Bandai (Japan)
If you're like me, when you think of Bandai you immediately jump to tin (I have one myself, though it's not really something I normally collect). But according to an article by Chris Sweetman in the May, 2006 edition of Diecast Collector (again, VERY expensive on this side of the Atlantic, but invaluable), they also made 1/43 diecast cars.

Manufactured in the mid to late 70s as the BEC 43 series (BEC an acronym for Bandai Exact Collection), there were the usual Japanese cars, as well as Italian and German.

Bandai Buick wagon
Bandai Buick wagon 2
Bandai Buick wagon bottom

Barlux (Italy)
I haven't had a chance to look too far into Barlux.... but an electronic translation of a German site says that Barlux ran from 1972 to 1983 in Bologna. The site mentions two of the types of cars I’ve seen – 1:66 formula race cars and Fiat Campagnolo vehicles (think Jeep) in various liveries (military, ambulance, offroading, snow use, etc.). The site mentions that at least some of the dies went to China, noting that the author owns a camper that is identical to the Barlux models which was made by Jaditoys. I’ve also read that at least some dies went to Giodi – or, perhaps because Giodi itself went under in 1993, the dies went to China through that company. The Giodi logo is similar in using the steering wheel:
So it has been suggested that the companies are one and the same. Maybe. But using a steering wheel for car models isn’t all that big of a stretch.

Benbros (Qualitoy, Mighty Midget, T.V. Series) (England)
Also Zebra Toys. These toymakers were originally known as Benson Brothers. They are about the same size as early Matchbox cars, though with arguably cruder detailing.

I've found an excellent round-up of the toys (good job, Nick and Debbie!), and I encourage you to drop by. Although it is primarily a Matchbox site, they also cover Benbros, Charbens, DCMT, Husky, and other lesser known British brands. An interesting aside is that the T.V. Series has nothing to do with TV other than the boxes, which look like small TVs.

Benbros Chevy Wagon
Benbros Chevy box

Bestbox/Efsi (Holland)
Bestbox is an earlier incarnation of the Netherlands-based Efsi. According to Doug Breithaupt, Efsi has been in production under one name or another since 1962 (Note from the editor: Jan Clevering pinpoints it as 1959, below) . Doug calls the castings as “quite Matchbox-like,” and I agree. The Citroen Break #2510” I have is the Matchbox that Matchbox never made. Bestbox models are the same smaller size as early Matchbox models.

I received a wealth of information from Jan Clevering regarding Bestbox and Efsi so I'll just go straight to his email.:

"Started around 1959. The factory was set up by the Dutch government to get disabled people to have a job. First models consist of DAF models, most probable promotionals for this company. Never seen boxes for these items. The models consist of DAF 600, DAF 1600 fire truck, DAF 1600 garbage truck, DAF 1600 (long nose or torpedo) Tipping truck, DAF 1600 (long nose) Tipping truck DAF 1600 (long nose) delivery truck.

"The trucks most probably are not 1400 models.

"After that the company made more models. Notable are of course the Ford model T trucks. I am not here to give a full list of all miniatures made by Best-box. Around 1971 the name changed to Efsi. I got a package from 1970 with Best-box on it, after that the packaging changed. A brochure of 1972 (printed in 1971) shows the name Efsi. Why the name change? Not really obvious, but maybe Best-box felt the name looked to much like Matchbox, not good for your corporate identity. (Note from the editor: It may have also been that Matchbox demanded the name change. Corporations are very aggressive trying to stop any names even close to theirs). The new name hints at the organisation behind the miniatures, FSI. (Translated something like Federation for Social Integration). If you pronounce the abbreviation in Dutch (very fast) it will sound like èfsi.

"The company changed names again, around 1988. Why is not apparent to me, but as far as I can get, the Federation was closed down, so was the factory. After 1988 the dies were taken over by Holland-Oto, and remains into business today. They have a website You will see BOVA busses, DAF, Volvo, Mercedes and MAN trucks.

"Talking about your links: Holland-Oto is the same company as Compact Specials Europe (CSE), which is the mother company of JOAL (according to the Dutch Chamber of Commerce), which has ties to Pilen and AHC... Very complicated indeed! I suppose the German website is from a company which was the importer of Efsi in Germany and after the closure of Efsi they remained in business under the same name."

Bestbox Citroen Break
Efsi Citroen Dyane
Efsi Ford Model T
Efsi BMW
Efsi Telcom Truck

BRM logoBig River Models (BRM) (Australia)
According to Model Auto Review, the address (as of 1999) was PO Box 210, Newport Beach NSW Australia 2106 – but who knows if they’re still there?

I have found one Big River Model of a Holden passenger car, but they seem to generally be Holden pickups and flat bed trucks. They are made out of resin, with wheels which don’t turn (this, at least, describes my BRM 017 Holden HG 1 Tonner). In the bed of my pickup is a small slice of wood as a bed floor.

Big River Models Holden

Bonux (France)
More plastic cars! According to “87th Scale,” these HO-size cars were offered as a premium for Bonux, a French laundry detergent company. “87th Scale”mentions that most of the cars were made by Cle, but I haven’t been able to find any evidence to show that any were made by another other companies but Cle.

Bonux Renault
Bonux Simca

Brosol (Brazil)
It's sometimes difficult to look up a model on Ebay because it is a common word, or it is used by one or more other products. One of these is Brosol. If you've put "Brosol" into the Ebay search engine, you've undoubtedly come up with mostly carburetors for VW. The reason is simple: the company that made those carburetors also made these models, with molds provided by Solido of France. I don't know what the business relationship was (Owned by Solido? Models licensed by Brosol?), but I do know the cars were made in the "golden age" of miniatures -- the late 60s through the early 70s. No letters, please -- when I say "golden age," I mean never before or since have so many models been made in so many different countries.

Apparently the boxes for these cars, as well as the model bottoms, say "Solido." The only defining mark is an "Industria Argentina" sticker on the bottom of the car and/or this sticker on the base of the plastic case.

Buby and Mini-Buby/Collector’s Classics (Argentina)
Buby logoBuby logo

My first of these miniatures (purchased in the 80s) from Argentina was the 1:43 IKA Torino – a local version of the Rambler American. After a trip to Buenos Aires in 2003 I picked up more 1:43 and some Matchbox-sized examples. (By the way… I’ve found seller “13087” on Ebay to be fair and trustworthy -- and a nice guy to boot. I’ve bought from him over Ebay -- be warned it’s not cheap to send money or ship! -- and had the pleasure of meeting him in Buenos Aires.)

Speaking of that Torino (a 380W to be specific), I have that version I bought in early 80s, as well as two later versions I bought in Buenos Aires (for the "Edicion 1999" collection). Although the earlier version has plain black plastic wheels and grey bumpers, it does have opening doors and an overall quality look that the later versions lack (it’s the shiny wheel blobs that do the later versions in, I think). Other differences are a springy suspension on the newer versions (at least in the rear), and a multi-piece grille and headlights (new versions) versus a one-piece (older).

The models Buby manufactured will look familiar to American eyes, but ever-so-slightly off kilter, which makes them so much fun. Imagine… a 60s Ford Falcon with square headlights and rectangular taillights…

Buby also manufactured a series of American classic cars of the 50s and 60s under the Collector’s Classics name. Each car is numbered and includes the name of the person who built it (I have a 1954 convertible, number 3.09459 which was built by Susi).

You can read an excellent article on Buby on Joe's Diecast Shack site. It’s by Bob Frassinetti at the Buenos Aires Toy Museum, but I can’t seem to find the article on that site – which, by the way, is a must to visit.

Buby Chevy 1:43
80s Buby Torino 1:43
Newer Buby Torino 1:43
Buby XR4 Coupe 1:64
Buby "Cupe Fuego" 1:64
Collector's Classics ID Card
Collector's Classics Important News letter
Collector's Classics certificate

Budgie (England)
Budgie was another Matchbox competitor. Its cars were always in the simple early Matchbox style, with no plastic windows or interiors.

Budgies were a product of Morestone (Morris & Stone) until 1966. I am told that the dies were sold at least a couple of times before they came into the hands of a company called Autocraft, though I could only find differing versions of a VW pickup on their Web site (

The most likely item you will find with the Budgie name on it is a Routemaster bus (the ubiquitous – well, until 2004 anyway – double decker English bus). I bought one in England in the late 80s or early 90s, being the tourist I was. If you’re interested in these buses, check out

Budgie Double-decker bus, circa 1988
Budgie Austin Westminster wagon

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