The H.O. Beer Car Collectors Website

 This page last updated     03/14/2003
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Car Availability Ratings



How easy is a car to obtain



  Be very careful in your interpretation of these ratings ... These ratings are only good for the current time frame, and have nothing to do with how these cars may be rated down the road. The reasons for this are explained below the rating tables.



The number in the rating column

Number Description of Rating
1 Available from manufacturers or dealers
2 Very easy to find
3 Reasonably easy to find
4 Found here and there
5 Found only occasionally
6 Very seldom found
7 Extremely difficult to find
8 Never Produced


The letters in the Rating column

Letters Meaning Description of Meaning
IPA In Production, Available Available from manufacturers or dealers
PWO Produced When Ordered Custom Producer - Produced when ordered
IPNA In Production, Not available Still being produced, but not currently available
OOP Out of Production No longer produced
PT Prototype Only one or a few cars made
NP Never Produced Cars were advertised, but never produced
UK Unknown Status Status of production is unknown
NR Not Rated Not rated for special reasons



These ratings are very subjective, and are only intended as a guide based on observations from availability on various internet auction sites, and availability of these cars at local train shows. They may be rated differently  in other areas of the country and the world.

These ratings are also based on observations made at a particular time and date. Items may be re-released in the exact same form, or an individual cache of items may have been recently released which may make a particular car appear to be more available than it really is.

These ratings also do not speak to future availability.  Examples are the Smokingloco cars or Art Griffin decals that are currently available. These are rated as PWO-1, which means that they are produced when ordered.  All of these cars and decals are currently available by special order, but in reality, only relatively few of each are being produced, and they may not be available in the future. This creates a situation where these items could go from a rating of PWO-1, to OOP-7, almost overnight.

There are also cars that have been out of production for many years, but are still available everywhere you look. An example is the U.S.A. production of Life Like beer cars. Another example is the older Athearn Pearl Brewing ( MKGX 120 ) car which was produced for many years and is still very available at shows and auction sites. The newer "out of production" Pearl cars ( MKGX 121 & 124 ) were only produced for a short time, and are seldom seen anywhere.  The current production of MKGX 125 is available everywhere you look, but future availability will be totally dependent on the length and volume of the current production run.

Manufacturers like Branchline, Show Me Lines, and Greenway, have a plethora of very nice cars available, and these are rated as IPA-1. This can be very deceptive because these cars are made in small production runs of 100 to 200 cars, and just because they are available today, does not mean that you will be able to find them tomorrow.

MDC ( Roundhouse ) has also created some interesting situations for collectors. Examples are the Budweiser and Coors cars. The Budweiser ( White ) cars were produced in 27 different road numbers with some numbers being common, and others being relatively rare. Several of these numbers were only available in sets of six or twelve cars, and in some cases, one or two of the numbers available in a set, were also produced as singles, and these numbers are fairly common.

Above all .... Do not use these ratings to try and assign a value to any particular car. A car is only worth what a person will pay for it. A Greenway current production beer car recently sold for $161 on ebay, and It could have been purchased for $16 directly from Greenway.