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Monday, June 11, 2018

#903 TOOTSIETOY - SEVERAL MODELS IN 3 INCHES AND OTHER SIZES (1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976)

Despite having collected thousands of die-cast models in over 30 years, I keep discovering new toys made by brands from which I have never heard of before, or by brands I know, but I never had in my hands before.
One of the brands in this second case is Tootsietoy. It is a great American toymaker I of course was aware of, but I never had any toys made by them until very recently. They were to my knowledge never sold in the countries I lived in, so I guess the ones I found were transported from Germany.

It is nice to have a couple of them, but I am not sure if I will buy more of them, given I can find more at reasonable prices.
The company has a very long history behind them, since it can be tracked back to the 1890s. The history starts in Chicago, where two companies merged in 1926. The first of them was a trade paper called the National Laundry, founded by the Dowst Brothers. They also had a linotype machine to make metal buttons, cuff links and other items related to their main bussiness. The second company was Cosmo company, owned by the Shure Brothers. They produced small cars also as cuff links, pins and so.

The Shure Borthers purchased the Dowst Brothers bussiness, but the name of the merged companies remained Dowst Manufacturing Co. The first die-cast cars were produced sometime between 1909 and 1911. The name Tootsietoy was registered in 1924 by the Dowst Brothers, supposedly after the name of a granddaughter of one of them, whose name was Toots. In the first years, the produced several promotional die-cast stuff or even figures for the Monopoly game and dollhouse furniture.

The 20s decade, the company produced many car toys, vehicles, hand guns and so on. Some of the first model were promotional, like a series of vehicles for the Graham Company in 1932 and for General Motors in 1935. During WW2, the production was reset for war effort, reducing the toy production to almost zero.
After WW2, the production continued offering mostly American models for the American market.
In 1961 Tootsietoy purchased Strombecker, who would became famous for their slot cars, and since then, some toys were marked Tootsietoy-Strombecker.
By the end of the decade, part of the production was reallocated to Hong-Kong, but henceforth the production plants in the U.S.A. (Chicago or Rockford, both Illionis) and Hong-Kong would close and new ones would open in China. The headquarters is still based in Chicago, but now the brand Tootsietoy is owned by J. Lloyd International, Inc.

Focusing on the toys now, the vehicles made by Tootsietoys were always quite simple in construction. The body of the car holds the axles from the inside and they rarely come with interiors, which were added already for the first time in the late 70s. A good example of this can be noticed in the next pictures of a buggy from the tough series.
1971 - 1249 - TOUGHS (Buggy, Trailer with Boat):

1974 - 2405 - MIDGET SPORT SETS (Jeep, Sport Proto, trailer with boat, missing car)

The selection of Tootsie references in this entry ranges from 1971 to 1976, and mixes cars in 3 inches (or slightly smaller, maybe 2.5 inches) and bigger models, and different types of vehicles. The nice part is that all of them are still in their original package, alhough not all cards are in great shape (some even cut or partially opened).

197? - 14127 - NO NAME (Car Transporter, Race Car)

This transporter, that has a considerable size, is built in metal with plastic base to give it a tougher construction. Unfortunately, the trailer is made of plastic, so I guess many ended up stepped-on and broken. It includes a nice unidentified race car.

1975 - 1250 - TINY TOUGHS (Pick-Up Truck)

What I like most from this reference is the Honda Civic from the 70s drawn in the card! Very cool hatchback!

1972 - 2400 - HOP'D RODS (Hot Rod)

The seller had several models from this series, but I bought only one, the one that had the card in best condition. I love that illustration of a custom dragster car. Unfortunately, the toy model is not very well detailed.

1974 - 2435 - FARM TRACTOR

I don't like this model especially, but again, the illustration is wonderful. They should have placed that sticker in the bubble or somwhere else! Interestingly, the toy is made in U.S.A., but the wheels were assemble in Hong-Kong.

1975 - 2552 - RESCUE (Helicopter)

Amazing packaging! I wonder who painted all that stuff.

1976 - ? - TOUGHS HITCH-UPS (Pick-Up Van and Buggy)

This is my only Tootsie in some kind of "jewel-case" with cardboard base and bubble on top. The buggy seems to be based in a Matchbox Super King model, or not?

1976 - 2200 - VANTASTIC California Sports Van

Another cool packaging. The seller had it in this colour and also in pink, a clear exploitation of Charlie's Angel's Van. I picked this one don't know why. Maybe it had a better card, because in pink it is also extremely cool. That mid-west country landscape (Monument Valley?) is not bad either. The Van comes without back door, because, after all, it was some kind of budget model.

All cards and boxes include some text referring to the safety regulations at the time of the release, and some also came with a nice promotional offer in which you could buy a Tootsietoys t-shirt. The offer has expired long ago, but I would love to have one of those t-shirts now. How cool would that be?

  • Scale: Approx. 1:64 and 1:43
  • Year: 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1976
  • Company: Tootsietoy (U.S.A.)
  • Size: approx. 6 cm to 10 cm


  1. Sport Proto is a Jaguar D-type, the car on the transporter is apparently just called Wedge, its a drag racer. My grandmother held on to a few of my uncles toys from the mid 1960s and I'm pretty sure one or both of these were present.

    1. Hi hurricane, great to hear you and thanks for the comment. Sorry for the late reply, there seems to be a problem with blogger email notifications. I will update the info on the article as soon as possible.

  2. These toys are antiques in toys, I like FARM TRACTOR very much.


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