The 10 Most Significant Models of the Lamley Era: Tomica Limited Vintage Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette 1983 (Late Version)

Part 1: Hot Wheels Candy Striper Gasser

Let’s see if this helps you understand how I came up with this list. Actually, don’t, because if you look at the two I’ve unveiled – the Hot Wheels Candy Striper Gasser and now the TLV Super Silhouette Skyline, you see two of the most hyped models from each respective brand.

Come to think of it, maybe that is part of the deal. As I’ve said, this list isn’t my 10 favorites, nor is it the models I consider the 10 best. I wouldn’t even say they are the MOST Significant models of the last 10 years, in a general sense. They are the 10 most significant to Lamley, and there is certainly a personal angle to that. But they all play into what Lamley has become.

And hype is part of it. I mentioned it yesterday with the Gasser. I don’t shy away from the hype label like I used to. If my excitement about a model is contagious, then so be it. I think that is more a credit to the brand and designers who created it. And I love the Tomica Limited Vintage Super Silhouettes.

There have been 8 released. Three Skylines, three Bluebirds, and two Silvias. The three Skylines are essentially the same car. Based on the R30 Skyline, there is an early, middle, and late version, all with subtle differences. For this I picked the middle one, mainly because I like its wheels the best. I’ll go full Lamley hype and say the rear wheel of this model is my single favorite wheel in my collection. HYPE!!!

So why is it on this list? Is it one of the best models I’ve featured in my time at Lamley? Absolutely. And many agree. This model is essentially impossible to get now. It’ll appear on ebay, but it will be crazy expensive, and it’s easily one of the most expensive TLV’s today. But I already said this list isn’t about what my favorite or the best models of the last 10 years, although this might qualify for both of those lists if I ever make them.

This is here for a couple of reasons. One, over the last 10 years, I’ve evolved as a collector. I still love the brands I loved as a child, Hot Wheels and Matchbox, and have loved documenting their evolution. But I’ve also added an element that to me is art. You can argue all these cars we collect are works of art, but there is something undeniably sophisticated about Tomica Limited Vintage. Over the last few years, there have been several brands working toward the level of quality that TLV consistently achieves, but no matter what TLV is king.

When I started Lamley, I had just started gaining an appreciation for Tomica Limited Vintage. As with most things, it started with Hot Wheels. Datsun 510’s and Skylines were just breaking through, and I, like so many other collectors, were taking note. I’ll admit to a few google searches. No, I’ll admit to a lot of google searches. I had always had a love for Japanese cars, based on the simple fact that my father bought a Honda in 1981 that at the time seemed to fresh to me, considering his father owned a Ford dealership. The appreciation was there, the knowledge wasn’t, and the education started with Hot Wheels.

It moved quickly to TLV. Once the words “Laurel”, “Cedric”, and “Bellett” enter the mix, a 1/64 collector moves quickly to TLV. I had been pushed towards the brand by several people, most notably Jeff Koch, a fellow collector known more his vast automotive knowledge, his love for Japanese cars, and his features with Hemmings. Jeff and I would chat every year at the Matchbox Convention, and he was always adamant that my interest in Japanese cars would inevitably lead me to TLV. And he was right. I bought a few models from him that I thought would satisfy the craving. It did the opposite.

As my interest in the brand grew, so did my collection. I soon partnered with Japan Booster, and featuring TLV became a big part of Lamley.

It is also very different than anything else I talk about at Lamley. My TLV coverage garners a smaller audience, but its stuffed with passionate collectors. TLV collectors are a different breed. These models are collectively far more expensive than anything else in the hobby, and the models are exact replicas of all kinds of cars, from the “sexy” Skylines to the more common Crowns. Sure, the occasional RX-7 or Ferrari will pull other collectors over for a minute, but ultimately there is that “if you know you know” group, who is just as ecstatic for the 47th Cedric as they are for a Nismo GT-R. You have to be passionate to drop serious coin on a replica of a drab mid-80’s sedan that has a slightly different grill than the last replica of a drab mid-80’s sedan TLV released three months prior.

The Super Silhouette represents both. A near-perfect replica of a sexy car. These photos might as well be of the real thing. When Lamley was all about photos and text, a TLV feature was common. Since I’ve gone more to video and social, it doesn’t translate as well. I owe this brand that same love, and I think I should do more TLV written features. Dare I say I miss doing them. But photographing and writing about them screams Lamley just as much as dropping hyperbole about Hot Wheels does.

It’s a quiet voice. Maybe I’ll call it sophisticated. It’s Lamley with a pipe and elbow patches. And it’s as real as hype.

The last reason? I love my Lamley Partners. Japan Booster is one of my oldest. Akiyo and I have worked together for such a long time. We’ve only ever communicated on email, but it is a partnership that I value as much as any. Japan Booster has supported me, and I in turn will always send interested readers their way. The good guys stick around, and Japan Booster is just that.

So to sum up. Relationships, knowledge, nerdiness, art. TLV is a significant part of Lamley.

4 Replies to “The 10 Most Significant Models of the Lamley Era: Tomica Limited Vintage Nissan Skyline Super Silhouette 1983 (Late Version)”

  1. Great article John! I hope you can conduct an interview with the folks at Tomytec. They seem elusive though!

  2. I too had a significant Tomica that helped define my collection. More recent though, and no doubt also fueled by the hype this blog generated, even if the mere mention of the badge in something else other than Maisto/Bburago is enough to send people in a frenzy.

    Because of course I lamented Ferrari’s exit from Hot Wheels — and with it, the one-dollar basic tier. As a poor boy in Manila, HW was the only way I was ever gonna get ANY Ferrari, from the 458 to the F1 car. Even if it sorta came back in small scale, it was evident to me that it just wasn’t the same.

    So the moment I learned of May Cheong’s sublicensing to Takara Tomy, I hollered. Not only is Ferrari back in a relatively more accessible line, it’s to a brand that I’ve come to trust as much as HW, if not more. I loved Tomica, even in spite of its two-types-of-wheels-only approach, because it offered cars that HW didn’t, from subcompacts and kei cars to some niceties that HW is yet to cover, like the absurd Nissan GT-R GT500. It was more down-to-earth in its roster but feels better in the hand, which is so fun. Before 2020, I say half my collection is Tomica. And seeing that LaFerrari in the red box lineup proved to be a spark that made me want to do something about my collection. I loved the LaFerrari, but missed out on the HW casting and kept angling for trades since.

    It didn’t matter that it was Japan-only (up until 2022 when the Philippines finally got the F8 Tributo on retail). I paid the 300 from the cheapest online listing I found on Shopee thanks to allowance money and have never looked back. My review of that was the first time I ever sweated out an essay for Live and Let Diecast four years ago, obsessing on how best to show the car I wanted to have the most then. It’s a pretty bad photoset, in hindsight — too saturated and the framing is wonky — but as an amateur piece, I was so proud of it. Tomiica’s LaFerrari (and eventually, the TomiPrem FXX-K) will be something that I’ll take to my grave, along with the chipped-over HW Ferrari 458 that I got on my birthday.

  3. Great article John. So many of my thoughts about TLV resonate with this article. I faintly remember reading your previous articles and deciding to purchase a TLV for the first time. Since you are quite well known in the diecast community, I looked up Japan Booster on ebay and decided to take a chance and purchase from them (simply because you had recommend JB). My first purchase was a 1969 TOYOPET CROWN SUPER DELUXE in Gold and boy was I smitten by TLV when I received the package!

    It was well over my budget at that time, but the quality of a TLV made that thought disappear in thin air.

    Ever since there is no looking back. I managed to collect a few TLV’s, especially in the Japanese police livery (which are my favorites). I’m hoping to collect all Japanese police cars released by TLV to date.

    Akiyo has been really kind to hold on to some of my purchases due to the pandemic.

    Thank you very much John. I owe this joy of collecting TLV to you.
    I wish you all the success and joy in life.

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