Best Matchbox Cars and Toys Rated for Kids in 2018

Back in 1953, Matchbox cars first went into production by Lansey Products. The small toy vehicles stood out due to the attention to detail. Each of the models was made to be as authentic to the actual vehicle it was fashioned after. The tiny matchbox cars were built from diecast metal and given painstaking accurate details that made these quite popular with the public. After all, there was nothing like these at the time, and through the years no one seems to have taken the time to try to duplicate the scale down genuine models. So, what started out as a child’s toy became a sought-after collector’s item. As the decades past Matchbox cars continued to come out with new toys cars to add to their line. Not only are new diecast models being built but even larger durable plastic models.

When the leading toy manufacturer Mattel, Inc. took over the Matchbox brand, they expanded on the product line to include other excellent quality toys. Some of which are compatible with the cars, while other toys in the Matchbox brand range from things such as boats and planes. But whatever the toys maybe, the attention to quality that first put Matchbox and their unique miniature cars on the map has remained. In fact, the line of exceptional quality Matchbox toys has grown so much that it could be challenging to find the ones that are indeed the best of the best. So, we have taken the time to rate and evaluate 12 of what we consider to best of the Matchbox Cars and toys for you.

Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Matchbox Cars and Toys

When taking a closer look at Matchbox cars and toys, we discover that there is a good reason why this toy brand has stood the test of time. There are are actual benefits in playing with the Matchbox cars and the toys as well. These will not only occupy a child for hours of play but during dong so a child will also be enriched with specific developmental and life skills as well.

Motor Skills

While playing with matchbox toys, including the matchbox cars kids engage their hands. Even with the simplest of gestures such as a child pushing the car in a specific direction. They can also hold the toy in their hands guiding it along. While doing so, a child engages their hand muscles and also learn how to make hand movements. A good lesson for them in hand coordination, helping them to understand even at a young age how to grab hold of something such as a handle or a doorknob.


Imaginary play is vital to a child’s overall development. Especially now in the technological age. Toy cars, trucks, boat and other modems of transportation will genuinely engage a child’s imagination. They can pretend that they have a car race, pretend in the sandbox that they are working at a construction site. They can play in the bathtub pretending that the submarine is going to look for undersea life. The possibilities of imaginary play are endless, and through imagination, a child can tap into their creative side. With imagination they can explore different avenues, so providing a child with toys that bring about the imaginary play is essential to their overall development.


Matchbox toys and indeed the sets of Matchbox cars are a right way for kids to interact at play. Siblings can have fun together with the various types of vehicles. Kids can also interact with friends sharing the multiple models of Matchbox cars. During these interactions, a child will also develop better language skills and be able to communicate better. Which makes such play ideal for kids who are toddler age to engage in.

Nostalgia and History

The diecast matchbox cars are not only good for play but also as a collectible. Kids who learn about collecting learn about nostalgia as well. Keeping a collection and growing it along the way will help create memories and also give a child an outlet. Also, in collecting the Matchbox cars, it is a chance for the kid to learn more about these little diecast cars. About the various models and the multiple years that each model came out.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What year were Matchbox cars created and who created them?

A: Jack 0’Dell created Matchbox cars back in the early fifties. He initially came up with the tiny little car because his daughter’s school has a rule that kids could only bring in toys small enough to fit into a Matchbox. Working for a British diecasting company known as Lesney Products he created the miniature scaled-down model of another Lesney toy, the road roller that he gave to his daughter. In 1953 the first three models of the Matchbox cars hit the market and were an instant hit.

Q: Why are these called Matchbox cars?

A: The name is pretty self-explanatory, it comes from the fact that the die-cast models were so small they could fit in a matchbox. In fact, the first models did come inside a replica of a Matchbox, which was ideal for storage purposes as well.

Q: Besides the submarine did Matchbox come out with any other boats in their line?

A: Yes, Matchbox maybe is known for their cars but as illustrated above they do provide other vehicles as well. That will include toy boats such as the submarine and other quality plastic toys that explore water fun. Matchbox also created the Sea Kings line which is a set of finely detailed diecast boats. For those into planes and helicopters, there is also the Sky Busters line of diecast models as well.

Q: How did Mattel end up with the rights to the Matchbox toy line?

A: In 1982 due to facing stiff competition, Lensey Products sold the rights to their Matchbox car lines to the American company Universal toys. Eventually, the toy manufacturer sold the rights to Tyco. Now comes the ironic part Mattel the company that puts out one of Matchbox cars biggest rivals Hot Wheels bought Tyco, and therefore they found themselves now the owners of the Matchbox car and toys line.

Q: What are some of the other types of Matchbox building systems?

A: Besides the Mega Rig Jurassic Copter which is featured here, there are several other types of sets available in the Matchbox building systems. Such as the Mega Rig Spaceship Shuttle and the Mega Rig fire truck. Each of this providing, not just a fun-filled toy but a chance to build various types of vehicles that go with the overall theme.

Q: What are the rarest and sought-after models of Matchbox cars?

A: There are five models of Matchbox cars that are considered to be some of the rarest to find. The models are of course vintage and are mostly for collectors, mainly because to obtain these it could be very costly. Not surprising to know that one of this is the original and the first one ever made the Road Roller. Here is the complete list of the five rarest Matchbox cars.

1953 Aveling Barford Road Roller
1961 Magirus Deutz Crane
1965 BP Dodge Wrecker
1966 Opel Diplomat
1967 Mercedes Benz 230SL