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    

Vintage Screw Bottom Built Plastic Model Car Kit - Amt 1965 Ford Fairlane W/ Box1969 Amt Chevrolet Impala Ss Built Model Kit W/box & Custom Parts-nice-5 Day N/rJohan Mercury Comet And Maverick Parts Lot Model Kit No BoxModelhaus Resin 1961 Cadillac Coupe Deville Model KitVintage Rare Toy Premier's Corvair 95 Rampside Truck Model Kit See More KitsMpc 1969 & 1972 Chevrolet Pickup Truck Junk Yard Lot..for Parts Or Restore Look!1960 Cadillac Johan 1/25 Original Unpainted1965 Dodge Polara Built Up Dealer Promo Model Kit W/ Screws 1/24Pocher 1/8 Scale.model. 1935 Mercedes 500k Cabriolet. Parts Or Repair Car .Original Mpc Junk Yard Lot Mopar Chrysler Dodge Plymouth Vintage Annuals Look!1970 Jo-han Cadillac Coupe Deville Custom Kit-built W/box/parts-nice-5 Day N/r1960 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Built Up Dealer Promo Model Kit W/ Screws 1/24Amt 1960 Mercury Parklane Built Up Annual Custom Promo Car Kit W/ Screws 1/24Vintage Custom Amt 1958 Ford Fairline Convertible Built Up Model Kit W/ ScrewsPocher : 1932 Rolls Royce Phantom Ii Sedanca Coupe Kit Used For Parts Or RepairModel Car Junkyard PartsVintage Rare Amt 1964 Corvair Monza Spyder 1/25 Scale Model Kit See More KitsVintage Amt 1959 Ford Galaxie 1/25 Scale Model Jr. Trophy SeriesVintage Screw Bottom Built Plastic Model Car Kit - Johan 1965 Plymouth FuryVintage Jo-han Ford Maverick Prostock Built Car Model Kit Original!Model Car Junk Yard Amt.revall ?Vintage Amt Autocar Dump Truck 1/25th Scale Built Up Model KitAmt 1964 Chevelle Malibu Super Sport Ss Vintage1961 Ford Country Sedan Station Wagon Built Vintage Model Car RarePocher Spider Touring Gran Sport 1932 Alfa Romeo Model Kit 1/8 Scale 1965 Chevelle Malibu Super Sport Model Kit By Amt1980 Amt 1/25th Kenworth Aerodyne Coe Semi Truck Model Kit-comp.-sealed PartsJohan 1966 66 Cadillac Heavenly Haulin Hearse Model Kit No Box5 Strombecker & Merit Race Car Kits From The 1950's D41, D63, D53, Lotus, VanwalPocher 1932 "rolls Royce" ~ Phantom Ii Drop Head Sedanca Coupe ~ ModelVintage Rare Smp 1961 Corvette Convertible 3 In 1 1/25 Scale Model Kit More KitsMpc # 1-7426 1974 Plymouth 74 Duster Built Kit For Parts Or Restore Look!Car Model Kits 1972 Chrysler Imperial Limo 1/25 Rare1956 Ford Ranchero Resin Body (with Doner Parts)1961 Chysler New Yorker 2d Coupe Built Up Dealer Promo Model Kit W/ Screws 1/24Vintage Monogram Sizzler Custom Dragster Model1/25 Amt 1972 72 Chevy Chevrolet Fleetside Cheyenne Pickup TruckOld Rare Vintage Johan Cadillac Caddy Hearse Ambulance Model Part Kit Junkyard 1971 Mpc '71 Chevrolet Racer's Wedge Pickup Truck W/'55 Chevy Race Car-5 Day N/r1959 Dodge Royal Hardtop Pro Built Johan 1/25th Scale Amt 1/25 Caterpillar Bulldozer Dbh #t818, New, ObAmt 1962 Chevrolet Corvair 2 Door Built Up Annual Promo Car Kit W/ Screws 1/24Vintage 1970's Amt Amc Amx Funnycar Parts Lot W/ BoxRevell,,,,deals Wheels,,,,,,,,,,,,baja HumbugVintage Screw Bottom Built Plastic Model Car Kit - Amt 1960 Pontiac BonnevilleOld Rare Mpc Plymouth Roadrunner Vintage Muscle Model Part Kit Toy Junkyard Vintage 1984 Mpc 1/25 Plymouth Barracuda Pro Street Plastic Model KitNew Amt White Freightliner Sd Cabover Truck Kit 1/25th Scale Sealed! #t530Revell 1957 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon 1/25 Built ModelDblt/resto* Incredible-- Hardtop: Amt 1959 Pontiac Model Kit Screwbottom W/boxJunkyard Model Parts Amt Revell Mpc Lot 2Vintage Screw Bottom Built Plastic Model Car Kit - Johan 1962 Cadillac 4-doorVintage Screw Bottom Built Plastic Model Car Kit - Amt 1965 Chevy ImpalaVintage Mopar Lot Includes Mpc Original 72 Cuda 1/24-1/241965 Chrysler Imperial Ranch Truck / Vintage 1;25 Amt Plastic Model / BuiltVintage Mpc 1960s Stp Indy Turbine Car Model Kit No. 40 1/20 Scale1962 Chevrolet Apache Pickup Truck Builtup Dealer Promo Model Kit W/ Screws 1/24Lot Of 22 Vintage Old Kit Cars Models Junkyard Pieces Restoration 1/ 24 ScaleVintage Boxed Amt Annual 1966 Chevy Corvette Sting Ray 3in1 Model Car Kit MpcRevell 1/8 Dragonfire Trike Vintage Built Custom Show Trike 1972