Miniature Curbside Classic: Citroen CX by Playart and Nissan Juke By Tomica – An Eccentric Pair

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Like many of you on CC, I have a thing for unusual cars. Camrys, Impalas and Fusions are all well and good, but I would rather look at and drive eclectic stuff. One thing that has always bothered me is that so many cool foreign cars–Seat, Citroen, Renault, Peugeot, JDM Toyotas and Nissans, etc.–are not available on our shores. Even the marques that do make it have a limited lineup, because apparently too many people want dumbed-down SUVs and vanilla appliances instead of real cars. Witness the departure of BMW and Volvo wagons from the U.S., for instance–replaced with larded-up crossovers. Curses! But I can still collect cool model cars. Like these two.

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I know I’ll probably take some flak for saying so, but I kind of like the Juke. Despite it being somewhat reminiscent of the awkward Datsun F-10, I think they look rather interesting, and pretty good in black with the larger factory alloys. At any rate, I like them well enough to buy Tomica’s scale version.

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Yes, Tomica models (sold under the Pocket Cars name in the U.S. from the mid-’70s to the late ’80s) are back in stores. Unfortunately, only Toys “R” Us sells them, and for some reason, they are not stocked with the other model cars. I was able to find them at the Davenport store, but never saw them at the Moline store. I just assumed the one didn’t stock them, but recently I decided to walk through the entire Moline store, just to be sure. To my surprise, I found them way on the other side of the store. At least I had a great selection, apparently because no one else could find them either. But now I know where they are, and this store is a lot closer to home!

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I had to get the little red Juke, along with a Mitsubishi fire truck, a white Prius (MikePDX, better check out your local store!), silver Subaru Legacy sedan and a few others. If you like JDM cars, I strongly suggest checking these Tomicas out. I had a bunch of Pocket Cars as a kid, and still have most of them today. So, to say I have a soft spot for them is an understatement. They are just as detailed and quality-built as the earlier units, though I was a little disappointed that the Juke didn’t have an opening hatch like many of the other new Tomicas.

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Ah, but I bet many of you, particularly KiwiBryce, are more interested in the vintage toy, a Citroen CX. I had, and still have, a light metallic blue Matchbox CX wagon from the late ’70s (it and my green Matchbox Cougar Villager were two of my most prized toy cars as a kid) but I never knew Playart made a CX sedan. It is a very accurate casting and even has opening doors. I like the wheels too–they remind me of the classic Porsche Fuchs wheels.

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The CX was introduced in late ’74 and was the 1975 European COTY. Meant to replace the lovely, long-lived DS, the CX and CX estate were built almost as long as its predecessor, as the last ones came off the line in 1991. And like the DS, these retained a modern appearance all the way to the end. They still look good today. My favorite one would be an early model in orange with the matching orange interior.

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Playart was a minor contender to Matchbox and Hot Wheels in the ’70s. They were pretty well detailed but I never had any as a child. My cousin, however, had a Playart Volvo 164E that I really, really wanted. I still don’t have one. Darn, now I’m going to have to start checking ebay for one!

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I accompanied my folks to the annual antique show downtown last Saturday. Though I didn’t think I would buy anything, it’s always fun to look at old stuff. But to my surprise, one booth had all sorts of model cars and dealer promotionals. I didn’t want to spend mega-bucks, but I did look through a couple of boxes of 1/64 scale cars marked “your choice–50 cents.”

It was mostly well-worn 10- to 15-year old Hot Wheels, but this little yellow Citroen was in there with them, so I had to rescue it! Money well spent; I can’t recall any other time in my life where a fifty-cent purchase made my day!

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