Desert island diecast

Ian Thurley muses on the five models he’d most like to have with him should he ever find himself living the life of a cast-away…

In the sizzling start to this year’s summer, I found myself dreaming of powder white sand, a crystal clear blue ocean and a hammock hung between two palm trees. Desert island heaven: but what about my precious collection? If I had to choose just five models to take with me, which ones they would be, and why?

Despite still collecting models today and despite the huge advances in accuracy and detail when you compare today’s collectors’ models with the toys of 50 years ago, it is still my old toys, the ones that founded my 1250+ collection, that I treasure the most.

I have always been interested in cars; it’s partly why I got to ride in my neighbours’ cars, but it also suggests to me that collecting is far more deeply rooted in my psyche and linked to real-life experiences in my formative years than being down to simple nostalgia. Indeed, when I think about it, the majority of my models hold some form of personal significance, either being related to my life experiences, my home city of Leeds or vehicles owned by myself, family members, my school-friends’ parents’ or others who have had some influence in my life. My absolute favourites all seem to have their roots in my early childhood, back in the late 1960s.

So, for the Desert Island Diecast record, here's my selection. But, put on the spot, I wonder which models you’d most like to find washed up on the shore with you?


My first ride in a car was in the back of Grandpa’s Anglia and, later on, my Dad’s first car was also an Anglia, so, for nostalgia’s sake, Dinky Toys No. 155 Ford Anglia would be a must. Dinky captured the shape of the car really well and the model always ‘drove’ smoothly around the dining-room carpet. Hopefully, it would run just as smoothly across the wet sand at low tide!

As a child, the roof-mounted steering that was a feature on this toy gave me endless hours of fun. Corgi Toys’ did a splendid job of capturing both the look and the stance of the real car – something I was very familiar with, as our next door neighbour drove one. I well remember being taken out in the Cambridge after he had washed it – he would run it down the ring-road to dry it off, with me up front in the red leather passenger seat (no seat belts required back in those days!)

Read the full article, including the rest of Ian's picks, in Model Collector August 2017

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