Mandarin (Singapore)
Mandarin was a Singapore company which made Matcbox-sized cars, and also apparently tanks (the military kind). It seems I'm not alone in my lack of knowledge about Mandarin. Brian Willoughby notes in his article on Doug Breithaupt's site that little is known about Mandarin.

Mandarin appears to have been extant sometime through the 60s and 70s. The two models I have are of a Chevy Camaro and Fair Lady (Z car). The Camaro is bigger than the Datsun, which is circa 1:66, but not as large as a 1:43 (around 1:55 perhaps?). The exterior and the interior are both crude, with wheels that are way too small for the car. The bottom reads "Mandarin, No 108, Chevrolet Camaro, Made in Singapore." The Datsun is closer to Matchbox-sized, and although it is crude as well, it isn't as glaring on the smaller size.. The doors have deep cuts in them and look as if they should open, but they don't. I have heard that this is a copy or reuses the casting of another make with doors that do open. Brian, in another article, speculates that Mandarin was influenced by the Tomica. Does anyone know if this was just influence or a direct copy (as the deep indentations in the doors may suggest)? Another interesting thing is that both the Camaro and the Datsun have yellow interiors -- was that the only color the interiors came in? The text on the bottom of the Datsun (No. 114) is similar to the Camaro.

As an aside, I just bought a car this last weekend (February 27, 2005) at a toy show that was made in Singapore -- a Gama BMW #894.

Mandarin Datsun Fair Lady (Z)
Mandarin Camaro
Mandarin Datsun Fair Lady scan of botom
Mandarin packge back

Marushin (Japan)

Toy company Marushin isknown for diecast airplanes, and action figures. I have a Lamborghini Silhouette, silver with black plastic interior, top and engine cover (which opens). It's not incredibly accurate (vent windows in the doors are particularly bad), but it has a couple of interesting features, neither of which I knew were on it when I bought it. First, there are black buttons beside each door. Push one, and the door pops open. Push a metal button under the front of the car, and the headlights pop up (though the headlights themselves are just stick-ons). I've seen the push button on another Marushin model, a Fiat Abarth 200 which has a canopy that opens this way.

The only other models I can find references to are a Lancia Stratos and a Porsche (perhaps in kit form).

Marushin Abarth 2000
Marushin Lamborghini Sillouette

Maxwell (India)
Okay, I know this is getting redundant, but you'll find an excellent article on Maxwell (as well as Milton, Nicky and Leo) by Kimmo Sahakangas on Doug Breithaupt's Web site.

I have a Maxwell catalog and will scan it as soon as I have a chance.
Maxwell box for Ambassador Mark II
Maxwell box for soda truck
Maxwell catalog (Adobe Acrobat needed)

McGregor (Mexico)
It took me a long time to find one of these on Ebay, but I finally was able to procure one from a man in Mexico.

McGregor was apparently the manufacturer of Politoys in Mexico -- whether is was a division of the Italian company or a company contracted to make Politoys in Mexico, I can't say. The car I have is a Cadillac in a strange gray. The front doors open. The bottom says ""Politoys No 69, Scala 1/41, Mexico, Cadillac Special Sedan." There is also a McGregor script beneath the gas tank imprint.

McGregor Cadillac Special Sedan
McGregor Cadillac Special Sedan bottom

Mebetoys logoMebetoys Logo 2 Mebetoys/Gran Toros/Hot Wheels (Italy)
Mebetoys is one of the companies I've included on this site even though there actually is a lot of information available -- not the least because it was eventually bought by Mattel.

According to, Mebetoys was formed by Marion Besana in Milan in 1966. The name stands for MEccanica BEsana TOYS. says that the company was sold to Mattel in 1969, while. says either 1970 or 1973. So the late Sixties, early Seventies anyway, when it became known as Mebetoys Mattel, with many of the cars marked as Gran Toros. Finally, the cars became Hot Wheels in 1982 until the factory closed down in 1985. For an excellent rundown of the history of Gran Toros, turn to, and for an overall view of Mebetoys, take a look at

Interestingly, Mario Besana also formed Martoys (MARio TOYS) in 1974, which then became Bburago (Besana BURAGO Molgora (referring to Burago Molgora, near Turin).

Apparently copies of Mebetoy cars are being made in Russia now, perhaps from the original molds.

Meboto (Turkey)
Ah, when I saw my Meboto Mercedes for sale on Ebay, I jumped to get it. How many people have a diecast car made in Turkey after all?

Meboto used the molds of Edil (Italy, 1965-1970), making cruder copies than the originals. In fact, you will still see the Edil name on the bottom of the models.

The Mercedes 250 SE is the car most often seen for sale, but I've also seen a Lamborghini Marzal, a Fiat 1500, a Ferarri 275, and a Lancia Flavia Coupe.

Meboto Mercedes bottom
Meboto box

Mercury (Italy)
Until I started looking into the company, I thought that Mercury only made 1:43 models. However, according to, they also made 1:90 through 1:120 scale models (check out the site for a list of models with some pictures. Also note per that there seems there was an American company making trucks and construction equipment in 1:90 scale under this name, apparently some made from Mercury molds.

There is a great article by Craig Mueller on Doug Breithaupt's Web site on Mercury. According to Craig, Mercury was based in Torino (Turin) from 1932 to 1980.... and, once again, I learned something new -- they also made Matchbox-sized models (1:66) under the name Speedy. Please take a look at the site to see lots of pictures and information.

Models using older Mercury molds have been released as Scottoy (you can see a list of the models on Model Auto Review).

Mercury Innocenti bottom

Metalbox GMK (Hungary)
See GMK Metalbox.

Metosul Logo Metosul (Portugal)
Metosul made some nice looking 1:43 models.Once again, did a great job of putting together info about this company. According to the site, it was founded by Artur and Alfonso Henriques in Portugal in the 40s as Luso Celuloide. What it means, I don't know -- online translators don't bring anything up for the two words. However, it's iInteresting there was another company in Portugal named Luso, but I don't know if they are connected, or if perhaps "Luso" is just a word like "toys" or "company" -- but if that's true why doesn't it show up in online dictionaries? It's a puzzlement, although "Celuloide" undoubtedly means "celluloid," or plastic.

The company at some point changed it's name to "Osul" (anybody know why, or what it means?), and then to "Metosul" (in the 1970s, according to when they turned to metal cars instead of plastic (METal OSUL).

July 3, 2008: I received an email from Joao-Manuel Mimoso, with some very helpful information:

"...I read a note in your site about Luso Celulóide/ Metosul with some interrogations in it. "Luso Celuloide" means "Portuguese Celluloid". The classical name of Portugal is "Lusitania" (the name of a Roman Province encompassing a large part of Portugal) and "Luso" is an adjective meaning "Portuguese". Celluloid is a plastic developped in the XIX century and nowadays only used in table tennis balls but very widely used in the first half of the XX century to manufacture photographic film and toys. Celluloid was available in sheets of several colours and could be heated and air-pressured against shaped moulds to form toys with minimal technology. One very common use was in the manufacture of dolls formed from thin pink-coloured sheets. "OSUL" is "luso" written backwards, a brand "Luso Celuloide" used for plastic toys. Metosul (from "Metal" & "Osul") was the brand of their metal diecasts."

Micro Models (New Zealand)
An old friend (and former roommate) came through town a couple of years ago on his way to New Zealand. I asked him if he had a chance to maybe drop by the Micro Models store to pick up a few models. One day I got a call: "Hi, this is Trent. I'm standing on the floor of the factory, and there are lots of cars sitting around... which ones do you want?"

Well, all of them, of course! But I settled for two or three...

As usual, I'm the first to say, "I'm wrong" (though certainly never the last!). I originally populated this listing with direct quotes found all over the Interent (as I stated, I'm a firm believer in giving credit, but the information had been used so many times vertabatim, I don't know whom to credit). The following information was kindly emailed to me by Ian Cousins of New Zealand. I've kept the orignal listing in n italics, with Ian's comments in red:

"E D DAW has written an extensive history of the Micro make which started in
around 1952 making die cast metal models for Goodwood Productions in
Australia - the plastic models came later from Perth, WA

The following should be attributed to E D Daw as it is taken directly from
his book "Micro Models: A Collectors' Guide" ISBN 0 9599351 2 6"

There are 6 ranges:

1952-61 Micro Models, Australia. ("The original john Brent/Goodwood items in metal")

1956-1960 Lincoln , NZ (founder was Lincoln Laidlaw, founder for Farmers!)
Note: Farmers is evidently a department store. Lincoln Laidlaw also formed
Lincoln Toys, which was the maker of Fun Ho! For a history of Lincoln
Toys, click here.

"Lincoln Laidlaw was the son of the founder of 'The Farmers. a department
store, - he did not make Fun ho! toys which were manufactured and designed
by Underwood Engineering of Inglewood, but did make Micro and many others
which were sold through his fathers chain of stores."

1970s Matai/Torro. Note: I can't find any background information on
"Matai/Torro." Can anybody help?

"This was the Meates Family - they produced Micro during this period but
after joining in a Government inspired venture they found themselves put
into receivership by the Government who they later sued. They managed to
get control of the dies, etc. again in the 1990s."

1982-83 Plastic models out of Perth.

"These are the Gosnells models."

1980s Repros made in Sydney. Note: I don't know if these were plastic or metal.

"Inspired by Pier Van Netten of Melbourne there were clearly marked Micro
Reproductions made in Australia by Weico in metal. Daw's book does not
mention any reproductions in plastic from Sydney."

1994 Christchurch, NZ (Meates family) -Note: these models were made using
the original dies.

"This is the Meates second "ownership" of the Micro model range - they
continue to produce them today from their Christchurch factory."

Thanks, Ian!

In addition, adds that the "Meates family" refers to K.F. Meates and Co. Ltd.

Plastic FJ van from Gosnells
Recent Holden wagon

Mikansue (England)
I was sure when I first heard about this model that it was Japanese. Surprise! It's English. The interesting name came from the combination of the first names of Mike and Sue Richardson (MIKe ANd SUE). Mikansue manufactured white metal 1:43 models until the late 80s.

An Internet check of Mike and Sue's names brought up this listing of several books by the couple and by Mike Richardson alone and with others. I'm assuming the diecast collector books are indeed by this Mike Richardson; I don't know if he has written any of the other books.

These models aren't known for their exact proportions; in fact, the most often quoted complaint are the "off" proportions. But this is not unusual for a boutique maker, especially in the latter part of the last century). The worst thing about my model (#17, a 1953 Studebaker) is the fact that I had to paint and build it. And let me be clear about this. There is a reason I always bought pre-built diecast cars and not plastic models. I suck as a model builder. I must have bought my model around 1984, because I specifically painted the model to match the 1955 Commander Sedan (the big kind) that I had at the time. Actually, beyond my poor building skills, there are other problems with the model. I've never been able to get the chassis to connect to the rest of the car -- the holes for the screws weren't properly drilled out. Two of the tires have also split.

Still, it's a nice addition to my collection of oddities.

Mikansue Studebaker
Mikansue Studebaker - another view
Mikansue Studebaker instruction sheet

Mikro (Bulgaria)
Talk about odd! These are Matchbox cars make in Bulgaria. I don't know if they come in any other scale, but my Mikro is a Super King (around 1:43) Datsun 240-Z, number K52. It is copyright 1974 by Matchbox Int'l Ltd. The only place the Mikro name shows up is on the box.

Mikro Datsun 240Z
Miro endap

Mikro Auto (Czech Republic)
(See Smer)

Milton/Miltan/Mini Auto Cars (India)
Milton was a Calcutta-based company that used U.K. dies to produce diecast models. For sure they used Corgi (the Commer van and Routemaster buses). I've read in several places that Milton was also spelled as Miltan, but that may be a self-perpetuating story on the Internet since I've never seen it verified.

I have a Studebaker Hawk which I have seen described on the net as being from the Dinky molds or a copy, but it think it's also a Corgi. Look at this photo of the bottom of the Corgi version, and compare with the Milton version. It seems the dies were severely wearing out by the time my Studebaker was made -- the driver's side fender is truncated and rounded off, and all the edges are generally rough.

The boxes of Milton models often say "Mini Auto" -- don't get them confused with either Ziss or Kaden, who also use the name. Sometimes the box fronts say "Milton Mini-Auto Cars," or "Milton Toys," and sometimes they don't say anything, just have the picture. You'll also often find writing on the flap which says "Miltan Mini-Toys," and yes, that is spelled with an "a."

Milton box without any text
Milton box flap with "Miltan"

Minialuxe (France)
1:43 plastic models, some with friction. I have read online that Minialuxe produced 1:43 plastic models of mostly French cars between 1954 and 1962. Other sites here and here say that the company started in 1959, and "faded" in the 70s. It actually has to be more toward the latter -- I found a Minialuxe model of a Ford GT 40 Mark IV online at Vectis, and the Mark IV came out in 1967, as well as a 1966 Volvo 144. My model is of a Siata 1500 TS, which came out in 1962. The odd thing about my model is that the hood is a separate piece, but it does not open -- or at least doesn't seem to.

Visit this site for photos of Simcas by Minialuxe.

Minialuxe Seat
Minialuxe Seat closeup (note that the hood looks like it should open)

Miniature Model Planning/Ebbro (China for Japan)
Yes, Ebbro exclusively makes Japanese cars (in 1:43 scale) -- but like nearly all other companies now, they are made in China. Or, as the bottom of my car (a Toyopet Crown) says, "Crafted in China." It actually is a beautifully made model, with a lot of silver "chrome" and a great paint job. The base is plastic, with a copyright date of 2000. What can be confusing is that the name Ebbro only appears on the box. On the bottom of the model itself is says Miniature Model Planning.

You can visit Great Eagle Trading Company to see what 1:43 cars are presently available. According to the site, "Ebbro is the trademark of Miniature Model Planning Limited (MMP Ltd.) of Shizuoka Japan. The director of MMP Ltd. is Mr. Makoto Kiya. He has appointed Great Eagle Trading Company of Hong Kong to be the non-Japanese countries exporter."

MMP has apparently also made some 1:87 models.

Ebbro/MMP Toyopet Crown

(This name was used by several unrelated companies. See Ziss, Milton and Kaden)

Mini-Lindy (USA)
(See Lindberg)

Minimac/Minibrindes (Brazil)
A brand made by Minibrindes in Brazil, concentrating on 1:43 Jeeps. The Minimac I have is an ambulance or Red Cross version. Mike Albright shows one of these Jeeps on his Web site, noting that the Jeep (in this case a Coca-Cola version) was a model of the Brazilian CJ-5 by Ford of Brazil up to 1983 (if you're a Jeep/Coke fan, definitely check out the pictures!). The company may still be in business, or at least up until recently. I found a Minibrindes Mercedes truck of recent vintage for sale on a South American auction site.

If you're interested in Latin Jeeps, be sure to check out this site. This site also mentions that "Jue" is a predecessor of Minibrindes. I've not been able to track down any information on this company.

Mini Réplicas (Argentina)
This was another model I just happened on through Ebay. The model I bought is a Valiant IV (actually a Dodge rear end on a Valiant front end) made in Argentina. It's made out of resin (once again, yes, it's not diecast, but hey, it's my site!). I only have the innter box, which says "Clàsicos Argentinos, Modelos exclusivos coleccionàbles en miniatura, Elaborado Artesanalmente en Córdoba - Argentina." It's neat because it's a model of a car you won't find in the U.S., but with a U.S. model name.

There was a telepone number and an email email address on the bottom of the inner box, so I contacted the address. I got an email back from Leonardo Vicentini in Argentina:

"I´m a 1/64 die cast collector. I made models (in) resin (of) the classic Argentinian cars like the Valiant IV. I have (also made models of the) Ford Falcon, Chevy Nova, Fiat 600 and more. I made alls the models and the
box(es). This valiant is in 1/64 scale, (handmade). It´s in various colors and taxi (livery) too."

Leonardo lives in Córdoba, Argentina, and is an enthusiastic diecast collector. He presently has 11 models:

Torino (ex-Rambler American) 380 w
Ford Falcon
Chevrolet Nova 1
Fiat 600
Ford Taunus Coupe
Fiat 133
Renault 6
Ford Falcon Rural
Valiant IV
Chevy Nova 1 Coupe
Dodge GTX

Many of the modesl are in various also available as taxis, ambulances, police and fire cars, all handmade and boxed. You can reach Leonardo at

Truthfully, the model I have is a little crude, but that's to be expected with a handmade object in this scale. The point is that somone is dedicated enough to even do it! Any of Leonardo's models would be a great additon to any collection.

Mini Réplicas Valiant IV and others
Mini Réplicas models

Mira (Spain, China)
Mira,part of Majorette/Solido since 2000, is is mostly known for large scale (1:18) cars. My interest, though, is in the 1:43-ish models (large scale is just too, well, large). I have a Seat Ritmo CLX and a Seat 1200 Sport, both of which are on par with other models of the period. The Mira Logo is one oval within another, with the word "mira" in a box in the middle.

You can read a history of Solido (and the Mira connection) at this site. Cars using the Mira name are, of course, now made in China.

Mira Seat 1200 Sport 1:43
Mira Seat 1200 Sport scan of bottom

Modeline logoModeline (Brazil)
The first time I had heard of Modeline was when I saw an Opel Corsa for sale in a Buenos Aires shop in 2003. It's a heavy 1:43 model, but not especially well made . When looked at closely, it has sort of a "blobbish" look, and it seems as though the doors on the original molds may have opened (and maybe they did if perhaps the mold used to belong to another company? Anyone know?). I did find a Web site for the company, and there is a translation available on the site. Like so many other companies, they appear to be concentrating on truck and bus models.

According to the site, Modeline came into being on July 10th, 1996. They made hand made 1:24 miniatures of the Palio (a Fiat ute). And they seem to be available for hire: "Nowadays we are capable of doing miniatures of any product in the miniaturizing scale wished by our clients and this justifies the statement: 'Whatever you think big Modeline does it small.'" Their English is not the best -- but it's better than my Portuguese.

Modeline Corsa bottom

Mukpo (Bulgaria)
More Matchboxes made in Bulgaria, these in 1:66-ish scale. They are listed on the bottom of the car as "Matchbox Int'l Ltd," so they are true Matchboxes. Like the Mikro, there is no marking of the Mukpo name except on the box.

Muky (Argentina)
The following was sent to me by Bob Frassinetti at the Buenos Aires Toy Museum (and again, if you haven't visited the site yet, take a moment to do it now!). Please note the following belongs to Bob and should not be copied without his permission. Bob also has Muky and others for sale... And thank you, Bob!

"Muky of Argentina is one other mystery within the history of toys made in our country. For collectors these are the Argentinean Hotwheels for the similarity with the American models. And ever since they first got hold of one of Muky’s models there’s been a constant doubt about the origin and production of these miniature wonders. Some say the castings were stole form the Mattel plant many years ago, and then brought to our southern country to begin production of a similar item under another brand name. Some others, the most uncontroversial ones prefer to believe that the similarity is the result of some god knows what coincidences. However most of us, without choosing either solution want to know the truth for sure, whether they were stolen, sold or copied, how and where did it happen, and most of all why.

"In order to solve that mystery, the Buenos Aires Toy museum, who has been working on the reconstruction of the Argentinean toy industry’s history for many years now, began to work on a deep and complicated research process. The first and foremost difficulty we had to face in advance was the lack of public or private information about this matter. Due to a continuum of political and economical critical situations the registration of most industrial activities of the 60s, 70s and 80s are not much.

"Confronted to the lack of records and in need of answers we began to trace down information lines we collected from fellow collector, who remembered to have heard someone saying something about Muky.

"Our hard work paid off, and we were able to contact Muky’s owners with which we had the honor of interviewing.
As a result of the interview we have some new and fresh information in order to begin to solve a part of this mystery.
As most of collectors might have noticed not all Mukys are the same. Some of them are fully made out of zamac –the metal material-, some others have the lower part in plastic. This difference is mainly the result of a change not only in the technique but in the owners. That is the difference you find in the lower part, with the full metal items showing a sign that reads “Super veloz” –super fast- and the ones with metal and plastic –which actually run faster, Induguay-. This corresponds to two different owners of the Muky company. "

Among the many other differences within the models is the box and blister packages alternatives, the full blue and white package is from the second Era in the production of Muky, while the more eclectic and colorful packages belong to the first Era.

But our goal was fixed in the main mystery we were looking to solve: the castings origin. When asking Muky’s most recent owner about the castings, he replied that the newest ones –the latest numbers in the series- were made by them in Argentina with local craftsmen, who were inspired in many of the cars they saw every day on the streets. He added that many of the first models were bought together with the company already producing them. He thought the previous owners had bought them in the States and brought them to Argentina to work with. But he had no further information on the matter.
The latest input in this matter is the result of the hard and complicated work carried on by the museum’s research team on Argentinean toys. Yes, the castings were bought in the States; no, they weren’t stolen from Mattel, nor they were bought from that company. Our latest information on the matter is that back in the early 50s Mattel wasn’t producing within their plant all their castings, but they bought them from third parties. It had been this casting craftsman the one who sold those Hotwheel alike castings to Muky. They were brought to our country and set off to production. The similarity is crystal clear, the differences appear in quality and finishing touches, as well as in the way those cars run.

Therefore, Muky of Argentina, aka the Argentinean Hotwheels share the same original castings with the Mattel diecasts, but not only where they not stolen, but they were legitimately bought and put into production.

One highlight about the Muky models is an outstanding difference with most of the 70s Argentinean diecasts, for they had produced an interesting number of concept diecast cars. A line of visionary models which were to come in the international market and that would be a design breakthrough within the industry that was anticipated in the world of toys. And one of those avant-garde companies was Muky. A highly treasured item very appreciated in the world of collectibles.

For this information is so precious to us all collectors, the Buenos Aires Toy museum is furthering on this research projects into an upcoming catalog like book, with all the latest information on the subject together with a detailed list of all Muky models available throughout its history."

Muky Lincoln Continental -- the bottom of the car says "Lincoln Continental, Muky, 12, Induguay, Ind Arg"
Muky Box

Copyright 2013 by Keith Bickford. All rights reserved. No portion of this site may be reproduced without written permission. Quoted passages reamain the proper of the respective authors.