majorette citroen van

MCHOF’23: Majorette Rolling Along Fine at 60

majorette citroen vanMajorette, sometimes referred to as the “French Matchbox,” will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2024. Depending on when and where you grew up, they may have been the dominant brand for 1/64 diecast fun. Their undying love for creating reasonably detailed, reasonably priced diecast continues to hit a sweet spot in the collector market today. For their neverending passion for creating great diecast toys and collectibles, Majorette is the Model Car Hall of Fame Brand of the Year for 2023.

The company was founded in 1961 to provide accessories for model railroads, but within a few years, they moved towards a toy-focused approach. The Veron family, who founded the brand, also launched the Norev brand (that’s Veron spelled backward!) for larger-scale, more detailed models to go with O-scale model railroads. Norev would carry the mantle of larger, more detailed cars going forward.

Majorette, like many diecast companies, rose to prominence in the 1960s, a time when model cars were moving from static, slow rollers to fast fun. Focusing mostly on 1/64 European vehicles, they rivaled companies like Lesney/Matchbox at the time. One would think with their French roots, they would focus on Renault, Citroen, and Peugeot models. And yes, that was sort of true.

Majorette_vintagemajorette citroen vanMajorette, like many small-scale diecast companies, conformed most of their car models to about three inches long, known informally as 1/64-ish scale. But they had one neat detail that set them apart… they would put the actual scale on the base of the car so you could figure out whether it was bigger or smaller than an approximation. 

Majorette focuses mostly on European vechicles, with some American and Japanese marques mixed in. That particular blend suits Majorette as a primarily Euro diecast brand, and that’s fine with them. 

In 1980, Majorette bought Solido, a well-respected manufacturer of high-quality, mostly 1/43 models. Side by side with Norev, this purchase helped the brand move towards a more detail-oriented field, while keeping its roots in the toys and collectibles market.

Majorette has maintained its spot as a big player in diecast without foolheartedly trying to overexpand for 60 years. For that unwavering adherence to their mission, Majorette is the MCHOF Model Car Brand of the Year for 2023.