Model cars have long been a popular hobby for both kids and adults. NASCAR model cars, in particular, have attracted a devoted following since NASCAR’s founding in 1948.
As with model cars in general, collectors have two primary options for NASCAR models—diecast cars or model kits. Diecast cars are preassembled, factory-produced miniatures made out of metal, most prized in mint condition in their original boxes.
Kits, on the other hand, contain molded plastic pieces that must be carefully assembled and decorated with decals over many hours. Collectors value unassembled kits in their orig...
The first NASCAR model kits were produced right after World War II, back when race cars were fairly similar to their street relatives. In 1982, Monogram released the first modern NASCAR car kits, which launched the product into even wider popularity. Ertl followed in 1984 with kits and radio-controlled diecast models, and companies like Revell, Action, Team Caliber, Aluminum Model Toys (AMT), Tamiya, and, later, Hot Wheels also joined the market.
Unlike other types of model car collecting, in which the maker and year of the car itself are paramount, NASCAR model car collectors are most loyal to the drivers, like Jimmie Johnson and Brett Bodine. As model car collector and builder Les Smirle says, “People don’t build Chevrolet NASCARs, they build Dale Earnhardt NASCARs…. With NASCAR, the loyalty to the driver is far stronger than the loyalty to individual brands of cars.” Thus, the value of any NASCAR model is tied to the popularity of its driver.
In recent years, the landscape of NASCAR model cars has changed due to the licensing costs that NASCAR imposes on model-car manufacturers. Naturally these costs have risen with NASCAR’s popularity, which has made model kits more expensive to produce relative to diecast cars. This has caused a shift on the part of manufacturers away from kits and toward diecast models. For example, Revell—one of the main manufacturers of NASCAR model kits—recently discontinued its line of NASCAR models because of prohibitive licensing fees, though it still sells NASCAR slot cars.
Today, collectors tend to favor drivers from the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, but some younger collectors have also taken a liking to models derived from the movie franchise “The Fast and the Furious.” The most common scale for NASCAR models is 1/24, but many other sizes are also popular.
Interviews & Articles
I started my site in about 1990 and my original thought was to feature NASCAR models. It’s like an online model show. I specialize… [more]
I got interested in show rods as a boy in the late 1960s. We all built models back then. There was no Nintendo and only three or f… [more]
I used to have a huge collection of diecast 1/43rd-scale Dinky Toys, Corgi Toys, and things like that. I had so many that it got t… [more]
Ron Sturgeon: I had an automotive repair shop in about 1976 and spent a lot of time repairing Mercedes. About 1979 I decided to st… [more]
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12 Questions with Ryan NewmanUSA TODAY, May 22nd
Our series of weekly NASCAR driver interviews continues with Ryan Newman, who is 17th in the points standings heading into Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. USA TODAY Q: Do you collect any of your own memorabilia, such as diecasts, firesuits or helmets?...Read more
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The first book featured was “Watkins Glen International,” co-authored by Michael Argetsinger and Bill Green and published as part of Arcadia Publishing's new NASCAR Library Collection series. of doing a brand new chapter about how many of the cars...Read more