In 1969, Topper Toys of Elizabeth, New Jersey launched a line of high-speed die-cast cars to compete in the rapidly expanding market for three-inch toy cars introduced 15 years earlier by Matchbox. Speed was all-important, and owner Henry Orenstein had the design and production resources available to create 15 different cars, from concept to retailer, in less than a year. Topper was a powerhouse toy manufacturer, producing popular products like Suzy Homemaker appliances and the mod Dawn fashion doll.

Their most important technology was to mold in a small hook under the front axle so that they could be propelled by a lever-driven catapult, far faster than could be obtained by either gravity, or battery powered "supercharger" devices. Topper closed in 1971 and production of Johnny Lightning cars ceased for 23 years.

Johnny Lightning became a subsidiary of Playing Mantis (from 1994-2004) and is a company primarily known for their die-cast collectible cars. They have also produced several small plastic representations of Star Trek vessels, entitled "Legends of Star Trek", since 2004.

In January 2016, three years after its second disappearance from the market, the Johnny Lightning die-cast brand was relaunched once again by Thomas Lowe and his Round 2 toy company which also produces the Auto World and Racing Champions brands of die-cast cars.

Lines include: Zingers, Speed Racers, Monopoly Cars, Hot Wheels, Muscle Cars and more.


Updated: 27 April 2019

Johnny Lightning value and price guide

What's your 'Johnny Lightning' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):

Picture Title Date sold Price
Topper Customs Big Rig Original Art For 06/2019 $950.00
Fantastic Topper Custom Gto In Purple 04/2019 $904.00
Fantastic Topper Custom Gto In Dark Aqua 04/2019 $904.00
Topper Stunt Track Sealed Case Of Four 06/2019 $810.00
Custom Collection 2 06/2019 $799.99
See all sold items for more prices

Johnny Lightning forum (7 comments)

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Dan - July 7, 2019

Hello, I have several Johnny Lightning cars....if I send you photos, could you give me an approximate value? thanks
►reply: Hi there, sorry I don't have time. Best is to search these pages for your models to see what they could fetch. Just type in your model in the search field and you might get some results and prices.

Phil - May 18, 2019

Hihow do I order a mitsubishi evolution 390- 02 in white, please give me how to order details
►reply: Hi, I am not an offcial dealer, maybe here?

Timothy - March 18, 2019

I have a johnny lightning 2004 Cadillac Escalade limited edition from the johnny Lightning instant win sweepstakes 1 if 1804. is the any value?

Chris - February 19, 2019

Looking at the back of the Rock and Rollers series, it shows a Sam and Dave Mustang Sally car. Can anyone tell me why this appears not to have been released? Were any made at all?

Stan - June 7, 2018

i have several johnny lighting cars and would like to know where i can find out what they are worth thankyou

Willard - December 10, 2010

would like magazines and price list of ur stock and interested in milatary,trains toys please
►reply: If you're interested in new Johnny Lightning stock, visit their website at:

Jimmy - August 15, 2010

I have purchased a Johnny Retro R5 #3 '70 Chevy Chevelle SS.The package is referencing it as a 1970 but the body style is of a 71 or 72, It has single head lights and 4 round taillamps a 1970 would have 4 headlamps and 2 rectangular tailamps. Is this a packaging error?