Found in the Letterbox
The following are e-mail responses to 'Tales of Toy Cars'. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail

"Hello Doug,

I was starting to worry that you were ill or decided not to do any more issues of Tales of Toy Cars. As usual, enjoyed the most recent issue. Is the Impy Vauxhall Firenze part of your collection? I read a great article about Lonestar in a British magazine called Model Collector (or something similar). Interestingly, the writer observed that the Lonestar Firenze was offered in both left and right hand drive, and noticed that some models had the name "Vauxhall" removed from the base. I assume the reason was to market the model in Canada. I read in a book that the Firenze was sold in Canada circa 1971 as a Pontiac.

The Motor Max models are a great alternative to Matchbox now that they make such awful (in my opinion) fantasy models. I can't understand why Mattel doesn't reserve Hot Wheels for the fantasy/custom car models, and Matchbox for realistic models. The crossover is illogical to me. Matchbox was doing a great job a couple of years ago when it modeled the mail truck, VW Transporter, etc. I was hoping that trend would continue.

Here's an online copy of the 1979 Zylmex catalog depicting the Country Squire:

A few years ago, a collector in Sweden was selling his 1/64 collection, and the Country Squire was one of the cars on his list. It was mint, and only $5, but at the time was not collecting.

Thanks for sharing all your hard work with your fellow collectors!"

James Rice

Editor's Reply: With family and work, it may takes a bit longer some months. Thanks for worrying. I wish the Firenza was mine but it's not. I've never seen a real one of these. It sounds like we agree on the Motor Max/Matchbox situation. Thanks for the excellent Zylmex link. A sample is shown here.

"Hello Doug,

My name is Sinisa Pismestrovic, I´m 22 years old and live in Austria. I´m writing you because I have a problem I can´t solve by myself and no one I know can help me. As a kid I've owned some 200 toy cars, mainly Majorette and Matchbox. I decided collecting the toy cars again when I found a large toy box full of cars under my brother´s bed about half a year ago. My problem is, most of my cars are painted wih several colors, windows being tinted with a water resistant marker and interior full of dirt. I would like to fully open these cars and restore them as much as it´s possible. I´ve succeeded in restoring only some chinese-made toy cars that were screwed together. I was wondering if you can give me a tip how to open toy cars like Majorette, Matchbox or Hot Wheels without breaking any of their parts. Is this possible and what tools do I need for opening them. I´ve often seen articles in ToTC dealing with repainting toy cars, so I´thought you could help me. Thanks,"

Sinisa Pismestrovic, Austria

Editors' Reply: Most of the toy cars are fastened by rivets and cannot be opened without drilling out the rivets. Once the head of the rivet is drilled off, the body and chassis will seperate and all the pieces come out. After cleaning the toy cars and repainting, you can re-assemble and use glue to hold in place of the rivets. This is how most other collectors restore toy cars like yours. I hope this helps.