Tomica produced its die-cast miniatures in Japan until 1993 with just a few exceptions. In 1990, a second production plant was opened in China, although new models were always produced in Japan. The four models I am presenting here were first released in the late 70s, for me the best period in the Tomica history.
Accordign to Wikipedia, around 15 years later, in 1993, the cars in this entry plus some more were re-released as an assignment from Tomy UK to Tomy Japan. This line comprised 36 cars and is usually referred as “the British line”. They were produced in China to save on costs. As you can see in the card catalogue, most cars are European models (Renault, Citroën, Porsche, Ferrari, Lotus, Volkswagen…) with very few exceptions (Chevrolet, Mazda, Fuso Truck). I am not quite sure if these cars belong to that line, but they might..
Then in 1993, Tomy Co. of UK contracted Tomy Co. of Japan to produce a line of 36 Tomica cars (the “British Line”) using existing casts. To save on production costs, these were to be produced in China. Since 1994, Tomy also used the facility in China to produce new models, and in May 1995 the production of existing regular line models also started moving from Japan to China. This was done in phases. By July 1997, all regular line Tomica cars were made in China. Old casts that were not used for mass production of the British line models, regular models, or gift set models during this period remained in Japan. Therefore, special releases that used these old castings were still made in Japan.
The cars you’re watching here were bought in 1994 in Santiago de Compostela. I was so surprised to see Tomicas in a shop, because it was the first time. All the other Tomicas I own were bought by my father in Portugal. They’re priced 204 pesetas, that’s around 1,22 Euros.
UPDATE (JULY 2018): I traded this Ferrari BB 512 from the same British line. I also have the original Japanese made, but that one has a different decoration without the Ferrari logo.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: AUSTIN TAXI CAB, MERCEDES 450SEL, FERRARI BB 512, JAGUAR XJ-S and TEREX DUMP TRUCK (Nrs. T12, T19, T23, T24 and F22)
- Scale: 1:67 (Austin, Mercedes, Jaguar) / 1:62 (Ferrari) / 1:119 (Terex Dump Truck)
- Year: Around 1993
- Company: Tomica (Japan)
- Size: approx. 6 cm