Tips for valuing rare model cars
The range of pressurised model cars is a fantastic way for automotive enthusiasts to get their hands on the models they want.
While purchasing a full-size vehicle is often out of reach, owning a comprehensive replica is the most cost-effective way to own a piece of automotive history.
This famous hobby started in the early twentieth century when die-cast toy manufacturers began producing miniature versions of the Model T and MG sports cars. The 1930s marked the start of a new age for these replicas, which now closely mimic the original vehicle thanks to technological advancements.
The models were prized for their authenticity, exact scale detailing, and stunning interiors while they were at their peak in the late 1960s. Collectors are now addicted to appreciating each vehicle’s art and intricate information.
Because of the revived interest in this rare hobby, we conduct model appraisals of classic cars on a regular basis. We get calls from both new and seasoned collectors who want to know how much their collection is worth.
Regardless of your level of expertise, the aim of this classic car value guide is to give you a comprehensive overview of the prices (and demand) of previously sold models.
If you still need professional assistance or reassurance after reading this guide, please contact one of our experts who will be happy to assist you.
What is the best way to start a model car collection?
Your choice of classic car style is entirely up to you.
You may organise your collection by themes, manufacturers, years, movies, or models. Someone who enjoys a particular car model, such as the Jaguar X Type, might try to collect every model ever produced. He might try to get the exact same car in various sizes or scales.
Whatever area of interest you pick, make sure it suits your budget and is something you are passionate about.
Classic car scale and dimensions
Models of classic cars are available in a variety of scales, ranging from 1/18th to 1/64th. The scale depicts the model’s proportion to the original vehicle in real life. The smaller the classic car, the higher the second figure.
Die-cast model cars are available in 1/144 and 1/4 scale from toy manufacturers, but the most common scales are as follows.
- 1/64: This is the smallest size made, with a length of about 5 cm. Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and NASCAR are among the most common brands on this scale. S scale is a term used to describe 1/64 scale models.
- 1/43 and 1/32: The 1/43 scale, popularised by the Dinky Die Cast Toys, which were manufactured in the 1930s and measure between 4 and 6 inches, is the most common proportion of model cars in the world.
- 1/24: 1/24 scale replicas are about 8 inches long and may have the same amount of detail as a 1/18 scale car, but they are usually more costly to buy.
1/18: The largest scale created, its 11-inch size displays the car in greater detail, but it is difficult to store, so only a few are made or collected. Models designed to 1/18th scale are recommended for collectors and enthusiasts who want more authentic details like running hoods, doors, and trunks. Work lighting, engine wiring, rubber hoses, and suspension, as well as a practical interior, will be included in these vehicles.
G scale replicas are those that have a scale ratio of 1/20 to 1/25.
O scale is a term used to describe models in this scale.
1/87: The HO scale refers to a car of this size.
Important Car Model Terminology Scale: The model’s relative size in comparison to the original real-life version. As previously mentioned, the major scales are 1/18, 1/24, and 1/64.
The company that built the classic car is known as the manufacturer (MFG).
Year: The year in which the car was powered, as well as the year in which the classic car was built.
The number on the side of the car is called the car number (#).
Driver/Description: The driver’s name and any other identifying detail, such as the car’s sponsor.
Hood Open (H/O): Determines whether or not the car’s hood opens to reveal engine information. Most 1/24 and 1/18 scale cars have opening hoods, but for 1/64 scale cars, the ratio is closer to 50-50.
Black Window (B/W): A vehicle with black windows and no interior view. Unless they are labelled as black and white, all cars have transparent windows.
Transparent windows (C/W): A vehicle with transparent windows that allows you to see into the interior, typically a race car.
A car with a coin slot at the bottom of the rear window and a locked door at the bottom to remove the coins is known as a bank. Since most banks have black windows, those that have transparent windows are labelled C/W.
Special Edition (SE) or Limited Edition (LE) (SE) Die-cast automobiles: LE and SE models are normally manufactured after the last car in a series and are highly sought after for their rarity. They may have unique exterior or interior features, custom wheels or tyres, or other cosmetic changes including a new paint job. They are normally followed by a vehicle number that indicates the total number of vehicles manufactured, with older and newer versions having a higher value. Models that come with their original documents can have a higher value because their authenticity is easier to check.
The following are the primary factors that affect the value of a collector car model:
Our experts at Warwick & Warwick have been trusted collector’s item appraisers since 1958, and we’re often asked: How much are my classic cars worth?
The solution is not easy unless you have years of experience, as determining the value of a car model is challenging and time-consuming. As a result, we receive inquiries from dealers, owners, and classic car enthusiasts all over the world who recognise our expertise.
Because of their scarcity and condition, some classic car models are worth far more than others. However, a classic car’s worth is influenced by and affected by a variety of fundamental factors.
The following are the five key factors that affect the value of a car model under stress.
When it comes to value, the size of a replica is extremely significant. Large models have a higher value (on average) than small models, but they take up more room to view and store, which could deter some collectors. See the section on the value of classic cars on « scale » above for a more comprehensive description of size.
Generated by: Some manufacturers, especially those from the early twentieth century, are much more attractive than others. This is frequently due to the fact that younger manufacturers are notorious for producing replicas of inferior quality and value.
Availability: When a car is made in small quantities, it has a higher value. This is due to the fact that there are fewer cars available, which increases their future value. Since they are rare, highly sought-after makes, models, drivers, or sponsors may be worth more.
Trends: The price of classic cars will fluctuate depending on market conditions. For example, if a driver wins a championship, retires, or has an accident, his or her car’s popularity rises temporarily, driving up prices.
Condition: Clearly, one of the most important factors determining the value of a classic car is its appearance. Serious collectors are usually only interested in cars that are in « complete shape, » meaning they have no apparent flaws or wear and tear. As compared to a similar model with slight marks or faults, these vehicles would have a higher resale value.
The following are the four major « conditions » of a collector car model:
The paint is in excellent condition and there are no signs of wear or defect. There are no missing, misaligned, or damaged pieces on the vehicle.
MIB: Mint in Box (MIB): New die-cast car model still in its original packaging.
Mint on Mint Card (MOMC): Models of cars and containers in excellent condition, still in their original packaging.
Always check cars in MIB and MOMC condition carefully, as even though they are in their original packaging, they can have flaws. Small flaws in the blister kit should be checked as well.
Other: Signs of damage to the car, such as chipped paint, missing, damaged, or misaligned components, manufacturing markings, or general wear and tear.
How to store and preserve vintage automobiles
If you bought classic car models as an investment, inherited a set, or worked hard to create one, knowing how to secure and store them properly is critical to maintaining their value.
As previously mentioned, a classic car’s worth is mostly determined by its condition. Always preserve the original records, packages, or packaging if possible, as they can help ascertain the object’s origin and provenance, raising its value.
Keep your collections out of direct sunlight
Here are a few pointers to help you maintain the best possible condition for your model collector cars, to prevent discoloration and harm to the finish.
Store it somewhere where it won’t be subjected to extreme temperature changes, which could distort the bodywork or damage the car’s finish.
When storing cars, use hard plastic or glass display cases wherever possible.
To avoid disruption or deformation, stay away from high-humidity areas.
Limited editions and rare pieces should be adequately insured.
Engage the services of a specialist insurance broker to insure your entire collection and safeguard your investment in the event of an accident.
With confidence, buy, sell, and appraise vintage car models.
Although model car collecting is a common and rewarding hobby, it’s important to note that these are collectibles, and you should take pleasure in owning them. Vintage automobiles are only worth anything to a dealer or someone who enjoys them.
Putting together a collector’s car collection should be more about having fun than about saving money. Forget about it.