In pre-World War II England, Meccano’s Dinky Toys reigned. Today its colorful delivery vans and sports cars and coupes are highly prized, in part because they were not especially well-made. Early diecast toys used a zinc alloy which was susceptible to metal fatigue. Also, children wore the toys out quickly, so few survived.
Postwar, Dinky continued to flourish but two new companies kept things competitive. Lesney launched its Matchbox brand in the late 1940s, and Corgi entered the fray in 1956, introducing clear windows and aluminum hubs on its cars. It took Dinky until 1958 to add windows to its cars, but by the 1960s it was exporting models designed to appeal to the U.S. market.