Since I was 4 Years Old
Sept/Oct 2018 edition
Issue #1 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Models and toys date back centuries. For real model cars, it may have been just a few miniatures during the 1700s replicating some of the finest horse drawn carriages of that time, and certainly there are a handful from the 1800s. The few that were made would have been for the very well- heeled and royalty. Nowadays the rest of us mere mortals, can acquire some rather fantastic models of all types of automobiles. Most are pieces manufactured from the 1950s to current day, with prices ranging from under $100 to over $100,000.
I have been collecting model cars since I was about 4 years old. Actually, they were toy cars at first (Corgi, Dinky, Solido, and others) and I still have rug burns on my knees from “driving” my fleet across the great land of carpet. There is a significant distinction between ‘toy’ and ‘model.’ Today, I collect mostly high quality, accurately detailed models.... limited editions, custom built one-of-a-kinds, and some semi mass market as well.
My perspective and view on all types of model cars comes from an admittedly unusual combination of factors. I am passionate about automobiles, the work I do, and all types of collecting. For our first issue, I am going to dispense some general information regarding model collecting. The majority of “collectible” automobile models (not kits) have been made from the mid 1960s onward. Be it a one-off scratch built piece, or a production run., some are easily attainable and of course, some are not.
If you are new to collecting (anything), follow this rule: collect what you like, and buy the absolute best you can afford.
The 1:1 collector car market has changed a great deal over the years, and so has the collectible model market. As with the real cars, and anything collectible, there is a great deal of misinformation coming from all directions. There are many factors to consider, and no simple, pat answers. Do your homework, and beware of reviews in model car magazines, as well as the many “arm chair experts” dispensing opinions, advice and information, which is all too often about as accurate as a blind (and certainly drunk) sharp-shooter.
Few if any, of the really great pieces are ever on eBay. This auction meca website is generally not where sales of the most special pieces take place, and is not a good barometer for true values and prices of most collector items. As for the often seen words “rare” and “limited edition” in descriptions... I will address their use and abuse in future.
The two models here, show you opposite ends of the collecting spectrum. Both of them “speak to me.” The green 1935 Morgan Three-Wheeler is a semi mass market model, with approximately 500 produced in 2012. It doesn’t exactly fit in with the majority of what I collect..... GT40s, Ferrari’s, French coachwork, nor several other types, and I’m not a Morgan enthusiast, but.....when I saw this little 1:43 scale gem from Spark Model...I had to have it.
This diminutive piece is charming, delicately detailed all around, and just a heck of a good value. Spark is not the first company to model one of the many Three-Wheeler’s, but theirs is the best. Not too easy to find now, but well worth the search. As of this writing, you should expect to pay in the $100 range.
The stunning yellow Ferrari 500 TRC is a one-of-a-kind 1:10th scale scratch built piece made by the master of scratch built models, the late Manuel Olive Sans. He was the best of the best! It is truly a “Holy Grail” piece.
This small rolling sculpture is comprised of a few thousand parts, all made from nothing but raw materials, most entirely from brass. It features countless details faithful to the original car, even the steering has the same amount of turns lock to lock. Completed in 1986, it was a piece which I had commissioned Olive to make for a client of mine of one of his cars, and although my client no longer owns the real car, he still retains the model today, within his very significant private collection of cars and models.
Pieces like this rarely, if ever come up for sale, this one is not. Comparing a similar scratch built model for purchase to something like a new 1:1 Maserati. I say buy the model, it will hold its value.
To read more great columns like this one from model car expert Marshall Buck...
Collecting Model Cars
Editor of AutoMobilia Resource Magazine, and owner of CMA Models, Marshall Buck caters to serious collectors of boutique and high-end model cars.