Category Archives: German Cars

Brand Comparison BMW 3.0CSL Hot Wheels v Majorette v Matchbox

BMW 3.0CSL left to right: Hot Wheels, Majorette, Matchbox

I’m not a great fan of modern BMWs but I like some of their pre-1980 models like the BMW 3.0CSL. I have three examples of this model by different diecast brands. The Hot Wheels model is a recent casting, it has a plastic base and is made in Malaysia. The Majorette and Matchbox models date from the 1970s and both have that nostalgia buzz, I had an orange Majorette model in my childhood. They are roughly the same length but the Matchbox model is significantly wider than the other two. The Matchbox model looks too chunky, the other two look to be closer to the proportions of the actual car. The Hot Wheels model has attractive tampo decoration, looking like a Castrol sponsored race car, but it has no opening parts. The Majorette model is made in France and has a tow hook and suspension. Of the three my choice would be the Majorette model. Whilst I love Matchbox and it is my favourite brand in this comparison it is my least favourite, it just looks too chunky.

  1. Majorette
  2. Hot Wheels
  3. Matchbox

1:18 Scale


1954 Mercedes 300SL (Bburago 1:18 scale and Siku 1:55 scale)

I don’t normally collect 1/18 scale models.  I appreciate the detail but the price is high, they take up a lot of space and don’t resonate with me like the Matchbox cars of my childhood. The 1/18 scale for diecast cars appeared in Europe around 1970 with brands like Schuco and Polistil and became popular from the mid eighties onwards with Bburago and Maisto.

I now have two cars and two bikes (a Benelli TNT 1130 Century Racer (Bburago) and a Yamaha YZR F7 (Maisto)) in this scale.

My 1:18 vehicles

Yesterday, I came across the Mercedes 300SL in the local secondhand toy shop, they also had a couple of Chevrolet Corvettes and a silver 300SL in the same scale. It proved too hard to resist and so I got the black 300SL, it has some paint chips and is missing one of its door handles but that fits better with my Wabi-Sabi approach to collecting than a pristine example in a box would. Also this model was just 30 lari ($10.38) and a new 1:18 model would be over 110 lari ($38).

The Mercedes was made by Bburago in Italy, my other car the 1955 Porsche 550A Spyder was made by Maisto in Thailand.

Made in Italy

There are some nice details like the spare wheel in the trunk.




I tell myself,  I won’t be getting into collecting 1:18, but I am very happy to have these ones.

Porsche 550A Spyder
Porsche 550A Spyder

Concept Cars


concept cars Lamborghini Marzal and Maserati Boomerang
Maserati Boomerang (Norev) and Lamborghini Marzal (Matchbox)

Concept cars are made to showcase new styling or technology and to gauge the public’s reaction. Concept cars never go into production directly. In modern times all would have to undergo many changes before the design is finalized for the sake of practicality, safety, cost etc…

Die-cast companies have included many such cars in their ranges hoping the exciting designs will entice their target market to part with their pocket money.

The Lamborghini Marzal was produced for the Geneva Motor Show of 1967. It was designed by Bertone to provide Lamborghini with a true four seater, the design was a one-off but many of the ideas were later used in the Lamborghini Espada.

Lamborghini Marzal 1967 (Photo:  Buch-t)

The Marzal design probably found wider recognition as a die-cast model, with both Matchbox and Dinky making scale models, albeit in other colours such as dark red, despite the original show car being painted silver.The Matchbox Lamborghini Marzal was one of the first cars created for the new Superfast wheels introduced at the end of 1969.

Another concept car popular with die-cast manufacturers is the Mercedes C111; Norev, Corgi, Matchbox and Hot Wheels all produced models.

Concept Cars Mercedes C111 Lamborghini Marzal and Maserati Boomerang
Mercedes C111 (Corgi)

The C111 had the gull wing doors, a feature of Mercedes sports cars going back to the classic 300SL of the fifties. In the sixties and seventies, Mercedes was experimenting with different types of engine: Wankel rotary engines, diesel engines and turbochargers and they would use the C111 platform as a testbed.

concept cars top trumps
Top Trumps: Concept Cars

Nowadays a lot of research is being made into greener technologies, autonomous vehicles and suchlike. One car that looks interesting is the Toyota FV2 (video clip). The FV2 doesn’t have a steering wheel. Instead, the car is operated by the driver shifting his or her body to move the vehicle forwards, backwards, left or right. It mirrors or responds instantly. It also uses intelligent transport system technology to connect the driver with a variety of local safety information. I hope some company will put it out as a die-cast model.






The first petrol-engined car was a Benz in 1885, Mercedes has a long and prestigious history. Here in Tbilisi there are more Mercedes on the road than any other make, many have been imported secondhand from Europe. Georgians like brands and Mercedes is an esteemed brand. For a long time the only model from the Majorette Premium Cars series, we could see on the pegs in XS Toys was the Mercedes G63, a nice casting with slightly opening bonnet but, personally,  I prefer more variety.

Mercedes g63 XS
Mercedes G63

As a child collecting diecast cars, I went through a phase of collecting just Mercedes, I don’t remember how long it lasted maybe 3 or 4 months, I even bought a vinyl one, an unusual purchase to put amongst my diecasts. I don’t have any of my childhood collection but have picked up a few in the past ten years, around 40 in total.

Mercedes x 40
My Mercedes collection

A few Mercedes I find difficult to resist: the gull wing 300SL from 1955, the C-111 experimental car with a rotary engine and the 280SL “Pagoda”. I’m still looking for other examples, I’d love to find the Corgi Rockets 280SL “Pagoda” from around 1970 and the Matchbox Speed Kings C-111, to line up next to my Norev and Corgi models.

Mercedes c111 and 280sl
Two of my favourites Corgi Mercedes c111 and Hot Wheels Mercedes 280SL “Pagoda”

Mercedes is a popular choice for emergency vehicles. The Mercedes “Binz” ambulance by Matchbox brings back many childhood memories.

Mercedes emergency siku and matchbox
The Matchbox models (right) are more playworn than the Siku models (left)