The Origins of
DARDA
Helmut Darda
Around 1970 Helmut Darda invented the Darda Mega-Motor.

The same precision engineering that produces the world's most accurate wristwatches is the genius behind every Darda car. Helmut Darda used this expert German engineering to invent a motor that enabled his miniature cars to reach amazing speeds.

In 1975 the worlds smallest interchangeable spring motor began its victorious appearance in toy stores around the world. For more than 24 years now Darda has been a name that stands for the best quality miniature motorized cars.

On April 12, 1985 a Darda car and a Darda loop were selected by NASA to take a historic journey into space. For Toys in Space, low gravity experiments designed to spark our childrens' interest in Science and space.

Now we can put a face to the name that has given us so many fantastic memories!

Thanks Mr. Darda,

From the friends of the Darda Collectors' Network.

American Retail History
Information about Darda is hard to come by these days. Not many people collect Darda Cars. So not many people were paying attention to information regarding Darda in the US before 1994. I only remember bits and pieces of information buying them as a child. As well as information found on old sets and catalogs.

When Darda first came to the US around 1975? it was called Darda Toy Company and was located at: 12 Edgeboro Road, East Brunswick, N.J. 08816. Later to be named Darda Inc, USA at 1600 Union Ave. Baltimore MD 21211-1998 as it is today after Helmut Darda sold the toy part of his company. I first saw them in stores around 1980. I remember having sets with the dune buggy cars, and seperately, the Stratos, Porsche 911, and some others. In 1994 I bought some more cars as I was interested in them again. I remember the Audi, F40, F1, and Stratos as some of the cars that I had. But after 1994 they seemed to mysteriously dissappear (Darda). I did not look again for about 1 year but when I looked the toy store where I usually got them no longer carried Darda.

It was not until 1997 that I found any Darda cars again. In my research I have come to the conclussion that somewhere around 1984 Life-Like Products bought Darda, at some point put their name on the boxes. During a period of time (1 to 2 years?) they were releases as Life-Like Speed Wheelers. And where actually sold at Toys R Us in the USA under this name! Now this is intersting because to my knowledge Darda was never sold at Toys r Us. I recently found a small Speed Wheelers set with a Toys R Us price sticker. That makes me believe that they were sold at Toys R Us. (dates could be inaccurate)

This would make sense for why I could not find Darda cars, They were no longer called Darda and I did not know to look for them at Toys R Us. They were never there before! I have 2 Speed Wheeler sets myself and I have seen one other in a second hand toy store. The other had a black and one green Panther car in the set. The green panther we have since seen go up in an ebay auction. It is possible that this green panther was only released during this short period of time.

Darda, now again under the Darda name starting in (1996 or 97?) is still not sold at Toys R Us. And only in small toy stores. And thus information is still hard to come by because most buyers don't know to look for press releases about Darda. This is why I am having trouble finding any Darda information about the Toy Fair 2000 in New York.

In 2006 or so Darda Inc, USA was bought by Walthers, Inc. (known for electric train sets), during the time Walthers owned the Darda brand they cultivated the Nascar license and released several new Nascar cars. Also releasing some traditional die-cast car replicas under the Darda name. These new nascar Darda cars in 2008 and 2009 featured much more detailed paint schemes and increased the cost of the cars by about $1.75 each.

As of February 2010 the Darda brand was sold to Simm Marketing GMBH, and Darda is no longer based in the US but in back in Germany. Where it hasn't been since about 2005, although Simm Marketing has been selling some cars in germany since about 2008 or whenever the licensing deal from Walthers, Inc. was completed. Schylling Associates, Inc has been named in 2010 to distribute the Darda brand in the US, which is good news for people who want to buy darda cars in the US.

Now that the Darda brand is back in germany hopefully they can recapture what was lost of it when it left. The last 8 years or so has seen a retro movement toward the 70's toys in Germany. Already Simm Marketing is planning to release some interesting new european sports cars with the Darda brand. We haven't seen any of the cute and fun cars (new VW Beetle or Austin Mini) for some time. Hopefully the exclusive licensing of certain cars will come up soon.


Life-Like Speed Wheelers set 1 set 2
 

 
German Darda Retail History.
I am starting to gather information about Darda Germany retail history I know very little about it since I am only familiar with the US History. Right now all I can provide is the address from one of the german catalogs that I have.

Helmut Darda Gmbh
D-7112 Blumberg
West Germany

Blumberg is a city which is a little ways north of Zurich in Germany.

What was the First Darda car made?
I have always wondered what was the first darda car made? I have written to Helmut Darda hoping to find this out but I have not recieved reply. What was the first Darda prototype? What were the first cars to be ever issued by Darda?

All these questions I hope to answer eventually. Right now the best thing I can do is narrow it down somewhat. The earliest Catalog/price list I have has these 6 cars described below:

DARDA BUGGY OR JEEP

- Buggy - Jeep

DARDA RACER

- GT - Turbo - Formula 1 - Stratos

The Turbo and Formula 1 cars are still in production, and are the longest running types of Darda cars.

I was unable to determine any date on the packaging or any documentation (estimated 1979). I also have a old darda car package that has 5 cars pictured on it. Which are the same cars. The buggy was in the package and not pictured on the package. I assume these are the first 6 cars to be released. I will ask Karl if he has any other information on the first cars to be released.