One of the best things about being a car nerd that people rarely talk about is that we actually tend to be pretty damn easy to buy gifts for. Perhaps it’s just me, but even after 27 trips around the sun, few simple pleasures still delight as much as getting a miniature version of a car I really like.
Well, the gift-giving holidays are now behind us, and while I didn’t receive — nor did I buy myself — any diecasts or model cars, the season has got me curious about what everyone cherishes in their collections.
In truth, I haven’t bought a grown-up model car probably in almost a decade. I blame rising prices in part, but the bigger culprit is having to pay actual adult expenses like rent, utilities and student loans. I think back to the dispensable income I blew on model cars and honestly, it almost feels irresponsible knowing how much I spent as a teen. But, hey — at least I have a bunch of Lancias on my bookcase, and probably will forever!
On that note, I’ll highlight some of the standouts in my modest collection. Rally cars are certainly a Focus (heh), and the highest-quality models I have are from HPI Racing, including the Lancia Delta HF Integrale and Stratos. Other Alitalia and Martini-livery miniatures seen in the top photo include a Bburago Fiat 141 Abarth that is actually really nice, considering it’s more toy than model, as well as Hot Wheels’ recently released 037 Rally and a very, very old Tomica 1/64-scale Stratos Turbo given to me by a friend.
On the non-rally shelf, we have not one but two Mazda 787Bs, again courtesy of HPI and Mattel. The Hot Wheels one on top of the carrier blows my mind. It’s inconceivable to me that we live in a time where you can walk into a Target and buy a Group C diecast, and I’m genuinely amazed Mazda let Mattel use the ɛ̃fini logo to recreate one of the 787B’s lesser-known liveries. If you don’t know, ɛ̃fini was one of Mazda’s bubble-era sub-brands in the ’90s, though it never left Japan. I’m not certain anyone from the company’s American arm has ever acknowledged it, which is what makes the existence of this Hot Wheels in 2020 so surreal to me.
Anyway, we’ve got a few more neat Hot Wheels, including an R30 Silhouette Skyline GT-R, McLaren F1 LM, Subaru SVX and Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II. And of course, there’s a Fiesta ST, because everyone needs a tiny version of their daily driver. (Sadly, my commuter car is not the rallycross version like you see here.) Again, I stress — if you had told 12-year-old me that there’d one day be a Hot Wheels of a Silhouette Skyline, I’d have laughed you off. Kids today are so lucky!
The last few 1/43-scale examples are a Patron Highcroft Acura ARX-02a from 2009 that a friend brought me from an American Le Mans Series race forever ago, as well as an Alfa 155 2.5 V6 TI DTM in the back there.
I used to have at least double, maybe triple, of this collection, but repeated moves in and out of my childhood home and a slew of apartments have dispersed the rest throughout my parents’ basement. What can you do?
I would love to get back into collecting, but it’s another expensive hobby I definitely don’t need right now. Regardless, let’s make it harder for me to avoid the impulse and see what y’all got! Bonus points if you built them yourself — any time I attempted to do that ended in tragedy, so I stuck with the prebuilt stuff.