Every car person started somewhere. Some are born into the hobby, imbibing the sweet smell of an over-rich mixture on the way home from the hospital. Some are indoctrinated through family members and their automotive proclivities. Some latch on to a family heirloom ’65 Mustang and never truly recover. Some were allowed free reign in the toy aisles of the department stores of their youth. Some, like me, can check most of the boxes, but toy cars played no small part in making me the all-encompassing car person I am today, and I still spend way too much time in the toy aisle. Here are a few of my latest acquisitions.
The lead image shows a model from Auto World (AW), and represents a ’64 Barracuda modeled from the original dealer brochure. The car highlights every available color in the Barracuda line, and has to be one of the highlights of my collection, because who would do that? It has to be one of the weirdest toy cars in the world: an obscure paint scheme on a car that has a limited collector following. I love it!
I spotted this model on lamleygroup.com, a blog dedicated to toy car collecting. My lovely bride bought it online and gave it to me as a gift (along with the original brochure, because she’s the coolest person I’ve ever met). I like the toy even more because my Dirty Dart‘s color is the third from the rear–Medium Turquoise.
In real life, I’d prefer a ’68 Formula S with a 340/four-speed combination, but this will do for my toy collection. It’s one my favorites.
Three examples from my General Motors collection are built by Johnny Lightning, and represent my long-standing affinity for ’65 Catalina hardtops, which is well-documented here. They are 2+2 models, in Iris Mist, Mayfair Maize, and what looks like Nightwatch Blue.
I’ve been assembling this small collection over the last several years, because a real ’65 Catalina is too big for the space I have available in my garage. My ’63 T-Bird and ’53 Buick both measure in at around 205″ long, and that’s about the limit if I want to fit four cars in there. It’s too bad, because these Catalinas are my favorite big ’60s cars.
The dealer brochure for the ’65 Pontiac lineup, and the 2+2 in particular, features the best car art of all time: Fitz-Van car art. I have a sizable collection of these advertisements from old magazines, another hobby that takes up its share of space in my house.
Finally, I have two strange ’70s bedfellows, a Matchbox ’75 Caprice and a Hot Wheels ’71 Mach 1. My dear mother found the Caprice online and bought it for me (have I ever mentioned how lucky a guy I am?), and I found the Mustang on eBay. This isn’t the first time these two have occupied a place in my mind: See here.
The Mach 1 is a replica of the James Bond car from the underwhelming Diamonds are Forever. Even though the movie was a bit of a letdown, the car was great. I have a family connection to ’71 Mach 1s: Before I was born, my dad rocked a Grabber Lime ’71 with a 351 Cleveland four-barrel. I’ve been trying to talk him into buying another one so I don’t have to, but he hasn’t yet relented.
As an aside, this Auto World ’71 in Grabber Lime will have to suffice until he does.
The Caprice is an interesting new model from Matchbox. It seems like a risk to introduce new tooling for a car that isn’t exactly an A-list object of desire, but apparently customizers have eagerly anticipated its arrival. I just like ’70s full-size Chevrolets, so I wanted it as soon as I heard about it.
These are just a few examples of toys I’ve picked up over the last few months, as I eagerly pore over the toy aisles in much the same way I peruse collector car classifieds. It would make much more sense to simply collect miniature cars, but I’m too far gone for that.
Even if the space situation in the garage isn’t getting any better, I find that there’s always room for smaller fare. If your inclinations lead you in the same direction, good luck in your shopping endeavors.