Scale automobile models have been around as long as the full-size vehicles on which they are based. These tiny replicas can vary massively in both price and detail, with the two being largely proportional. Hundreds of pounds for an incredibly detailed model is not uncommon, up to Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars costing pocket change.
A distinction must be made between toys and models: toys are used for playing and models for collecting and presenting. But that doesn’t mean toys can’t be collected. Hot Wheels are some of the most collectible automotive memorabilia out there.
The Autojumble at the 2022 NEC Classic Motor Show last weekend had an incredible range of both model types. Let’s take a quick look…
With insurance, maintenance, and fuel requirements, cars can quickly become a costly endeavor. And that’s if you can even buy one; this is out of the question for most competition or historic cars. While you can’t drive these models (RC cars are a whole different story), a big part of what attracts a person to a car is its outward appearance. This is where scale models come into play. They have something to admire and since they are so small, some of these will fit on a shelf.
I wasn’t just surprised by the age of the model cars exhibited at the Classic Motor Show, some of which had Dinky and Corgi models that were decades old, but also by the diversity.
The older model cars generally lacked detail due to the manufacturing processes of the time. All of these models were hand modeled to a mold before being cast in zamak zinc alloy and then hand painted.
With the advancement of technology and the possibility of automation and mass production, the models have also evolved. Most modern versions have incredible details, such as B. Spoked wheels with contemporary tire treads. Some even show signs of wear as if they just finished a race or rally stage.
New manufacturing processes have also made it possible to produce highly detailed models at smaller scales, down to 1:64 and in some cases even smaller.
I could almost guarantee that if you’re into a weird, obscure car, at some point a company has made a model of it.
Citroën DS car transporter with an Austin Healy Bugeye Sprite on board? Check.
Alpina E30 B3 2.7? Exactly here. What about a late 90’s British ice cream van? I can almost hear the music playing now…
A rise in tuner car culture has meant that scale models have shifted to follow the latest trends as well.
More and more cars are not only modified, but also made well. Arc spacing, tire and wheel size, all accurate.
If you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, some Classic Motor Show suppliers offer a huge range of kits, again ranging from the completely obscure to all the standard models.
Unless your tastes gravitate towards larger and more detailed models, you don’t necessarily have to dig deep to start collecting. That’s the great thing about this hobby; It’s incredibly inclusive and there’s something for everyone, in all price ranges.
Be warned though, collecting scale models is a very slippery slope and another car rabbit hole all too easy to drive down. So I’ll close with the following: I don’t know anyone who has only one model in their collection…
Feel free to share your most prized model – or perhaps the size of your entire collection – in the comments below.