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37,152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In 1932, Mercury was founded by Attilio Clemente and Antonio Cravero in Turin, Italy. They started out making small parts for automobile manufacturers. Later on they were an importer for the German Marklin company. Diecast models were first made by Mercury around 1945 thru to the 1970s.

Many different models were made during their early years in various scale sizes. They started out in 1:40 scale. These cars were more like Tootsietoy castings with primarily a body piece, no window or interior and post mounted wheel sets.

In 1955, the changed to 1:48 scale. And then in 1962, went to 1:43 scale, as their production standard. But, they also made some models in a smaller 1:80th scale and some even bigger than 1:40th scale.

Among their castings of different cars and vans during this time were the Aero, Farina, ad Ercole.

A unique characteristic of the early Mercury castings are that the wheels were painted to match the body color.

Model numbers ranged from 40 to 49 with some models being dropped out of production and new casting models replacing them with the same series number.

In the late 1950s, a series of construction vehicles were added to the Mercury line up. These casting molds were passed from diecast company to diecast company over the next 25 (?) years, until they ended up at Universal Group, under the ownership of David Yeh. The last castings made using these molds were issued under Universal's Kidco band of diecast.

The "Speedy" line up of models was comprised of 1:66 scale sports cars from the late 1960s. They carried a casting number range in the 800s without the Mercury name on the base plate. Each had silver painted wheel hubs and a metal base.

The French fuel company Elf, used Mercury Speedy castings for one of their promotional giveaways.

Their "Micro" series was begun in the 1970s, and had plastic base plates. These castings were also issued with a casting number range in the 800s.

Sahakangas, et al, notes that Physio-Chem and World Toy House were two American distributors of Mercury (Italy) "Speedy" products during the early 1970s. The Physio-Chem offerings as "Speedy" cars could be found on either blister cards or in window boxes. The packages for the World Toy House company carried a tag line of "as seen in LIFE"(magazine) in the top left corner of their blistercards. As above, this series of castings did not carry the Mercury name.

They also include a listing for Mercury Industries (USA), but only refer the reader back to Mercury (Italy). Also included in their encyclopedia is a listing for a brand name of Lit'l Toys which are noted to be made in the USA, during the 1970s. This entry notes Lit'l Toys to be synonamous with Mercury Industries (USA). The Lit'l Toys models are a series of construction vehicles known to have also been made by Mercury (Itlay) previously. Mercury (Canada) is another different company division name noted to also be a maker of the previous Mercury (Italy) construction castings for the Canadian market. Later these same constructon castings were offered by Gibbs (USA) in the 1970s and then by Universal Group (USA) under their own name and for Dinky (USA) in their Mini Dinky line up, all as referenced by Sahakangas, et al.

Mercury stopped making diecasts in 1978 with the last model produced being the Fiat Ritmo.

Mercury 1:43 (
MicroMercury - 1948 to ?; 1:80 scale
Speedy (Mercury Models) - 1969 to 1973
Minimotors (?) - Repackaged 1/66 Mercury Speedy, Norev, etc. small scale models for the US market. (?)
Motorcycles - 1972(?)


Micro Mercury (1:87)
Lancia Aprilia

Speedy (Mercury Models) - 1:66

Sourced references -

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

37,152 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Waiting out the rain delay on the dvr for NASCAR Darlington, so I ran back through the Mercury Speedy history. Went ahead and moved the Speedy casting threads into here and added a history reference thread for them too.

The MML will still have both entrie as a maker and a brand, but will (eventually) link back to here at both. :cheers2:
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