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Monday, March 10, 2014

#390 MC TOY / MAISTO - VARIOUS FERRARI MODELS IN 1:64 SCALE (1984, 1987, 1990 and 1991)

Maisto is one of the largest die-cast manufacturers nowadays. They make very affordable models in several scales ranging from 1:12 to 1:64.

My intention in this entry and the next two is to explore the history of the company, which is rather complicated. But first, I want to explain how did I first knew about this particular brand.

It was 1992. In the town in which I lived back then, there was a new shop in a small commercial center, which was something completely now. Almost everything you could see costed 100 pesetas (that’s 0,60 Eur) the shop was rather small, and it looked pretty much like a home. There were plenty of shelves at different heights, and in one of them there were only toys. Among them, there was nothing especially remarkable, except a box with die-cast cars. I knew that was a new brand, because I had already seen many toy cars, but none like those. They were fine, had nice colours and wheels, and some models were really appealing, especially compared to those which were available from other manufacturers at low prices. Some were also unique, since no manufacturer had done them before. I got a few, and some days later more, and more… up to a dozen, maybe more.

These were not Maisto yet, but MCToy (now I know they’re MCToy, at the time, I thought they were MIC Toy, because the logo was somehow confusing)… there was not much information about them, except a sticker with “Made in Macau”. I knew that Matchbox also made their cars there.

MC Toy Ferrari 365 GTB [9004] - First time this car was made in 1:64 scale

I bought many more models when I saw them in flea markets, and today I have around 40, most of them from those years, when I saw them for the first time. I also remember they were sold in a blister pack in which a road was depicted. Those cardbacks could actually be attached to each other to form longer roads as if it was a puzzle.

Many years after that, I found out that they were actually MC Toy and that MC stands for May Cheong.

MC Toy was founded as early as 1967 by the Ngan family from Hong Kong. According to some internet sources of information, their first products were 1:64 scale cars which they copied from Matchbox, although it seems that even at that time, they already had some own casts, representing models that none of the major manufacturers had done before. In the 70’s MC Toy wanted to enter the European die-cast markets and so they reproduced many European models. However, I have never seen any of these older cars; the oldest I have seen were made in the late 80s or early 90s, so I would like somebody to prove that with pictures.

But, what does Maisto and MC Toy have in common? At some point in the early 90s, MC Toy models disappeared and were replaced by Maisto models. Maisto is an American company, although it was founded and it is owned by an Asian group of companies, which is… the May Cheong Group, so we could say MC Toy and Maisto are actually the same brand, like Lesney and Matchbox or Best Box and EFSI.

MC Toy Ferrari 308 GTO [8445] and 348 [9101] - These cars were previously available by other brands in 1:64 scale

Maisto, as MC Toy, is a manufacturer of “budget” models. With factories and design centers placed in Macau, Thailand, Hong Kong, and later China, Maisto could offer most competitive prices than other manufacturers of similar vehicles.

The design headquarters however is located in Fontana, California. Most marketing and graphic design is made there, although there are also design centers in China. China is designing 1:64 scale lines and also bigger scales for the Bburago brand. In the U.S.A. is designing bigger scales.

The company has already knocked off many die-cast manufacturers in the 1990s and 2000s, which were especially difficult for traditional brands like Polistil, Bburago, Yatming… Almost all major European and American die-cast manufacturers had to settle their factories in China or other countries in the far east to produce these toys and keep being competitive. As a matter of fact, May Cheong bought Bburago in 2005 (for more information, check this book) and kept the brand alive. They even interchanged some casts, and Maisto released previous Bburago models and Bburago, Maisto models.

Many Maisto-made models are today present in toystores worldwide, and they are selling well, so the company keeps growing and expanding. Bt the end of the 2000s, Maisto started a new line called “Maisto Tech”, with which they intended to go into the RC Market. Other innovative products are a line of scale Motorbikes, or a line of disassembled models, called “Kit”.

MC Toy Ferrari 250 GTO [8736] - First time this car was made in 1:64 scale

MC Toy Ferrari F40 [9001]

  • Name: Ferrari 308 GTO (Ref. 8445), FERRARI 250 GTO (Ref. 8736), FERRARI 365 GTB (Ref. 9004), FERRARI F40 (Ref. 9001) and FERRARI 348 (Ref. 9101)
  • Scale: 1:64 (approx.)
  • Year: The two first digits in the reference number indicates the year of design and manufacture, so: 1984, 1987, 1990 and 1991.
  • Company: MC Toy (U.S.A./ Macau)
  • Size: approx. 3’’ or 7 cm


  1. Buenas!!!!!

    Pues mira que justo los ferrari, en rojo, los tengo en la cole del peque, y si no me equivoco un par de ellos son de la hornada con la que jugaba mi hermano de peque; lo que han resistido y lo bien que siguen rodando, la verdad.
    Me habías hablado en otra ocasión de este fabricante y sus productos. Una entrada muy interesante!!!!!!

    hasta pronto!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Gracias Fernando,

      Efectivamente, ya hablamos una vez de estos coches, seguro que tu hermano los compró (o se los compraron) allá por 1992, año arriba, año abajo, y sorprendente que a pesar del precio que tenían, conservan la pintura muy muy bien, y son muy resistentes.

      En la próxima entrada continúo con la historia, y escribo cómo MCToy/Maisto fabricó para otras marcas, entre ellas, Guisval.

      Y en la siguiente, también hay algo de MC Toy, pero ya menos información. Ya verás...

  2. there was also a Ferrai testarossa with opening doors

    I guess it was same series as the Porsche 959

    1. Yes, I think I have seen that one you mention, but no, it does not belong to the same series than the 959. It is actually made in a bigger scale (1:43), if it's the one I am thinking of, it also came with a pull-back motor.

    2. this si that Testarossa

    3. Ok, I finally found a picture of the model you mentioned. It is actually this model:

      The one you linked is the versión I was referring to, with pull-back motor and in a bigger scale (see the title, it mentions 1:39 scale, when the first model should be around 1:60) Both very nice models!

      Thanks for commenting again!

  3. no, it only had opening doors

    I have this MC Toys from back in day I got them as a present it was something like 20 pieces box , I still know the cars

    - Yellow Audi Quattro
    - dark blue Porsche 930 Turbo
    - the black F1 car and the white one too
    - black Golf 1 GTI
    - Nissan MID 4
    - red Ferrari 308 GTB
    - black Pontac Firebird
    - Magneta Jaguar coupe
    - blue Lamborghini Countach
    - white/ blue Porsche 956
    - Mercedes 300 SL in greenish color
    - blue Peugeot 309
    - Renault Alpine V6 sedan in blue color
    - yellow Peugeot 205 GTi
    - red Ford Sierra XR4T
    - orange-red Ford Escort
    - white Mazda RX-7 (FC)
    - silver Porsche 959 with opening doors
    - red Ferrari testarossa with opening doors
    - red Ferrai 250 GTO
    - Ford Granda
    - silver BMW M1

    I also have Matchbox from that period in same scale
    - black Renault 11
    - red Porsche 930 Turbo with opening doors
    - yellow Nissan 300 ZX ( Z33 generation)
    - red Alfa Romeo SZ
    - blue Renault 5 ,

    I must say the Matchbox toys have a better quality than MC Toys ones, they feel somewhat heavier in hand and give me a more solid impression

    1. Wow, you have a good memory! I didn't know there were such big sets available back in the days. I bought mine in single blisters. I remember the shop and the price: 100 pesetas, which is 0,60 Eur or maybe 0,70 US$ each.

      Matchbox models were more expensive, but also heavier, more durable and included more metal parts. There were also more models available to choose from.

      Thanks for the comment!

    2. I still have the toys , but unfortunatly far from mint condition as a lot paint come off them , also sucks that my mother threw away the box

      well at least the are in my basement in a box and keep them for sentimental reasons , maybe give them to my kids when I have some

      I think also MC Toys/ Maiesto I do have a yellow Ford Cargo fuel tanker truck with a trailer, they have SHELL logos on them and red Renault truck tractor with a trailer , it has white plastic top with "Renault " writing on it

      the only other toys I have from this period are dark Blue MORGAN roadster with a white plastic roof which is removable

      I think MAJORETTE toy, bottom is a silver metal plate instead of plastic

      and the last one is a pink/magenta beach buggy with a white plastic removable roof , I think this was alsoa Majorette you but not sure

  4. I must make a correction

    The Renault 5 is from Majortte this one , this si a quality toy, bottom is blue , so they bothered to color the plstic in same color instead of leaving it black, also appears to much thicker and resilient too

    1. Thanks again for all your comments.

      The Renault 5 was such a popular car (in Europe at least), that most die-cast manufacturers made it in a 1:64 scale, not only Majorette and Matchbox, also Siku, Guisval, Hot Wheels... It is also a car I find really beautiful because my uncle had one, and I travelled with it a few times. The rally versión is also amazing!

      By the way, the picture you showed is the HotWheels versión. You can notice this by its wheels/hubcap design. It is also a very sturdy toy.

      A few links to Renault 5 entries in my blog (check at least the first two!):

    2. yes very sturdy design and paint is more resiliant on it too !!

      I do have few more toy cars they are smaller scale than the MC Toys , can you help me ID them ?

      the cars
      - Red Ferrari Testarossa , has a dark blue front hood
      - white Mazda RX-7 (FC)
      - red Louts Esprit, it has a front hood painted with white and black stripes
      - silver Caddilac from the 80s with that weird trunk design, has red/ white stripes across the roof and front hood
      - 50s silver Meercedes 300 SL gull wing , front hood is red/yellow
      - dark blue Porsche 928 with opening doors
      - black VW Beetle convertible
      - yellow-orange Ford Mustang from the 80s
      - light black with white/red stripes Porsche 930 Turbo
      - Mercedes S-Class sedan from the 80s
      - green Nissan 300ZX (Z32 ) has some checkered flags painted on it

      I also have 3 bigger F1 type toys they do looks F1 cars from the 70s , early 80s

      - one is yellow and front wings are painted blue
      shape of it looks to be inspired by the Ferrari 312 T3

      - one is black with red/white stripes across front wing
      - one is white with dark green painted front wing

      they look look different shape to each other like 70s F1 cars looked quite different to each other too

    3. If you can take pictures of these models, I would try to identify them. It is enough with a general picture, or picture with 6 or 8 cars each. If I can see the wheels, it wouldhelpa lot, or pictures of the base are often very helpful (even if there is no text). You can store the pictures somewhere online or send them to an email adress you'll find clicking on my photo (on the top left side of the screen), than scroll down to the end of the page.

      If they are from the 90s and they are not marked, it will be a difficult task. Many small manufacturers from China were starting the production of toys then.

  5. here pics, sorry for bad quality , some of them couldn't find , anyway

    the Nissan is really abused.....
    Porsche 928 and that Cadilac have this wheels

    a bit newer toys, the Lambo has opening engine hood
    they have this wheels
    this 2 have this logo

    and this really abused Golf 2 , door missing, palstic underpart melted so I has to make a wood support for it with silicon

    and have this 2 bigger Lambos , made in china and rather bad quality

    1. Hi, the pictures are really small, I cannot see much of the cars. I think that most cars are chinese models from the late 90s, and you probably won´t be able to find the brand. Maybe younger people know more about them, but I think it will be difficult. Thanks for the pictures!

  6. From what I can see, the majority of the cars photos sent to you are made by welly.
    Steven Masson

    1. Hi Steven,
      Thanks for this comment too!

      I do not know what you mean... When I bought most of these cars in 1992 there were still no Welly. I think Welly came later.

      All have the MC Toy logo on the base and the "Made in Macau" stickers are original. I also remember the blister packaging, whose card was a piece of road that could be attached to each other to form a circuit, like pieces of a puzzle.

      Best regards.

  7. I have 3 MC TOY Macau die cast and plastic pull back motor buggys.these Moto Hooper 4 wheel suspension toys are from Grand toys Quebec Canada. No. 29014. Models #8702 , #8703 , #8704. I can't seem to find any information on any website. Does any one have any idea about these. Due to the model #s starting with 87 I can guess that the date of production was 1987. Thank you.

    1. Hi Again Erik,

      I just checked, and they are not in the master reference list. I had never heard from them either, I guess they are quite rare. There are a few for sale on ebay around 30 US$ each, but that's all. I love them, they are truly wonderful models.

      My guess here is that thea were made in extremely short runs, and they were of course not cheap to produce due to that elaborated suspension. Maybe they just stopped the production to make other models that were cheaper to produce, o maybe (as we are talkig of 1987, that is "the early years" of MC Toy), maybe they bought them from other manufacturer, just to place their logo on the base, and once they sold the stock, it was over.

      In any case, you have great models there. I will ask another expert I know and I'll post another comment here when I read his answer.

      Thanks for the comment and bye for now!


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