The term die cast refers to a process in which something is made by pouring liquid metal into a mold to produce a solid shape or form. The metal often used in this process (commonly known as white metal/pot metal) is a compound of Zinc and Aluminum, also known as zamak or mazak.
The production of die cast toys began in the 20th century with manufacturers in the United States (Dowst Brothers with "Tootsietoys") and the United Kingdom (Meccano with "Dinky Toys"). Both companies made toy/model cars and vans of a relatively basic design with no interior. Several other companies began to follow in their footsteps such as Lesney in 1947, the original makers of the matchbox cars and Mattel in 1968.
Eventually many more companies joined in the production of toys made through the die cast process. Over time, the design and basic model of die cast toys changed. The die cast method became a useful tool in manufacturing not only toy cars and vans, but also aircraft, boats, and military vehicles. Die cast toys also evolved from just being toys to becoming valuable collectors items and models for adults. Today, there are still many of these toys being produced and made using the same process, so there are many models and makes available to consumers based upon their tastes, especially and even for jeep lovers.