Auto World is doing it right, they just need to do it a little more often…

Auto World on eBay

Last week I encountered something at the store that I don’t see nearly enough.

Did I find a Super Treasure Hunt?  Nope.  It is more rare than that.  A fresh dump bin?  Nope.  A Matchbox Skyline?  C’mon…

It was an even more rare sighting than all of that.  I came across…wait for it…new Auto World.  I know, how lucky am I?

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:44am PDT


I don’t know what everyone else’s experience has been, but over the last couple of years, I haven’t seen too many new Auto World models in the store.  If new product does appear, most times it is the same batch that was hanging before.  If you remember about a year ago Auto World started appearing at Target, only how frustrating was it to see that the models that appeared had been hanging at Walmart for two years prior.

And such a shame, because Auto World does the most quality 1:64 diecast this side of Tomica Limited Vintage.  My love for TLV is no secret, and it is so cool that there is an equivalent here in the US that creates American cars at nearly the same level, with the same attention to scale.  TLV does the Toyota Crown Wagon, and it looks perfect next to the Auto World Kingswood Estate.

And that is the other thing.  It isn’t just the quality and scale of the models, it is the choices they make.  Sure, AW has done its share of Mustangs and Camaros, but their dedication to old sedans and wagons is wonderfully refreshing.  Again, TLV-like.

I just wish we had more.

I am sure it can be argued that a premium 1:64 brand would have a hard time surviving putting out $6 models every month like Tomica Limited Vintage, but it is worth a try.  Surely Japanese diecast collectors will buy up their Kyosho and TLV, while American collectors have been known to whine about anything over $2-$3, so I get it.

But how cool would a TLV-like distribution model from Auto World be?  Four models released a month, maybe to hobby dealers and some big box, in small batches?  I am not a retail expert, so I won’t claim to know if that would work, but all I know is we need more Auto World.

Round 2 is producing Racing Champs as well, and a lot has been made of the return of Johnny Lightning, but if I know collectors, Auto World has the best future.  A variety of models, both old and new, with that hint of geeky cool.  No one who has a Chevy Kingswood or Cadillac Eldorado from AW in their collection regrets it.

I picked up Release A of Series 5 (sans the Dodge Dart because it wasn’t there) at the store, and wow is it tremendous.  Many of the castings have been released before, but I couldn’t leave any on the pegs.  I needed the whole set.  And that will be the same when I find Release B, and even the Walmart exclusives:


For me, the Galaxy and Olds 442 are the highlights, but then again I bought them all.  They are all below, and as you check out the photos of these beauties, think of two things:

  1. Are they worth paying $5 to $6 for? 
  2. Will you go out an do it?
  3. Think of all the gems we could see in the future.
I hope your answer for #1 and #2 is yes.  You won’t regret these.  Sadly some other premium diecast doesn’t hold up in the quality department when you open them.  Auto World totally does.  These have to be opened.  So go buy them, open them, and enjoy them.  Let’s help show Round 2 we are fans, and we want more.  
#3?  Think about the models that could come.  Maybe they pick up where Fresh Cherries left off?  Hopefully more land yachts, wood paneling, and white walls.  Maybe a little more of the word “Torino”.

More is most definitely merrier.

7 Replies to “Auto World is doing it right, they just need to do it a little more often…”

  1. I love Autoworld. For me they are the best at what they do in the US.
    But putting them on the same boat as TLV? they are not even to Kyosho standards when it comes to level of details.
    – no side mirrors
    – no plastic lenses for lights. They just use flat colors, just like regular Tomicas.
    – no suspension (if you want to compare to TLV)
    The details they have on their models is great, and their selection is even better. But they (Autoworld) still have a lot of room for improvement and a lot of work to do before they can even be considered equals to the japanese brands.

  2. I have been collecting actively since 1994. I remember when racing champions began producing 55 Chevies, 58 Edsels, 62 Ford trucks. They for me were the first to produce detailed classic cars and trucks. Then Johnny Lightning came along. I have a majority of their castings and though some would say the lines are off, they are exceptional. In the past 7 or 8 years we have castline out of California. These brands have their place alongside everyone else. These automotive creations are jewels of creativity. For us motor heads it is an ultimately satisfying hobby because of these brands. Thank you Thomas Lowe.

  3. What I appreciate most about this brand is their commitment to producing cars that haven't been made in 1:64 scale before. For example, who else makes a 1964 Dodge Polara? Or a 1964 Ford Country Squire? Or a 1970 Chevy Impala? Or a 1973 Dodge Challenger Rallye? Or, like you showcased here, a 1969 Chevy Kingswood Estate? It's all underappreciated, old-school American muscle! But as for the distribution, it could be better.

    I would love to collect the entirety of this brand but our stores literally make it impossible to find them! Our Target is a joke! No special brands of any kind (Greenlight, M2, Auto World, etc.), either very little stock or old stock, and careless workers!

    Our Walmart is the same story! I mean hey, at least they carry AW's, but here's the thing. The last time they actually restocked with AW's was probably a year ago! All they have left is one of those Licensed Premium '67 Olds 442s warming the peg! And the nearest Toys R Us is over an hour away and whenever I make the time to stop in, their AW section is either wiped out, sprinkled with old peg-warmers, or picked through. It's never the right time!

    What AW needs to work on, however, is making its availability easier. They need to be mass-produced more so that more cars are distributed to each store. This way, you can find two-three of each car and still have some left for the next guy. Also, big-chain stores in general need to realize that if they continue to carry this brand, they will sell! Then they'll keep ordering the newest batches every month! I mean when previous batches arrived, most of them were instant sellers! The problem was AWs distribution or sometimes the stores ignorance with the brands potential.

    Lastly, AW needs to follow a monthly schedule. They should release a batch once a month just like the blue and orange brands so that way there's something to look for every month, because it seems that AW releases a batch every so often, maybe once every two or three months. But if you happen to run into a store and find a new set of AW's, like you said, you won't regret it!

  4. I completely agree with everything you said in this article. And yes, I would and will buy all new AW releases AND promptly open them. You just forgot to mention one very important thing, their chases! In my opinion AW has some of the prettiest chase cars in the diecast realm. Yes the odds of finding an Ultra Raw are extremely slim, but can you imagine actually coming across one in the wild?? My heart might literally give out.

  5. i want to estart collecting Auto World, get rid of most of my hot wheels, matchbox and majorette and focus on true 1:64 scale cars. Unfortunately, i live in Southern Spain, where even finding Matchbox is a really hard task. Let alone finding Autoworld. Online shopping is my only option, but that makes them very expensive. BUt i guess i will do down that path.

  6. Anyone that knows me knows that I love Kyosho. I compared the 71 Mach I's of Kyosho and AW and I have to say I find the AW better. My only issue with AW is similar to others mentioned already.

  7. Auto World, Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions have little to no distribution in Canada. I hope that AW doesn't fail. If they were sold in Canada I would buy them but to purchase them online, pay ridiculous shipping and a 35% or more exchange premium they're just too expensive. A few years back JL dumped massive product in Canada exclusively through Walmart for a $1 each for the last year with the cardboard back and then again a year or two later for $1.50 when they had the plastic clamshell. There's just too much product out there. Why do they have three lines? Many of the JL releases look like they're just older stock being released. I hope I'm wrong but I can't see all three lines surviving.

Leave a Reply