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It's that time of year again when both young and old dream about special gifts they're hoping to receive. For car guys*, the focus is on anything automotive. Whether it's a new car, a special collector car, high performance parts or car toys or books, that's all we can think about.
Even though I didn't get the new Porsche Panamera or old Barris Kustom I was hoping for last year, there were plenty of trinkets under the tree to make me happy. This year, there seems to be more options than ever. Incentives on new cars are the strongest I've seen in a long time, with every manufacturer offering tempting year end deals. If a new car is not in the cards right now, a quick walk through Summit Racing's showroom in Tallmadge will give you plenty of ideas to add new life to your old car. Also, 2010 has been an absolute banner year for new and interesting auto books. Publishers like Motorbooks and David Bull are great resources for all automotive interests. Finally, a trip to an automotive event is always a welcome gift, especially when you can escape the Midwest's winter cold for a few days in the sun at the Scottsdale or Florida auctions.
The collector car season has pretty much come to an end in northeast Ohio, that is, the driving portion of the hobby. Once the white stuff appears in the skies andmore ominouslythe dreaded salt trucks begin their rounds most collectors put their cars in mothballsin many cases, literally. I own collector cars with wool interiors and I place a canister of mothballs inside the cars when I put them away for the winter; the stronger smelling the better. I don't want mothsor small crittersnesting in the car over the winter. Does that actually happen? You bet! Ask one of my collector car friends. A few years ago he opened the door of his vintage in April to learn that his car had become home to mice, who used his car's upholstery for their nests. Amazing as it sounds, mice can get through the smallest openings. They are very determined creatures. Protecting your car's interior is only one step you take for winter storage. Anti-freeze should be checked to make sure it's not only at proper protection level but that it's not going to cause any motor damage. At the very least a battery disconnect switch should be installed and at best the battery should be removed for the winter. Some collectors like trickle chargers. If that's your preferences, read the directions carefully. I also recommend washing your collector car before putting it away and covering it with a soft, breathable cover.
I have great memories of the toy cars I had as a child. Matchbox and Corgi miniature diecasts were my favorite because they were a window into the world of foreign automobiles we didn't often see on Northeast Ohio streets. The German Schuco brand provided nicely detailed models with exquisitely functioning wind-up mechanisms. Marx and Toostsietoy examples were a bit primitive but cheap and fun as were the Auburn rubber tractors. Of course, I was enthralled with building model cars of all kinds from manufacturers such as AMT, Revell and Monogram. I remember pleading for nearly a year for my parents to buy me a highly detailed and very expensive Tamiya model of a period Honda F1 car. I was so excited when I unwrapped it that Christmas, that I started building it that same day. Now, 43 years later, I can honestly say it's almost done!
OK, I'm already rambling and I haven't even started on Tonkas, Hot Wheels or slot cars. What special childhood memories do you have with toy cars?