At the end of the year, I like to indulge myself looking back on some of my favourite diecast finds throughout the year. Previous highlights : Highlights 2018 and Highlights 2017
Some months’ finds were better than others.
January, not a great month, a ’64 Chevrolet Impalafrom the Hot Wheels Black and Gold 50th Anniversary series was my favourite find.
February was a far better month, making the choice difficult, I choose the Porsche 924 from Majorette, because as a kid my favourite cars were the Maserati Bora and Porsche 924. Made in France.
March, Euclid Dump Truck. An older Matchbox from the mid sixties. I found this at Dry Bridge Market for 10 lari from Karo, who I was expecting to ask more. It is in better condition than the Euclid I had before. Made in England.
April, I found three old Corgis, which pushed me way over budget, my favourite of the three was a Datsun 240Z.
May Highlight of the month was the Chrysler 180 and Caravanby Majorette with its box. When I was a nine year old visiting Paris for the first time I brought home 3 Majorettes: a BMW 3.0 CSL, a Datsun 280Z and a Chrysler 180. I have no idea where those models are now but finding the Chrysler again gave me an insane nostalgia buzz the caravan was an added bonus.
June This was a disappointing month. Highlight was a MatchboxMercedes E430 Wagon“Police”…from 2002, 1:62 scale. Made in China.
July There were 30 models added to the collection, highlight of which was a Custom Firebird. This is one of the original “sweet sixteen” Hot Wheels launched in 1968, made in Hong Kong. The only one of the sweet sixteen in my collection.
August Highlight was a CorgiMGC GT
September Mercury Commuter Police Car. MatchboxSpeed Kings. This was the highlight of the month, coming from Gocha at Dry Bridge market. A previous owner had decided to redecorate the police car as an ambulance, it makes for an interesting Code 3 model.
October’71 Nissan Skyline GTX. Although it is a recent casting, I was very happy to find it.
November The Austin A40 Van (Dinky) I looked at in a previous post (Dinky Austin A40 Van from the late fifties.) It is the oldest model in my collection. It cost 40 lari ($13.47) also from Gocha at Dry Bridge Market, source of many of my favourite finds.
DecemberMatchboxSuper Kings K-63 Mercedes Benz “Binz” Ambulance. There is a lot of nostalgia with this one.
5 Matchbox, 2 Hot Wheels, 2 Corgi, 2 Majorette and 1 Dinky a reasonable reflection of the brands I like to collect.
Over the whole year my highlight would be the Datsun 240Z by Corgi, I had wanted to find one of these for a long time and finding one here in Tbilisi in such good condition with its box was great.
My father had a Moskvitch 427 back in the seventies, his was Mustard Yellow with a black vinyl roof, I would love to find a similar model. I wish I had a photo of the actual car. Moskvitch were only imported to the UK for a brief time in the seventies.
Moving to Tbilisi really kicked off my diecast collecting hobby. In the markets here I have picked up quite a few models of Soviet cars to add to my collection.
These models can be divided into three types:
Models made in the USSR as toys
Models made in China by DeAgostini for adult collectors
Models made in China as toys
Models made in the USSR
These models are mostly in 1:43 scale and will have opening parts. I have picked up a few for around 20 lari ($6.90), but usually they are fetching higher prices in the markets. At Dry Bridge Market boxed models have an asking price of around 150 lari ($51.71), which for me is too much. The first model I got was from my Georgian brother-in-law, a GAZ Volga 24-02, a model he’d had since he was a child.
Models made in China by DeAgostini for adult collectors
I have more Soviet Models made in China in my collection than those made in the Soviet Union. DeAgostini produces a package of a 1:43 scale car and a magazine. The sixteen page magazine Avto Legendi (Legends of Autos) is in Russian, one series of magazines is for everyday Soviet cars, a second series of magazines is for emergency vehicles.
These models are for adult collectors, they are not designed to be played with. Small parts like windscreen wipers break off easily. My ZIL came with a crack in the roof. They also don’t have opening parts.
Soviet Models made in China as toys
Recently some Soviet Cars of Chinese origin have been appearing in toy shops and market stalls in various scales. These are intended as toys, some have opening parts and all seem to have pull back motors. They are more robust than the DeAgostini models and some look good representations of the actual vehicle, they are priced between 10 ($3.45) and 20 lari ($6.91).
The Holy Grail for many Soviet car collectors is the French DinkyMoskvitch 408, these can fetch $100 or more. Although the prices may drop now Atlas Editions are making a reproduction of this model. I have only seen these on the Internet.
28 more models entered my collection in November, a few left in the direction of Kakha, but it was still a large haul…so much for going on a diecast diet!
It was the second month of the year, where I went over twice my nominative budget of 100 lari (the other was April). The grand total was 210.70 lari ($70.94), most of this was from just three models which cost me 140 lari ($47.14).
The most expensive was the GAZ M_13 “Chaika” (1:43 scale), this was made in the USSR and cost me 60 lari ($20.20). This was from Gocha’s stall at Dry Bridge market. Other stalls were selling the same model at 150 lari ($50.51)! So I kinda got a bargain! This is a nice addition to my Soviet-made models of Soviet cars, most of which are in the same 1:43 scale. I have seen recently some models of Soviet cars made in China, these don’t really interest me and seem a little overpriced (at 25 lari a piece).
Gocha also pulled out the Saviem Car Transporter(Majorette) from his car, he is learning what I like. This 1:60 scale transporter looks good with the 1:64 scale cars I like to collect. This was also 40 lari.
There were 11 Hot Wheels models added.
Tesla Roadster with Starman. This was the only Hot Wheels model I bought new. I’m not a big fan of Tesla but I like models related to space travel.
Jaguar XJ220. This came from Kakha in a trade with some other models.
Nissan GT-R (R35). This I found in a secondhand store.
BMW 2002. This is a great casting of an early seventies BMW.
Boom Box. This has a plastic body, I was hoping it would be a Color Shifter, but it isn’t. It is from a Batman pack and has the livery of the Gotham City Police Department.
Z-Whiz(Datsun 240Z). I was very happy to find this even in this highly play worn condition. The Z-Whiz was the first Japanese Import to be made into a casting in Hot Wheels history. This model is from the late seventies. The green-tinted windows seem unusual, the pictures I have seen have been of blue-tinted windows. Made in Hong Kong.
1985 Honda CR-X. Another one for my JDM collection.
The Jetsons Capsule car. Inspired by the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon.
10 and 11. 2011 Dodge Charger R/T. This was bizarre. I found these Color Shifter models in the secondhand shop, I could only find this model, not any other ones. Hot Wheels make several Color Shifters that change colour with changing temperature. This Dodge is orange when cold and yellow when hot.
Nothing very old here. Certainly nothing from the early seventies or before. No Lesneys.
1968 Lamborghini Miura P-400. A recent casting of the classic Miura in almost the same colour as the early Superfast model. Made in Thailand.
1969 VW Karmann Ghia. Another recent casting of a classic VW. Made in Thailand.
Ford Model A Coupe. 1:52 scale. From the early 1990s. Made in Thailand.
Lamborghini Countach LP500s. Matchbox International Limited. Made in China.
2000 Chevrolet Corvette. Made in Thailand.
White Water Raft Boat. Made in Thailand. This boat is missing the trailer it originally would have come with.
I found quite a selection of models from different brands this month.
1960 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon(Johnny Lightning/Playing Mantis). 1:64 scale. I come across very few of this brand here in Georgia (the country not the state). In the US the brand sells for about three times the price of Hot Wheels, the models have more details, they also have a metal base and body and rubberised tyres.
1972 Buick Riviera (Johnny Lightning/Playing Mantis). This model has an opening bonnet (hood).
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (Jada). Some fancy wheels on this model.
Lamborghini Countach(Maisto). I find it difficult to resist any Countach or Miura, both are such iconic Lamborghinis.
GAZ M 13 “Chaika” Made in USSR. 1:43 scale.
McdonaldsFlintstones vehicles x 2. These aren’t diecast. I loved Hanna-Barbera Cartoons as a kid, especially The Flintstones, Wacky Races, Yogi Bear and Tom and Jerry.
Shell Tanker(Corgi). Made in China.
Austin A40 Van(Dinky). The oldest vehicle in my collection to date. Made in England.
Saviem Car Transporter (Majorette). 1:60 scale. Made in France.
Porsche 911 GT3RS (Majorette). Opening doors. Made in Thailand.
Totals: 28 Models: 11 Hot Wheels, 6 Matchbox, 2 Johnny Lightning, 1 Jada, 1 Maisto, 1 Corgi, 1 Dinky, 2 Majorette, 1 made in USSR and 2 McDonald’s Toys
2 bought new, 23 bought secondhand, 3 traded
Outlets: 20 Secondhand Toy Stores, 3 Dry Bridge Market, 1 Pepela, 1 XS Toys and 3 Kakha
Many collectors want to collect a toy, as perfect as can be, in mint condition, preferably never removed from its packaging. This is not how I collect, most of my cars are play worn with their own intrinsic charms.
Last Sunday, I picked up a Dinky Austin A40 Van from the late fifties. This is the oldest model in my collection being around sixty years old, it has paint chips and a cracked tyre but I think that is part of its charm. If I were to resell it, it would fetch far more if it were in mint condition and with a box (Toymart estimates the price to be around £210 for a mint in box model). But I’m happy to keep it as it is, some child (who may now be older than me!) has probably had a lot of play value with this model sometime in the past.
I often pick up incomplete models. Below, you can see a cargo trailer without a tractor cab, a MatchboxUnimog missing some tyres and a HuskySnorkel fire engine without its hydraulic lift.
I am not skilled at model detailing, I watch videos by baremetalhw with awe, he restores and customises many Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars. Patience is a virtue in Wabi-Sabi toy collecting. A couple of weeks after finding the Husky fire truck, I found an extendable ladder, though not the original hydraulic lift, it does make the model a more credible fire engine. For the Unimog, I found some washers in the appropriate size to act as tyres and for the trailer, I found a suitable Tractor Cab (a MatchboxFord Cargo cab) to tow it. These weren’t the original parts but I am pleased with the results.
I often find tow trucks without hooks, and improvise with a bit of chain or a twisted paper-clip. I have two Euclid Dump Trucks one is highly playworn and its yellow paint has faded from too much exposure to the sun but I feel it has more character than the tidier model next to it. The Matchbox models I like to collect were toys, they were made to be played with. Most diecasts are made from a compound alloy known as Zamak or Mazak which is virtually unbreakable in normal play use.
I have a Matchbox carry case, itself a bit battered, to hold many of my rougher Matchbox models.
I do keep some of my collection in blister packs, unopened but I would estimate this only accounts for 10% of my collection. The two Hot WheelsSuper Treasure Hunts, which I found on the pegs are still on their short cards, but I have opened most of the regular treasure hunt cars.
My collection isn’t accumulated with the thought of resale. Having no boxes for the Matchbox cars instantly halves their potential value. Whilst, I prefer to have the cars in as good condition as possible, I will happily settle for a few paint chips on a model I especially want. I don’t like buckled wheels and most of my cars have sound wheels, Early Matchbox Superfast and Hot Wheels with thin axles were especially prone to buckling. I am also not keen on models that have been repainted by a previous owner unless it was done really well.
I was very surprised today to find this old Dinky van at Dry Bridge Market here in Tbilisi, Georgia.
This model was produced in England between 1956 and 1960, it was from an era before Dinkys had windows. In 1956 Corgi had just entered the market in direct competition with Dinky and their cars were being advertised as “the ones with the windows”. The model is playworn and the front tyre is cracked but, considering it is around 60 years old, it is not in bad shape. It is one of the few models in my collection older than me.
I don’t have many Dinky Toys, they don’t have the same Nostalgia Buzz as Corgi and Matchbox. This model predates my birth (1964 ) and is unlike the models I remember playing with as a child. I can relate better to the slightly later Triumph Herald (#189) (1960-1964) as this has windows, independent suspension and is closer to the cars I played with as a child.
This is not the first time, I’ve written about nostalgia in relation to collecting model cars. I bought a Kinsmart1967 VW Classic Beetle, a model made in China, my purchase was influenced by its dark blue colour, which reminded me of the Dinky model from the early seventies.
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 have the KinsmartBeetle in yellow, too. But the yellow model doesn’t give me the same nostalgic buzz.
I don’t have any of the models I had as a child, but I have bought similar ones and others like the KinsmartBeetle that recall those models. I favour models of sixties and seventies cars, and the Matchbox brand, largely because that is what I played with most as a child.
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. Corgi and Dinky, the other major UK diecast manufacturers, resonate less, because they were more expensive. As a child it was only around Christmas or when Dad’s friend Norman came for his annual visit, that there was a chance for a Corgi or Dinky car.
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. 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.
Sometimes it is not the models themselves that trigger nostalgia but their associations. I loved watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a kid, so models like the Flintstones‘ Flintmobileand Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine also stoke the nostalgic fires within. I wish Hot Wheels would put out a model of Dick Dastardly’sMean Machine from Wacky Races.
I bought a Hot Wheels three pack today for just one car, a Ford Escort. My dad had a Mark 1 Ford Escort back in the late sixties/ early seventies. SMO390G was the reg.
Before I came into the world my dad had a couple of Ford Anglias. When I was born my dad had a Ford Anglia Estate, this was replaced by the Ford Escort, it wasn’t an RS1600 Mexico like the Hot Wheels model but a base 1100 model, but the shape gives me that frisson of nostalgia.
After the Escort there was a Moskvitch 427, briefly. Moskvitch was imported into the UK for a short time in the 1970s, before being withdrawn amidst safety concerns. We had our own safety concerns, whilst driving along as a family, my sister almost fell out of the rear door that had come open for no good reason, luckily she had a strong clamp like grip on the front seat, so didn’t fall out into the road. Now living in the former Soviet Union, I still occasionally see Moskvitches on the road and find Soviet made models of Moskvitches at Dry Bridge market in Tbilisi.
After the Moskvitch, there was a Ford Zephyr, which we kids liked because it was big and comfortable, but was difficult to fit into the garage and probably thirsty, too.
Then there was another Ford Escort but this time an estate. There followed an Opel Kadett estate (my first car incidentally was an Opel). My brother got a job selling Peugeots, so my father duly went through a succession of Peugeots, first a 305, then a 309 and finally a 306.
His final car was a surprise; a Mitsubishi Lancer Estate, his first and only Japanese car. I don’t have pictures of the actual cars, just the memories and the strongest are with the Ford Escort. I will usually get a Ford Escort if I see it, particularly the Mark 1s. Matchbox didn’t make a Mark 1, but Dinky and Corgi Juniors did at the time and recently Hot Wheels have put out a Mark 1 RS1600 Mexico, after it featured in Fast And Furious.
The Cararama model of the Escort Mark 1 is closest to my memories, although my dad’s car wasn’t silver, more a duck egg blue.
My dad dreamed of having a Jaguar Mark X, one Christmas, my mum bought him a model of one by Corgi, a story which became part of our family legend. I don’t know what happened to the model. He never realised this dream.
A recent addition to my collection this battered Peugeot 305.
I have mentioned in several posts, the frisson of nostalgia I feel for certain models. “Frisson” is a French term meaning “aesthetic chills,” the nostalgia connects us to something from our past. Frissons can come with music, with smells, with tastes and with images or objects. If I smell TCP, it reminds me of the school playground and the frequent applications of TCP on my various cuts and grazes from tumbling over.
With some models that frisson is stronger than with others. It is difficult to explain why. It is usually with the Matchbox and Corgi models from around 1968 to 1975. I don’t feel the same frisson with old Hot Wheels, they weren’t really a part of my childhood. Many are models I had as a child or desired as a child. It won’t be every model from say the Matchbox range of 1969; the Crane Truck exudes this frisson but the Refrigerator Truckdoes not.
Older models that weren’t part of my childhood memories don’t generate the same reaction. The MatchboxAustin Cambridge(in production 1961 to 1966) might be the oldest model in my collection, but I didn’t have it as a child and it doesn’t have the frisson of nostalgia for me that the later Iso Grifo has.
The redline Hot Wheelsmodels are great but don’t excite me like Matchbox models of the same era. However, there are more recent Hot Wheels models that have that frisson of nostalgia for different reasons. The entertainment vehicles like Scooby Doo‘s Mystery Machine and The Love Bug‘s Herbie, bring to mind the cartoon and the film I loved as a child. The Love Bug may have been the film that got me really car crazy, I would have been 5 or 6 when I first saw it.
Some toy cars link me with events of my childhood, I explored one such connection in a previous post about the CorgiMarcos Mantis: Therein lies a tale…
Looking at a picture of Dinky Toys from 1970, I see a few models that bring back distant childhood memories:
The Captain Scarlet Maximum Security Vehicle– all I remember of my first day of school was playing with this model, I don’t remember the lessons, the teacher or the other kids…
The Lotus Europa – this was the first thing I ever shoplifted (not something I’m proud of)-I still remember the fear
The Ford Capri – I remember in a fit of rage my brother throwing this at me, I ducked and it broke the window.
The Mercury Cougar – I bought in Hamley’s with all my Christmas money, I couldn’t quite afford the Cadillac Eldorado, now strangely I have the Cadillac but I’d prefer to have the Mercury.
I particularly like the sports cars in the Matchbox range like the Iso Grifo, Lamborghini Miuraand Ferrari Berlinetta.
I love looking through old catalogues, I have a few and can see others online. I love the old Matchbox artwork.
Skybusters are diecast aircraft models made by the Matchbox brand. I tend to focus on cars when I collect diecasts, but I have bought a few aircraft.
Lesney began Skybusters in 1973 and the series continued under Mattel. I have two jet fighters an F 35B Lightning and a Tornado.
The Freeway Flyer is a car that can convert into a plane, the wings are retractable for highway use.
The heliopter (Rescue Chopper) is not a Skybuster but a regular Matchbox vehicle that showed up in a 2004 Police 5 Pack. I am not actively looking for more diecast aircraft, although if a Space Shuttle crosses my path I might snap it up.
Dinky made some diecast planes, which interested me when I would pore over their catalogue as a child. I have none in my collection, even with cars I have very few Dinky Toys
…collecting diecast cars, like the 3" Matchbox cars I had as a kid