Cars started to appear on our roads in the 1880's however it was not until Ford Introduced the Model T in 1909 that cars became in the reach of most people. As with Model Railways so with cars very soon toy cars where a part of children's life. It would not take too long for a joiner to attach 4 wheels to a block of wood and give it to his young son who had just seen his first car, or someone like Frank Hornby working with metal parts in his workshop shed to make a model car.

tootsie cars

Early Tootsie Cars


In the early 1930's Meccano Ltd where the first British company to manufacture a series of diecast models including set 22 a set of 6 diecast cars. The range was widened in response to a popular earlier American range of vehicles called. 'Tootsie Toys.' The TootsieToy brand has its origins in a range of miniature cars in the form of charms, pins, cuff links and the like, introduced about 1901 by the Chicago based Dowst Brothers. The first actual model car from the company was a 1911 closed limousine which was followed by a 1915 Ford Model T open tourer. By the early 1920s the name 'tootsie' was being used as a brand name and "Tootsietoy" was registered as a trade mark in 1924. The 'Tootsie' moniker apparently came from one of the Dowst Brothers' granddaughters, whose name was "Toots".

Early Matchbox and Corgi

Early Matchbox and Corgi Cars

World war 2 interrupted this new product, however in the late 1940's a new competitor to Dinky came in the form of Lesney Products with their Matchbox Brand initially smaller than Dinky Cars, the boxes being near to the size of a Matchbox. In 1956 Mettoy started producing its Corgi range of toy cars. Lines Brothers also started producing Diecast Cars in 1959, there range named Spot On is proberly the best cars of the period, however with Lines Brothers taking over Meccano Ltd in the 1960's, Spot On was dropped in favour of the more established Dinky name.

Early Matchbox and Corgi

Early Spot On and Lledo


Dinky itself succumbed to the financial problems of Meccano Ltd with the closure of the Binns Road factory in 1979. however the name was bought by Matchbox in 1987 with a limited range of cars been marketed under the Dinky name. Meanwhile in 1982 one of the founders of Matchbox set up Lledo with there Days Gone range. These along with Corgi and Matchbox are still being produced today.


  • 1931 Dinky Introduce a range of 6 Diecast Car
  • 1947 Lesney products start Matchbox Cars
  • 1956 Mettoy Launch Corgi Cars
  • 1959 Lines Brothers Launch Spot On
  • 1982 Lledo Days Gone Launched
  • 1991 Matchbox Relaunch Dinky Name