Very soon after in 1956, the Models of Yesteryear series came to life, which was just a little a larger to incorporate more detail, for which this series is particularly famous for. These cars are very detailed and quite accurate representations of the famous older vintage and antique cars and are just delightful. This series continued into the 1990s in various forms and sizes.
The Regular Wheel series continued to about 1970, with some being made in a larger format, called the King size series. Not all the models in the regular wheel series were manufactured in this larger format, but those that were are pretty cool. Some like the King Size K-7 “Cleansing Service” Refuse Truck and K-19 Scammell Contractor Tipper Truck had moving parts which made it so fun to play with.
As I mentioned, the Models of Yesteryear series were slightly larger and more detailed and therefore sold at a premium. Again, finding true mint examples in the box can be a challenge.
Below is one of the early models Y-3-1 1907 ‘E’ Class Tramcar with the original box.
Just look at exquisite details and you can see why these are highly coveted by collectors. Over the years that these were produced, the extra details provided quite a lot more variations for each specific car, sometimes up to 30 variations for a single car.
Later releases in the 1990s included a beer truck set and fire truck series. I particularly liked the fire truck series as the detail they put on these fire trucks is outstanding especially with the contrast of the red and the chrome. They really stand out and of the more modern series issued are highly regarded. A fine example is the YFE07 Models of Yesteryear 1938 Mercedes KS15 Fire Truck. Most collectors cap their collecting as otherwise this can get out of hand.
A common theme is to collect up to the 1970s before true mass market and China manufacturing came in, but as long as you enjoy it, pick whatever you like even like Pokemon, Gotta Get’Em All!
A must have resource for this series is “The Yesteryear Book” by Kevin McGimpsey and Stewart Orr”. I use the Millennium hardback edition released in 2000 but the earlier versions are excellent as well. The best website for collectors I have found for these is the Matchbox Memories Site.
The original series was put to bed when it was replaced with what is known as the “Superfast” series. These cars were a little smaller and had smoother wheels and could zoom across the kitchen floor and make your Mum mad when she was cooking. An example to the left is the Superfast No. 9 Ford Escort RS-2000. As always, the box is everything.
These were the precursor for Hot Wheels, which everyone has stepped on at 2am in the morning when you go to get the baby when they are crying. Hot Wheels were produced with such great numbers and people started collecting them from the beginning so they are not as valuable, but there are some special limited color ones that can bring a huge premium.
The two early series, The Regular Wheels and Yesteryear are probably the most collectible of all the cars produced over the years, but all the series are collectible, and there are many avid collectors of all varieties.
This can be an affordable hobby depending on how and what you collect. Many fine examples can be had for as little as $10 to $20, up to $70 to $100 and more for the rarer models. Mint examples and mint boxes will be at a premium. Without boxes at least half that. Varieties can be quite rare and up to $1000s but, beware of fakes. These can be so much fun and a relatively affordable hobby and bring back many old memories.
Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Click Next for the answer to our “Spot the difference” challenge.