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25,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Summer was based in Hong Kong and founded in 1979. In its early history, Summer was known as Summer Metal Products Manufacturing, Ltd. Their American marketing office was located in Los Angeles and known as Summer Toys.

They are known for producing 3" (1:64) castings with crude details, but with an extensive lineup of many popular cars and trucks from the time with most still in production as of 2006. One casting, the 1949 Tucker, is the only known casting in this size. They are even better known as the maker of some very nice series of 5" (1:36) scale castings issued under the Sunshine (?) brand name. They have seriel numbers starting with SS. They also made (make ?) castings for Kidmart/Kinsmart (?).

Some of the different early Summer brand offerings included - "Motor Force" - which were imported into Canada by Cobra, who was based in Richmond Hill, Ontario; Komoon, with offices in both Agincourt and Scarborough, Ontario, as single carded cars; and PK (Douglass) Toys and Toy Galaxy (Canada); "Mini Sedan Cars"; "Classic Cars"; 'Cheetah" and many others (see also listed brands below).

Early castings had metal bodies and plastic bases with the interior molded as part of the base or with no interior. A very few number of castings also had opening doors and usually had chromed interiors. The Porsche 944, Mercedes-Benz 350SL, BMW 325i Cabrio and Jaguar XJ-S are unique castings to this 'premier edition models' series. Other castings had opaque window piece and no interiors (?). These type of bargain castings were usually found in (2) packs or up to 50 multi car sets. The Ferrari 308GTB casting can also be found with a friction pull-back motor.

In the 1970s, they also offered a (6) car gift pack of luxury, sport, rally and Grand Prix related vehicles packaged as "Diecast Speed Wheel" with the Summer logo

Early castings can be identified by a series # starting with an 'S' or with the Summer name and 'SM' logo on the base.

They also marketed their castings to different distributors under different blister card named products - such as, Cansia Toys & Gifts' "Classic Cars"; Gordy's "Die-Cast Mini-Mite"; ETW Co Ltd - based in Scarborough, Ontario, who issued (5) car boxed sets called "5 Car Collection Set and "Rescue Set" among other series, not listed; JA-RU's "LeMans" series; Oak Brook Distributors Inc's "Motor Force"; and Megatoys' 'Mega Movers" ; Tuftoys with casting marked with both the 'S' or 'UT' prefixed #s.

Summer also made castings for an early series marketed by JRI (Road Champs) known as 'Junior Die-cast Metal'.

Summer probably also made the castings offered by Marki.

Mid-Western Home Products included a Summer made casting called the "4" Fire Truck" in their product range.

S+D Sales marketed their "Diecast Metal Trucks" series using Summer made castings.

Summer's line of classic antique cars were market in Canada by EDL as "Classic Cars"

In 1975, Diamond Toymakers distributed their "Tiny Mites" brand series using Summer made castings. Their "Danger: Explosives" branded blister cards also included some Summer made castings in 1976. Some of the blister cards from this series are mistakenly printed as 'Diamond Toymarkers'.

In the 1980s, Newman Importing's "Solid Wheels" series included Summer and Universal castings. Gordy used Summer made castings in their "Diecast Mini-Mite" branded series. And Harmony distributed Summer made castings in their "Dust Busters" (?) and "Free Wheeling Classics" line up,

In the early 1980s, Elmar used Summer castings in an unamed offering. Martin Zamir's used them in their Marz Karz brands series of "Classic Fast Wheels", "Fire Engine" and "Street Racer"; NSG Marketing Corp marketed Summer made castings in their "Traffic Stoppers Sportwheels" series.

In the mid 1980s, Charterking (GPI) Ltd, a Hong Kong importer based in Hong Kong exported their "Speed Wheels" series to America. They uniquely used round blister cards.

In the 1980s, Canadian Tire offered a series of Summer made cars from their "Classic Car" series to their customers.

In the early 1980s, Woolworth distributed Summer made castings in their "Diecast Metal Car" series.

In 1981, Newman Importing Co also used (4) Summer antique casting models in their "Solid Wheels" series.

In the late 1980s, Summer provided castings to West Coast Liquidators for their Pic 'n' Save offerings of "Pick- Up Trucks" or "Sport Cars"

In the 1990s (?) Lidco also imported Summer made "Neon Force" and "Color Force" color changing castings into Canada.

In the 1990s, Megatoys began distributing a series of 2 pack castngs called "Mega Movers". Along the way they began using Summer castings up thru 2006. Woolco (Canada) offered them in (5) packs from their Canadian stores.

In the mid 1990s, Dylex Ltd, based in Toronto, Ontario distibuted a ten car set called "Fast Wheel Car Collection" made up of Summe made castings to Canadian BiWay stores. The packaging did not identify Summer on them.

In the (late (?) 1990s, Kidmark's "Max Pack" sets used some Summer model and some other castings from unknown makes. Manley Toys distributed a 25 car set of Summer maded castings called "Wheel Force".

From 1995 to 2000, Summer was making castings for a Boley series called "Sport Rally". They were found from time to time with 'BC Los Angeles' on the packaging.

In 1997, IBN International, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota marketed a 'Matchbox' themed bath soap bars and shampoo products that included a Summer casting within the package. Prestige USA distributed their "Kalvin Collection" as a (2) car blister card pack.

In the late 2000s, Polyfect marketed Summer made small scale diecast in (5) packs at dollar type stores.

In the early 2000s, Blue Box was still making its "Parking Garage" set and had begun using Summer made castings. Houseware Products also began marketing their "Toy Box Selections" around this time using Summer made castings. They had peviously marketed "Sonic Force" and "Motor Force" which included versions of the Mercedes-Benz station wagon and van models in both lines during the 1970s (?).

In 2001, they added their first metal based casting in the form of a front end loader construction vehicle. This casting is a copy of a (former) Tomica casting, as are several others in this line up. Copies of (former) Matchbox casting versions are also noted.

In 2002, Simplifun released their "Pocket Stakkr Garage" offering. This cross brand item with RC Ertl's "Stackers" is a clear plastic compartment that came with a Summer made casting. The packaging shows a copyright date of 1995 and a patent # for (?).

Around 2003, Imperial was using Summer made castings in part of their diecast offerings that year.

In 2004, Hua Yi issued a (4) piece set named "Motor Super Stars" using Summer castings. Gillette's Oral B brand of toothbrushes teamed with Disney and either Golden Wheels or Summer to make a crude diecast series distributed with toothbrush sales.

In 2005, several new castings similiar to previous Pioneer (Toys) castings were added to the Summer line up.

By 2006, they had already changed their name to Summer Metal Products Manufacturing Company, Ltd (2004(?) with their main offices located in Kowloon, Hong Kong and their manufacturing plant located in Shenzhen, China. K-Mart's "Just Kidz" brand line featured Summer made castings this year.

Other companies that have distributed Summer castings with their own diecast accessories were - Talentoy's "3-Level Parking Tower" which came with (6) assorted Summer vehicles and Toy Sales, based in Downview, Ontario marketed Summer made castings as "Silver Sport" at Canadian Drug City locations. The 'crude' castings came with trailers (with loads(?) following behind.

MB is noted to have a similiar logo to Summer, but no other assocation is given.

Attributed resources -

membership - @Motorcade
The Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers by Sahakangas, Weber and Foster (2006)

25,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
A question was raised about the timeline of Summer's history from the mid 1970s to 1979 when all current references show Summer as being established in1979.

I was able to find and add a new more recent resource - from February 2019 - that supports that timeline and history as presented above. A better indication is given there telling of the early use of 'SM' for Summer Metal Products Manufacturing Ltd. early on and just 'S' used later - around the late 1970s - on their diecast bases.

The new resource article also carries the negative references common to many diecast brands like Summer as a cheaply made - crudely detailed - knock off of other brands that is 'undesireable' to collectors. But, goes on to give build information showing moving parts, detacheable parts, fire engine pumper contol dashboards, hoses and even one with what looks like a firefighter figure standing on the tailboard. Each of these castings are also attributed to have been copied from another brand, but here again are also described as being made in a smaller sized/larger scaled version with different casting details, configurations and less detail then the previous said 'copied' model.

For me, that is unfortunate, because the Fire Engine models shown at this new resource have way more detail than any Hot Wheels I remember from that era. And the same or even more than similiar Matchboxes I can recall or have seen from the era. And one also has to remember that both Hot Wheels and Matchbox had to 'copy' many of their casting designs from real life vehicles as well and also followed after previous diecast models that had been or were still also being made by other brands from all around the world as well. And they were also designed and made in differenct scales from each other, with different details and configurations as well. Just like the other diecast manufacturers were doing and still do today. So one has to ask why they are constantly and inaccurately being referrered to as 'copied' from other brands.

At the end, Pigott also notes the castings would be of interest and unique to a fire apparatus/equipment collector. Here, I would have to agree with him on that assessment.


25,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Over the past 2 or 3 days I have been working my way thru the 3 dozen or so 'distributor' type brand associations included in the Diecast Encyclopedia just for the Summer diecast production history. :willy_nilly:

I feel like they deserve another run through at some point, but will probably circle back around to them at a later date for now. :cheers2:

I have settled on a presentation format for now of including distribution, import and marketing company thread with one of the primary companies they worked with as a better know brand in that sub forum. If they only worked with one referenced brand, I tried to include them within that known brands own history thread. If the association was only implied or suggested as probable - those may also have their own history thread.

Summer has had the most named associations that do not also have a cross reference to a listed brand in the Diecast Encyclopedia. They also have had the most unlisted references to other brand entries, too! To save time I have not chased additional WWW information on them at the moment I was hoping to finish up with them before the migration occured tomorrow, but that has been delayed for the moment.

I was also planning to take a break from researching and post entries this weekend, but with the migration delay - may pick it back up later on, but will see you guys next month otherwise.


25,980 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
This evening I made another run through the last see also brand names for Summer and incorporated their information and links to other threads. :cheers2:
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