Italian model toy car producer Bburago (Malgora, Italy) developed model (die-cast) cars from 1974 until 2005, and again from 2007 under the May Cheong Group. From 1974 until 1976, Bburago was initially called Martoys, and was founded by the Bessana bros., Ugo, Mario, and Martino, who had started the Mebetoys company before, which also made toy cars. Eventually Mattel bought Mebetoys from the brothers. Mattel and Martoys became Bburago in the mid 1970s. Bburago is the right spelling, but the name is often misspelt as "Burago". The two 'B's stand for Besana and the town name Burago (di Malgora)
At first, models were produced in 1:24 scale and often represented modern-day European saloon and sports cars. Most of the models were very detailed and had many features like opening doors. Later, a series of 1:18 cars were produced, alongside a further range of 1:43 scale models. As screws were used to held the models together, car models in 1:24 and 1:18 mostly were issued in kit form (eventually, some 1:43 kits were issued as well). While kit models used exactly the same castings as the models in the 'ready-built' series, the kits usually depicted sports or racing versions of the car in question. Bburago kits were well known for featuring large amounts of waterslide stickers and transfers which never 'stick' properly to the models, thus making well-built kits difficult to find.
To fix the problem, one (with scale modelling experience) would have to spray a clearcoat over the unassembled car model, to "seal in" the parts.
Another problem of Bburago was their plastic. The metal parts were mostly strong (aside from bonnet and door openings), but the plastic parts of an older Bburago model were often of bad quality, and could easily break.
The 1:18 series was largely aimed at die-cast collectors, and the company was the first to offer mass-produced collector models in this scale. The range was known as the "Diamond" range and at first mostly 1930s cars were made, although as time went on, more 1950s & 1960s model cars were created, and the range later included modern high-performance vehiCles. One or two vehicles in the 1:24 and Diamond ranges were modelled to different scales; for example one of the first Diamonds, the Rolls Royce Camargue (also the first modern car in the Diamonds range), was modelled in 1:22 scale.
As the collector side of their company increased, the business began to focus more on the 1:18 scale models, and introduced further 1:24 ranges, usually depicting the same vehicles that appeared in the 1:18 range, with slightly fewer opening features, but also aimed at collectors. At the same time, the models developed as toys became less detailed and had for example fewer opening features. At the end of the 1990s, the firm no longer had the 1:18 collector market to themselves, however, as other model car manufacturers such as Road Champs and Maisto were making models of equal quality. These businesses could made their products more cheaply, as they were assembled in the far east, while Bburago production continued in Italy. The Bburago company was eventually bought by Maisto in 2005.
What's it worth? Take a look at this Bburago price guide: sold listings for a value indication.