Toyside Classic: I Was Dreaming Of The Past, And My Heart Was Beating Fast…

As it turns out, my recent foray into the Snitkoff garage yielded far more than space for a second car. Among the items: All the beloved toys I thought had been donated to Goodwill or given to younger relatives long ago. Sure, various Star Trek ships and Star Wars X-Wings were in the collection, but the real prizes were the many die-cast cars that I thought had vanished forever.

So where do I start? It’s a fairly decent collection, so perhaps the easiest way to arrange these pictures of this reservoir of memories is according to their real-life manufacturers.

First, the Fords. That red Mustang on the right was one of my most beloved Hot Wheels until the rear suspension gave out. The slightly less-red replaced it, and it also was used extensively. The gold one never got much love from me, but is included nonetheless.

I had to provide some context for my 1992 Ford Mustang Mach III concept vehicle. But let’s be honest: What’s pictured above is really a 1996 Taurus convertible, right?

 OMG, is this a Ford Sierra Merkur XR4Ti? I have no idea who produced these; underneath, it simply reads “CHINA,” whatever that means.

More Ford vehicles: The Bronco, while lovingly used, might have been left at my house by a forgetful playmate who would never see it again. Oh, well. Otherwise, I believe the Probe, the Thunderbird and the (alleged) Mustang all were purchased by one of my parents.

The Mercedes collection: Fond memories of the blue limo, which has a retractable moon roof! For me, the bright-pink 190E was a must-have–I remember pleading for it during a trip to the Danbury Mall. I just had to acquire the baby Benz in that cool color scheme.

And now, the GM collection: Forget the car carrier and the limo to the upper left. Try to avert your eyes from the two Thunderbirds, which I mistook for early Corvettes (feel free to castigate me in the comments section). Those two alligator-colored ’57 Chevys were Happy Meal toys. Really, does anyone still give out play things of such quality? I have no idea, but my guess is that they don’t. Wait a tick–what’s up with those oddly-finished things in the back?

Four Corvettes, two Hummers and one Firebird, all from a special Taco Bell promotion. The shade of red on those cars reminds me of the spicy sauce I’d put on their tacos. When I was in eighth grade, one very bad week (which involved many unwanted bowel movements) put a stop to my patronage of that particular establishment.

I hope those two sedans up front are Dodge Monacos; otherwise, I’m really going to upset a lot of people here. Anyway, this is my stock of Chrysler vehicles. As a youngster growing up in the early ’90s, I must have been required by the state of New York to own at least one die-cast Viper. The Ram? Purchased after seeing 1996’s Twister, of course. I believe the hoodless Daytona became mine after I failed to report its whereabouts to my friend after a play session.

And now, my paltry assemblage of Toyota vehicles: The pickup resembles the truck in every Pixar picture. I don’t remember playing with it very often. The MR2s, however, were bestowed upon me by a very friendly appliance repairman. I can still remember the waves of joy and surprise I felt when he handed them to me.

And now for the odd bunch: Unlike the others, none of these is 1/64 scale. That Chevy pickup, which might be my first-ever toy car, accompanied me on the journey to get my tonsils taken out. A label on the side says “Two for Five,” but wouldn’t $2.50 be pretty expensive in the early ’90s? It sure doesn’t feel worth that sum in today’s dollars. Anyway, the rest of these vehicles definitely were bought at the same annual county fair where I always got the larger cars. Here you’ve got a first-gen Ford Explorer, a Dodge Caravan (with the previously shown roof label confirming its purchase at the 1992 fair), and the highly detailed ’97 F-Series, which may actually the last automobile purchased by my parents’ disposable income, as it was all Star Wars, Star Trek and various Japanese anime after that. And don’t even get me started on Pokemon. Can you guess the make of the limo?

My various luxury makes: I loved all three of them very much and, true to its nature, the Range Rover went off-roading quite a bit. That’s probably why the windows are so fogged up.

To invoke a cliche, I’ve saved the best for last. These two are the most prized toy cars in my collection by far. Let me explain why.

That’s my sister being characteristically sassy. And behind her a 1986 Golf, in which my Dad used to commute 120 miles round-trip, five days a week, just to put food on the table (and toy cars on my pretend roads). I’ll probably elaborate on it in a future COAL post, but for now I’ll tell you that I remember making the real-world connection with my toy version, much to my father’s elation. If you’re wondering, there’s a K-car–a Reliant, I think–sharing the garage with the Volkswagen. In any case, the toys were comforting when Dad wasn’t home; they were a reminder of the technology that got him around and brought him back home to me and the rest of my family every single day.

And as you’re reading this, I’m likely sitting down being interviewed for a job, one that promises a commute of my own. After that? A girl? Wife? Family? House? The Circle Of Life will continue, and I’ll have these toys somewhere nearby; no matter what the future portends.