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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Based in Bensenville, Illinois, Kidco was organized in 1977, as a marketing operation for Universal Toys (Products) in the USA.

The Kidco brand of diecasts were issued with the copy right date of 1979 and were available through the early 1980s. Most of the castings in the line up had already been issued by Universal Group. They were made in either Hong Kong or Macau. In Britain, they were issued with Dinky base plates and sold as Dinky Toys.

Other Kidco bases didn't use the Kidco name either. Some were issued as only 'Made in Hong Kong'. Others used the square shaped Universal logo. While others added the 'Tough Wheels' seires name or the encircled 'U'.

After Universal, who was owned by David Yeh, had purchased Matchbox in the 1970s, they issued the Kidco "Burning Key Cars" as a Matchbox line (?) until the mid 1980s. These castings used a key-activated launch system. Irwin Toy (USA) is noted to have issued and had them made in China as "Blazin' Key Cars". (Is one (or both) of these series now the ones being offered by Maisto?)

The Kidco brand series were called "Tough Wheels". Their lineup was divided into groups and included American made cars and trucks. And a line of European models as well. The 'Tough Wheels' assortment of castings also included the constructon equipment models made first by Mercury of Italy, then Mercury of Canada and later by Gibbs (USA).

Themed multi packs and TV/Movie related series included - "M*A*S*H*", "Magnum PI", and "Knight Rider" among others.

Another series was called "Bumper Blasters". These castings 'exploded' when the front bumper mechanism contacted a solid surface.

A series of cars called "Demolition Cars" fell apart with a key activated mechanism. These castings have the series name included on the base plate.

And the "Lock Ups" series used a key to put the cars in 'park'.

Another series using Laser printed packages featured a casting with (2) trading cards included.

The Technica brand was a range of 1:28 models, made up of street cars and racing cars. Some of their models were sold in the USA under the "Kidco Tough Wheels" brand.

Sourced references -

Kidco | hobbyDB
Eidai | hobbyDB
Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers - Sahakangas, Foster & Weber (2006)
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