Unboxing classic Tomica Gift Sets, part 1: European supercars and JDM emergency!

Tomica Limited Vintage gets a lot of love here on Lamley; the regular range, not so much. But there is so much depth and history to the regular cars that if you look hard enough, you’re sure to find something that appeals.

My own Tomica collection contains only a handful of TLVs and Premiums, the other 400-odd have the ubiquitous button or racing wheels. That doesn’t mean they all came from regular-range releases, however: I have Tomica Shop models, store-specific promotionals, limited series, museum cars and more on my shelves, not to mention the US Pocket Cars and Tomy UK issues.

Then there are the Gift Sets. Diving back into the history of Tomica Gift Sets always results in an ‘oh, need that!’ moment. My grail is the all-Honda-powered F1 Grand Prix GP Set from circa 1987, which contains Piquet’s Williams, Senna’s Lotus and the classic Honda F-1 , which I have separately. I had one in my hands on a trip to Ken-Box in Tokyo a few years ago but it was wildly expensive, unfortunately.

There are hundreds of Tomica Gift Sets covering every subject under the sun, from racing cars to supercars, emergency services vehicles, construction, airport and delivery trucks, or single-nameplate and brand-specific selections like Skyline and Honda. They often contain exclusive decos and new ones are still being made. Prices range from extremely cheap to extremely painful!

(find Tomica Gift Sets on eBay)

Earlier this year I picked up some 1996-97 sets for a great price in an auction in the UK. You don’t see them much in the UK and with them being issued close together, my assumption is that someone brought them back from a trip to Japan. Either way, I was happy to get them, especially as they were still sealed in the boxes. To keep the articles manageable, we’re going to take a look at them in two parts. This week: classic supercars and Japanese emergency vehicles!

The Tomica Famous Car Museum Super Cars set was released in July 1997. It features four castings that by this time were around 20 years old, all having been originally released in the late-1970s as F-numbered foreign cars in the regular range. By ’97, production had moved to China and the baseplates had been updated accordingly. The four cars are:

Lamborghini Miura SV in dark blue

I already had a black Tomy UK version of this in the collection, but the blue one’s colour break and extra detailing make it stand out.

Ferrari BB 512 in yellow, with some especially awful paint on the opening engine cover!

Lamborghini Countach LP500S in black, a beautiful casting that demands better wheels.

Lotus Europa Special in dark green with gold pinstriping. A fairly loose definition of a supercar! I also have the recent Tomica Premium version in black.

It’s a cool set and crosses a few more F-numbered cars off my wants list. Not surprisingly, Tomica has since returned to the supercar theme in its gift sets. Super Cars 2 was released in 1998, Super Cars of the World appeared in 2014 and earlier this year we had the all-JDM Sports Car History Collection.

(find Tomica Super Cars on eBay)

Our second set is from June 1996, but I reckon it could still have been on the shelf when our mystery previous owner went shopping in Japan in the summer of 1997! The Emergency Vehicle Set contains some police, fire and medical emergency vehicles that you might have seen on the streets of Japan in the mid-1990s. They are:

#4 Honda Police Bike

#22 Nissan Diesel Aerial Ladder Fire Truck (my favourite in the set)

#33 Toyota Supra (more dodgy paint. Also needs stickers applying, but I probably won’t)

Here it is with an Excellent Tomica / U-Mate version that I already had.

Finally, the #51 Nissan Paramedic Ambulance

All four models are new to my collection. The set was issued in both white and red boxes. My red one ties in with a promotion to win a fire engine-shaped Emergency Red backpack in a prize draw: collect the tokens from the boxes and mail them in! Those were the days… In the case of the Emergency Vehicle Set (3 points), you’d have had to buy a single car as well (1 point) to get the 4 points needed for a prize draw entry!

As you can imagine, there have been many other Tomica emergency vehicle sets released down the years, so whether you like this one, or prefer something older or newer, you’ll likely find one to suit your taste and/or budget.

(find Tomica Emergency Vehicle Sets on eBay)

That’s all for now. Next week I’ll be back with more JDM goodness in the form of some Dakar Rally Pajeros. See you then!

(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)

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