Memories from the past: Do you keep any toy cars from your childhood?
Most of us, car lovers, started our petrolhead life by playing with our toy-sized dream cars. these three are the ones where everything began for me.
When i was a little kid, my favourite toys were always small toy cars. Of course, living in Spain that meant i had a good amount of miniatures from Spanish manufacturers, mostly Guisval, but also lots from Mira, Guiloy, Pilen, Dicoys or Gisima, but i also owned some foreign delicatessen from Majorette, Matchbox, Corgi or Hot Wheels.
As the years passed, most of those little cars were gone, but without a doubt, they left a imprint on me. Cars were my life and still are, and i'm sure all those little toys i once had, were an important part of my life as a petrolhead.
As an adult, i began to collect toy cars about decade and a half ago. It was a nice hobby and helped me to go through difficult times too. With the years, i built one of the best Guisval collections in Spain (In the world said some of those who saw it) but life changes and the collection was sold some time ago. Anyway, i still enjoy having some cheap Hot Wheels or Matchbox running around the desk while i'm working or studying.
My laptop, any given day. Yes, in my late 30's and still playing with toy cars.
During the last fifteen years i've bought, sold and traded thousands of toy cars, but there are three that are way more than just toy cars. There are part of my, part of my personal history, and that i intend to keep them forever. They are the last three remaining cars from my childhood. And as obscure and complicated the human brain is, i remember perfectly the story behind all them.
Guisval Jaguar XJ12C Broadspeed
My all time favourite Jaguar
An unusual choice, as the real car was a quite obscure automobile, the Guisval XJ12C was built by the Spanish brand from 1977 to 1984, in just two colours: white or metallic silver. The gorgeous lines of the toy car made me fall in love with classic Jaguars, although i didn't see a real XJ12C until a long time later.
I remember getting this car from my mom around 1986, after a visit to the doctor. I was upset, because, you know, doctors always sting you with syringes and such. So while walking back home my mother gave this one and a Mira red SEAT 131 she was keeping in her handbag. The 131 is long gone, sadly, but the Jaguar is the first memory i have of receiving a toy car. It has survived three and a half decades and despite the paint chips and worn wheels, it's a small treasure to me.
Guisval Simca 1200
I loved clunkers even when i was a kid.
One of the things i loved the most about Guisval was its model choices. They built some toys based on exclusive, expensive models like the aforementioned Jaguar, the Mercedes C107 or the Lancia Stratos. But most of its catalogue was based in mundane cars you could see parked in any Spanish street: Ford Fiesta, Mini, SEAT 127, Opel Corsa, or Renault 12 among others were the cars all my generation played with.
I remember one day that i went for groceries to a small supermarket with my mom. While waiting at the queue to pay, i spotted an unopened Guisval display shop, gathering dust at the top of a shelf just next to the cashier. I asked my mother if she could buy me one, and she said yes so, with the display still with all the 24 cars i just had to choose!
It was 1989, so i could have chosen modern cars like a Ford Scorpio RS, or an Audi Quattro, or a Renault 11 Turbo. But no. I ended up doubting between a Simca 1200 and a Citroen 2CV. Two cars whose real counterparts were scrapyard fodder. In the end, i got both of them. Sadly the 2CV didn't survive a long time, pretty much like the real thing, but the blue Simca is still with. me.
Guisval Renault 21 Nevada
Very weirdly shaped, i found this Renault 21 wagon irresistible. I was 8 years old and i already loved boring family cars.
In 1985 Guisval launched a new series of models on its "Campeón" range. They were lighter and simpler than previous models, with chassis and doors made of plastic and no plastic tab suspension. Despite being a lesser quality product, the model range offered was interesting: Opel Corsa, Alfa GTV6, Peugeot 205 5 door, Ford Sierra, and Renault 11 Turbo were the first new models, with the Opel Kadett, Mercedes 190 E, Ford Scorpio RS, Toyota Hilux, Renault Espace and Renault 21 Nevada joining later.
In front of my house back then, there was a small drug store. Back then drug stores usually sold also stationery and toys, so that place was a mandatory stop for me in my way back home from school. I usually didn't receive an allowance, not in a weekly basis, but sometimes my parents gave me a few hundred of Pesetas so i could buy myself some treat.
One day i looked at the drugstore window shop and there was a new Guisval display. The Ford Scorpio and the Renault 21 Nevada were new models i have not seen before, and i wanted them! I really liked the R21, as wagons were unusual choices for Spanish diecast brands, so i bought it. Some time later i bought the Scorpio as well, but sadly, it didn't survive. This little wagon has been with me for more than three decades, and despite being a bit bruised, it's in remarkable nice condition.
These three toys are way more than a small chunk of zamak and plastic. They are the last tangible memories of a time that is long gone. They might not be in good condition, or might not be expensive collectibles. I don't care. to me, they are much more than that.
What about you?
And you? Do you still have any toy car from your childhood? Please, feel free to show it in the comments! Tell me what memories brings that toy car to you!