- A Jaguar XJC12, a Renault 21 Nevada and a Simca 1200. Where all my petrolhead life began.

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.

10w ago

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.

Toy cars are in most cases, what make us petrolheads

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

My precious

My precious

Do you keep any toy car from your childhood?

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!

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Comments (176)

  • I'm 25 and I still collect toy cars. When I go to a toy store, some people with kids look at me like I'm a psycho, but I love it because:

    a) it keeps my petrolhead genes alive

    b) it keeps me young

    I have been collecting various toy cars since I was 3 years old and I refuse to stop 😁

      2 months ago
    • That's the spirit Alen! Yes! Here in Madrid, i'm pretty sure there are more adults buying HW than kids, so, i blend in 🤣

      I'd love to see some of the cars you had when you were a little kid!

        2 months ago
    • I wouldn't worry too much. I collect them too and will often be rummaging around in the hot wheels box in the local shop. It's all normal 😁

        2 months ago
  • Yes because I’m a kid. 😂

      2 months ago
  • I have a Ferrari 612 that I’ve had for AGES

      2 months ago
  • Unfortunately, no. When I was 14-15 I was stupid enough not to keep them - I passed them all to my young cousins. I should have kept at least the favourite ones.

    I had probably over 200 model cars and some of my favourites I still remember:

    - few quality made Yugos (probably better made than the real one)

    - blue Ford Thunderbird Majorette

    - silver Citroen XM Maj.

    - white 205 Cabrio Maj.

    - some chinese but good Toyota Supra

    - Bburago Alfa 33

    And this beatiful communist RC Benz C111

      2 months ago
    • My daughter loves toy cars so we renewed the collection - we now have over 100 of them. This time Matchbox and HotW mostly

        2 months ago
    • You and me must be the same age or so! I had some of those as a kid as well! The Aurometal Yugo is quite a gem!

        2 months ago
  • I enjoyed this article Salvador. In my childhood, many years ago, these brands of toy cars didn’t even exist. Any model cars I had were more likely made from wood or assembled from pieces of Mecanno Sets or other construction kits. I did have some diecast metal cars; one brand name I remember is Dinky Toys.

    Unfortunately none of my toy cars have survived. As an adult, I’ve lived in 8 countries on 4 continents and had probably 20 different addresses. With each move, you inadvertently lose or leave behind items from your childhood.

    For those of you who still have your toy cars, keep them in a safe place, or they will slowly disappear like mine.

      2 months ago
    • Thanks a lot for reading David! So true... moving (It happened quite some times in my childhood) is awful for any kind of collection. Many of my cars were also lost during movings and relocations.

        2 months ago