Since my company is a dealer of higher-end 1:18- and 1:43-scale cars, it may come as a surprise that I have a very serious 1:64 addiction. But, I do, and I fear it may be terminal.
As is probably the case with most LaLD readers, 1:64(ish)-scale cars form the backbone of my experience in diecast. They were the preferred toys of my youth; when I would play with building blocks or Lego, it was always to build cities or garages for the cars. I had a collector’s mentality at an early age and a taste for realistic vehicles, with my most prized possessions being the old Matchbox Ferrari 308 and the Hot Wheels Real Riders Classic Cobra. By the time I reached the age of twelve, I had two or three hundred cars, but pubescence and its attending shifts in focus were looming. Most kids would have put their toy cars away permanently around that time, but in my case fate intervened.
In the spring of 1987, I was performing at a children’s expo in my hometown of El Paso. Between sets, I was walking the vendor aisles at the civic center, when I spotted a booth stocked with old Matchbox, Corgi and Hot Wheels. I knew that such cars had been around for years before my birth, but aside from a few hand-me-down Lesney-era MBs I acquired over the years I had never really encountered them in person. But here before me was an actual adult model car collector…incredible! His name was Joe, and he was among the very first serious Hot Wheels collectors in the country (at a time when there couldn’t have been more than a couple hundred of them…imagine!) He taught me about the relative value of old diecast in its original packaging, as well as introducing me to the magic of Redlines. I determined to buy something from him; based on my 12-year-old’s budget, I settled on an HW Custom Camaro on its original card for the princely sum of $8 (again, imagine!) It was at that moment that my life changed forever: from that day on, I was a Diecast Collector. (That’s the very same Camaro pictured above…water damage destroyed the card several years ago, but the car remains the emotional centerpiece of my entire diecast collection.)
I spent my high school years pursuing desirable Hot Wheels, Matchbox and Johnny Lightning. I built up a respectable collection of Redlines, Lesney, and hundreds of black-wall HWs and Superfast and Macau-era MBs, along with a few dozen Topper-era JLs and various-and-sundry Tomicas, Majorettes and Corgi Juniors. I went on hiatus during college, but a post-graduate career in touring children’s theatre gave me ample free time (though not much money) to get back into the Hot Wheels game. This was in the First Editions epoch, and I spent my days off-stage traveling from store to store, trying to complete various sets.
Finally, in my mid-20s, I moved to California to pursue a career in film, and my serious collecting days came to an end (or so I thought.) As a stereotypical starving actor, I was forced to sell off nearly all of my valuable pieces just to pay the rent. I kept a few, though, and as my fortunes improved, I started picking up a few cars every now and then, until finally I once again had several hundred pieces…not much of any real dollar value, but rather cars that I just love. Some of them actually get to live in the house, lovingly arranged in an artistic manner by the very tolerant Mrs. Citizen.
One special segment of my reborn collection has been Japanese classics. The co-founder and editor of Japanese Nostalgic Car is a longtime friend, and we have had many diecast adventures together. Consequently, I’ve acquired a taste for Hakosukas, Bluebirds and the like. I didn’t really grasp the extent of this mini-obsession until I pulled them out today to grab a photo…I never considered myself a “variation” guy, but I guess I’m guilty.
So, that’s the story of my “1:64 Thing.” With my professional focus so firmly on larger scale cars, will Model Citizen ever deal in 1:64? Actually, the answer is “probably!” Those TLVs and Kyosho pieces are awfully nice…