Found in the Letterbox

The following are e-mail responses to 'Tales of Toy Cars' and The Breithaupt Miniature Motorcar Museum. Your letters are welcome and may be submitted via e-mail

"Hello Doug,
I read Tales of Toy Cars very often and thank you for a wonderful site. It is truly one of the most informative sites around and I learn something new everytime I visit. I salute for a job well done. Your site can take credit in that it has inspired me to collect several different makes that I would have otherwise ignored had it not been for your site. As (in my opinion), one of the greatest diecast guru's out their Doug, what is your opinion on the decline of morality and ethics within this hobby? It seem that the toy scalpers and weekend opportunist (eBay sellers) have invaded this hobby attracting a slew of 'johnny-come-latelys'; quasi diecast collectors whose sole interest is purely greed. The amount of back room shenanigans that takes place in stores (many times by the store help themselves) I find contemptable. I realize that most of this has been created by so called chase (Treasure Hunts, White Lightnings etc) cars and the like. In my opinion, this has near ruined this hobby if it hasn't already. It has left me very bitter and it seems (among my friends who collect also) in angst as well. I would be interested in how this has affected the hobby among diecast collectors in general and quite namely, yourself. What better way to address this than via Tales of Toy Cars? Thanks again for your introspective insight."

Peter Modaffari, California

Editor's Response: Peter, Thank you for the kind comments regarding TofTC. It is comments like these from true collectors and enthusiasts like yourself that make it all worthwhile, although I'm not sure guru status is merited.

I would love to have you provide a guest editorial on the subject you raised. I look at it this way. There are acquirers and there are collectors. The difference is that acquirers leave their cars in the package and put them in the closet where they can't be seen. Collectors take them out of the packages and put them on display for anyone to see and enjoy. The scalpers exist because of the acquirers and we are stuck with that. I think the collectors will win in the end because we are having much more fun. Being an acquirer is not much fun and sooner or later they get tired of it and un-load the items in the closet because they have found something else to acquire.

"Hi, My name is Dirk Schippers and I'm from Belgium. I visited your website about Playart, and maybe I have some more information for you. I collect small scale models like Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Tomica,... and of course Playart.

Playart was distributed in Belgium through the 'GB' supermarkets, and they also had their 'personalised' blister package. As I am 26 years old, I used to play with a few Playarts when I was little, but as usual they all got damaged and lost, so I had to replace them!

I have about 180 Playarts at the moment, and approximately 80 different models. So I also still miss a few! Especially the Japanese cars are very hard to find here.

About a year ago, I found some sort of 'Twin Packs' from Playart. The first is the military US Jeep with a one-axle open trailer also in khaki. I had never seen or heard about this item before. The second (in the same type of package) is in fact a bus, more specific a Scania city bus with Swiss mail prints on it. It is about 12 cms long. It's a very nice and detailed vehicle with (quite fragile) opening doors at the front, the back and in the middle.

At about the same time I bought 2 gift sets from Playart, the first containing the different versions of the Scania Truck and the second one is an Emergency set with Impala Police car, Mazda Tow Truck, Hino fire truck, Mercedes Ambulance, Chevy Police Van and Leyland/Merryweather fire truck. I suppose that there must be more types of Gift Sets???

I also have a few 1/43 Scale cars and Trucks, but they are really hard to find. I have also two 1/24 Playart, a Porsche 911 and a Benz 450 SEL. Then I found two battery-operated Playarts (1/24), a Rover 2000 (of which there is also a 1/64 metal model) fire chief car, it is fully plastic and is a bump-and-go car with working siren, flashlight and headlights. The second one is a Rolls-Royce Camargue with cable control, working headlights, opening doors, boot and trunk. It takes all kinds at Playart!

My personal favourite in the 1/64 scale is the Daf (which is the type '33' of Daf), since my dad owned such a car and scale models of this are very hard to find. I don't think Daf was ever exported to the USA, in fact they were built in Holland and had a belt driven automatic ('Variomatic') gear. The 33 was the smallest, there was also a 44, a 46, a 55 and a 66. The prototype 77 model was commercialised as Volvo 343 (of which there is also a model in the Playart range), because Volvo took over the company in 1976 and discontinued the Daf brand.

Playart import and administration for the European wasteland was situated in Holland and I therefore think that Holland had maybe an influence in the model range???

Well, that's about it for the moment, Playart keeps on surprising me, that makes it so funny collecting them. Zylmex/Zee Toys has about the same effect, but that is of course another story. I hope I provided you a little bit more useful information about Playart (or about Daf maybe?!). Greetings"

Dirk Schippers, Belgium

Editor's Response: Thanks Dirk. Any help in adding to the Playart story is greatly appreciates.

"Hi, Further to your article on MINIX cars , I have a web site dedicated to these vehicles at : (Tri-ang MINIX cars). Regards,"


Editor's Response: Thanks Gary, This is an interesting site.