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    

1961 Wide Track Pontiac Ventura 2 Dr. Ht. Pro Built Vintage 1967 Monogram Uncertain T Hot Rod Show Car Automobile Plastic Model Bruce Larson's Usa-1 Pro Stock Vintage 1/25 Scale Vega Model Car Mpc Classic !!!Tamiya Porsche Turbo Rsr Type 934, 1/12 Scale43 Yr Old Nhra Mpc Sox And Martin Pro Stock Plymouth Duster Model Kit Unbuilt!Vintage Amt 3 In 1 1958 Ford Fairlane Convertible Model Built Up 1/25th ScaleVtg Monogram The Big Drag 1/8 Supercharged Competition Roadster Kit 841098 Rare Old Jo-han, Maverick Tinkers Toy Pro Stock Grabber, Car Model Kit, In BoxVtg Model Kit Junkyard Convertible Car Parts Lot Chevy Impala, Ford, Pontiac +!Vintage Orig 1974 Mpc Pontiac Firebird Model Kit Car Built 1/25 Scale Like PromoVtg Model Kit Junkyard Lot Part Ii 1960 Chevrolet & Ford Pick-up Trucks + ExtrasRevell 1/25 Scale #7432 Prestige Car Transport Peterbilt & Trailer, New, ObVintage Model Car Kit Parts LotVintage Automotive Model Car Junkyard1/24 Scale 1966 Style Ford Bronco Half Cab Resin Kit 1/25 - International 1466 Tractor - Ertl # 8003 Builders / Parts LotVtg 1973 Plymouth Duster 3 In 1 `73 Mopar Mpc Model Kit Box & 2 Built Cars 1/25Vintage Amt 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible Model Car 3 In 1 Built Up ModelVisible Chassis - Renwal "the Most Impressive Model You'll Ever Build"Unbuilt Amt 1968 Chevy Chevelle Ht Kit #5628. 1/25th Scale. Good ConditionVintage 1969 In Original Box Ghost Of The Red Baron By MattelVery Rare 1979 Monogram 2611 '79 Pontiac Trans Am 1/8 Scale Plastic Model Kit 871967 Pontiac Gto Tempest Convertible Promo Model Car Mpc Met BlueAmt 1/25 Vintage 3 In 1 Unbuilt 1958 58 Pontiac Hardtop Ht Model Parts Lot 387Tecnomodel 1/24 Kit Ferrari 250gt Swb Unbuilt No ReserveDyno-mite "j" Vintage Model Car Henry J Gas Coupe 1/25 Scale Revell Kit H-1328 Pocher Rivarossi 1/8 Scale Porsche 911 Carrera Model Kit1969 Buick Gs Coupe Pro Built 1/25 Rmr Resin 1956 International Pickup Truck KitModel Car Junk Yard With 2 Screw Bottoms Vintage Mpc Richard Petty Nascar Pymouth Roadrunner Lot Of 4 Misc Muscle Car Model Kits Junkyard Lot Lot #24Ertl Ih Transtar Ii Day Cab1963 Pontiac Bonneville Hardtop R&r Resin Kit1/25 Truck Junk Yard Matchbox Trailmobile Double Trailers Model KitMotor City Resin 1967 Mercury Comet 202 2-door Sedan Resin BodyHuge Model Car Lot, Parts, Junkyard Peterbilt Truck Prestige Car Transport & Trailer Revell 1:25 Auto Carrier In BoxScale Modeling By Chris Resin 351 Cleveland Pro Stock Engine Kit W/ DistributorLot 13: Revell Dragonfire 1/8 Scale Trike W/v8 Engine 15" Long 9" High 1:25Abc Brianza 1:12 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1962 Rare Resin Kit Sealed1967 Ford Falcon Vintage Built Plastic Model Car Mpc 1968 Dodge Charger R/t Unbuilt Rare Kit 768-200Alan Green 1963 Chevy Ii Nova Fastback Awb Funny Car Resin BodyVintage 1962 Jo-han Oldsmobile F-85 Hardtop Cutlass Model Car Kit W Box Promo1968 Dodge Coronet R/t Convertible Built Plastic Model Car"ice Patrol" Chevy Pickup Plastic Model Kit From Revell 1978 1/25 Open/completeVintage Rare 1975 Mpc Vega Model Kit Box W/ 2 Built Cars 74 & 75Otaki Bertone’s Jaguar Pirana, 1/16 Scale1948 Monogram Mid-jet Wooden Midget Co2 Powered Race Car With Box; No ReserveBuilt Model Car Vintage 1963 Plymouth Sport Fury Project PieceTecnomodel Ferrari 575 Gtc 1/24 Unbuilt Kit1/25 Heavy Gravel TrailerVintage Amt #t560 Movin On Kenworth Semi Truck Tractor 1:25 Scale Model Kit Nib Tamiya 1:12 Porsche Turbo Rsr Type 934 Model Kit Item No.12020 Made In Japan!!Vintage 1972 `72 Chevy 454 Mpc Model Kit W/ Built CarVintage Johan 1962 Chrysler 300 Lot Of 4 Misc Muscle Car Model Kits Junkyard Lot Lot #25Built Model Car Vintage 1962 Plymouth Fury Screwbottem Project Piece