Wintage Wiking

Got one word for you, kid. Plastics.

We’ve long been curious about Wiking (“Viking”) and their tiny HO scale (1/87-1/90) plastic cars and trucks, made in Germany since the 1940s. Still made in Germany, in fact. Some of their classic models are still in production and look exactly the same as models the company made in the 1960s, right down to the wheels, interiors, script on the bases, everything, which makes dating these little suckers tricky indeed.

As a tiny vehicle salesman I’m looking primarily for Wiking stuff created prior to the early 1980s, when the company was purchased by Siku. That’s my personal line in the sand here. Don’t have a lot of room on the lot for 1980s models, of any brand. To determine the year of origin of specific Wiking models and avoid accumulating trickily-disguised 1980s models, I’ve been devouring online databases and learning a little bit of German by default. Ohne Lenkrad! Unfortunately I learned that some of the models we already bought aren’t quite as vintagely vintage as I thought. The good news is that almost all of them date to the pre-Siku years – the prime years of Wiking vintage plastic. And I’ve learned a lot about them in a short time, which is fun. There is a lot more to learn, which is also fun.

Wikings have an undeniable coolness factor. Despite their lack of heft, the models exude quality and, somehow, solidity. The consistent scale of all the models is a welcome contrast to Matchbox, Hot Wheels and Tomica, who decided long ago to make their models roughly the same size so they could all fit into the same size packaging. Wiking puts realism ahead of packaging – semis and buses are huge compared to little sports cars – and it’s refreshing.

About 15 tiny truckloads of Wikings arrived here at the Lot last week. Mert has been marveling at their details and mysterious weightlessness, trying to find a place to park them. “Freakin’ plastic!” he says, shaking his little head in amazement. Check em out over on the Bay, or drop by the lot, out on West Bacon Road at County Road 12 – in the shadow of the water tower.

These below all date to the 1970s, I believe. If you can find Wikings in great condition dating to the 1950s, they’re probably worth about $50-100 each – a real pot of gold for estate sale gold-diggers. These 1970s models are less exciting to collectors although already they’re worth about 10-15 times what they cost in the 1970s. 

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