There’s nothing in the world that quite matches the marvel of a well-made car for them, nothing that makes their hearts beat faster. They don’t like to boast, but most own huge fleets of models — both rare and vintage — and sometimes one in 10 different colours. At their homes, the models occupy a place of pride, next to trophies.
Welcome to the world of car-model collectors — a community of car aficionados who live and love cars and delight in collecting scaled models. “Most of us collect small cars (1:64 scale) as they are affordable but also because we can stock as many as we want, without worrying about space limitations,” says Vineet Bakshi, who has more than 1,000 models at home.
It’s a motley group of people — men and women from the automobile industry, graphic designers, photographers, writers — all of whom share a common passion for toy cars. Members get together regularly to swap cars, show off their latest models and regale each other with stories of their latest and greatest finds.
Three months ago, the group started its own Facebook page, ‘Photography- Automobile Models’, where people are encouraged to post pictures of car models. The group has 350 members. “Small toy cars are cheap, everyone has a camera these days and talking about cars is really fun. So we thought, why not start a place to begin serious conversation about automobiles? The idea is simple: make the car look as real as possible. Put it on a table-top, inside a flower pot, near a small rock, and click pictures. It’s that simple, and that hard,” Bakshi says.
You know a photograph is done well, when you accidentally mistake a toy car for the real thing. “And that’s where the magic lies... to blur the lines of reality,” he says.
The group doesn’t restrict itself to collecting only a particular type of car, though Hot Wheels, the Mattel product, which first came out in 1968, is clearly in the majority. Other makes like the matchbox series (also by Mattel) is quite popular too. Then, there is the treasure and super treasure series and limited editions of Mattel cars — finding one of these is equivalent to winning the lottery in this circle.
Many members, now middle-aged, started collecting cars as children, then dropped the hobby for a few years only to pick it up