The Model Car Hall of Fame is proud to announce the 2021 class of inductees for several categories. Each person or brand is worthy of their inclusion because of current or historical contributions to the model car collecting world.
Model Car Designer of the Year – Ryu Asada
Ryu Asada found his dream job right out of art school, designing for Matchbox and then Hot Wheels. For that, Asada deserves a spot in the Model Car Hall of Fame. Sadly, this honor comes posthumously, as Asada died in March 2021 of cancer. He worked up to the end, with several cars released throughout 2021 and more scheduled for next year. He was known for his kind, happy persona as much as for his incredible talent.
Entrepreneur of the Year – Laura Brianza
Laura Brianza became the Commercial Director of ABC-Brianza, which was founded by her father Carlo Brianza after his death. “My father was one of the most renowned model car artists in the world, so I was born with a passion for model cars,” she has said. She helped him around the studio, and at some point, everyone realized she really had a future in the business. Today the company focuses on 1/43 scale resin modes. Still limited production, still highly detailed. They also offer larger scale models like 1/12 kits full of many detailed bits.
Automotive Legend – Sergio Pininfarina
When it comes to designing flights of fancy in automotive form, no one does it better than the Italian design Arguably the best and most famous of these design houses is Pininfarina, now an inductee of the Model Car Hall of Fame for 2021 as Automotive Designer of the Year. Probably most closely associated with Ferrari, Pininfarina also created cars for the masses such as the Alfa Romeo Duetta, the Peugeot 205, and the MG MGB. In more recent years, they have designed high-speed trains, airplanes, and yachts. Their influence on the art of the automobile as well as the model car hobby as well.
Model Car Historian of the Year-Alexander F. Storz
The Model Car Hall of Fame appreciates any pioneer in the automotive world, whether real cars or scale models. For someone like Alexander F. Storz, who is equally versed in both worlds, we have the utmost respect. In addition to being on the editorial team at Caramini (a German diecast magazine), he has written histories of manufacturers as diverse as Maserati and SEAT as well as diecast guides to brands like Siku.
Model Brand of the Year – Bizarre Models
The automotive world is filled with weird, wonderful concept cars, one-off experiments, and purposeful, but oddly proportioned race cars. Some are famous legends, some are obscure relics, but many of them are just too “out there” for a diecast company to take a chance on investing in a model of them. Bizarre Models is breaking that mold (or creating the mold, to be more accurate). Their General Motors Firebird I XP21, Alfa Rome BAT vehicles, and the Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion are among their highlights.
Automotive Brand of the Year – Tesla
Before Tesla came to be, electric cars were seen as stodgy pieces of pure compromise. The Tesla Roadster Model S proved such cars could be stylish and absurdly fast. Since then, everyone is jumping hard into the EV market with less expensive models, trucks and SUVs, sports cars, and other automotive types to fill in the gaps. And there’s even a Tesla Roadster (and a model of it) in outer space!
Historic Model Brand of the Year – Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby
Many diecast collectors become interested in the hobby by playing with toy cars as kids. In 1970, Kenner introduced a new line of toys, the SSP “Super Sonic Power” cars. These colorful plastic models were powered by a rip cord and a gyro wheel. While they were designed to race in a straight line, Later that year, the Smash-Up Derby series started with models of two 1957 cars: a Chevy Nomad and a Ford Fairlane. Both came with pre-dented bodies and differently colored doors, hoods, and trunks that flew off on impact. The wheels came off for good measure as well. So much fun and great memories.
Content Creator of the Year – Jakarta Diecast Project
It’s crazy how some people can take a nicely detailed and proportioned model of a car and say, “oh, I can do better.” Jakarta Diecast Project takes all kinds of scale models and deconstructs, modifies, and builds them up until you can barely recognize the original donor model. And their videos inspire other hobbyists to take a crack at it. One satisfying bit in many of their videos: watching the original paint bubble up and fall off. It’s like AMSR videos for model cars.
Model Car Dealer of the Year: Tokyo Station
It’s funny how some diecast manufacturers can create a model and it never seems to be available anywhere. Except for Tokyo Station’s online store. They have an uncanny knack for getting an allotment of even the rarest model cars. As their name suggests, they deal mostly in Japanese brands of either small or full-size cars (even though they are in Canada). The fun part is they have some super high-end, expensive, exclusive stuff, as well as affordable models. Something for everyone is great for the hobby.