Not sure what this is from originally. Models 1-60 first editions. Click to enlarge.
We’ve got several of these for sale right now by the way, over on the ‘bay.
One thing you need in abundance if you have a Chinook-load of tiny vintage cars is gasoline. This is especially true if you have a near mint ’64 Pontiac Grand Prix Sports Coupe, which demands to be cruised and burns over 7 gallons per coffee table.
Unsure of how we would be able to maintain our rigorous Grand Prix cruising schedule amid dwindling fuel supplies, we made arrangements to purchase a tanker’s worth of gas for our private use. The vintage tiny tanker truck arrived right on schedule last week, rumbling like a jungle cat, but there was something very wrong… There was no gas in it. Apparently the BP-contracted driver had left the tank’s valve open while he drove and our precious cargo leaked out all over America, fouling rivers and farmland from coast to coast. When confronted about this issue, BP guy ran away, and hasn’t been seen since. Last we heard he was in Washington receiving either the Distinguished Helter Skelter Medal from the American Petroleum Institute or a Presidential appointment to head one or more federal agencies.
We didn’t get our gas, but we did get a nice Leyland tanker out of the deal. Near mint condition. We are going to fill it with Love and give it to You.
MATCHBOX LESNEY NO. 22 PONTIAC G.P. SPORTS COUPE NEAR MINT
MATCHBOX LESNEY NO. 25 LEYLAND PETROL TANKER NEAR MINT YELLOW
Still have a few Tomicas left after the Piranha feeding frenzy. Check out all our latest inventory on ebay. CLICK HERE.
I have a big place in my heart for these Japanese gems, and I’ll tell you why.
When I was a young grommet, there was no daycare or fancy preschooling for me. My older brother was in school and my dad worked all day. I spent those awkward post-toddler, pre-Kindergarten days primarily with my mom, who seemed to drag me along on marathon outings to the fabric store at least four times per week. She must have spent six hundred thousand dollars at the fabric store. Or, I’m just now realizing, she may have actually worked there full time. Anyway, these grueling excursions laid the groundwork for my later interest in painful endurance sports.
During those rare moments when we weren’t at the fabric store, I was corralled in or around the house to keep me safe from the omnipresent molesters in vans and left to entertain myself while Mom did things like look into the distance wistfully over her macrame project, and Joan Baez records spun thirty three and a third times per minute on our dusty cinder block-and-board shelf wall. Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light… That’s how I remember it. Not sure how accurate that is. It was the 70s, and I was right in the thick of it.
Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light…
My attention was often focused on the ground or floor in front of me, where some sort of minor make-believe drama was working itself out. Sirens! Action! A young lady named Lisa with a ponytail who is in need of rescue! I had a vivid imagination, to put it mildly. Fancied myself quite the little rescuer and watched plenty of bad 1970s rescue TV to stoke the fires: SWAT, Emergency!, Chopper One. Sirens all day long. Always with my modest collection of toy cars, which included a handful of Redline Hot Wheels and at least one Tomica.
Even then, five-year-old Bobby could easily see a big difference between the Hot Wheels and the Tomica, and there was no question which I liked better. The Hot Wheels were cool, but over-the-top flashy. With their fat wheels and engines popping out of hoods they didn’t look like real cars to me. The Tomica was much more realistic, which made my little rescue dramas work. I didn’t know what a “Cedric” was, or where Japan was, but I knew that I loved the real low-key look and feel of that Nissan Cedric Fire Wagon with its opening hatch. And the way it rolled, so smooth, and with suspension. Obviously better. I still remember loving it.
It sounds crazy, but that little red car gave me some kind of hope for a world that was often Fountain-of-Sorrow, Send-in-the-Clowns rust-colored bleak. What a great little machine! What a serious toy! They didn’t have to make it so great, but they did. Maybe the future would be kind of like this toy car? Thoughtfully engineered just to bring joy to children and the young at heart? Better than it has to be? It wasn’t just playing with the thing that made me happy — its existence made me happy.
Last year my mom brought me a box that held, among other forgotten treasures, my old Tomica Fire Wagon. How it survived all those decades without getting tossed is a miracle—or evidence of a mother’s love and understanding. When I opened the box and saw it, a rush of weird forgotten emotions flooded my systems. I almost fell over, for real.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
The car was almost totally bare of paint. Its lights, siren and hatch were missing, or rather, torn right off. I spent so much of my early childhood hunched over that thing. In my head, it was always bright red, shiny and new, just like the one in the photo above.
Of course, it remains my all-time favorite toy, if not my favorite material object, and the most valuable diecast car that I own. I would carry it around all the time except then I would lose it, it would roll silently out of my pocket at the DMV, still so smooth on its suspended wheels, and I would no doubt experience such a disconcertingly high level of emotional devastation that it would make me question my whole deal. Keeping the thing tucked away for now.
Seeing my old beloved Cedric after 40-plus years started me on this admittedly strange if not outright worrisome vintage diecast jag. It gave me the sudden and very strong urge to accumulate massive piles of 1960s Matchbox and 1970s Tomicas—the more realistic toy cars—just so I could hold them and look at them up close. I don’t pretend to understand it. A simple urge to regress?
Of course you have to realize that the POTUS campaign was ongoing at the time, and things were going south in a big hurry. It’s natural to want to escape such a reality, at least for part of the time, and the more ridiculous the escape the better. You think you’re getting ridiculous, America? I’ll show you ridiculous. I’LL TEACH YOU!! Come to think of it, I might have been looking closely at tiny cars for that same sense of promise in the future that I felt when I was a little kid.
Long story short, I love Tomica mini cars and you will too. They remind me of good things about my childhood and about the world. And if I don’t sell all of those that I currently possess, it will be all right with me.
UPDATE: Sold every last one. But good news! We got a lot more of ’em and they’re for sale on our ebay page CLICK HERE.
We’ve been so busy over here with the tiny vehicles we haven’t been able to keep up with our highly informative postings. We’ve had several huge (to us) shipments come in and we’ve been shipping them out at a good pace. Mert has been working dawn til dusk with no breaks as stipulated in our verbal contract. We’re stocked with Matchbox regular wheels from the 60s as usual, but also Superfast from the 1970s. Currently having a huge super-sale on Matchbox Superfast on ebay. GO THERE.
Here’s a small sampling of what we’ve been buying and selling over the past few weeks. Expert collectors will notice right away a few interesting items among those below:
We also made room on the lot for a bunch of high quality vintage Japanese mini-cars by Tomica. These date from the early 1970s to early 1980s and include almost all near mint or mint-condition stuff. Included are some with the highly sought after “early wheels” from the early 70s. The cars have names like Sunny Excellent 1400GX and Cherry F-II and almost all have opening doors. The market for these Tomica mini cars is different. Most of the energy is in Asia where millions of kids grew up with these. (Tomicas were marketed in the US as “Pocket Cars,” and they did fairly well but ultimately couldn’t hang with Hot Wheels and the rest, being more expensive and initially featuring many obscure Japan-only cars.) It’s also a more hoppin’ market than the vintage Matchbox market these days. It’s not hard to find reasons why when you hold TOMY Tomica mini-cars in your hand.
And that’s not all. We received a 60-pound box from Ed, a former hobby shop owner and diecast collector back east who has accumulated a large amount of Corgi Classics, Models of Yesteryear, big Solido models and the like over the decades. New Old Stock, as they say. I’m having a great time going through it, trying to learn as much as I can on the way as this has not been my forte, and we’ll put em up for sale as soon as we can. The market for these things is not exactly hot but we’ll see what we can do for him. No more room in Ed’s basement. EVERYTHING MUST GO.
Check out our current inventory on the bay.
Found this out there somewhere on the interwebs. Late 60s vintage.
“What’s that truck for? I don’t get it.” Mert was confused. He was an old fella and had seen plenty of newspaper trucks in his day, but I guess it had been so long he had forgotten what they were for. “Do they put the I-Pads in there?”
“No, that’s a tiny newspaper truck, Mert. Newspapers in there.”
He sounded it out. “Newssspapers.”
“I don’t get it. Is it like a mobile wifi hotspot?”
This vintage Tomica Daily News Truck, a Nissan Caball (No. 107-1 in the series), is in just about factory mint condition, with the slightest storage wear visible, but only to those who are extremely careful in their examination of tiny vintage vehicles. Made in Japan. A rare model in extremely rare very very near mint condition.
Comes with a load of tiny newspapers. Just kidding, no tiny newspapers.
TOMICA NO. 87, 88 NISSAN CABALL DAILY NEWS TRUCK VERY NEAR MINT •
EBAY SOLD, I’M GOING TO MISS THIS ONE
Ever since this very near mint Berlinetta came in last week, Mert has been standing out there staring at it. He is bedazzled. Can you blame him? Unfortunately work around the lot has been backing up.
I went out to have a talk with him about it. Before I could get halfway across the lot he turned around with his hands waving over his head like a football referee and yelled “Halt!”
“I’m going to have to ask you not to approach the Berlinetta, Bob,” he said, trying to calm down.
“Bob, this Berlinetta is in very near mint condition. Any disturbance could result in degradation of the vehicle. I simply cannot let that happen.”
“Mert we’ve got a whole fleet of Greyhound buses to wash, and that Lotus needs a t—”
“BOB STEP AWAY FROM THE BERLINETTA”
I have to admit Mert was very good at guarding the Berlinetta. Luckily it sold almost immediately and Mert didn’t have to guard it any more.
The Berlinetta is another unlikely V-12 with obscene overkill power hidden under the bonnet. Lesney modeled a few of them. Six carburetors on this one.
In the “real world,” vintage Berlinettas in very nice condition go at auction for 3-4 million dollars. You read that right. See here. Roughly a half million per carburetor. Real world!
MATCHBOX/LESNEY No. 75 FERRARI BERLINETTA VERY NEAR MINT •