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- Multiple Products Corporation
- Multiple Toymakers, division of Milner Industries
Source: Dave Reeves


Collecting MPC “Cars of All Nations” by David B. Reeves

A Brief History: A few brief notes that may prove helpful to you in collecting these cars: They were made by the Multiple Products Company (MPC) in New York City between approximately 1954 and 1970. They were frequently sold in bags of 40 or 100, for either 49 or 99 cents, and were originally called "Cars of All Nations". In later years they also appeared in cellophane boxes, and renamed such things as “Detroit in Miniature” and other names. Usually sold in 5 & 10 stores such as Woolworth’s, they also appeared in the toy aisles of many drug stores and grocery stores. Some of you may even be old enough to remember when they were sold through advertisements in the back pages of comic books ... cars sold this way came in the mail in a square box (I have three sets in their original shipping boxes, and a copy of the ad itself, in my own collection).
Note that the MPC Company that produced them has no relation to the MPC Company that later produced plastic model kits. The little cars appear to have disappeared from stores in the early 1970’s although occasionally a complete bagged set still turns up (I have six or seven different sets in unopened bags).

Colors: There were 118 different cars produced in three distinct series - Classics, the 1954 Series, and the 1961 Series. Each of those 118 is available in the four basic colors of red, blue, green and yellow. Many variations exist as far as the shade of color - the red cars can be anywhere from a dark, dull red (almost maroon) to a bright cherry red that is almost translucent. Likewise the blue cars can be anywhere from a very dark blue to a pastel sky blue. I have not attempted to break down the “shades” of each color (for instance, I’ll bet I have ten shades of blue), but there are some distinct shades that deserve to be called a separate color, such as orange and pink. The orange cars I have (and I only have a few of them) are a true bright orange, not a shade of orangish red. Likewise I have cars that are an obvious pink, not just “light red”.
In any case, here are the colors I have discovered so far: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black, Silver, Gold, White, Pink, Gray, Tan, Orange. The tan and gray ones appear to be “test shots” in raw, uncolored plastic and are quite rare, along with being quite ugly. I say this based on the fact that the tan and gray shades used are (according to friends of mine in the plastics industry) two of the colors commonly used for raw plastic pellets. And, as I said, they are not very appealing to look at. Toy manufacturers almost always preferred bright colors for toys, and these are anything but that. Add to that the fact that the cars are almost never seen in these colors, and I think the classification of these as “test shots” or prototypes is justified. After that, the rarest colors appear to be white, orange and gold in that order (gold being the rarest of the three).
The thickness and quality of the plastic also varies from the earliest models to the last ones made. The earlier ones are a little thicker, and are made of a harder plastic. The molds were new, so the details are much crisper and more distinct ... the grilles and headlights can be picked out more easily. As the molds aged, details such as these got “softer” and more difficult to see clearly.
Towards the end, such things as day-glow “fluorescent” colors and much-softer (cheaper) plastic were used. There were sets sold in all-pastel colors (pink, baby blue, pale yellow and a mossy green) and sets in all-black or all-silver. I have a couple of cars that defy description – they are a translucent, milky clear plastic (like a plastic milk jug). I don’t really know what to make of them, but they are also exceedingly rare ... possibly they are just mistakes. Interestingly, the 1954 series does not appear to have been available in black. In handling over 6000 cars, I have never seen a black 1954-Series car of any kind. A “standard set” would consist of 472 cars – one each of all 118 in red, blue, green and yellow. I would suggest first attempting to get at least one of each car, then try to get all four colors. Not every car is available in every color, so it would be impossible to say that such a thing as a “complete set” exists (in other words, your quest is never over!). I have acquired over 6000 cars, and have 668 different ones (not counting simple color shade variations). So far, I should say. I’m still looking – and occasionally I still find one I didn’t have.

Where to find them: Well, eBay, of course. Also check your local antique and collectible stores, especially those that carry toys. There are a few toy publications that may be helpful, as well ... check your news stand. MPC cars seem to “get hot” in cycles for some reason. For a couple of years the prices on them were very high and they were extremely difficult to find, and then they were suddenly everywhere and quite a bit cheaper. I also sell individual cars. Which leads us to ...

How much to pay ? There aren’t many MPC cars I would pay more than $2 apiece for, and they would have to be exceptional examples at that. About 25 to 50 cents each is pretty normal (depending on condition). But, there are some that I have bought (and sold) for over $20 each. These would be the rarer colors. In any case, these are older toy cars you can collect and enjoy on a budget and I would like to see it stay that way. I have sold a few sets to other collectors, both 118-car “one of each” sets and full 472-car “one of each in the four basic colors” sets. Sets such as these are a bit more expensive, but still reasonable – however, it’s more fun (and cheaper) to collect them yourself, a few at a time. If you should find a complete, unopened “new-old-stock” bagged set, be prepared to pay a premium price for it. They are getting nearly impossible to find. Call me if you find one.

Some interesting facts: The first MPC cars produced were the 1954 Series. The Classics came along at about the same time as the 1961 Series, and were produced and sold alongside them (frequently mixed in the same package). As a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, I have enjoyed collecting these little cars and have noticed a few interesting things about certain ones. For instance, the 1961 Alpha Romeo is misspelled (It’s ‘Alfa”). Also, the 1954 Studebaker convertible is pretty neat looking, but no such real car existed. Studebaker made no convertibles those years (but now you can own one!). Also, did you know that the 1961 Mercury Comet was supposed to be called something else? It was introduced in mid-1960 as Mercury’s new compact car, just as another Ford Motor Company product was being phased out. The new car was supposed to take its place, and continue its name in the hope that it would sell better as a compact car. Some photos still exist of styling models of what would become the 1960 Comet with its “old” name still visible ... EDSEL. Here’s a fun fact: the 1954 Fiat is known as the “Topolino”, which was what the Italians called Mickey Mouse. Guess they thought the car looked like him?
I found it an interesting mix of cars that MPC chose to make, especially the foreign ones. Some are quite familiar, such as the Volkswagen ... others are pretty obscure, like the Standard Vanguard or Vauxhall Velox. Not too many Americans ever saw those real cars. It does appear that MPC tried to model 1961 versions of their 1954 series cars where they could (if the make still existed - many, such as Hudson and Kaiser, did not). I’ve also noticed that the cars are not made to any particular scale ... the 1954 Corvette would be about one-half the size of the 1931 Duesenberg if the scale were consistent. Guess they just wanted to make them all about the same size - I doubt that the children who played with them when they were new minded too much. I don’t, either. So, have some fun with them. Try to get a full set of 1954’s, or 1961’s. Then try to get as many colors as you can. Do some research on the real cars that these little plastic ones represent – lots of great stories there. You’re on your way to “MPC fever”. If you have any questions, I can be reached at fyreline at aol dot com.

One final note: MPC also produced airplanes, ships and military vehicles in the same small scale as the cars. These were also sold in 5 & 10 stores, grocery stores, and comic book ads. I have a few of each, but have decided to stick to the cars.

Good luck, and good hunting!

Dave Reeves

Note that some of the 1954 and 1961 series models are not really from that model year. Those have yet to be determined.

Model Year


Packard 1901
Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 1907
Mercedes Racing Car 1908
Stanley Steamer 1909
Ford Model T 1910
Stutz Bearcat 1914
Dodge Touring Car 1923
Morris Cowley 1926
Bentley Le Mans 1929
Ford Model A 1930
Duesenberg SJ 1931
Cadillac Limousine 1932
Auburn Speedster 1934
Chrysler Airflow 1934
Cord 810 1937
Willys MB Jeep 1940
Lincoln Continental 1948

1954 Series

Austin A40 1954
Buick Sedan 1954
Buick Convertable 1954
Cadillac Sedan 1954
Cadillac Convertible 1954
Chevrolet Sedan 1954
Chevrolet Convertible 1954
Chrysler Sedan 1954
Chrysler Convertible 1954
Chevrolet Corvette 1954
DeSoto Sedan 1954
Fiat 500 1954
Ford Sedan 1954
Ford Convertible 1954
Ford GB New Anglia 1954
Ford GB New Prefect 1954
Hillman Minx 1954
Hudson Hornet Sedan 1954
Hudson Jet Sedan 1954
Jaguar Mark VII Sedan 1954
Kaiser Henry J Sedan 1954
Lincoln Sedan 1954
Lincoln Convertible 1954
Mercedes 190 Sedan 1954
Mercury Sedan 1954
Mercury Convertible 1954
Morris Minor 1954
Nash Sedan 1954
Nash Convertible 1954
Nash Rambler Sedan 1954
Nash Rambler Convertible 1954
Oldsmobile Sedan 1954
Oldsmobile Convertible 1954
Packard Sedan 1954
Packard Convertible 1954
Plymouth Sedan 1954
Plymouth Convertible 1954
Pontiac Sedan 1954
Pontiac Convertible 1954
Renault 4CV 1954
Rolls Royce Silver Dawn 1954
Rover P4 Sedan 1954
Standard Vanguard 1954
Studebaker Sedan 1954
Studebaker Convertible 1954
Sunbeam Sedan 1954
Triumph Mayflower 1954
Vauxhall Velox 1954
Volkswagen 1200 Split Window 1954
Willys Aero Sedan 1954
1961 Series
Alfa Romeo 1900 Super 1961
Aston Martin DB3S 1961
Austin A40 1961
Austin-Healey 3000 1961
Buick Invicta Sedan 1961
BRM F1 Car 1961
Cadillac Fleetwood Sedan 1961
Chevrolet Impala Convertible 1961
Chevrolet El Camino Pickup 1961
Chrysler New Yorker Sedan 1961
Citroen DS 19 1961
Chevrolet Corvair 700 Sedan 1961
Chevrolet Corvette 1961
Cunningham C5R 1961
Dodge Phoenix Sedan 1961
Ferrari 250 GT 1961
Fiat 1100 1961
Ford Falcon Tudor 1961
Ford Galaxie 500 Convertible 1961
Ford Pickup 1961
Ford Thunderbird Coupe 1961
Imperial Crown Sedan 1961
Jaguar D-Type 1961
Lincoln Continental Convertible 1961
Lotus Mk II 1961
Maserati Type 61 1961
Mercedes 300 SL Roadster 1961
Mercury Monterey Convertible 1961
Mercury Comet 1961
MG TD Midget 1961
MG A 1600 1961
Morris Mini 1961
Nash Rambler Station Wagon 1961
Oldsmobile Super 88 Sedan 1961
Oldsmobile F-85 Station Wagon 1961
Peugeot 403 Familiale 1961
Plymouth Fury 1961
Plymouth Valiant V200 1961
Pontiac Bonneville Sedan 1961
Pontiac Tempest 1961
Porsche 356A 1961
Renault Dauphine 1961
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II 1961
Simca Vedette Chambord 1961
Studebaker Golden Hawk 1961
Studebaker Lark Regal 1961
Sunbeam Alpine Convertible 1961
Triumph TR 3 1961
Vanwall F1 Car 1961
Volvo PV 544 1961
Volkswagen 1200 1961

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