Out of all of the motor sports in the world, NASCAR is undoubtedly the one with the greatest number of fans interested in collecting its memorabilia, and diecast NASCAR cars are one of these popular items. However, you don't have to religiously watch the races to be a fan of these brightly colored scaled-down models of the infamous stock cars that race around the track, and you can add a pop of color and character to your vintage collections with these cheap collectibles.
NASCAR and Diecast Models
Diecast automobiles have been around since the early 20th century, while newer toy car brands such as Corgi, Matchbox, and Hot Wheels are well-known today. As sports collectibles grew in popularity, so too did motorsport companies' interest in partnering with these major toy brands to create licensed products. NASCAR, by being a race car organization, is one such organization that's suitable for commissioning scale-model automobile replicas of their famous fleet. In fact, one could easily say that NASCAR racing and diecast models have an ideal marriage.
Types of Collectible NASCAR Diecast Cars
NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, and a variety of famous drivers' cars from races over the past few decades are available to collect. For example, reproductions of specific drivers' race cars from the NEXTEL Cup and Busch series are available as well as diecast pickup trucks from their Craftsman Truck competitions. Since NASCAR's cars are also painted and decorated many different ways to advertise sponsors such as Goodwrench, M&Ms, Skoal, Lucas Oil, and Mountain Dew, their scaled-down diecast models offer a great variety of colorful toys to collect.
Famous Racers With Collectible Diecast Models
Some people collect model cars by race teams, while others are interested in specific drivers. Many NASCAR drivers are represented by diecast models, and several of these legendary names include:
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr
- Carl Edwards
- Jeff Gordon
- Kevin Harvick
- Kenny Irwin
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kasey Kahne
- Bobby Labonte
- Ken Schrader
- Rusty Wallace
Valuable Vintage NASCAR Diecast Models
On the whole, you're not going to be able to go on vacation with the money that you make off of vintage diecast cars. That being said, they're a small and easy thing to collect, meaning that they don't tend to fall out of favor with market fluctuations as quickly as other collectibles can. It also helps that there's a dedicated (and growing) NASCAR fanbase who loves to purchase merchandise, particularly from NASCAR's heyday in the 1970s-1990s.
If you've got a huge collection or you're interested in turning this into more than just a hobby, you can sign up to become a member of the Diecast Registry for $49.99 a year and get access to their two price guides--the first based on book values and the second based on current sales. According to the Diecast Registry's information and recent sales, these are a few of the most valuable NASCAR diecast models that collectors look for today:
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. 1998 Daytona 500 Chevy Monte Carlo - Listed for $1,900
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. #3 Bass Pro Shops Monte Carlo - Sold for $84.43
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. Autographed #81 KFC NASCAR Diecast - Sold for $28
Unique Cars to Collect
Additionally, NASCAR scale models are often more valuable if they're signed by the race car driver associated with that particular automobile. Likewise, the car's history can be important, like any collectible or antique. Here are a few cars with pop culture tie-ins that make them special:
- Dale Earnhardt, Sr - Before this popular race car driver died in the 2001 Daytona 500, he was on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box. One collectible NASCAR is a Wheaties diecast car from his Wheaties/General Mills sponsorship, and another of the driver's race cars was painted by the pop artist Peter Max. In short, if it was one of Dale Earnhardt Sr's, it's collectible.
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby - The Talladega of the title refers to Talladega, Alabama, the home of the Talladega Superspeedway. Collectible NASCARs released in conjunction with the film are modeled after race cars driven by this comedy's fictional characters. There's Ricky Bobby's Laughing Clown Malt Liquor #26, as well as Jean Girard's Perrier #55 and Cal Naughton, Jr's Old Spice #47.
- Tony Stewart Race Car - Cars that've been signed by the driver they're modeled after are quite desirable, such as the Tony Stewart Race Car is a Limited Edition Home Depot Race Car with Autographed Transporter Trailer and Crew Truck that was released a few years ago.
Resources for Collecting NASCAR Diecast Cars
Team Caliber, Revell, and Action are a few of the companies that manufacture NASCAR diecast models, while MATCHBOX and Hotwheels have entered the race, too. Currently, Lionel Racing is the official NASCAR partner for making diecast cars, and these diecast stock cars are often made in limited quantities, so there's definitely a thriving second-hand market.
- NASCAR Diecast and Model Cars by Bill Coulter - If you are thinking about starting a collection, Coulter's book might be useful to learn more about a variety of collectible NASCARs.
- NASCAR - Although there're many online stores that sell collectible NASCARs, the official NASCAR site is still important to visit. In addition to its coverage of NASCAR stock car racing, which is worthwhile for any hobbyist or race fan, there's an auction site and a store where you can browse products by driver and series, or by specific item types like diecast models.
- Diecast Cars Now - Diecast Cars Now includes a complete list of NASCAR drivers with all of the items the company currently has in their inventory. There's also a list of upcoming products with their expected delivery date, a profile of each driver and a section that includes news that's relevant to the diecast collectors.
Best Tips to Sell NASCAR Diecast Cars
Since Lionel Racing is the official NASCAR partner for making diecast cars and makes a profit off of them, it just goes to show how these quaint collectibles are still being bought today. However, NASCAR on the whole is a more niche collector's market, and you're going to find it a bit more difficult to sell off a massive collection of NASCAR diecast cars.
When it comes to selling these cars at auction, eBay is one of the main arenas for these collectors to find their newest additions. If you can find a collector's group or showcase coming to your area, these are also great places to look to connect to people in your area with a similar interest and sell or trade pieces of your collection. However, should you find a showcase, make sure that you don't need any permits or booths to sell your cars there.
Additionally, if you're curating a collection to put to sell, a few things you should think about that can increase how desirable they are and the likelihood that they're going to sell well are:
- Notable drivers - Picking cars that were ratio reproductions of famous drivers' cars over the years, like Dale Earnhardt's, Jeff Gordon, and Richard Petty to name a few, are an almost surefire way to sell a few ones quickly.
- Autographed - Of course, any NASCAR memorabilia that's been signed by a driver or team personality is going to sell faster (and for greater amounts) than those without any signatures, making them a great place to start.
- Original packaging - Additionally, collectors are always willing to sell more for pieces in their original packaging, so you'll have a greater chance of selling ones in that condition.
Start Your Engines to Grab These Collectibles
Collecting NASCAR diecast toys is a fun hobby that the whole family can enjoy. Whether you decide to have a general collection of NASCAR items or limit your collection to a favorite driver, type of car or model size, when you find a perfect addition to your collection, you'll feel like you just went 500 laps on the racetrack in first.