Didn’t think I’d forget the OG did you?
I think there is super long article I could write about the evolution of our hobby, as seen through the interest in Tomica Limited Vintage. I’ve been a collector for a long time, and I’ve done Lamley for over 10 years. I’ve watched brands expand, evolve, and emerge, and I’ve seen the same with collectors.
10 years ago there was nothing like Tomica Limited Vintage. Today is there is nothing like Tomica Limited Vintage, but in different ways. Premium brands like Tarmac Works, Inno64 and Mini GT have grown, filling in a big gap that collectors had for super realistic car culture-driven models. They have expanded the pallet of many Hot Wheels and Matchbox collectors, so much so that Hot Wheels has created a line that appears to compete.
But they still haven’t hit the level of quality that TLV has achieved. The balance between near perfect scale, incredible detail, and sturdiness is still TLV’s alone. But with the aforementioned brands coming closer than ever, I’ve seen a new level of scrutiny towards TLV. Some collectors have no clue of the quality of TLV because they see no need to dabble in the brand. Why buy a factory Corolla Wagon replica when you can get a slammed AE86 in panda colors?
Where I thought US-collector interest in TLV would increase, it has actually decreased. Collectors have “cooler” premium replicas of cars to collect now, and that niches TLV a little more. That leaves the quality of the castings and preciseness of the approach and execution as the main reasons to collect.
And that is enough for me.
TLV has become an “If you know, you know” brand. It is still exceptionally satisfying to collect. Its small output – 4-8 models a month – make each new casting a practical event.
And there were plenty of event releases this year. Many of which didn’t make the final list of 16 for the Best of Tomica Limited Vintage Lamley Awards Tournament on Instagram. We tried to tap into the diversity of the models released this year, and I think we did pretty well. Some of course will be trounced by the cooler cars, but all in all use the tournament to celebrate this now underrated brand. Underrated and still the champ. A unique spot to be in.
Here are the 16 models we chose. We randomly drew each pairing for the tournament, and vote on them in my Stories on Instagram (@lamleygroup).