It seems that Tomica have had the Japanese 3 inch market cornered forever, but there have been challengers. The main one in the 70s came from renowned Japanese toy manufacturer Yonezawa. Their line of 1/40 scale “Diapet” models is well known among collectors. Their 1/60 line of “Cherica” models is less well known,
I have already written about this particular Toyota in this post about the TLV model of this car, so I will just focus on the model here. I have never been able to find out the exact time of production of these models, but most Cherica models have near or exact equivalents of the earliest Tomica models, so a production from about 1972 to 1976 seems most likely.
The main difference to the Tomica models was that the Cherica were somewhat larger - and better made. The paint jobs were glossier, the metal heavier and the shiny parts shinier. Think of the difference between Matchbox and Siku in the 70s, and you’re about there.
For those reasons, I presume they were more expensive too. They certainly look like they were, and that might have been the reason for their short production run. Below you can see the difference in size between the Cherica and the 1/64 TLV model:
Today, their relative lack of success makes them very hard to find - and often expensive. A MIB example can often go for well over US$ 100.00 on the bay, and that’s more than I want to pay for a little toy. So I need to look for bargains, and in the last 15 years or so, I have found about 10 such bargains. Not a lot, but that’s probably a third or so of the models produced.
Well, I hope this little diecast history lecture wasn’t too boring - and please, if you see one on the bay, don’t bid against me, ok? ;-)