Diecast movie cars are one those collectable items that crossover between two different collecting groups. They are collected by diecast car collectors, as well as by movie memorabilia collectors. Regardless of which is your primary collecting focus, there are several things any collector needs to know about this specialized genre of diecast cars.
Created to scale
Diecast cars are exact replicas the original cars and created to scale. The 1:18 scale diecast cars are one of the larger scale cars, and are quite popular, particularly for the diecast movie cars. Some of the other popular scales, in addition to the 1:18 diecast cars are the 1:24, the 1:43 and the 1:64. Collectors who want good detail, but also want cars that don't take up too much room, often choose the 1:43 size over the 1:18 diecast cars. The cost savings can be a factor in selecting the smaller scale models of diecast cars, as well.
Diecast Movie Car Brands
There are several different companies that sell diecast cars, and some of those companies tend to be preferred over others by serious collectors. Since diecast movie cars fit into a more specialized genre, you will find the range of brands to select from quite a bit narrower if this is your focus. Hot Wheels is one of the most popular brands for diecast cars. This remains true in the diecast movie car genre, as well. Sunstar, AutoArt, Welly and Johnny Lightning are several of the other diecast brands that are well known for producing diecast movie cars, in addition to diecast race cars.
Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning
Mattel's Hot Wheels have always carried the lead in popularity and sales for diecast cars of all types. However, Johnny Lightning cars have carried on a strong rivalry since the very beginning, especially in the area of diecast race cars. Because Johnny Lightning cars have not been produced in the same quantity as the Hot Wheels cars, this has become a benefit for them; making them very desirable among collectors.
This difference between these two brands shows up in the models available from each of them in their diecast movie cars. You will be able to find a much larger selection of Hot Wheel's diecast movie cars, representing many different movies. You will find them listed under the Hot Wheels Elite series. Johnny Lightning has a very little selection of diecast movie cars, their biggest selection being from one movie, their Dukes of Hazard collection. Hot Wheels collectors will find diecast movie cars from: “The Italian Job”, “Bad Boys II”, “Batman”, “Ferris Bueller's Day Off” and others. As to price, you'll usually pay twice as much for the average Hot Wheels diecast movie car than you will for a Johnny Lightning diecast movie car.
This diecast car manufacturer fits in the same category as Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightning as far as popularity. It also boasts the biggest collection of 1:18 scale models of all the diecast manufacturers. However, when it comes to diecast movie cars, AutoArt has not attempted to advance very far into this category. If you have an AutoArt diecast movie car, it is likely to be one related to the Mad Max movies, as they have several versions available. The Ford Mustang GT 390 from Steve McQueen's movie “Bullitt” would be another AutoArt diecast movie car that you may come across, but you'll pay a good price to add it to your collection.
Sunstar and Welly
The Delorean's from “Back to the Future” movies I, II and III are available from these two smaller contenders. Definitely some popular models in the diecast movie car category. Welly's Delorean is available in a 1:24 scale, which is smaller than the Sunstar's Deloreans, which are 1:18 diecast cars.
Resources for Collectors
For the most part, collecting diecast movie cars is very similar to other types of collections. Determining the value of a specific item or a full collection will depend on the condition of the cars. Still in the box and the box being in 'like new' condition will of course be the most desirable for any diecast movie car. Limited Edition items will have more value than cars which were manufactured in a greater number. Beyond these normal collectable standards, the value will simply depend on how popular a particular diecast movie car is with collectors.
There are resources available where you can learn more about the availability and prices of these diecast cars. Diecast.org is one of those resources. The site isn't limited to diecast movie cars. It includes all types of diecast cars that people collect, including diecast race cars, diecast classic cars and every category imaginable. You will find reviews, ratings and collector's comments written on a variety of diecast cars. There are forums where you can learn from other collectors and an auction page where you can bid on items or place items up for auction yourself.
One of the great pricing resources on this website is the price archives for their online auctions. On this page, you can see what prices items have sold for. The list will include a description of the item, the condition, the date it sold and the final price the item sold at in the auction. All of this can be very helpful in determining the current value of specific diecast movie cars.
Diecast movie cars make up just a very small portion of diecast cars that are considered collectable; diecast race cars, diecast classic cars are also considered very collectable. Most of the diecast movie cars will come in a larger scale, usually as 1:18 diecast cars and, if you're looking for variety, you will want to look at the Hot Wheels Elite series of diecast cars, but if you're more focused on rarity, you may want to look at some of the other diecast car brands. In the end, it is up to the collector. You have to determine which cars will add the most value to your particular collection.