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The short answer is NO.  That said, they are real bargains on the used market for sure. Most MPC go for $30 or less. Some much less. Their usual plastic trucks are a turn-off to many. 

Many who buy these semi-scale cars aren't that concerned about the plastic trucks, however. They look and operated fine for most people. In many cases, they can be replaced by Lionel diecast sprung trucks, though, and I have done that with a number of these cars. This gives them more weight and, at least in my opinion, better rolling performance and looks.

I sold most of my MPC cars over the years, but have kept quite a few, because they look great and are perfect for engines such those in the LionChief line. The colorful graphics on a lot of these are unsurpassed. Some of them are actually scale, such as the 8,000 gallon tank cars. I have a bunch of those, which are great cars, and they can be run with semi-scale or scale trains.

Last edited by breezinup
@MDuppy posted:

Not to Chang the subject, but are the scale Atlas wood sided referes worth anything anymore?

They seem to sell quite well. A lot depends on which ones they are, of course.

You may be asking the wrong questions, though. Noone should purchase, or keep, cars based on what they think they're worth to others, at least in most cases. The main thing that matters is what they're worth to you. If you like them, buy/keep them. Otherwise, don't buy/sell them. Don't worry about what you think you'll get for a particular car. Besides, what an item sell for depends on a lot of factors the seller has no control over.

If you want a general idea of what things are selling for, look at auction sites, like eBay.

Just IMHO.

Last edited by breezinup

I think the MPC era cars are charming and one of the best values in the hobby today. They're easy to find at shows or on EBAY in new or like new condition. If you're purely a scale enthusiast, they're probably not for you, but for those of us who like classically sized Lionel equipment they complement post war era locomotives perfectly.



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The plastic trucks that are found on the MPC cars appear to be of a European design and don't appear to even come close to US AAR standards.  Of course, I stand corrected.  I agree that the cars have beautiful graphics as well as sharp lettering. 

Item: These cars should never be purchased as a financial investment if anyone intends selling them at a later date and expects to make anything close to a windfall profit.  I imagine there are a few that might possibly be considered rare in 2020 that demand a higher price.  Attention MPC experts: Please fill in the blanks! 

To quote the onetime slogan that appeared on the cover of Model Railroader magazine: Model Railroading is Fun!  The MPC era cars certainly fall into this category.


I've been cleaning up my MPC cars and boxes, and the memories are great. I've even bought a couple new MPC cars, and am looking for a few sets. I really like the MPC-era. That was my time. Been going through the old catalogs as well. 

A lot of the "higher end" cars from the MPC era look better than the current Menards cars, and don't have some of the truck problems the Menards cars have.

At the time MPC were a breath of fresh air. We had small 027 cars or expensive 6464 cars. With fast angle wheels you could pull a long, long string of cars with a small 027 engine. People seem to remember the bright colored cars more then any others. MPC made many cars in real railroad colors. They made high cube box cars and other cars that Lionel never made. If I were putting a set together today for a child just getting into the hobby I would go with MPC cars and maybe a Lionel or MTH small engine. Don992008137_tp


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I like MPC boxcars and have been adding them to my collection for years.  I can typically get a car in pretty good condition for about $10 at local TCA meets.  If the car is one I believe I’ll run frequently, I then add Lionel sprung metal trucks.  

Definitely not a sound financial decision to do it this way but, I imagine my youngest son will appreciate the cars with upgraded trucks after I’ve kicked the bucket.


MPC  cars are good material for kit bashing projects. I usually pay $3-5 each at swap meets. One project was taking 2 O-27 gondolas, slicing them in half the long way and splicing them together to make one gondola a scale 10 feet wide. Add diecast  trucks repaint and decals, a little weathering if you're so inclined and new life for not much money.20190501_11471220200208_15571220190501_114726 


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