I have written before about the nostalgia buzz on this blog. It is one of the drivers for my collecting. Reflections on Why I collect diecast cars?
Some models come with a strong “nostalgia buzz“. I was 5 years old when Matchbox switched from regular wheels to Superfast, the models of that time evoke in me strong feelings of nostalgia. Particularly the Sports Cars like the Iso Grifo and Lamborghini Miura, these were my dream cars at the time. I pulled out a selection of cars from my collection that have the strongest nostalgia buzz for me…
Nostalgia relates to our sense of identity, it kindles fondly remembered aspects of our past and helps to cool the anxieties of our present. Music and smells can also evoke the past, a tune or a smell like TCP (the antiseptic frequently applied to my childhood cuts) , will transport me in my mind back to my childhood.
I don’t have any of the models I had as a child, but I have bought similar ones. I favour models of the late sixties and early seventies cars, and the Matchbox brand, largely because that is what I played with most as a child.
The Lamborghini Marzal was one of the very first Superfast cars, there is no regular wheels version. The dark red model was first and this has a more powerful nostalgia buzz for me than the pinker model that appeared a couple of years later.
Not all models of that era have the same buzz for me. The models below: the Porsche 910, Ford Group 6 , GMC Refrigerated truck and Dodge Tipper are from the same time but their buzz is weaker maybe because I desired them less at the time (1969, 1970). The older models in front: the Austin Cambridge and Ford Fairlaine Fire Chief Car also have a weaker buzz as they came from a time before I was conscious of Matchbox cars.
Matchbox Cars from the period 1968 to 1972, resonate most strongly with me in a nostalgic sense. I was born in 1964, so these years were the peak of my toy car playing years. I probably stopped buying toy cars when I was around 12, and started buying music with my pocket money instead.
The Citroen SM and Mazda RX500 are slightly newer than the other models, having been introduced in 1972. To my mind they are still new models even though looking back from 2019, there is little difference between a model 50 years old and one 47 years old.
The recoloured models have a more dilute buzz. In the seventies, unlike today, cars had the same colour for longer. I am still looking for the first colour of the BMC Pininfarina, which was a gold colour before it was changed to a milky orange.
Aside from Matchbox the other British brands: Corgi and Dinky have some models with a nostalgia buzz, but fewer as they were more expensive and so I had fewer of them as a child. Also there are a few Majorette models that remind me of my first trip to Paris in 1974 (Chrysler 180, BMW 3.0CSL and Mercedes 350SL). I found 3 Majorette Cars at Dry Bridge Market today. Other brands Hot Wheels, Siku, Tomica etc… do not have this buzz for me as they were not part of my childhood.
Nostalgia comes from two Greek words, nostos meaning homecoming and algos meaning longing or pain. My collecting of model cars really took off, when I moved to Tbilisi, Georgia (2009). Maybe I am trying to make a connection to home (England) or my past. The French writer Proust, describes how tasting a Madeleine cake, which he hadn’t tasted since childhood, triggered a cascade of warm and powerful sensory associations. Nostalgia can boost psychological well being.
I have one particularly vivid memory from childhood, in the classroom, when I was just seven, my friend Carl showed me his model of the Matchbox Mercury Cougar “Rat Rod Dragster”, this was like no model car I’d seen before. The car was bright lime green with an exposed engine. I was familiar with the earlier Mercury Cougar, which had opening doors and came in a metallic light green, but this was something new. Hot Wheels hadn’t made a direct impact on my childhood at that time (1971) in England the pocket money rivals of Matchbox were the Corgi Juniors and Corgi Rockets. Finding a model of the Rat Rod at a Boot Sale in 2012, transported me back forty years.