You can tell a lot about a person from their model car collection. Well, okay, perhaps we’re stretching the truth a bit here. One thing’s for sure, though – the contents will reveal roughly how old they are, as well as their (or more likely their parents’) interest in a particular car maker…
No surprise then that the majority of my model cars in my collection are Volkswagens, most of which date from the late sixties and early seventies. Of course each and every model in my box of toys holds a personal memory or interest and to be honest I doubt any of them are worth very much. I tried to keep hold of the original boxes, but you know how it is when you’re a kid! Anyway, these are just five of the cars that have survived the various house moves, clearouts and other such potential model throwing out life changing situations….
Husky split screen pickup
Swansea-based Husky models were sold exclusively by Woolworths originally. The firm was bought out by Corgi in 1970, so I imagine this natty white split dates from the late sixties. My one’s still got the original elastic band gravel moving conveyor belt but ageing of the rubber means that it doesn’t move when you turn the tiny metal knob at the base.
They did a red version too as well as a yellow pickup with a crude red plastic extending platform in the same series. I think I had that one, but alas it must have got lost behind a settee somewhere…
Corgi 256 East African Safari Beetle
This gleaming Beetle model was always one of my favourites, not just because it could steer (courtesy of the spare wheel on the roof) but I was intrigued by the level of detail in the engine compartment, the jewelled headlamps and the pair of wellies and reel of rope under the bonnet. I tried to do a bit of digging about the actual car it was based upon but didn’t manage to uncover anything.
It was produced from 1965-’68 and originally came with a charging rhinoceros although mine is long gone. Interestingly, it was produced in both left and right hand drive. In good nick with box (and rhino) they can make over £200, but I expect on a good day mine would be worth £40-£50.
Dinky Toys NSU Ro80
I was always fascinated with torches as a lad, so this model – which had space for a single AAA size battery underneath to power the headlamps when the car was pushed down – ticked all the right boxes. I liked it almost as much as a Rover 2000 model I had which featured round headlamps that magically illuminated via the sunroof if my memory serves me right.
And guess what, having fitted a fresh battery the headlamps on this NSU still work! It was made from 1968-’73 and examples in the same condition as this without a box usually change hands for around £15-£20.
Matchbox VW 1600TL No.67
Slightly worse for wear with a smashed screen and missing front fogs (oddly there were three originally), but nevertheless I love this Fastback all the same. This one was made from 1967-’70 and it was also available in a funky purple metallic. They don’t make much money – one in this tatty played with state will set you back about a tenner.
Matchbox Beach Buggy No. 30
I fell in love with the slightly bizarre splattered paint finish on this Buggy which seems to sum up the seventies pretty well. They even did a green version with a flower on the bonnet – far out, man! It was part of Matchbox’s Superfast range, hence the fat plastic wheels.
I had the bendy track that it would have run on originally and getting a car to do a successful loop-the-loop and stay the right way up was always a massive achievement. I found another use for that track – namely whacking my bigger brother with it. After all, at the end of the day there’s only so much playing with model cars you can do before resorting to annoying your fellow family members!
That’s a small glimpse of what’s in my collection – but I bet the cars in yours have their own story to tell…
The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of VW Heritage