O F F - T H E - S H E L F

The following editorial reflects the personal thoughts of Doug Breithaupt relating to our common hobby of miniature cars. It is intended to generate discussion relating to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via the 'Guest Book'.

The Slippery Slope

Ferrari 365 Daytona (great mirrors)

1970 Chevrolet Camaro

Porsche 917

BMW 1500 - Rasant

Mercedes-Benz 220SE - Rasant

Ford Taunus - Rasant

Opel Diplomat - Rasant

Collecting is not rational. Collecting is a passion and as much as we might try, being calm and cool about collecting, we can't. At the same time, even passion need limits, right?

Well, I've tried to set limits. First, I try to collect car models. I focus on 1:64 and 1:18. Of course, if I find a nice 1:24, 1:43 or 1:32 scale model, and I have money in my pocket, my heart seems to always over-rule my brain. I do not collect trucks. Well, OK, I do not collect trucks very often. Sometimes I can't resist a truck or two, but I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL! The same thing goes for commercial vehicles, motorcycles, trains, planes, boats and yes, even a snow-mobile (Majorette made such a nice one). But, I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL!

Race cars pose a problem. I don't attempt to collect even a small percentage of all the many NASCAR models, who could? I do buy them if they represent a car not already in my collection. Of course, F1, sport/GT, rally, touring car and too many others are fair game. That's where the latest trouble started.

Jaguar models have long been a favorite of mine. Any Jaguar in any scale is welcome to my collection. I've also owned three of the full-sized variety over the years. About 10 years back, I was in the U.K. and found a wonderful hobby store. After filling my cart with a variety of diecast, I came across a Jaguar XJR12 in Daytona 24 Hour colors. The scale was 1:64, the tires were rubber, the head and tail lights worked and the price was reasonable. One small matter, it was a slot car. I do not collect slot cars but this was a really nice model. Of course it came home with me.

What's the use of having a slot car if you don't have a track on which it can race? It was an easy step. You see, I found this slot car set with another Jaguar, an XJR9, and a Porsche 956. For ten years now, I've continued to find "just one more" slot car here and there. Recently, a local junk/antique store had a box of mix and match slot cars for $15. Included was a Ferrari 365 Daytona in racing form. A Porsche 917, 1970 Camaro and plenty of spare parts made it a great deal. Of course, passion won again. They're not real fast but these vintage slot cars are sure fun to hear and see. But, I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL!

My six year-old son is a big F1 fan and I bought him a slot-car set for Christmas. It has Schumacher's Ferrari pitted against a McLaren (I never get to drive the Ferrari but then it was not my present either). Now I found a vintage Ferrari F1 slot car (about 1978). Like Jaguar, any Ferrari I can afford is fair game. It's a good thing I'm too cheap to start buying Ferrari in 1:43 scale. But, I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL!

They say the first step to recovery is to admit that you are an addict and that you do not have it under control. Since I could stop at any time and I DO HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL, I see no need to take that step. You see, I know what the real problem is. I HAVE MONEY IN MY POCKET!

A loyal reader from France recently sent me several images of interesting European slot cars. He wrote:

"Dear Doug,

Paris is a splendid town, with a lot of things to do and to see and to buy! The problem is that, when it comes to the subject of models, salesmen think first with the cash register, and try very hard to convert me to the expensive joys of 1 :43e or 1 :18e. Concerning the ancient cars market, Paris can almost be resumed by two words : Dinky Toys. With that situation, the bad thing is that I don,t find too much cars (well, come to think of it, it,s not such bad for my wallet !). The good, very good thing is that when I find something, the price is lower than it would be in England or USA. My collection has so increased with classical Matchbox-Lesney ( ,58 T-Bird, Jaguar E-Type, ,68 Beetle &laqno; Monte Carlo ») and my first Impys (the Peugeot 404 is a real killer !) and Pennys. Or is it Impies and Pennies ? Alas, no sign of old Majorettes Did the Dutchmen raided them all?

But let,s come back to the old cars. I went in a little toy store specialized in cars and train, only oldies. In it are remarkable lines of Lionels and Märklin, Dinkies and Solidos, in superb condition, frequently with boxes, and always with an oversized price tag ! Among all those HO and 1 :43e marvels, I stepped upon my little Christmas gift. But it,s a brand I knew nothing about, and so I ask for your knowledge :

The name of the brand is Rasant. These are German cars from the beginning of the sixties, the size of Schuccos, circa 1:66 scale. They are not just models but built to be used with a circuit. They are finely molded, and their condition is mint, every one of them brand new in a hard crystal-plastic box. There is a BMW 1500, a Ford Taunus Coupé, a Opel Diplomat and two Mercedes 220 SE. Do you or another reader of TotC know something about the brand and possible other models?

Until this, merry Christmas, and a lot of cars (whatever the size) in 2001.


Frédéric's Rasant images are to the left. If you can help Frédéric, let me know (guest book), and I will forward your message. You see, both Frédéric and I HAVE IT UNDER CONTROL!

Last month I busted Johnny Lightning's chops for the pathetic Custom 'L' model. Another reader informed me that my editorial had generated a lot of talk on a JL bulletin board. For the complete story on the Custom 'L', visit the Letters page for this month.