By on July 31, 2013

75

When my son was in kindergarten and learning to count, he came home with instructions to gather 100 objects and then use them to practice counting. Suggested items included playing cards, toothpicks and pennies but I had a better idea: Hot Wheels Cars. We scoured the house for them, first emptying the plastic storage display that hangs from his bedroom door and then moving on to the toy box and then various drawers of his dresser and desk. The pile in the front room soon grew to amazing proportions and as the search widened to include all the nooks and crannies of the house, still the cars turned up in ones and twos, some under the couch, still others in the kitchen drawers and even a few amid the dust bunnies behind the TV. When, after about an hour, we had gathered them all together, we lined them up in neat rows on the carpet and counted to almost 170.

How we got so many cars is a result of the passion that I feel for cars. As a child of the 1960s, I can remember the feeling of going into the local hardware store and staring at the plastic display case of Matchbox cars that sat on the back counter. They were all there, the entire “Matchbox 75” collection and what a glorious feeling it was when I managed to scrape together the $1.07 that would actually allow me to take one home. I remember my collection well, the yellow Ford pick-up with a clear canopy and a red plastic lion that circled in the back as the truck rolled across the floor, the blue Citroen SM that had doors that actually opened, the angular green military transport truck with a plastic machinegun on top and a row of troops seated at the ready in the back and the yellow Mercedes SL with the black top you could pop off (and promptly lose) in order to turn the car into a convertible.

7357_Wild_Life_Truck

At home, the Matchbox cars joined cars from other brands, a Johnny Lightning AMX and Dodge Challenger as well numerous Hot Wheels including the Red Baron, the Twin Motor and the outrageous hotrod Paddy Wagon. There were off brand cars too, a Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino and a Jaguar E-type so old that it’s once smooth baby blue paint had been scraped to bare metal, its once clear plastic windows so badly scratched and fogged that you could no longer see the car’s interior. My collection grew and filled the 48 slots of my Matchbox carrying case and then, like my son’s collection, spilled out into the various nooks and crannies of our house or became lost in the sand box or the soil of our yard where they likely remain to this day awaiting rediscovery.

As time passed on and I grew to adulthood, my die cast car collection was consigned to the back of the closet and then the attic. When my brothers and sisters had children, the boxes were brought down and my nieces and nephews also played with and enjoyed my cars but as those kids also aged, the cars were again consigned to boxes. They remained there, forgotten again, until I returned to my parent’s house after a lifetime of world travel with my own children and found the last two or three cars that still remained. Today, those few survivors are among the others in my son’s collection, perhaps a little more worn than the others but still holding their own. Only I know which ones they are for sure.

Paddy_Wagon_RL76

In some ways, my son’s large collection is the result of my own obsession with these little cars. When he was born I once again had an excuse to haunt the toy aisles where, to my wondrous surprise, I found that they still sell for the same price they did almost thirty years ago. As he has grown, I have used every excuse to take him to the toy store to pick out cars, he gets them for his birthday, whenever he visits the dentist or gets a shot, for good grades and on those days when just he and dad need to go out and do something together. His collection is a mixture of our personal preferences, it has a Gran Torino, a Datsun 510 and any number of other classics in it because of my guidance and Sharkruiser and a Ratmobile because he doesn’t always listen to good sense.

There will, I know, come a day that the cars will see less use. It is happening already as Pokemon cards and Nintendo compete for more of his attention but I know that one day, as these things too fall away, he will return to the car hobby. In the meantime, these cars too will make the trip to the back of the closet and eventually on to our storage unit. There, they will remain, waiting for the day that they are rediscovered by my son’s children. As a man who has come to fatherhood later in life than most, I know that I may not be there to see my grandchildren grow into adulthood. They will know me by the things I leave behind and so I hope that the tiny die cast seeds of my enthusiasm will not have lost their magic and that they too will develop the love I feel for all things automotive. Let’s just hope they don’t think I picked out the Ratmobile.

ratmoile

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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56 Comments on “The Seeds Of Enthusiasm...”


  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Lovely article. Very similar to my experience growing up as well as today with a 7 yr old son. There are certain cars I have in my carrying case I don’t let him play with b/c I know how much he’ll bang them up :)

    He’s also pretty fond of the Datsun 510 (we have several in different colors). A few weeks ago he saw something cool out the window (I didn’t catch it) and he goes “what is that? A Datsun?”. Didn’t expect that from a little kid in 2013 :)

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    I am a child of the sixties, and I too still have all 75 of my Matchbox cars, including their original boxes! They were played with, but mostly indoors, and most are in excellent condition. I also have a dozen or so Hot Wheels from that era, some in better condition than others. The cars are supposedly worth a bit of money, but the memories are worth more to me than that cash. It’s too bad that I have no one to leave them to. My HO train set and car racing set went to my nephew when he was young, but then came back to me for safe keeping once he went off to college. Perhaps one day he will have children to leave them to.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      I, too, had a substantial collection of Matchbox cars (Matchbox only, none of those down market Hot Wheels cars!). They were well used by the time that I grew out of them, then rediscovered by my nephews who pretty much finished them off. As the toy nostalgia crazes hit my generation, it was suggested to me that it was too bad that I hadn’t maintained them since they were now more valuable, but toys are meant to be played with. The joys of my nephews were worth much more than the cash value of the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      However, if I still could get my hands on my old Dinky and Corgi models, that might be a different story.

      • 0 avatar
        Cubista

        Dinky was definitely a step above…mainly because they made the replicas of the vehicles from the old Gerry/Silvia Anderson show “UFO”. God, those were cool.

        • 0 avatar

          I was a huge fan of those shows and actually owned a Dinky Space 1999 Eagle. Dinky were a lot more expensive than the regualr matchbox xars back in the day, but they were so much nicer.

          When I visited Japan the first time in 1992, I bought a bunch of little diecast 1:32nd cars (about the same size as the Dinky cars) made by a company calle Diapet. I had a couple of R32 Skylines, including a pretty rare one with the Calsonic racing logos on it. I kept them in their boxes at the bottom of a drawer for about 18 years.

          A year or two ago my son found them, of course, and today they are at the bottom of a toybox somewhere. I secretly suspect they are worth real money today, but considering the shape they were in last time I saw them, I don’t want to know how much.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think they go up that much in value. $2.50 in 1963 (probably about the zenith of my toy car buying) is $19 in today’s dollars, so even the corgi-sized, but vastly superior reproduction Porsche Boxster I bought for $26 at a Porsche dealer, maybe a decade ago, was not much more expensive than my corgi toys, and forays onto Ebay suggest that had I been after profit, I should have put my money elsewhere.

        When I was 14, I boxed my corgis, along with a few Dinky Toys, and some matchboxes, and stuck them in the basement, knowing that when I was an adult they’d be antiques. Now, they sit on display in my kitchen, including the car carrier, which I got for xmas, 1960, carrying a ’63 Sting Ray, a Ferrari Berlinetta, a first generation Corvair, and an Aston Martin. Alas, I don’t know what became of the ’60 Chevy El Camino or the Rolls.

        Unfortunately, modern toy cars (except for the aforementioned Porsche) are junk. So I have very few additions to the collection from the modern age, the most notable exception besides the Boxster being two Peugeot 404s (sedan and wagon), and a Chevy Caprice (bubble version) state police car in Corgi size, and a Citroen SM and a DS (both modern matchboxes, the latter made in Thailand, but still a decent replica).

        Speaking of police, in the ’00s I got more than my share of moving violations (but got out of all of them, only once having to get a lawyer). I would make a model of where the violation allegedly occurred, a drawing, basically, and I would use cars from my matchbox collection to demonstrate (usually the Lincoln Continental, and the ’64 Grand Prix).

  • avatar
    LeeK

    For me it was slot cars, Aurora in HO scale. Hours and hours would be spent on 500 lap marathons with complicated rules about what to do when someone spun off the track. The Aurora line with their unique pancake motors introduced me to some wonderful cars like the Cheetah, the Ford GT40, Porsche 917, and the Ford J (my favorite, in a turquoise colored body).

    Hot wheels never really appealed to me, mostly because of the complete lack of control compared to slot cars.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >>For me it was slot cars, Aurora in HO scale.

      +1. I had my share of HotWheels, Johnny Lightnings, and Match Boxes, but they didn’t come close to totaling 170. Aurora slot cars were more of an influence.

      I had the original ThunderJets, and later the AF/X models. The pancake motors, which were easily taken apart, inspired me learn about electricity (remember pickup shoes, commutator brushes, magnets, and the armature assembly?)

      Slot cars also fostered a creative side as you could experiment with different track layouts. And beyond the intellectual and creative, racing these cars was just plain fun. I noticed each model drove with a slightly different personality.

  • avatar
    stevelyon

    It still amazes me that, when I was a kid, Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars cost $0.99 each. Today, they’re $0.97, and they’re BETTER now than they were then. More detail, better castings, better paint.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I’ve noticed this too! It was a pleasant surprise when my kids started playing with them. Now I can enjoy them all over gain, in greater selection and detail.

      Now I just need a bulk order of 10,000 feet of hot wheels track.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Not sure if they are better – I remember having some cars where the hood and doors actually opened.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re not saying when you were a kid, but by the prices, I’m assuming the ’60s. A dollar in 1967 is seven dollars today, so those matchboxes weren’t that cheap. They certainly were better though than anything you can buy today.

      Always inflation adjust your dollars! (google “inflation calculator)

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        They were a dollar when I was a kid in the 80′s and early 90′s, I know that for sure. Adjusting for inflation from that point, one would expect them to cost $1.80 today.

        • 0 avatar

          That would be precise for 1990. A dollar in 1980 is $2.83 today. Sounds like the real price of matchboxes was coming down. Could it be that this was the period when they went from being all metal to having a lot of plastic?

  • avatar

    Wow! I had the exact same yellow “Ranger” pick up. It was one of my favorites.

    • 0 avatar
      Athos Nobile

      Me too, I had 2. They sounded like the real thing with the I6 (or so I thought).

      Going into ebay looking for those cars is a trip into nostalgia.

      And I know one of the workers here restores them. He had a Holden ute last year in that process.

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      I still have mine too, but I think the cap has been lost. I have the T-bucket police car pictured as well. In fact, I still have all 250+ of my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars from the 70′s and early 80′s. They are nicely packed away in modern cases in my closet, in case I want to break them out some time.

      My son has amassed a collection of over 400. What have I started?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Dave Barry once wrote that the single largest expense of having a boy child was the category of toy cars, exceeding food by an order of magnitude.

  • avatar
    Cubista

    My son just turned two and he’s already working on a decent collection of Hot Wheels thanks to his dad’s “Conspiracy Theory”-like compulsion to buy at least one $0.99 car each time we visit the Kroger or Target in our neighborhood. Among other things he’s got two different Plymouth SuperBirds, two different AE86′s and (my personal favorite) THREE different Ford Falcon XB GT’s.

    And just so he’ll know how cool his old man’s car actually is, he has a Matchbox Nissan Cube JDM in almost exactly the same shade of Bali Blue the OEM used to paint mine last year. Saw that on E-Bay and bought 6 of ‘em.

    EDIT (and apologies if this comes off as hijacking the topic): Has anyone seen the trailers for the “Snake and Mongoose” movie coming out later? I’m looking forward to that more than Ron Howard’s F1 movie. Here’s hoping Mattel goes retro and re-issues the funny car replicas those guys drove back in the day. Loved those.

  • avatar
    April

    Now where did I put my Lindberg Kookie Contender 3 in 1 model kit…

  • avatar
    ash78

    I started my son at around 20 months or so, now he’s approaching 3 years old and has a collection nearing 50 cars. It’s not the total count, for me, but rather the quality and representation of the cars in the collection.

    I try to steer clear of all the weird exotics and more towards the classics and the current models. Then when we see one in real life, I can say “Hey, look, a while Boxster just like yours” and he gets really excited.

    I took him to an ALMS race a few months ago and he was thrilled to see actual Ferrari 458s and Corvettes and Vipers and 911s…just like his collection. It’s truly a stepping stone to the real thing (if only we can keep his academic focus and/or athletic prowess going for another 15 years!)

  • avatar
    threeer

    For me, it started when my German grandmother bought me my first 1:87 scale VW Beetle (Wiking). I was all of 8 or so. From that moment on, every free pfennig I could scrape together went to buying the latest models (I wound up focusing on the excellently detailed Herpa line of 1:87 scale models). Christmas would find my parents presenting me with the year’s collection (my mother had an “in” with a model shop where she lived in Kaiserslautern)…the shop would set aside one variant of each vehicle that my mother would then buy. I always knew I was getting Herpa cars, and I loved finding out which models they had made for that year. At the height of my collection, I had four complete display cases full…I think I lost count at 400+. For the nearly two decades I collected, I wasn’t missing any regular model (I didn’t get every color combo or “one of” of the models).
    In a moment of absolute fiscal stupidity (my wife and I were going through a financial rough patch), I put them up for sale. Every. Last. One. I’m sure what I sold them for paled horridly in contrast to what they were bought for, and to this day (some 10 years later), I still massively regret selling them.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Curious: of the 170 cars you and your son counted, how many were Camrys?

    • 0 avatar

      Some of my son’s cars are Tomy Cars that we purchased when we lived in Japan. There are Camrys among them and also Toyota Crowns. The Tomy cars, I think, are among the best in his collection and I encouraged him to buy the coolest ones he could find while we were there.

  • avatar
    racer193

    My daughter has tons of tiny cars. At nine years old I know she is well and truly on her way to car guy dom, She and my eleven year old nephew ar the only kids I know able to tell me what a car is just by the headlights or tailights as it passes in the night. She also prefers an old cadilliac or buick to anything on offer today.

  • avatar
    Mr. Bill

    I, too, was fortunate to have an extensive Matchbox collection courtesy of my dad who would buy me one or two each payday to add to my collection. Additionally, I also collected Hot Wheels models from time to time that caught my attention. I know my collection all across the board was way over one hundred and I could proudly claim when looking at a current Matchbox catalog that I had at least one of each model listed. However, my real love was with Corgi toys and I looked forward to the occasional visits to the old Sears store in uptown Charlotte, NC. Sears had a separate toy department that one entered through a designated doorway that was located next to the in-store, Sears operated cafeteria. This was the only Sears I had ever seen with a cafeteria. The toy department was wonderful but it is the Corgi display I remember the most. You selected the model(s) wanted from the circular, turning display, and then the store clerk would pull open the deep drawers in the counter and search for and pull out that much wanted treasure. Good days! Anyone else from North Carolina remember the old uptown Sears store and this department?

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Count me in – I had hundreds of them. And looking at some of the guide books on what they are worth now, I sure wish I had some of them MIB, I could retire. Mine all went to my much younger cousins and kid brother.

    Currently I still collect 1:18 scale diecast, and have a pretty nice collection of them, 60 or so. Those don’t get played with, but they sure look nice in the display bookcases in my living room and office. They take up a LOT more space, kind of wish I had gotten into 1:43 scale instead.

    Of course the reason Matchbox cars cost the same now as 40 years ago is that back then they were made in England, with the workers making a decent living. Now they are made in the cheapest possible 3rd world places.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    I started my son on Matchbox and Hot Wheels at 18 months. He’ll be 9 next month. We just had our most recent “all-car car show” (you line them up in rows on the carpet, just like they would be in a parking lot – two rows close together, then one driving lane so they can get out, then two more rows, repeat…) the other night. He has 714 cars. We started with one 100-car case, then got a couple of Plano clear ones that hold 48 each, then a couple of Hot Wheels 46s, then some more, then another 100, then one of those crappy circular “wheel and tire” cases that look kinda cool but are lousy as cases, then some more 46s for a total of 9 of those…and now we’re out of space again.

    They are his forever toys. He has DS lights, DSis, 3DSs, many Nerf guns, many, many LEGO sets, a Logitech racing wheel and pedals to play Forza and Need For Speed (super-cool), two bikes, skates, rollerblades, etc. etc., but he keeps coming back to Matchbox and Hot Wheels again and again. He is a true motorhead – “Dad, the Bugatti Veyron has 987 horsepower, but HOW many does the Super Sport have again?” He knows how you say, “Koenigsegg.” He knows why Chevy detuned the ZR1′s engine for use in the ZL1 Camaro. He keeps pushing me to replace the suspension on my SVT Focus so he can help. Good times.

  • avatar
    hachee

    Amazing how many of us have almost exactly the same experience. As a kid, I had loads of cars, I think mostly Hot Wheels, but lots of Matchbox too. I really never knew what happened to most of the survivors (I know many were lost in sand and dirt), although I managed to keep a few over the years.

    And then my son was born, and he was instantly a motorhead, obsessed with anything with wheels. By the time he was two, ok, maybe three, he knew every car by logo. Of course, like you all, it was a great excuse to ramp up the collection, and I too looked forward to every trip to Target. And then a younger cousin of mine gave me an old case of cars, some of which were probably mine, which got me to really miss some of the older cars. So I’d peruse Ebay, and maybe it’s cheating, but I bought a case or two of older cars, some in good shape, some scratched up pretty badly. But I, I mean my son, really got more pleasure from the older cars than the newer ones. My, um, I mean my son’s, collection grew to around 7 or 8 cases, which is about 350 or so cars. The best of the old ones sit on a shelf in his room.

    Now he’s 12, and has moved on to many other interests over the years, (thankfully he’s still into Lego), and really doesn’t play with the cars much. Fact is, he’s not quite as into cars as I am, but happy to talk cars and go to car shows. My daughter, who’s now 10, never got the car bug.

    • 0 avatar

      The week after I came back from Okinawa my brother and I visited the local swap meet. There were buckets and buckets of old die-cast cars for sale on the cheap and I had to stop myself from buying more than 50 of the.

  • avatar

    I have a collection of about 500 Hot Wheels, ect. in showcases hanging on my garage wall. I also have about 75 1/32 cars including the Franklin Mint 50′s & 60′s classics collection. These little cars are a never ending conversation starters, with phrases like “I had one of them”, I always wanted one of them”, “I’ve never seen one of them before”, ect.. About 100 of the cars are very early Hot Wheels. The major problem with the collection is that the cars aren’t real.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    I grew up in the 80s with Nintendo, Transformers, and all kinds of cool toys but diecast toy cars remained the single most fun and simple plaything during that era. In Hong Kong not only did we had American Hot Wheels, but also British Matchbox and Corgi, Italian Burago, Chinese no-name knockoffs, but mostly Japanese Tomy. Tomica was great since you can actually have tiny toy cars that resemble the real cars on the road of the day, as HK was dominated with mostly Japanese imports (imagine actually having a toy Nissan Fairlady or Toyota Soarer or even a Nissan Pulsar instead of the common Ferrari or Lambo lol). They also had Tomica displays like the Matchbox 75 pictured in the Japanese department stores. The sales clerk would open up the display and get you one you want in a little tiny box. Made in Japan too! My parents loved buying these for me since they were probably the cheapest toys money can buy (if you don’t count two cans on a string or yoyo). They were also quite portable meaning I could have one with me in my pocket at all times. :D

  • avatar
    loner

    Although I now have a more pristine collection of die cast toy cars on the shelf, a few years ago I re-discovered my childhood collection of cars stashed under a bed at my parents’ house. I was surprised how ratty and worn they looked, even the ones I had tried to keep nice.

    A thought flashed by of how much they would be worth in original condition and with the original packaging. However, that thought was immediately replaced with the warm feeling of knowing that the wear and tear on those cars represents innumerable hours of playing with them and fostering a love of automobiles that persists as an adult. And THAT is priceless.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Great article. I had Matchbox cars first and then switched to Hot Wheels. The aptly-named Hot Wheels, BTW, because it was all about those wheels. I suspect the reason that most cars today have shiny, big alloy wheels is to connect with the inner-child of ex-Hot Wheels owners.

    I still have a large box full of old Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars from the 60s and 70s (okay, I admit it, I was one of those careful kids). And as an adult I’ve purchased a few diecast models of old modified racers I used to see race live as a kid (guys like Jim Hendrickson and Don MacTavish, if those names mean anything to anyone here).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Well, I’ll be a party-pooper here.

    I never had Hot Wheels or Matchbox stuff. I mean, why fool around with those tiny things when I had great, big .027-scale Lionel electric trains to play with, and the National Museum of Transport in suburban St. Louis where I could crawl all over REAL railroad locomotives and cars at least twice a year! Who needed those tiny cars? For babies, I considered them.

    Real cars? I always liked dad’s 1950 Plymouth, and was pretty young, but a seed was planted. Dad’s 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer hardtop coupe stirred my interest, and the seed was watered, but dad’s 1960 Chevy Impala Sports Sedan is what made that seed sprout and grow! I learned to drive in that car and the rest is history.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Zackman, I too went with trains as a kid. I had a few Matchbox cars, a Hot Wheels drag set, and a couple of the electric ones with the big “gas pump” that used four D batteries to charge the cars. Yet, they hardly got used. I am a firm believer that a kid’s toys are a great barometer of the future, but for some reason as a child I had no interest in cars. Dad had two kinda cool cars. A 1970 or 71 Mercedes and a 500 cube Eldorado. But otherwise he always went boring, and with base engines all around and limited options. But as I grew up I followed the mechanical road of bicycles to power lawn equipment and finally some snooping under the hood. Trains though, were really cool right out of the box.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    BTW does anyone remember the Hot Wheels from the 80s where it would change color if you run hot water on them, then it will change back to the original color by running it thru cold water? After a while the color changing paint would cease to work then the paint job will get stuck like a ghetto old beater lol!!

    Another brand I haven’t seen mentioned is the French one named Majorette? They came in these cool transparent plastic shell with white bottom.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      Ha! I sure do! I think one of the ones I had were a Porsche 911. My favorite Hot Wheel from my childhood was a white Nissan 300ZX Z31 with a red and yellow ’300ZX’ decal on it, plus it came in a clear case that the lid was a license plate that read 300ZX.

      I remember Majorettes myself, though I think they were bought out by Matchbox, I think.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Yep. They were given my son by a friend of the family. He has the 911, plus a Jeep, a C4 ‘Vette and a Countach. This he has a 928, too. The color change still works on his.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I collect Transformers.

    Yes I’m 21 years old and buy kid’s toys. Really don’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      I’m the same way too. Whenever I go to Target, I always check the Hot Wheels and Matchbox, I mainly go for classic Japanese cars,muscle cars, tuners and police vehicles. If it’s a Skyline, Datsun or actual police vehicle (such as the Matchbox ’78 Dodge Monaco)it’s going in my basket.

      I also like the Jada Heroes and the Green Light series of police cars. The Jadas are all the modern police cruisers you see today like the P71 Vickie, Chevrolet Impala (yes the W body one!)Dodge Charger and Chevrolet Tahoe. Pretty good detail. However the Green Lights blow ‘em away, great detail but they do the unusual but actual police cars. They have done the ’65 Ford Galaxie(I think)’89 Ford Mustang SSP (yup, the real Copstang)the real ’72 AMC Javelin in the real Alabama State Police livery and most unique of all; the ’77 Dodge Royal Monaco, the last full sized Mopar cruiser, this one had the hideaway headlights and were pretty much all the cars that were destroyed in the Blues Brothers. They also have a slew of Crown Vics and Chargers, even the new Ford Police Interceptors, SUV and Taurus ones.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Hot Wheels has a BMW 2002 and a Falcon XB now…can’t go wrong with that. Though I don’t like the unpainted black plastic grille and tail lights on the XB, but it’s not like scale models of a normal XB Falcon really exist.

        Normal as in “not Max Rockatansky’s car”.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I hate to reply to myself…but did you say Matchbox ’77 Monaco?!

          I always loved my pair of Matchbox Crown Vics as a kid, a Monaco would be even cooler.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      No apologies needed. I recently bought a Vertibird online…my folks refused to buy me one in the 70s so I bought one myself a week ago.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Well I remember going into Boston to the F.A.O. Schwartz Toy Store and climbing the stairs to the second floor where the Corgi & Matchbox cars were on display .

    I even managed to collect a handful , all were prolly worn to dust by my playing with then anywhere and every where .

    In the 1980′s I took my then young Son to Boston only to discover the second floor was closed , the stairs being used as display steps =8-( .

    You’re all very GOOD DADDIES for allowing your Children to learn about these toys , regardless if they follow into GearHead Life .

    I’ve never been really keen on Hot Wheels as they’re cheaper by design however , I do have some and was surprised when a mate of mine looked at the ’57Chevy Hot Wheel in my kitchen window and said ” hey ! don’t you know that’s worth over $50 ? ” ~ so I gave it to him , toys are meant to be enjoyed , right ? .
    Besides , I found another one just like it , not new but only .50 cents at a swap meet so I still have a ’57 Chevy and an Oscar Myer Weinermobile on my kitchen windowsill .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    lon888

    We need to teach our boys how to play with toy cars responsibly. I kept my red line Hot Wheels and Johnny Lightnings in mint condition. In 1992, I turned my Hot Wheels into a full-sized ’75 Triumph TR-6 and JL’s into a ’77 MGB. I still have my near mint Corgis, Dinkys and original series Matchboxes. I wonder what I could turn those into….

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      Another excellent article!

      I have about 2000 cars mint in box, but only from 1998-present. I thought it would be cool to collect all of the Petty Hot Wheels, in different scales, especially Kyle Petty’s #44 car that was sponsored by Hot Wheels for quite a few years. I think I have them all.

      I did manage to keep every Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Corgi, Tomica and Siku from my 1970′s youth, and they are all in display cases, probably 500 cars total. I remember that I lost interest in Matchbox when they started casting them in Macau. As a result, all of mine are made in jolly old England.

      My son has about 200 cars in his collection. Someday he will have mine as well!

  • avatar
    Acd

    I tell my wife that buying toy cars is much cheaper than buying real cars. And a Matchbox Alfa Romeo breaks a lot less often than a real one.

    As a kid I had a model train layout but quickly discovered Wiking and Herpa 1/87 (HO) scale cars and spent more time collecting those than running trains. A few years ago I began buying them again and their level of detail is incredible.

    My sons both loved Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars and before my daughter turned two she learned how to identify a Hot Wheels or Matchbox Ferrari. I’m amazed that they’re still only around a dollar–a lot of enjoyment for the money.

  • avatar
    Tinker

    I buy them for my great-grandson, age two. He primarily likes self motivated vehicles, trucks, and the like, and with the noise maker options, an F150 with forward, reverse, and “noisy” alarm system.

    The movie Cars, has a lot to answer for, anthropomorphizing Fiats, Porsches and clapped out red trucks. He spends hours attempting to hook up a tow truck to these things, and is usually frustrated. Smart kid.

  • avatar
    idm3

    Hello.
    I just joined this forum today, and this posting caught my eye. Great article. Since everyone here seems to have an experience with Matchbox or Hot Wheels, I’d like to pitch in as well.

    I started my personal collection in 1973 with nine Matchbox models I got from the 1973 Sears catalog, along with a Tootsietoy Land Rover wagon. I didn’t get into Hot Wheels until 1976. Today, my collection stands at nearly 13,000, and still going strong. I got my two sons started with their own collection, and now they share 500. They’ll be getting all mine when I pass on.

    It’s an addiction that’s hard to break, but it will be the closest I’ll come to ever owning a Rolls, or Bentley or Ferrari, or even a Trabant.

    To the commenter who mentioned the Johnny Lightnings, I missed the AMX. I need to put that on my bucket list.

    To the commenter who mentioned Majorette, they are still alive, bit Matchbox never bought them. They went through several owners in the past 15 years, and are now owned by s German toy company, Simba. I had a recent conversation with one of Simba’s sales reps who says his company is reintroducing Majorette to the US this year. Right now they’re in specialty stores in New England and New York/New Jersey.

    BTW, I have 5 of those Yellow Ranger trucks. But I stayed away form the Ratmobile.

    • 0 avatar

      First welcome to TTAC, we’re all glad you found the site and that we managed to post something that compelled you to comment – it’s proof we’re doing something right.

      I can’t imagine having 3000 of anything, (not even dollars) but we move all the time so my ability to collect things is limited.

  • avatar
    gsw0

    I read all the time and rarely post, but I had to chime in on this great thread. About 10 years ago, I foolishly helped a buddy move into a 3rd bedroom apt. Those of you who have never moved 3 stories up in 100 degree weather consider yourself blessed. Thankfully the day finally ended to what seemed like 1001 trips from a UHAUL up and down the stairs. My buddy hands me a small box of trash to toss out as I am leaving since my car was parked right next to a trash dumpster. I walked to the dumpster and heard something rattle as I was carrying the box. I was dead tired and burntout from moving all day, but took a quick look inside the box. I spotted an old Christmas cookie tin from the 70′s and inside it was about 40 Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. It seemed they all rattled together as if to say don’t let us go we are still useful. My buddy had had them since his childhood and was letting them go — right into to my hands. I rescued them all from the dumpster and took it home only to listen to my girlfriend state Why on earth do you want those? Sigh. Honey. You just wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t just carelessly toss them away into the trash.

    Fastforward years later, my daughter and I have played with those same old matchbox and hotwheels cars. Sure they were old and beat on and some of them even falling apart. Those cars have provided many many hours of entertainment and joy but sadly now said daughter is of an age where other things occupy her time she no longer plays with the cars. They now sit back in that same old Christmas tin awaiting their next revival of life.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    I have thousands of die-cast cars. Literally.

    When I was little, my family knew that if they bought me any toy that wasn’t a car for my birthday, chances are it would be ignored.

    As a tot, my grandmother would always say that she spent more time in the die-cast isle of KB Toys than she did in labor with my father.

    I’m 21 but I still buy one every so often. You’re never too old.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I too have begun impulse purchases of die cast cars of different scale. Having kids now gives me a valid justification when people ask. The major reason I stopped was because of the vagabond lifestyle I led after high school. Moving often prevented the accumulation of stuff. Now that I’ve been settled down for a bit, it has begun again. And I like it.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Another great post, Thomas. Timely as well, I have boy/girl twins that are 3 1/2 now and I had a small collection of Matchbox cars pinned to the wall in the garage (probably less than 10, mostly Mopars, CTS-V, etc). The cars caught their eyes as I would let them close the garage door, etc. so they eventually came down and they had their starter collection sometime around age 2.

    Fast forward to this past weekend and I see a post on my neighborhood HOA Facebook page. 120 Hot Wheels cars, free for the first taker! Score! I literally ran out of the house to get over there. I haven’t gone through them all yet but the coolest one so far is a well-used 1999 Charger concept. It has bumper rash like a 93 Accord that has been parked on the street in NYC for 10 years. It also has a lot of the styling cues of my 2012 R/T and now sits on my desk at work next to my 2012 Matchbox R/T.

    I like the idea of lining up the cars like a parking lot, think I’ll try that this weekend.


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