This is not the first time, I’ve written about nostalgia in relation to collecting model cars. Yesterday, I bought a Kinsmart 1967 VW Classic Beetle, a model made in China but its dark blue colour reminded me of the Dinky model from the early seventies.


Kinsmart VW Beetle and Dinky Catalogue (1974)

Nostalgia relates to our sense of identity, it kindles fondly remembered aspects of our past and helps to cool the anxieties of our present. Music and smells can also evoke the past, a tune or a smell like TCP (the antiseptic frequently applied to my childhood cuts) , will transport me in my mind back to my childhood.

I have the Kinsmart Beetle in yellow, too. But the yellow model doesn’t give me the same nostalgic buzz.

VW Classic Beetle Kinsmart yellow and blue

Kinsmart Classic Beetles

I don’t have any of the models I had as a child, but I have bought similar ones and others like the Kinsmart Beetle that recall those models. I favour models of sixties and seventies cars, and the Matchbox brand, largely because that is what I played with most as a child.

The catalogues also kindle the nostalgia, like this 1970 Matchbox Catalogue (the year Matchbox went Superfast).

Matchbox Catalogue 1970

Matchbox Catalogue 1970

Matchbox Cars from the period 1968 to 1972,  resonate most strongly with me in a nostalgic sense. I was born in 1964, so these years were the peak of my toy car playing years. I probably stopped buying toy cars when I was around 12, and started buying music with my pocket money instead.


6 Matchbox Cars from 1968-1972

Corgi and Dinky resonate less, because they were more expensive. As a child it was only around Christmas or when Dad’s friend Norman came for his annual visit, that there was a chance for a Corgi or Dinky car.


Dinky Cadillac Eldorado and Corgi Mini Marcos

Nostalgia comes from two Greek words, nostos meaning homecoming and algos meaning longing or pain. My collecting of model cars really took off, when I moved to Tbilisi, Georgia. Maybe I am trying to make a connection to home (England) or my past. The French writer Proust, describes how tasting a Madeleine cake, which he hadn’t tasted since childhood, triggered a cascade of warm and powerful sensory associations. Nostalgia can boost psychological well being.

The oldest models in my collection; a Dinky Triumph Herald and a Matchbox Austin Cambridge, don’t have quite the same nostalgic buzz for me, as they were made before I was born. I was, however, still pleased to find them here in Tbilisi at Drybridge Market.


Dinky Triumph Herald and Matchbox Austin Cambridge

Sometimes it is not the models themselves that trigger nostalgia but their associations. I loved watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons as a kid, so models like the FlintstonesFlintmobile and Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine also stoke the nostalgic fires within. I wish Hot Wheels would put out a model of Dick Dastardly’s Mean Machine from Wacky Races.


The Mystery Machine and the Flintmobile, inspired by Hanna-Barbera

Two other posts related to the psychology of collecting:

Reflections on why I collect Diecast cars

The Nostalgia Buzz










9 thoughts on “Nostalgia

  1. Well said, Jim! Nostalgia is that thing that gives us, the collectors, reasons to continue, always looking back at our collection and always finding something to be proud. Regards, Catalin

  2. Dick Dastardly’s Mean Machine would be a fantastic car! I fondly remember watching Wacky Races as a child, and how it continued to be broadcast up until the 1990s. I had to introduce my husband to it very recently as a matter of fact, as, surprisingly, he had never watched any of the very few episodes they made!

    The nostalgia for me comes mainly from Majorette cars – I remember having quite a few and playing with them when I was travelling Europe as a child. I lost my favourite on a beach once day in Greece. I believe it was a Majorette – I remember the suspension and opening doors. I took it absolutely everywhere with me! It was red, I distinctly recall, so could have been the BMW 3.0 CSI – I don’t have one now as they are very rare and expensive in good condition, but would love to have another as I was utterly devastated when I couldn’t find it. Maybe my desire to collect 3 inch cars was born from the loss of that car on the beach. Maybe when I find another, I will stop collecting… haha, who am I kidding! I will be collecting for the rest of my life. Another lovely post, Jim. I enjoy reading your blog.

    • I had an orange BMW 3.0 CSL by Majorette, that I got on a trip to Paris as a child, long since lost the model, I’d love to find another. I googled diecast Mean Machines and found Johnny Lightning put out some models of the Wacky Races cars, but I have never seen any Johnny Lightning models except in pictures.

  3. Pingback: Monthly Acquisitions May 2017 | jimholroyd diecast collector

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