Plastic model-car kits are a relatively recent product, dating only to the end of World War II. The heyday of the kits in the United States was probably the 1960s, when the burgeoning car culture of the previous decade exploded. Suddenly, every car-crazy kid who wanted to could build a model of a ’57 Chevy Bel-Air or ’66 Ford Mustang, even if they couldn’t talk their moms and dads into buying the real thing.

Most people looking to collect a vintage model-car kit made by AMT, Revell, Monogram, Tamiya, or Pocher are looking for an unassembled kit still in the box. While some of these people will never even open the kit if it's still in its sealed wrapper, just as many are looking to actually build it. In general, fewer people collect assembled model cars since the real fun for car lovers is the assembly itself.

The typical model-car kit contains several sheets of plastic parts known as trees, which are injected molded. Each individual part used in the model is attached to the tree by one or more sprues, which need to be carefully cut off and discarded by the model maker. Kits also include instructions and decals, which can be applied to the model to add logos, racing stripes, or flames. Most modelers also paint their creations, some using small jars of Testor or other brands of paint, others going to great lengths by airbrushing their models for added realism.

While there are as many subsets within model making as there are different types of cars, a few stand out. Some people like to collect models of NASCAR racing cars, while others go for models of show rods, those over-the-top hot rods created for car shows in the 1960s and designed by masters such as Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Mouse, George Barris, and Tom Daniel.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

DFW Elite Toy Museum

DFW Elite Toy Museum

Ron Sturgeon's excellent gallery of fancy model cars and other vehicles. Nice high resolution shots with classy mus… [read review or visit site]

The Show Room

The Show Room

This gallery at Dave's Show Rod Rally features model show rods from 1960 to 2001. Favorites include the 1958 Thunde… [read review or visit site]

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Custom Built 1956 Ford School Bus Model Wausau Schools Close To 1/25thRare Mpc 1968 Chevy Ss427 Convertible Sports Coupe 1/25 Model Car Kit New W/flawOver 45 1960s Car Models; Amt, Aurora, Jo-han Monogram Many Parts-unused DecalsAxial Wraith W/ Vintage Tamiya Blackfoot Body By Michaelplatypuss1 -ford BroncoOriginal Aurora James Bond Aston-martin Super Spy Car Plastic Model KitMonogram Ghost Of The Red Baron Model Kit SealedVintage 1960 Ford Truck Model Car Repair Or PartsVintage Original Amt New Ford Pickup 1970'sVintage Amt 1967 Ford Galaxie Convertible BuilderJohan 1/24 Amc Javelin Amx Pro Stock -free ShippingVintage Original Mpc 1978 Ford PintoAmt 1968 Lincoln Continental Model Friction Motor 1/25 Scale Excellent W BoxVintage Built Mpc 1966 Pontiac Gto Convertible "tiger" 4 Screw Chassis (bvl)Vintage Jo-han Plymouth Police Emergency Wagon Model Kit C-5100 1:25 New In BoxVintage Model Car Junkyard Lot 1960's Huge Lot Nice Nr! Johan Amt 14 Cars Nr! Entex Mazda Rx-4 Sports Coupe By Entex 1/20 ScaleRmr Resin 1959 Studebaker Lark PickupJo Han 1967 Amc Ambassador Ht Model Friction Motor 1/25 Scale Nmint W BoxAmt Mpc 1/25 Chevy Monza & Vega Model Kit Parts Lot 44Model Factory Hiro 1/12 Ferrari Gto 1964 Unbuilt KitTruck Model Kits 1979 Ford Pickup Truck Supercab 1/25Vintage Original Johan 1971 Mercury CometAmt “elegance Series” ’32 Ford Vicky “victorian” SealedMad Morgan Automotive Detail 1957 Ford Custom 4 Door SeErtl International Transtar Co-4070a Model Kit # 8000 1/25 Scale Parts OnlyLot Of 17 Vintage Amt Monogram Johan Model Kit Junkyard Lot Tires Bumpers10 Pcs Vintage Big Rig Semi Tractor Trailer Truck Model Junkyard Parts - ModelsVintage 1962 Ford Galaxie Hard Top Dealer Promotional Car Model Mint In Box Vintage 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Hard Top Dealer Promotional Model NmintMonogram 1965 Corvette Sting Ray 1/8 Scale, SealedCarl Rees-custom Built Resin 1955 Ford Victoria HardtopBosica Automodelli 1/43 Ferrari 375mm White Metal Kit - New & Near Mint RufTamiya 1207 Ferrari 312b 1/12 Scale Plastic Model Kit Big Scale! Vtg Unbuilt Amt Ford Falcon Super Boss 427 Fuel Injected Funny Drag Car Model 1963 Monogram 1/8 Built Big Drag Ford T Bucket Race Hot Rod Model CarVintage Mpc 1967 Pontiac Bonneville Hard Top Car Model Kit Near Mint In Box New Sealed! Amt 1/25 Scale Turnpiker Pete Custom Cabover Model Kit Matchbox 1979R&r Resin 1962 Oldsmobile Super 88 4 Door Hardtop KitLot Of Junkyard Models Mopar, Plymouth, Dodge1/25 Trailor Junkyard Tankers C F Pups Flat Beds Box TrucksMonogram 1/32 Scale “boss Willys” Gasser-factory SealedRare! 1962 Monogram "big T" Ford Hot Rod Original Big 1/8th Unbuilt Model Kit!1/25th Built Model Car Amt Vintage 1965 Plymouth Valiant Craftsman Red PlasticAmt 1964 Chrysler Imperial "3 In 1" Model KitVintage Jo-han "dyno Don" Nicholson's Maverick Grabber Model Kit - New In Box69 Amx Built Kit Model Lot Amt T294 Jo-han Drag On Lady Funny Car Parts C-107 Vintage Built 1970 Ford Maverick Jo-han Funny Car With BoxRmr Resin 1948-1950 Ford Coe Panel TruckOtaki 1/16 Scale Lamborghini Miura P400 BertoneVintage Original Amt 1961 Buick Invicta Hard TipBuilder's Lot Of Vintage Amt 1/25 Scaletruck Kits-wrecker, Peterbilt, Tanker- NrVintage 1962 Lincoln Continental Convertible Car Model Dealer Promotional NmintJo Han 1967 Chrysler Hard Top Model Friction Motor 1/25 Scale Excellent W BoxModel Car Kit Junkyard 1/24/25 Amt Revell Mpc Dale Earnhardt Jr Ford Dodge ChevyOld Estate Toy Junk Yard Lot Of Plastic Model Cars And Trucks Parts Mpc VintageVintage Mpc 1966 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible 10-1491965 Mpc George Barris Cosma Ray 1/25 Scale Model Unbuilt 505Vintage Amt 1964 F-85 Cutlass 3 In I Hardtop Customizing KitBest Model Car 1951 Chevy Station Wagon Conversion KitA.ruf Collection - 1:43 Ferrari 250 Gto Metal Kit - Mint