Ahh, 1:32 scale. For many of us, our first few steps into die-cast collection was not through 1:64s, but through the much more affordable-per-inch 1:32 scale. As children, these 1:32 scale models, almost all of them with a pullback option that allowed us the fantasy of “driving” them across tabletops, carpets and tiles, were precious and significant. As our interests grew, though, we cast them aside for more “mature” scales that reflected our dignified tastes and collecting patterns. The 1:32 scale was forgotten for the hyper detailing of expensive 1:18s, the rarity of a good 1:64 with rubber tyres, the depth of range in 1:43 scale. Often, we saw 1:32s being ignored on sale posts in die-cast collecting groups, even though they were well within range of everyone, even the young ‘uns.
The problem with 1:32, as almost any collector will be able to pinpoint, is their lack of authenticity. I remember having several 1:32 scale models from Kinsmart that were rare in the model world—Alfa Romeo 156, Audi A2, Mitsubishi Evo VII—as well as other makes like New Ray, who had a brilliant Plymouth Prowler that had iffy wheels but looked the part parked on the shelf. Kinsmart’s latest models show promise as well—if you don’t want the McLaren GT, you’d be lying to yourself. RMZ currently makes some fantastic models as well—everything from JDM Honda Integra Type Rs to Land Rover Defenders.
The problem with all of them was not in the casting, but with the lack of detailing for something that’s bigger than 1:43 and significantly bigger than 1:64. Most had bare-bones dashboards, no doorcards, flat plastic lights and cheap looking paint. They were designed as toys, and that’s what turned off most collectors when they crossed the threshold of adulthood.
For many, the 1:32 scale is reminiscent of simpler times, when you could hurl a Toyota RAV4 at a Dodge Viper and see what the ensuing crash looks like. Where else would you see a dumpy looking SUV fly headfirst into a charging American supercar? You wouldn’t need to worry about parts flying off or scratches on the bodies. For demolition derbies and being a child all over again, the scale is perfect. For young dads, 1:32 can also be a good bonding experience with kids, and the easiest way to get them interested in your hobby or passion for cars. Save the 1:64s and 1:43s, keep the 1:32s for all the playtime crashing and mayhem.
Here’s to 1:32—the unloved runt of the litter, but an unforgettable experience from our childhoods.