A Short History of Diecast Trucks
Some of the first model trucks and cars were made starting in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Lesney started making matchbox cars and truck in the late 40’s and Tonka was making a stamped, or pressed steel trucks and tractors in the 50’s as was Smith Miller trucks produced by Smitty Toys. The original Die-Cast models were fairly crude without all of the details of today replicas, but they were produced cheaply as mainly an advertising media. They were also a lot harder to find and collect because very few of them were geared toward the collector market. Die-Cast Tractor Trailer collecting probably started in the US in the late 60’s, or early 70’s when Winross began making Diecast Tractor Trailers and trucks for advertising. The first Winross trucks were produced as retail toys beginning in the early 60’s and by about 1978 they quit producing toys and went after corporate advertising accounts.
Another company Ertl was founded in 1945 by Fred Ertl, SR. and started off producing mostly farm toys and later acquired many other companies such as Carter Tru-Scale, Structo Stamped Steel, AMT model kit company and later is itself acquired by Racing Champions. There were quite a few manufacturers of early diecast trucks and some of the most known were Winross, Ertl, Hartoy, SpecCast, First Gear, Matchbox, Dinky, and later Corgi, Tonkin Replicas, Die-cast Promotions, DG Productions and others. I started collecting diecast trucks at a early age and started selling some of them about 1998 when I became over run with die-cast trucks. I worked with a few other producers and we created quite a few trucks on our own, through several of the different Manufacturers. One of our first productions was a refrigerated Preston 151 truck produced through Die-cast Promotions and then we produced quite a few other trucks after that.