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32,948 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 well known for producing 3" scale (1:64) castings with attributed crude details, but with an extensive lineup of many popular cars and trucks from the time period. Most of which where still in production as of 2006.

One casting, the 1949 Tucker, is the only known casting made in this size. This casting is shown in The Diecast Encyclopedia without a center head lamp and may be based on a 1949 prototype vehicle that was being developed with chassis #1057 by their in house Tucker designer - Alex Tremulis.

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. These have serial numbers starting with an SS prefix. They also have made (and may still 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.

PK (Douglass) Toys and Toy Galaxy (Canada); "Mini Sedan Cars"; "Classic Cars"; 'Cheetah" and many others (see more known brand associations listed below).

Early castings had metal bodies and plastic bases with the interior molded as part of the base or with no interior depictions. A very few number of castings also had opening doors. These usually had chromed interiors present as well. (Neither of these later traits being typical or usually attributed to 'crudely made' castings.) 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 pieces and no interiors (?). These type of bargain castings were usually found in (2) packs or in 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. A group of trees as the back ground for a leaping horse.

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

They also marketed their castings to different distributors under different blister card named products, such as -

Canasia 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 was an importer with castings marked with either an 'S' or 'UT' prefixed #s.

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

It is thought, that Summer probably also made the castings offered by Marki.

Mid-Western Home Products included a Summer made casting called the "4" (inch) 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' (with an extra 'r').

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 unnamed offering.

Martin Zamir's used them in their Marz Karz brands series of "Classic Fast Wheels", "Fire Engine" and "Street Racer";

NSG Marketing Corp distributed Summer made castings in their "Traffic Stoppers Sportwheels" series.

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

Megatoys began distributing a series of 2 pack castings called "Mega Movers". Along the way of this series 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 distributed a ten car set called "Fast Wheel Car Collection" made up of Summer made castings to Canadian BiWay stores. The packaging did not identify Summer as the maker on them.

In the (late (?) 1990s, Kidmark's "Max Pack" sets used some Summer models and some other castings from unknown makers.

Manley Toys distributed a 25 car set of Summer made castings called "Wheel Force".

From 1995 to 2000, Summer was making castings for a Boley marketed 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 was licensed by Mattel (or Tyco (?) to market a 'Matchbox' labeled bath soap bars and shampoo products that included a Summer made casting within the package.

Prestige USA distributed their "Kalvin Collection" as a (2) car blister card pack.

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 previously marketed "Sonic Force" and "Motor Force" which included versions of the same Mercedes-Benz station wagon and van models in both lines during the 1970s (?).

Their "Mega Movers" 50 car set is noted to have some well done (detailed) truck castings.

Toy Quest, a division of Manley Toys marketed a 3 pack of Summer castings as "Pro Engine".

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

In 2002, Simplifun released their "Pocket Stakkr Garage" offerings. This cross branded 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 similar 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 -

Cobra imported Summers' "Motor Force" toy cars into Richmond Hill, Ontario.

Talentoy Fty Lid's "3-Level Parking Tower" came with (6) assorted Summer vehicles and "Park-A-Matic" operation!

Toy Sales, based in Downview, Ontario who marketed Summer made castings as "Silver Sport" at Canadian Drug City locations. The 'crude' castings came with trailers (with loads(?) to tow behind.

Toys R Us used Summer castings at one point in their in house diecast brand called "Fast Lane" as an alternative low budget diecast toy product for their customers.

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

An unspecified association with Mega Speed is also noted, but no details provided.

MB (not Matchbox) is noted to have a similar logo to Summer, but no other association is given.

See also - Cobra

Referenced resources -

HobbyTalk Member - @Motorcade
Summer Metal Products | hobbyDB
Summer Metal Products - Global Diecast Direct
Diecast on the Cheap - Summer (SM) Sunshine (SS)
The Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers by Sahakangas, Weber and Foster (2006)
Summer Toys Fire Engines

32,948 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.


32,948 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.


32,948 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:

32,948 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for pointing that out. Could be a typo on my part, but I will go back and check the references. Or it is the designation used by Summer for the name of their casting model.

I dont think the model production design changed any over time, but I do know that when the factory was closed in (March or) October of 1949 depending on the resources above only (36 or) 37 cars had been completed. (14 or) 13 more were completed by the factory workers after that point. Which by automotive manufactureing convention would have made them (1949 or) 1950 models. And with one known prototype accounts for the 51 built vehicles.

Tucker also officially changed the car name from Torpedo to '48 in early December of 1946 to March 1947 when a national advertisement campaign was made. I have also seen it referenced as just 48 as well.

If you have a reference that has different dates or information let me know about it and I will work it into the listed references and make further updates.


32,948 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The Summer 1949 Tucker reference comes fom the Planet Diecast site. I believe that citation may have also been made be one of the authors of the Encyclopedia of Small-Scale Diecast Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. And was certainly vetted/endorsed by Doug Breithaupt - another well know diecast historian.

An image of the Summer 'Tucker' appears in the encyclopedia on page 99. Note that the image caption does not call it a '49 Tucker. This casting is noticeable different from the Tucker '48 models made by other diecast manufacturers for its missing center 'cyclops' head lamp.

I also found another reference for the disposition of 8 additional chassis which includes a 1949 prototype model made from chassis #1057 by Tucker designer Alex Tremulis. The exterior detail change noted there is for a wrap around rear windshield. (This is not visible in the Encyclopedia's image.)

Perhaps - at some future time - someone who has an image of the Summer '49 Tucker can also show the rear window design used for the casting?

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