Volume VIII, Number 4

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 e-mail.

The Cars (and trucks) of My Father
As a collector, I am most pleased to find models of cars I own, have owned or hope to own someday. It is also a pleasure to discover models of cars that were owned by my parents, especially those I remember from my childhood.

In my case, the cars and trucks selected by my father for family use were a mix of both common and more curious vehicles. The 1973 Ford Gran Torino sedan is an example of the former while the latter is represented by cars like a Renault Dauphine and VW 4-door pick-up.

When I come across a model of one of the vehicles my dad once owned, it always brings with it the memories of family trips or specific incidents connected to that car or truck. My earliest memory is of a black 1949 Dodge sedan. While I do not remember riding in it, I do remember it sitting outside our house after being replaced with a newer car. The nearest toy car would be a Plymouth of about 1950, offered as part of the Petty Stock Car series. The next car I remember is a 1960 Rambler Station Wagon. I recently found the Tootsietoy version of that car. Another Tootsietoy represents the 1960 Ford Falcon we owned. I learned to drive with a clutch in that car.

In 1962, my parents went to the Seattle World's Fair and left the kids with grandparents. On their return, they arrived with a 1958 Edsel Citation sedan in turquoise and white. It still had plastic on the back seat and I remember the little bumps in the texture. We rode home in that car but my dad returned it to the dealer and was able to get his money back as it had a serious engine problem. Racing Champions did the 1958 Edsel coupe in their Mint Editions line. A 1962 Renault Dauphine was used by our family for a while in the 1960's. I do not have a model of that car in small-scale.

My dad usually had a work truck as he was a logger for many years. Other than the color (our's was white), Johnny Lightning's '65 Chevy Pick-up is a perfect match for one we had. We had a camper that went on the back for family trips but usually sat in the yard while dad used the truck for work. For a short time, my dad tried to combine the work truck with a family car. He bought a four-door VW Pick-up but did not keep it long as he thought it under-powered. Siku has a nice example of this truck.

In the 1970's, my family had a Chevrolet Vega. They gave it up after it blew a second head-gasket. I remember driving it several times and thought it was a sporty little car. An AMC Pacer joined the family in the late 1970's. It was the same color as the example here from Corgi but it had one of those plaid interiors. In 1973, my dad was doing well and went out and bought a new Ford Gran Torino sedan in baby blue. We drove that car for a long time and I passed my driver's test in it. The Johnny Lightning version is a coupe and has yet to appear in blue. My mom had a 1976 Honda Civic that she really liked but someone hit it while parked and destroyed it.

1958 Edsel Citation - Racing Champions

1960 Ford Falcon - Tootsietoy

1960 Rambler Station Wagon - Tootsietoy

1965 Chevrolet Pick-up - Johnny Lightning

1972 Chevrolet Vega - Zylmex

1973 VW Pick-up - Siku

1975 AMC Pacer - Corgi

1973 Ford Gran Torino - Johnny Lightning

1976 Honda Civic - Tomica

My first car was a family hand-me-down, received for my 16th birthday. It was a 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air Station Wagon. While the Bel Air coupe has been done in small-scale, the wagon still remains missing. While in college, I bought a 1968 Buick LeSabre from my family but it to remains a lost car in 1:64 scale. Other missing cars include a 1959 Chrysler New Yorker and a 1965 Chevrolet Station Wagon.

Someday, I should sit down with my dad and make a list of all his cars and trucks. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping my eyes open for a few more of my father's cars. Just looking at each of these models while I created the images, brought the memories rushing back.