Small Cars, Big Memories:</br> A Pile Of Old Toys
Hidden treasure

As you’ve noticed I like to write about automotive collectables from time to time. Whether it’s plastic model kits, diecast cars or radio controlled vehicles, most of us probably got our start building or playing with some sort of miniature automobiles during our childhoods. If it weren’t for those toys or models,  there’s a good chance we wouldn’t be the auto enthusiasts that we are today.

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So with that in mind, I thought I would do something different this time around. Rather than share someone’s highly detailed scale creation or visit a high end collectables shop, I want to share something a little more personal.

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What you’re looking at is a giant bin of toy vehicles that my younger brother and I spent countless hours collecting, playing with and sometimes destroying during our boyhood years.

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The bin has been sitting in a closet in my parents’ house for years – perhaps waiting until my brother and I have kids of our own.

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While I’m not sure how interested our future children would be in a box of old toys, the other day I decided to grab the insanely heavy bin of cars and take a look through it. What I found was such a wave of nostalgia that I thought it’d be fun to share some its contents here on Speedhunters.

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The cars in the bin represent just a minor fraction of the cars and trucks my brother and I had when we were younger, with our toyboxes filled with everything from Micro Machines to Tonka trucks. Most of them were thrown away, sold off, or donated – but this box remains.

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As kids, toy cars were just about the only thing we played with, along with the occasional airplane or military vehicle. You wouldn’t find many action figures or fantasy toys in our house. The sound of toy cars being dumped onto the living room floor for a play session is something I’ll always remember.

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Along with childhood toys, the bin also includes diecast cars we acquired as we grew into our teenage years. Even as middle schoolers and high schoolers we never really stopped buying diecast cars, and now they’re mixed together in a pile of cars that spans more than a decade of playing and collecting.

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The cars in this box were acquired in all sorts of ways. Some were bought by our parents as a treat for good behavior on a shopping trip, some were bought by us later on with our weekly allowance and others were bought second hand at swap meets we’d go to with our dad.

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The range of toys in the box is quite large. There’s cheapo grocery store diecasts from the ’80s and ’90s, tons of Hot Wheels and Matchboxes and even collector-oriented Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions vehicles.

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And while some of these diecasts were designed with the collector in mind, we mostly saw them as something to be opened up and played with while making lots of car noises. The wear and tear certainly speaks of that.

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Next up, I thought I’d go through and pick out a few of the cars from the box that I found particularly interesting, nostalgic, or just plain weird.

Vintage goodies
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Some of the cars in the box are actually very old – like this English-made Matchbox Pontiac Grand Prix from the ’60s. Obviously we didn’t get this one when it was new, so it must have come from a swap meet somewhere.

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This Mini is another one of those great original Matchbox cars from the ’60s and ’70s. Unlike a lot of cars in the box, this one’s actually held up pretty well.

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There’s also some old school Hot Wheels thrown in. I remember this VW Vanagon was one of my favorites to play with, though I was disappointed that the motorcycle on the rear was not detachable.

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I was surprised to find that our tastes in toy cars as kids is just as diverse as our taste in real cars today. Here’s a Porsche 935 that saw plenty of hard play.

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How about this? It’s a made-in-Japan Tomica Winnebago RV from the 1970s. If only that kid version of myself knew that as an adult I’d be travelling to Japan and buying Tomica diecasts…

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While some of the cars in the box I immediately remembered, others I struggled to recall. This is a Play Art Honda S800 that I apparently paid 50 cents for at a swap meet or yard sale.

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I probably didn’t even know what an S800 was at the time, but for some reason I saw fit to add it to the collection.

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Here’s a Mk1 VW Golf that one of us decided to customize with a racing stripe; drawn by a Sharpie marker of course.

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You can’t leave out the Dukes of Hazzard!

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Does anyone remember Connectables? They were Matchboxes that you could take apart and mix with each other. I was obsessed with them in the late ’80s. Unfortunately most of mine have been lost over the years, and all that remains are the rear sections of a dragster and Porsche 935…

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While digging through the pile I also found this Datsun 240Z that had become separated with its chassis at some point. I can’t recall the maker of this one, but check the works-style flares and spoiler.

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How about this ‘futuristic’ Matchbox Z32 300ZX from the early ’90s? Dig those modern graphics and timeless wheel design…

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This Nissan Prairie looks like it had an especially hard life. Poor thing.

Let’s play
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Strangely, some of our favorite vehicles to play with weren’t exotics or race cars but tow trucks and other more blue collar vehicles.

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I remember this Matchbox flatbed hauler being one of my favorites. As you can see, the VW Beetle it’s carrying is not quite to the same scale.

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Another favorite was this Hot Wheels tow truck complete with a working hook that would actually latch on to the cars.

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Later on, I think my brother bought this badass Chevy Duallie and fifth wheel trailer combo.

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Looking for more nostalgia? How about this Hot Wheels Dodge Caravan? I’m not quite sure why we bought this one, but those graphics and wheels are as ’90s as it gets.

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I remember thinking the ‘new’ 1990s Dodge Ram was really cool, so this NASCAR style Hot Wheel was a favorite.

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Based on their condition and age, some of these Hot Wheels were purchased when we were a bit older – like this Pikes Peak Toyota Tundra…

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… and a Celica to match.

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This Porsche 959 might have picked up some rust after we got out the hose and did some miniature mud bogging and rally racing in the front yard.

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Speaking of rallying, here’s a super cool Hot Wheels MR2 that I had completely forgotten about.

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Another neat one is this Hot Wheels Lancia Stratos from the early 2000s. This one’s probably nice enough to put in the case with my recently acquired Hot Wheels.

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Here’s the Meguiar’s Ford Focus drag car released back in 2001.

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I even found this Holden Commodore V8 Supercar released in 2000. Another one I’d completely forgotten about.

Going micro
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Since we always liked muscle cars, plenty of Johnny Lightning diecasts found their way into our bin. This GTO must have been a more recent addition, based on its presentable condition.

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These flip top Funny Cars were especially fun to play with.

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At some point we decided to strip the paint and pull off the wheel caps to make cars look like something Joe Dirt would drive.

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You can’t leave out the Micro Machines. These just might have been my favorite toys as a kid. At one point I had well over a hundred of them.

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The bottom of the bin was filled with these little things. I’m pretty sure Micro Machines were near the top of my Christmas list every year…

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I even found a Micro Machines version of a JZA80 Toyota Supra. Cool.

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I have no doubt that some of the vehicles in this box would be worth a lot of money today – if they were still in the packaging or in mint condition. As they sit, these beat-up toy cars have no monetary value.

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But at the same you can’t put a price on the hours of fun my brother and I had collecting and playing with these things. Even more importantly, if I hadn’t spent those years rolling these cars across the carpet, tile, dirt, mud and concrete, I may not be where I am today living a life surrounded by cars.



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sweet memories... i remember making roads on a top of a cabinet using correction fluid for the markings, my collection was huge back then...
too bad the cars didn't survive when my little brother played with them...
what's left with me is these two, a prius and a lowered mark II i bought at a small hobby shop for 80 pesos(it's quite cheap)


DUDE I have that MR2 on my desk right now. That has to be where my obsession with that car came from


Hahaha I see you have the same diecast cars as I do, and I'm on the other side of the world :D


I think I may still have a box filled up with toy cars somewhere in my parents house. Cool post Mike!


Nice! I have the exact Pikes Peak Celica and red Lancia Stratos as well. I have like about 100+ of these 1:64 scale models, plus a huge number of bigger scale models as well.


not a big deal but that is Rod Millen's Pikes Peak Tacoma, not tundra.


This is perfect! I was thinking today I ought to drag out all my old Matchbox toys (I was a Matchbox only fan as a kid...) and do a similar little expose on a slice of my childhood.


I still have my Hot Wheels Pike Peak Toyota Tundra.


Oh yes. Who doesn't have a box of die-casts lying around!! My favourite activity was painting them different colours and sticking cut up glow in the dark stars on the bottom and racing them down 2 inch binders..... I wonder where that influence came from???


I had a big tub of cars just like that... but my dad threw them all away :(


No burnouts? WHAT!


I had roughly 100-150 Hot Wheels as a kid. I also had a bunch of track sets that went along with them. I did the wrong (right) thing when I gave them away to my younger cousins. All I have left is an E30 M3. One Hot wheel.... ONE!!!

The tears.....


I had 5 or 6 of the cars featured in this article. Pretty sure they're still somewhere in the attic among tons of other diecasts ... : 3
Just like you I loved that red Dodge Ram and yes, my Nissan Prairie is also in pretty bad shape. :''D


I only ever had about 10 Matchbox cars as we were too poor to have any more. They sure do bring back memories. I used to lie on the floor rolling them around. Timeless.


I remember that orange "Matchbox" Mini one of my favorites.  :)


Cool post Mike. Micro machines were always my favourites too when I was a kid. I've still got a show box full of them at my mums house!


Cool post mike! Micro machines were my favourites when I was a kid. I've still got a shoebox full of them at my mums place


LouisYio  actually that happened to me too, now i only have my stinkin' prius... oh and a shakotan mark II...


This post reminds me so much of my childhood!  I might have to dig them out again!


:3 sweet memories


awww i miss my toy cars naw xD


Ahh, dang, I had some of these! Makes me miss mine, haha.


I should find my toy box....HotWheels & Matchbox everywhere! :)


Lot of nostalgia in this article! Had a huge collection of Matchbox cars and Micro Machines as a kid which, foolishly, I sold a number of years ago.
Funny how taste as a kid come full circle: my fave car in my collection was always my Matchbox RS200 (though I was only dimly aware of what it was at the time). Thats now a car which is now top of my lottery winning list today!
Tempted to have a look on eBay for a Matchbox RS200 for my desk now...


Lot of nostalgia in this article! Had a huge collection of Matchbox cars and Micro Machines as a kid which, foolishly, I sold a number of years ago.
Funny how taste as a kid come full circle: my fave car in my collection was always my Matchbox RS200 (though I was only dimly aware of what it was at the time). Thats now a car which is now top of my lottery winning list today!
Tempted to have a look on eBay for a Matchbox RS200 for my desk now...


Woha!!! It's amazing that you have preserved well that collection! For the information i have, not everyone is able to conserve them. This post gave me a good idea to made my own photoshoot about my 378 HotWheels style cars i preserve (At the last time i count them), and i also have 2 shoe boxes filles whit Micro Machines. It's perfect, i like this post! :D


when i was a child i played only with cars, matchbox, hotwheels and so on. only things i built with legos were cars, we usually shared the lego blocks equally with our friends and made a demolition derby competitions lol :)
im so angry at my mom because she gave away a noticeable amount of my diecast, she thought it was okay at that moment :/


I've got a few of these myself. Hot Wheels, Matchbox and more specifically Majorette cars were the first things that got me really into cars and I've started buying Hot Wheels again recently. Hard to beat any other toy in the bang for buck that they offer.


YAY I have some of these! :') That Blue Porsche with the stripe down it is a Majorette I think. I have so many different types. I have Siku (which I believe are German, Immense detail!) Matchbox, Hotwheels, Majorette, etc. I um still have my box of toy cars too I'm 22. Haha. Not that I play with them anymore but there's something neat about a miniature version of something you can actually drive.


Oh also does anyone else remember the Hot wheels cars that changed color when you put them in water? I have a police car of that. I also have two of that Matchbox Mini Cooper. One is all rough and "used" the other is pretty great condition, You can even read the license plate.


I still have most of my collection in my closet, I was 'that girl with more cars than the boys' after my first job, I turned to 1/18th scale, now they're in every room of the house! The last one I bought was an AutoArt Koenigesegg CCX :)


Dam I've got a couple of the same ones, my Nissan Prairie has also had a tough life, my personal favorite was either my meguires focus or my pikes peak Tacoma (different livery to the one in the article) good times spent racing them around the tracks I had set up in the lounge


pidjnr A moment of silence for the little Nissans!


HeatherSabin Nice :)


@__Lightning__ I clearly remember those color changers. I had a few at one point.


@__Lightning__ I only play with mine once or twice a week these days...:)


HLB Yeah, they are literally cheaper than a candy bar in most stores.


MadisSidam Same here pretty much :)


FordGTMex I think Micro Machines need to make a comeback!


tbtstt Some things never change, right?


Kenmericz Do it!


@Turner4life Go for it. Hopefully I've inspired some others to do the same.


@oldguy Thank you!


cooki_monsta 10 or 1,000, the memories are pretty much the same :)


Aisakey Long live the Red Ram!


LouisYio Strangely I never had many of the tracks. My brother and I would mostly play "realistic" scenarios rather than shooting cars through loops and such.


Larry Chen I ran out of cotton!


LouisSoon Noooo!


sojineer Haha. Early customization.


sojineer Haha. Early customization.


SnoozinRichy No better time than now.


SnoozinRichy No better time than now.


@WayFastWhitey Ah yes, I think you are correct there.


@WayFastWhitey Ah yes, I think you are correct there.


speedhunters_dino Thanks! I'm guessing there's some cool stuff packed away in there!


speedhunters_dino Thanks! I'm guessing there's some cool stuff packed away in there!


JohanesKris The car hobby knows no borders!


JohanesKris The car hobby knows no borders!


MidWest_Surfer Nice! I'm guessing its in better shape than mine.


MidWest_Surfer Nice! I'm guessing its in better shape than mine.


MidWest_Surfer Nice! I'm guessing its in better shape than mine.


MidWest_Surfer Nice! I'm guessing its in better shape than mine.


theomar_1996 Cool!


I want that slant nose sooo bad and the pike's peak ones too.  Micro machines are badass too. My favorite was my 67 mustang gt and 65 mustang convertible.  Still got 'em.


MadisSidam Thrift stores are a goldmine for older hot wheels etc etc usually like cents per each


i've got a bunch still in my loft. more hot wheels than matchbox, but bringing them down to have a look would be cool. i think i recognise some of mine in that pile. definetly gonna go have a look. i know for a fact that one of them sells for quite a bit, but the memories mean more than money


Connectables! No THAT brings back memories. I remember putting the centre section of the limo into EVERYTHING!
Micro Machines too. I still remember my heartbreak at losing one of my favourites in a pile of garden waste (branches, twigs, leaves, etc.) after an epic jump. Found it many years later when we were having the garden redone.


some people who are reading this article will remember themselves as children on the living room carpet moving their die-cast cars back and forth making car noises


HeatherSabin  You made good choice to pick from AutoArt


Because I grew up in a Chinese household, I used chopsticks as parking stalls for my hot wheels. That is all.


Thank you Mike! I still have the Nissan Prarie and 300zx somewhere. "The sound of toy cars being emptied out" My childhood... Good times :D


Back in the day (1978), $2.00 equaled three Hot wheels cars. (Sale tax).
Still keep them in an old blue tackle box. (Some Matchbox too.)
Great post Mike.


Hey you should do a second part of this segment. Because it looks like there are more speedhunter cars in the pile. But other than that. Great post.


Larry father was a turner at a rotary press factory, he would bring huge sheets of paper where I would draw roads for my cars.


i have some of those cars.... MISB. but its awesome that lots of us enjoyed cars like these one way or another. awesome!


Great article man! I still have a bin of my old Hot Wheels that my son Aston plays with! I even pull my old Corgi & Dinky cars off the shelf for him to play with as well......I figure they've lasted about 50 years already so I'm sure he can't hurt them!


Such an awesome post. Something I think, whether or not we are poor or mega rich now, we all can totally relate to this.


I'm the kid that graduated high school but still buys Legos... and has all his cars within easy reach! I have the exact same purple VW Bug on the trailer... well played with.


Awesome write up! Great topic! I had them all. Oh the memories you brought up. Connetables, micro machines, siku, matchmox, majorette. Best times.


suomeljus Thank you!


SmithG23 No shame there!


@Adam Thank you sir.


ThomasAubert Hopefully I will have a kid of my own to hand these down to someday.


@Diemer86 Yeah I could probably do several posts on the entire thing if I had the time haha.


jzx81 Thanks. It's amazing how cheap Matchbox and Hot Wheels still are. I remember them being about a buck when I was a kid in the '80s and '90s and they are still pretty much a buck (or sometimes less) today.


ThePicGarage Thank you!


Larry Chen I used butter knives!


MilesHayler I'm almost thinking about hopping on Ebay and buying some Connectables for old time's sake.


JDMWill Awesome hear that so many others still have their old cars!


Iv dug out my Micro Machines, these were literally ALL I played with as a youngster. I have the same blue Ford tri-window and a ton of others, they were all I ever wanted for birthdays and Christmases.
Tis true, ones childhood tastes rarely stray with adult years rolling in.
Thanks Mike, great post.


This was a great article. What you described was literally my brothers and I. Everything from the bins of cars, to the exact vehicles you have. 90% of those pictured toys my brothers and I had at one point. Those were our roots, we're all obsessed now with everything vehicular. And we owe it our childhood, and our parents who fueled our obsession. 
This really motivated me to go pull out the bin in my parents basement. Fond memories, Thank you.


For me it was either this or LEGO...
>googles Micro Machines<


koko san Larry Chen Same here.


Mike Garrett Larry Chen Haha...


@WayFastWhitey Looks like single cab T100 to me...


Mike Garrett JohanesKris Very true.


I had connectables. I wonder where they are now...


Mike Garrett Larry Chen I used uncooked spaghetti ;)


I'm forty this year, and still collecting....................will never stop, I guest........
Seems my eldest son & his younger sisters (!!) following the interest...........


i'm twenty nine, and still collect hot wheels.. but i also collect diecast from Jada, Maisto, and Welly. thats for the larger scale. but still, Hot wheels is top priority.. still hunting it after get my monthly paycheck
oh and..still have that Pikes Peak Ford Focus :)


I used to tape endless amounts of A4 sheets together and drab roads onto them.
Can hardly complain when my son does the same now, with my old cars and his new additions.
I have that blue 911 and i think a few more, but would have to go look to be sure.
Awesome post Mike.


Man, this was really nostalgic. I had many of those miniatures, like that Pikes Peak Toyota Tundra. And I remember stripping their paint off and creating new liveries to them with markers just as described. This brought really good memories bro.
And I am brazilian. So, I think we can agree that being gearhead is bigger than nationality. Despite having the same hotwheels toys, we are from totally different cultures, and even though, we all had the same habits...


Ive got 3 shoe boxes of these matchbox,hotwheels and majorette cars.Each shoe box has 3levels stacked and each box represents the condition bad ok and excelllent lol.Here in South Africa hotwheels insnt exactly cheap anymore about R20 which can buy you 2x2l coke bottles,lol.If you consider it used to cost R2 lol.Would be cool if we could showcase our collection somewhere on here :).


Wow, nice article! Brings a lot of memories


That RX-7 on trailer, that Pikes Peak Tundra, that Lancia Stratos, that MR2, and that Meguiar's Focus. Man I'm jelly.


Hello that is a lot of vehicles I wanted to know are you gonna sell any because you have a couple of vehicles my nephews would like Thank You, and sorry if you are not selling I did not mean anything by it.


from the beginning i always purchased imports if i saw a nissan or a mazda or something i had to have it and i even found (when i was in primary school) a rare hotwheels veilside based mazda rx7 in the school yard it was coverd in mud and it had a spider in it but paint looked good! oh and all my non hot wheels cars where kinda poor quality and i pushed on my cars hard so all these cars are now hellaflush or slammed haha! i have a celica that now looks like the love to hate project :P


from the beginning i always purchased imports if i saw a nissan or a mazda or something i had to have it and i even found (when i was in primary school) a rare hotwheels veilside based mazda rx7 in the school yard it was coverd in mud and it had a spider in it but paint looked good! oh and all my non hot wheels cars where kinda poor quality and i pushed on my cars hard so all these cars are now hellaflush or slammed haha! i have a celica that now looks like the love to hate project :P


What about this?


nschouwenburg I have 2 of those rx-7's :D


I also have a case full of all kinds of (all hotwheels) muscle/import cars. Put them away a couple of months ago. Now i want to get them off the attic and play with them

Jordan Kneebone

Mike Garrett pidjnr What is it with the Prairies? Mine got it's roof smashed too. Also Mike great post, so many memories.


Nice article. Brought me some memories of the cars I had on my childhood (some of them still are in my home), although I'm more used to collect 1/18, 1/24 and 1/43 scale models as I grew up. That mini world opened me as the petrolhead that I am. Can't agree more with your first paragraph.


would you be able to lower the price to $35.80


would you be able to lower the price maybe $35.00


Now that's a collection with a soul. I love seeing collections like that and not the boxed ones. If a car survives the play of a little boy then it is a worthy diecast :D

One day I hope my kid will have a similar one. You can check it out at .

I'll try to attach a photo of it you might like


How much are all the cars


Do you still have the box of old toys?


I am a big collector of toys including 1/64 and lower