- Written by webmin
You may remember them as “Pocket Cars,” small-scale die-cast cars sold in a blistercard that resembled a denim pocket, in the ’70s and ’80s. Made by Tomica, they were a sort of Japanese homage to Matchbox – opening features (the doors closed with a particularly firm click), sprung suspension, and fine detailing. Cars were a mix of Japanese cars we knew and loved like the Datsun B210 and Toyota Celica, Japanese cars we’d never heard of like the Isuzu 117 and Toyota Century, and some foreign cars for good measure – Cadillac Sedan de Ville, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, Ford Mustang II. They disappeared from our shores about 25 years ago, seemingly never to return. Two Tomica castings turned up in the Racing Champions Fast & Furious line of die-cast cars half a dozen years ago, but no more were forthcoming. But now, it’s official: Tomica is returning to America!
The rollout starts in September, and will be exclusive to a certain chain that we are not allowed to name yet. (So stay tuned… ) Some vehicles will be sold with “play maps” – illustrated mats with drawn-on building features; cars will include the Mitsubishi Fuso Aero Queen bus, the Daihatsu Mira kei-car, the genre-bending Mitsubishi i-MiEV, and others. Other cars will be part of more extensive play sets – the new Subaru Legacy sedan, for example, will be part and parcel of the Hypercity Gas Station set, while the hilariously named Super Big Set will include a Mazda MPV (not the version most recently sold here, although it looks near enough to it) and a Toyota Harrier, better known in some quarters as the Lexus RX300/RX350. The Mega Station set will come with two cars, including the Mazda Axela, known here as the Mazda3. Best of all, pricing is said to start in the $4.99 range and go up from there, depending on the size of the set.
For now, all cars will be decorated in the same colors and level of detail as they are sold in the home market, though this may change. No word yet on when/if some of the new upcoming Tomica castings, like a new Suzuki Alto and Nissan Elgrand, or models that will arrive on these shores like the Nissan Fuga (Infiniti M-series) and Honda CRZ hybrid, will be integrated into the line following their fourth quarter arrival in Japan. That said, we’re told that cars from American and European manufacturers may be on the horizon. Will these be newer tools like the Hummer H2 (RIP) and the Smart, or will Tomica actually resurrect older tools like the Citroen SM? Time will tell.