW ceased production on the vehicles. The 1960s were also one of the most memorable times in recent history. At a 1/32 model scale, you can think about the history that car has seen. Available in the classic VW red, the KiNSMART diecast car is produced with high-quality materials and a pull-back-to-drive ability. For the flower child, this classic diecast model is an amazing car. 

Though this model car is a quality option for vintage style, its structure makes it vulnerable to impact damage. Keep it indoors and avoid dropping it to prevent this kind of issue.

Key Features
  • Manufactured using high-grade metal
  • Car can has spring-loaded wheels
  • Doors of the vehicle can open
  • Scaled at 1:32 ratio
Specification
  • Brand KiNSMART
  • Model B00F WQQQ
  • Weight 1.58 ounces
PROS

Metal frame is resistant to impact from sides

Bright red color adds to aesthetic

Reasonable size for decoration

CONS

Pull back wheels can break

Relatively large-scale model

Doors can get stuck and rusted

Looking for a way to get your children engaged with the world of automobiles? Check out the Kidami Die-Cast Set of Toy Cars. It comes with five vehicles, all sized at a 1:64 ratio. Due to this fact, the toys are considered as having too small of parts for toddlers. It is better for older children. So long as the kids are of reasonable age, the opening and closing doors and bold colors can foster an interest in vehicles. The wide range of car types adds to the allure of this set. It has everything from a classic Volkswagen van to a school bus. By creating tethers to the recognizable world, these cars add a lot of realism. Sturdy and made to withstand rough play, these die-cast cars are excellent for children. 

Keep in mind that the small size of these cars makes them better suited towards play. The tininess means that the cars won’t really stand out as a decoration.

Key Features
  • Comes in a set of five cars
  • Includes van, bus, police car
  • Made of strong metal
  • Wheels are spring loaded to move
Specification
  • Brand ST20180403
  • Model Kidami
  • Weight 12 ounces
PROS

Realistic doors and wheels

Pull back and car moves forward

Tough against impact damage

CONS

Inability of vehicle to steer

Parts too small for young kids

Vehicles too petite for decoration

Want something straight out of the cartoon world? Check out the Disney Pixar “Cars” Die-Cast Set for its awesome value and unique designs. It comes as a set of three, each representing a main character from this popular childrens’ flick. The die-cast cars are made out of safe materials, meaning that children can easily interact with them. The vehicles are relatively compact, making them well-suited for any kind of travel play bag. The cars have several working features. The doors and the wheels let children engage with the cars and learn about how a vehicle works. All of them are resistant to damage, meaning the set of three can survive children roughhousing without getting broken. 

Bear in mind that, though these cars are great for kids, the toy nature of them means there are fewer notable details. As a result, only younger school-aged children will see the full value of this set.

Key Features
  • Comes in set of three cars
  • Design emulates popular kids movie
  • Compact structure for easy travel
  • Features all major characters in movie
Specification
  • Brand Disney
  • Model FXH57
  • Weight 8.8 ounces
PROS

Sturdy enough to withstand damage

Recognizable characters for kids

Made with eco-friendly materials

CONS

Lacks fine attention to detail

Only suited to younger kids

Few interactive parts on car

The Hautton Diecast Toy Police Car Set is an excellent way to get kids interested in both vehicles and law enforcement. The set of toys comes with six die-cast model cars. Each of the vehicles are unique, covering a full span of the types of police autos out there. All of the pieces are crafted with sturdy materials that are meant to withstand the wear and tear of playtime. They are small enough to fit pretty much anywhere, meaning storage won’t be a concern. Priced affordably, this set includes enough toys for kids to play with friends. All of the components are made out of a blend of zinc and polymers, both of which are entirely non-toxic and eco-friendly. Lightweight and easy to play with, these are popular die-cast options for families. 

Keep in mind that the style of these vehicles focuses exclusively on police patterns. As a result, to make a full collection for kids, you may need a few other die-cast cars.

Key Features
  • Comes in set of six cars
  • Small enough for easy transport
  • Each is a couple inches wide
  • Precise paint for better realism
Specification
  • Brand Hautton
  • Model B07VCPH3BK
  • Weight 10.4 ounces
PROS

Introduces kids to law enforcement

Enough toys for group play

Wheels on the cars roll smoothly

CONS

Not suitable for toddlers

Plastic parts vulnerable to impact

Wheels are susceptible to rust

Want something that is entirely lifelike, just a little bit smaller? Take a look at the JQGT Military Vehicles. These are well-suited to army enthusiasts and kids learning about the world. The set comes with several different vehicles, each incorporating realistic features. The cars are small enough to travel with and fairly easy to maintain. Each of them is made out of heavy-duty metal that is coated to prevent damage from rust and corrosion. The set includes both road and aircraft models, giving a bit of versatility (especially when used decoratively). The set includes everything from a helicopter to a tank. Since all of the miniatures are coated with a realistic, low-key green, these vehicles are both stylish and fun for play. 

Keep in mind that the size of these die-cast models is accurate in terms of the added features. However, the small protrusions are vulnerable to breakage, so exercise caution.

Key Features
  • Designed for ages 3 and older
  • Compact design for easy storage
  • Camouflage color emulates military look
  • Includes air and ground vehicles
Specification
  • Brand JQGT
  • Model SG_B06XXF4KJM_IN
  • Weight 8 ounces
PROS

Works decoratively and for kids

Comes in a set of six vehicles

Moving wheels for interactive play

CONS

Small parts are vulnerable to breakage

If paint chips, it becomes sensitive to rust

Plastic parts can crack or shatter

Are your kids enthused with the big machines they see on worksites? Want to encourage the interest? If so, the Chicken Toys Construction Car Set is a favorable way to go. It comes as a set of six and includes a mat for play. All of the vehicles are constructed using heavy-duty polymer that is designed to resist damage from impact. The equipment is a couple of inches long, making it easy to play with for kids with developing motor skills. This is especially useful since these cars are geared towards kids around the age of three. It comes with everything from the bulldozer to the digger, accounting for all the fan-favorite types of equipment. All of the parts are engaging and free of sharp edges. The precise details on each of the miniatures makes this set well worth an honorable mention. 

It helps to consider that, while these die-cast vehicles are accurate to the eye of a child, they may lack some of the finer details an adult would notice. As such, they are best suited towards children.

Key Features
  • Comes in a set of six construction-style cars
  • Includes all standard job site equipment
  • Features a play mat for optimal traction
  • Made of high-grade polymer and metal
Specification
  • Brand Chicken Toys
  • Model B07PVNXMST
  • Weight 1.17 pounds
PROS

Functional wheels keep kids engaged

Appropriate size for developing motor skills

Attention to detail helps these toys stand out

CONS

Protruding parts can break off

If paint scratches, it can rust

Can be hard to clean

Best Diecast Cars Buying Guide & FAQ

When you go to pick out your diecast car, there are a few things you are going to want to look out for. Of course, your priorities will depend on what you plan to use it for. The first thing to determine is whether the car is going to be used decoratively or interactively. Depending on which direction you’re taking, you will focus more on precision and aesthetic. Unlike getting a life-size car where the investigation is extreme, there are fewer things to keep in mind with diecast models. 

Once you’ve established the type of diecast model you’re going to want, it is time to figure out the right fit. Consider the different features of each, factoring in the size of the cars, the attention to detail. Some will have lifelike parts while others will be all about the look of the car. So long as you figure out what you want from the model, you can find the right way to expand your collection.

Five diecast cars on a table
Diecast Cars

Do You Need a Diecast Car?

When it comes down to it, a diecast car is something you get because you want it either for play or for the look of it. Both are excellent reasons to get a miniature car you are going to love. It could be a memory of a vehicle you once owned or represent your goal for the future. Any true car enthusiast either had toy cars as a kid or has a host of models as an adult. In a lot of cases, it’s both. 

Kids who are exposed to vehicles from a younger age are more likely to have an interest in them later in life. This is both because of the general culture of appreciating the look and utility of cars, as well as having more knowledge about them. Since most diecast cars are really realistic, it is a good way to actually learn about vehicles (without your 4-year-old fidgeting under the hood). 

Interest and appreciation for vehicles is something that transcends generations. Diecast cars give adults and children alike a chance to engage with super high-end cars and basic models. They come with a host of other advantages, too. 

  • Engaging play with diecast cars can improve fine motor skills and teach about cause and effect when driving.
  • A diecast car is a truly unique decoration that stands out well, giving you an opportunity to personalize your surroundings. 
  • The accurate design of diecast cars gives you a chance to teach and kids a chance to learn about different car parts and functions. 
  • You can use a diecast car as a way to preserve a memory when you opt for a model and color that has historical significance. 
  • Regardless of the age, having cars around is enjoyable and lets you foster an interest in both the look and use of a vehicle. 
  • When kept in mint condition, some diecast vehicles can gain value over the long term. 

Popular Types of Diecast Cars

When it comes to picking out your diecast car, the first thing you are going to want is to figure out the best type for your needs. If you plan to use the car with children, you may not get the full value out of a high-end, decorative model. Conversely, kids toys don’t necessarily make the best decoration. Understand what you want from the car and choose the type from there. 

Decorative

This is probably the most common type of diecast car for adults. These are designed to emulate a specific make and model of vehicle. While there are some modern options, you are more likely to encounter scaled-down versions of classic vehicles. This type of diecast car usually comes with a stand so that you can place it safely or in a small form like on a keychain

Since decorative cars are mainly used for their appearance value, they are less likely to have interactive components. Sometimes, the doors or trunk will open, though the wheels are usually meant to be left still. In most cases, you will find these scaled at a 1:24 ratio. This enables the car to be lightweight and petite while keeping the fine attention to detail. 

Toy 

Another common type of diecast car, this is the most frequently-used option for children. There are a lot of ways that this type stands out. For one, it is usually made with a blend of metal and plastic. The toys are crafted to be sturdy and are generally smaller than the other available options. In almost all cases, this type isn’t appropriate for kids younger than 3 years old. 

Toy cars are usually boldly colored and emulate recognizable parts of the world for kids. This ranges from television characters to vehicles seen on worksites. These toys are usually fairly interactive and often incorporate spring-loaded wheels. Though the colors are engaging, there is usually a lot less attention to detail since it’s geared towards younger users. 

Collector

Finally, one of the most sought-after types of diecast cars is the collectable type. There is a pretty wide range of these cars, and the tricky part is identifying which will appreciate in value over time. Many car enthusiasts use diecast models as a small-scale investment. The part of these cars that stands out is the extreme attention to detail. For a car to be merit-worthy in this category, all parts of it, from the chassis to the rims, need to be accurate. 

In most cases, these cars will come with a lot of interactive components. This ranges from the doors to the wheels to the hood and trunk. However, in order for the car to be viable as a collection piece, the car needs to be in its individual packaging. As a result, it serves less well as a decoration and can’t be used for play. 

What to Look for When Buying Diecast Cars

There are a few things to keep your eye out for when you go to purchase a diecast car. The first is the level of attention to detail. This speaks to both the structure of the model and any moving parts. If the vehicle is meant to be a replica of a classic, be sure to investigate the level of accuracy it has. When it comes to moving parts, be sure that they have a reasonable level or resistance to wear and tear. 

Next, look at the materials used in construction. Higher-end models limit the amount of polymer used in construction and focus on alloys, usually favoring zinc. While the paint will act as a deterrent against scratches, parts underneath the car can be vulnerable to moisture. Check that the alloy used isn’t too iron-heavy. 

Finally, look at the scale of the model and how well that works with how you plan to use the car. It is a matter of finding something that is sized correctly both for the age of those using it and the function, Decorative options are best when they are larger while toys work better when they are smaller. In either case, be sure that the vehicle isn’t too petite to have the details stand out. 

The Most Important Features of Diecast Cars

To count as a diecast car, there are a few criteria that must be met. While there are differences between every make and model, in order to be functional, each of these features needs to be of suitable quality. So long as these requirements are accounted for, you can factor in things like aesthetics. 

Scale

The scale is more than just a matter of size. It is the amount which the diecast car is shrunk relative to the original vehicle size. Too low of a ratio can result in a car that is not able to accurately emulate the car it’s representing. Generally, collectors tend to stick in the 1:24 zone.  This specification can also impact the viability of it as a long term investment, so be sure to research ahead. 

The scale needs to be consistent across the whole vehicle. Even if the model is meant for recreational purposes, even a small tweak can result in an entirely disproportionate look. Be sure that everything from the chassis to the wheels is true to size. If you are dealing with a toy that isn’t modeled specifically after something, it still needs parts that are realistically sized. 

Design

Another important feature for all diecast cars is the design. This refers to everything from the color to the frame. Look at the lines and keep your eye out for noteworthy parts of each vehicle. For example, if the car you’re collecting has an iconic spoiler, be sure that it is represented in the design of the diecast model. 

The paint quality and color are also distinct features of any noteworthy diecast car. Even if all of the parts of the vehicle are very accurate, the color still has to match. It stands out if the shade of green is even a little bit off. Check that it reflects the actual design of the vehicle it represents. If you are looking for working parts, be sure that you see what components move (doors, trunk, lights, etc.).  

Material

Key to its actual functional success, check what the car is actually made of. You can expect more highly sought after models to be made of heavy-duty alloys. It lets the car stay lightweight while still having a realistic feel. This aspect of the structure also speaks to its ability to withstand damage. 

If you plan to keep the car for a long period of time, you want something that won’t shatter if you drop it. As a result, opt for something that uses high-grade polymers like ABS. This will ensure that it is as durable as possible. When you’re looking for toy-focused diecast cars, be sure that all materials used are able to withstand wear and tear. 

Kid playing with diecast cars
Diecast Cars

Care and Maintenance for Diecast Cars

As with any decoration or accessory, proper care and maintenance is essential. While each diecast car will come with its own upkeep needs, there are some things all models share. The key is storage. Provided you keep any collectible option away from the elements, you are off to a good start. 

The next step is cleaning it out occasionally, especially with convertibles. Over time, the car will take on some dust and debris. When you clean it, try to use a microfiber cloth and a Q-tip for places that are harder to reach. So long as you do this regularly, the vehicle is less likely to take on any damage. 

Of course, when it comes to toy cars, it is more a matter of when the damage will happen rather than if it will. You can mitigate the risk by storing the cars indoors (and avoiding rust) and rinsing them off if they get any debris on the surface. Take good care of the wheels and don’t strain the springs. With all that accounted for, your car should stay working for quite some time.

  • Find a compatible touch-up paint if there is any small-scale damage. 
  • If it comes with a stand, be sure to use it when the car’s on display. 
  • Don’t leave it exposed to direct sunlight to prevent the paint from fading. 
  • Clean the car regularly to prevent the build-up of dust on the surface. 
  • When it’s on display, keep it under artificial light whenever possible. 
  • If you are getting collectibles, be sure to keep them in the box. 

Best Diecast Cars FAQ:

Diecast cars are popular amongst car enthusiasts of all ages. There are differing philosophies when it comes to approaching collection (and decorations). However, there are some agreed-upon aspects to diecast cars. By learning popular opinion, you can make the best assessment of which car is right for you. 

Q: Are diecast cars a good investment?

Investment value depends on demand. If the car model is popular, sought after, and in good condition, you can resell it for a profit. 

Q: What is the most popular scale for diecast cars?

The most common scale for diecast cars is in the range of 1:24. Depending on the collector, this ratio will increase or decrease. 

Q: Do diecast cars increase in value?

A collectible model that is kept well and remains in demand over time can gain value. It depends on the market at the time of purchase and the time of sale. 

Our Top Pick

After careful thought and consideration, we’ve named Jada Fast & Furious – Brian’s Car as our top selection. The name-value of this model vehicle stands out from the rest of the options around. It’s made out of high-grade materials and comes in lasting packaging. Designed for collectors and car and movie enthusiasts alike, it has a broad appeal. Given its pop culture status and reasonable cost, this is a good way to go. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of the diecast car market, you can make your pick. Maybe it’s a movie-themed selection like the Jada Fast & Furious – Brian’s Car or the classic look and value of the Ferrari Laferrari by Bburago. There are models for all ages and styles, so you are sure to find something to fit into your collection.

Sources:

  1. Die-cast Toy – Wikipedia

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