The first race car model I received in a hospital bed. It was prior to starting grade school and for some mysterious reason I had internal bleeding so I was stuck in a hospital for about a week. One of the girls that worked at my father’s office sent the toy car as a gift to cheer me up. It did.
I think my first introduction to die cast cars was the Matchbox variety. They were small, but were fascinating any way. This was well before I even dreamed of driving a car but in my mind they represented a world I was sure that I was going to grow into. Later came plastic models.
I enjoyed them because they allowed me to exercise my innate creativity and imagination. It was fun to take a couple of kits and create my own vision of what a car could be. Most of them were front engine rear drive layouts, but once in a while I would experiment with rear or mid engine designs. AWD was only thought of in Jeeps and FWD was in a strange car called the Saab.
One afternoon I was home with a new idea for a car design. To do what I had envsioned I had to take some parts off another model. My razor knife slipped and I sliced my palm under the thumb to the bone. Fortunately I was able to stem the bleeding and phoned my father who left work and took me to the hospital to get my hand repaired. The surgeon happened to be the same doctor who had delivered me and he wasn’t very sympathetic. Several stitches later and I was out of there with only an aspirin for any pain.
Plastic models would come and go, but the die cast cars were much more permanent. Even though they didn’t allow for the creativity I had exercised with the plastic models, they allowed me to collect examples of cars I had owned or admired.
The detail that is now available in die cast is truely remarkable. Working steering is nothing new, nor is working doors. The engine and suspesion detail is something that can really impress you especially if you have working knowledge of a particular car. Some of the highly detailed cars run well into the hundreds of dollars, but there are a surprising number of quality die cast cars that are less than forty dollars.
You can try your hand at collecting them like baseball cards in the hope of cashing in later, but like baseball cards, you could find that you paid more for them than anyone esle is willing to. Rather you should enjoy them for what they represent in terms of memories, and examples of engineering that can fit in a display case. Save your garage space for the real thing.