The Story of Argentina’s Diecast Muky Models

 The Story

Many small diecast models have been made in Argentina. Brands such as Buby, Galgo, Aguti, Loden, Rapitoy, and Jet (by Gillette) have all originated within this South American country. In addition, the Muky models were produced there during the 1970s and 1980s.

The history of Muky begins in the early 1970s. The De Conti brothers rented a warehouse in Gualeguay, Entre Ríos – a small town located on the shore of Uruguay River, five hours away from Buenos Aires – and started production of Hot Wheels sized diecast toy cars. The company name at that time was “Esdeco”, the brand name was “Muky Superveloz”.

Muky Nr. 12: Lincoln Continental Muky Nr. 15: Dodge Charger Muky Nr. 18: Ford MK IV

Contrarily to the later models, the earliest Muky models (first edition models) were painted in very glossy colours and had all-black wheels, and they were only rarely decorated with decals.
Muky Nr. 08: Lola GT Spoiler (plastic modelBodies and baseplates of the early Muky models were both made of diecast metal, but some models, such as this “Lola GT” (left), were also available with plastic bodies and baseplates. Like on the diecast models, the baseplates show the “Esdeco” label. The opening parts were often in different colours than the rest of the body. These plastic models have become very rare in the meantime.
In the late 1970s, production was moved to Brazil due to the complicated economical situation Argentina was going through at that time. A few years later, a Mr. Dell Arciprete bought the Muky range. The models were made in Gualeguay again, and the new owner kept on the original designs. However the baseplates, originally made of diecast metal, were altered: They were now made of plastic (as a result of this, the models ran faster) and bore the new company name: “Induguay”. Several new models were added to the range until the end of the 1980s.

In the catalogue, as well as on the bottom side of the boxes in the “Induguay” era, 30 Muky models were listed:

Muky catalogue
However, at least 33 different models have been released:
Several of these models are obviously copies of model cars released in the famous “Hot Wheels” range by Mattel, but they are cruder: The quality of the paintwork isn’t as good as on the original Hot Wheels models, and all Muky models have tinted windows in order to hide the missing interior detail.

For instance, all truck models were based on the Hot Wheels Deora casting. On the left the Hot Wheels model, on the right the Muky model with a van body (Nr. 27, Furgón MUKY):

Hot Wheels: DeoraMuky Nr. 27: Furgón MUKY
Other versions of the Deora include a tipper (Nr. 13) and another delivery van (Nr. 33):
Muky Nr. 13: Arenero MUKYMuky Nr. 33: Rapit Urbano
In the first edition of Muky models, there was also a Deora version without any element on the platform (Nr. 19, Transporter Van, right). This item was later discontinued and replaced by the Mac Laren MGA Turbo.Muky Nr. 19: Transporter Van
Another model based a Hot Wheels casting was the 1968 Plymouth Fury, released by Muky in police, fire chief, ambulance and taxi livery. As usual, contrarily to the Hot Wheels Police Cruiser (right), the Argentinean version has no interior detail:

Muky Nr. 24: Policia, with Hot Wheels Police Cruiser
However, the origins of the Muky castings are not very clear. According to Bob Frassinetti from Buenos Aires Toy Museum, the first owners of the Muky brand did buy some castings in California where Mattel was based, but they didn’t buy them directly from that company. At that time Mattel commissioned third parties with the development of new castings. It seems that such an independent casting craftsman sold Hotwheel-alike castings to the Argentinean company. As a result, Muky models shared the same original castings with Hot Wheels models, but the castings were neither bought from Mattel nor stolen. The new models released by Induguay in the 1980s, such as the Volkswagen Beetle and the Ferrari 308, were designed by the Argentinean company itself.
Muky Nr. 22: Lamborghini SpecialAlthough some of the Muky models were fantasy cars, they were named after existing car makes. Oddly enough, Muky put Ferrari stickers on this “Lamborghini Special” (left)… In the range there were also items called “Lancia 3000” or “Skoda Baby”, which weren’t models of any real Lancias or Skodas. On the other hand, several of the truck models contained the Muky brand name as a part of the title identification.
Muky models were also exported to other countries such as Uruguay and Spain. But Argentina remained the most important market for the company, and their products were quite popular there, even if they were cruder than the 1:64 scale models made by Buby, their most important competitor.

Sources and further reading:

Or find all items on hobbyDB on the Muky page


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Julie Grossman
Julie Grossman
10 months ago

Love it, thank you for the story, diecast everywhere

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