Remember your first car? No, not that one, your first car. It was probably three inches long, made of diecast metal, and ran on childhood dreams. Think of the way it felt in your hand, how fast it rolled, how beautiful it was to look at. Think of how you couldn’t wait to grow up and get the real thing. Of course you remember that car. It was the starting point of lifelong obsession with all things automotive. In honor of Ryu Asada, our QotW this week (belated due to extenuating circumstances) is about this first love.
What’s the story behind your first car?
The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the rarest ‘normal’ JNC you’ve spotted in the wild?”
Many of the replies this week centered around shrinking or defunct marques, Collin‘s Plymouth Sapporo sighting. Kevinx had a double-whammy having spotted both an a Impulse and Daihatsu Rocky in the wild. Meanwhile, nlpnt offered this excellent breakdown of the two rarest categories of JNC.
Then there were the once unremarkable cars that are now cause for head-turning, like speedie‘s sighting for an original RAV4 two-door, Sam‘s observing of an unmolested A60 Supra, or j_c‘s witnessing of a well-maintined E90 Corolla Wagon. My_Fairlady_ZFG cheated a little bit, as his dad has just purchased a Mazda 818(!).
Of course, what’s rare is heavily dependent on which part of the world you hail from. For Angelo, it was a four-door Isuzu Gemini. In Christoph‘s neck of the woods, the once ubiquitous Mitsubishi Tredia is now nearly extinct. Where Banpei lives, the M10 Nissan Prairie is so rare that two sightings seven years apart turned out to be of the same car.
The winner this week, Raul, hails from Chile and gave us a brief but very educational lesson on his country’s history of the Daihatsu Charade:
I live in Chile, back when I was a Kid in the 90’s the Daihatsu Charade G10 and G20 where everywhere. In the 80 thousands of these cars where sold, even the myth says that these more of those models where sold here than in Japan, it was cheap, excelent gas mileage compared to American and European cars sold here until the arrival of the Japanese, it even beat on their own game another euro “citycars” like the Citroen LNA, The Renault 5, The Mini or Fiat 147/127, this small Japanese car was the first car of many Chilean families… it even was used as a Taxi and you can find them literally everywhere from big cities to small towns in the countryside. You easily can find them on streets until early 2010’s, but lately this little car have become super hard to see, I fear most of them where junked, or sold as parts or even as scrap metal and the ones that still survive has acquired a “cult” status car between enthusiats in Chile. The succesor genrations of Charades, like the G11 or the 90’s G100 ones never reached the success of the First one and Daihatsu slowly faded away in the early 2000’s of our market.
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
Wow, that’s a tough question. When my in-hed hard drive started to operate and write all my life i’ve already had several Matchbox and Majorette die casts.
Some of them: Majorette Citroen DS Ambulance, Matchbox Freeman Inter-City Commuter Bus, Majorette Panther Bertonne, Matchbox Peugout 205 turbo 16.
But my favorite was Majorette Peugout 405 T16 in Camel cigarettes livery. When i was a kid the Camel Trophy rally was a big deal, it was even transmitted in TV. Polish crew participated in it several times. And i was in love with those sandy yellow Land Rover Defenders, so i’ve poured over my love to that Pug405 in that same color and with those lovely dromader camel stickers. I still have that toy, after 30 years. It’s abused, scrached, but it adds the patina to it. Like on real car, some dents and battle scars tell storys, the same applies to this toy. Now, when i’m writing this i remember when i played with it on a beige blanked that my grandpa layed on the floor for me to immitate desert dunes. All those jumps, wheeles, craches, roll-overs… Back then i’ve felt like i was traveling thru Africa, to Dakar with this car, and my grandpa was my pilot…
Kinda hard for me to remember that one. Since most of the ones I ended up with at the time were from thrift store mixed baggies of cars. Since many of them were off-brand they broke and I lost those ones. One Happy meal toy I got was a yellow Honda Civic of the era. (about a 1999-2000 era Si) I don’t think it was my ‘first’ but I know I had it around the same time as the Seared Tuner, a Hot Wheels design that was inspired by well, the tuners of the era.
Okay, I can’t actually work out which was my first but I still remember at age 6, a moment that would ultimately help pave the way for me getting into the vintage diecast.
One day my grandma was babysitting me at her flat and she pulled out this old plastic case with tiny sliding drawers for holding sewing needles and such. She pulled out a a bunch of my late uncle’s old toy cars from the 1970s/early 1980s. She told me to take care of them because they were old. The first she pulled out was a little red Land Rover Tow truck. Still have all of those little relics packed away in boxes for safekeeping.
My true first car is a long lost memory. You see, I used to drink a lot so I don’t remember much. While I try to piece together memories, several cars come to mind. 1980s Mercedes Benz SL, 1954 Mercedes Benz 300 SL, 1980 Nissan 280zx and others. The 300 SL seems to check all the boxes about how it made me feel because it was a 1/18 scale car that I could take apart, detail, and put it back together. I was the happiest kid, I mean person, in that moment.
1977,it was the height of many things to a 6 year old – Star Wars, Disco, Elvis Died, The Bay (oldest Canadian Department Store) opened up in a new huge mall near my house, my dad bought a new Malibu Classic Estate wagon with Police interceptor suspension, and Roger Moore was James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me…and he drove a White Lotus Turbo Esprit that turned into a submarine and shot helicopters piloted by bikini-wearing supermodels out of the sky. It was a purely magical time.
I went to The Bay with my parents on its Grand Opening and got a Corgi Official 007 Lotus Esprit that ACTUALLY TURNED INTO THE SUB (clearly, i still get excited at the thought of that car) and it also shot orange rockets out of the back window. I made a helicopter out of plasticine and shot it down all day. I also made a plasticine Jaws guy and they all played well with each other. Best. Time. Ever.
Funny enough I have a Tomica Pocket cars Ford Model T from around 1977-1978 in the box with the original price tag on it. It was sold for $1.29 CAD from a The Bay store.
Hot wheels from Biway department store…the first one was the Chevy Nomad .
Still really like wagons and Hot Wheels were about 50 cents back then.
My first “car” was a pedal car. I was about four years old. This was before Hot Wheels and I hadn’t heard about Matchbox until a few years later when a new family moved in next door.
That old pedal car was built with heavy gauge steel and had chain drive. The gear ratio was so bad that I could barely get it moving on my own. Mostly had to get a push start from my sister. It was yellow and looked like a hot rod. Man, it was a real love/hate thing with at car, heavy on the hate. Then the aforementioned new family moved in and they had a light weight rod-driven pedal car. I was so jealous.
But, like I said, it was a love/hate relationship. Despite being a terrible ride, I loved “driving” my “car”. And I still love driving cars to this day.
Oops. How did this happen..
I didn’t mean this as a reply. Fat fingers…
It was a big ass Mighty Tonka car-carrying trailer. I got it for my third (I think) birthday and it could haul my brother’s smaller Tonka vehicles. It was so large that I could sit on top of it and use it to drive it myself and even pick up one or two friends. Of course Tonka was so over engineered that it could easily survive two or three 20 kilogram (44 pounds) kids.
Recently by older brother found it tucked away in my mom’s attic. It was old, rusty and paint was peeling off. He asked me what to do with it and I told him to get rid of it as my daughter is too old for it and is more into unicorns and such. I regretted that decision after watching the Youtube channel Odd Tinkering restore a Tonka truck to immaculate condition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oItVSuznIE
Tough Question…..My “first” car was actually a Maisto Ferrari F50 for my 2nd birthday and I started to get more interested further with cars (even I still look at the pictures of every cars appeared in a yellow page phonebook) It was then slowly I’m having more diecast cars in my possession especially Matchbox and Hot Wheels, but three years later, my home was on fire because my neighbors got an electrical failure and nearly spread….half of my diecast cars(including the Ferrari) survived but some….not anymore…..Well after that faithful incident, I keep asking my mom to buy more cars (just one every time we go to the mall), I even bought the first two Tomica cars (Nissan Cedric cop car and the Isuzu Dump Truck)…..Sadly though my Ferrari is now M.I.A. even today but some models I owned until 2007 were still here in my possession….One day I might get my “first” car again….
Although I don’t remember the very first one, here at age 41, I still have three Hot Wheels brand cases filled with Hot Wheels cars from my childhood. Semi trucks with the steering wheels on the back of the trailers, the General Lee, several cop cars, just to name a few.
While I can’t recall my “first” car, the first real memorable one was a slot car. The timing was just right for me in the sixties to have slot cars introduce me to cars. Not a JNC though. A white Chaparral 2E. it was more a design exercise than a competitor.
Like most of the people here I don’t remember my very first one but my most memorable one was a Hot Wheels Red C5 Corvette with a smashed roof and broken windows. That thing entertained me for hours playing “smog check” and “mechanic”. Its gone on many trips with me to California, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii and Vancouver Canada. It now resides on a shelf in my room with some other childhood cars.
I have never lamented the fact that my memory is so foggy as it is today.
My family has been obsessed with automobiles since my grandfather’s generation. And I have inherited the same blood.
My first car, one of them, was a TOMICA Jaguar XJ-S Racing.
Beautiful British green body. Beautiful paint with the Jaguar emblem on it. And thick plastic tires.
It drove me crazy and is still the root of why I love the Jaguar XJ-S.
The feeling I had for this Jaguar was one of love. That’s how much I loved this beautiful coupe.
However, this love has come to an end.
Like other kids my age, I hated to clean up my messy toys.
My beloved Jaguar was thrown away along with the rest of my collection by my mother.
It’s a bittersweet memory from my childhood.
Well mine started out as like others have said with a Tonka toy dump truck. This was back in the 1960 to early 70s. I would place both hands on the sides of the dump bed and push that truck all over the yard and cul-de-sac. Kids played outside in those days and the number of predators were low parents did not worry. My best friend lived down the street and he always had the coolest toys. He had an erector set that we would build cars out of.
He also had Match Box and Hot Wheels cars, track, parking garages and received a new car on a regular basis. I had a few Hot Wheels but not a collection and I had no track or corresponding toys. We would carry our cars in our front pockets of our pants or shorts and played with them on our driveways and all over the house. We would also carry the Hot Wheels to school in our pockets only to wait for recess so we could go outside to the sand box play areas and build holes/garages to park our cars in. Then we would build roads and in our little minds we built towns and would push our cars to the store or to a neighbors just modeling what we our parents were doing.
Then one day my friend got his newest Hot Wheel The Slingshot. It was the coolest. It was a deep maroon color, had the back that looked like a 63 split window Corvette. With a narrow waist just in front of the A-pillers with a very long hood with finders reminiscent of a1930 Cord L-29 Cabrio. I really wanted that car it was sex on wheels. So I kept bugging my Mom to get me to the store to look for the Hot Wheels Slingshot. But we could not find this specific car. So our Moms got together as Moms do and my Mom found out that the Slingshot was only available through a cereal box company. Ya, like the the secret decoder ring. You had to have so many box tops and money like $.075 combined then mail through the US Postal service to the cereal company and wait.
Not like waiting for the internet to come back on line in a few minutes or Fed Ex over night. I am talking about weeks and months. The kind of thing you marked on your calendar so you knew the week you could expect your package of your new Hot Wheel to arrive. This waiting time was the cruelest thing you could do to a child. I am sure my Mom did not like it either. I think it took almost all summer to collect the box tops and earn the money and wait for my Hot Wheels Slingshot to arrive. But it did arrive in a small box as I remember not the typical Hot Wheel packaging we are familiar with.
Then I would place the Hot Wheel Slingshot in the dump bed of my Tonka Dump Truck and push them all over. Then School started, you know after Labor Day. And guess where that Hot Wheel was, Ya, in my pocket. I was going to show off the Slingshot and that I did. The teacher did not like me taking the car out to show it to everyone. But when recess came I was out in the dirt/sand playing with that car. Yes played with the cars in the sand. Then we would shake out the sand that got inside the cars prior to putting them back in our pockets to return to class. The teacher would always make us wash our hands when returning to class, I don’t know why?
I have looked on line for the Hot Wheels Slingshot of this era and have not found it. Lots of Slingshot models come up but nothing from that era or as I describe the car. Maybe I just like sexy curvy things, Oh wait I do.
The first car that really strikes me as a very old memory is a 1:25th scale Ertl 1980 or 1981 Camaro Z28. In fact, it’s this one:
My parents got divorced when I was 2 years old and apparently I took it really hard. I would scream and cry whenever my dad came to pick me up when it was his time with my sister and me. So for my 3rd birthday my mom threw me a party and invited most of her friends and coworkers. One man brought me this one and handed it to me just as I walked into the room with my Dukes of Hazard cake. I grabbed it and I remember staring at it in the package for quite a while and I believe I walked around with it for the rest of the night. It’s definitely the first car I have a memory of receiving. I have no memory of the man who gave it to me, but my mother remembers.
Sadly as time passed this spent most of its time in toy boxes being shuffled around and ignored. I definitely didn’t play with it enough to correspond to the damage it’s received.
When I found it when I moved everything from my parents’ house I made sure to find a spot for it in my display where is sits protected from dust and more damage to this day.
While I owned Tonka trucks and some Matchbox vehicles, the moment I knew I was a true car kid was when I was 8 and Mattel launched the new for 68 Hot Wheels line. At the time my parents offered to buy me one car for every B or above I got on my report card. It must have improved my grades since I had a lot of cars. I donated my rather extensive collection to one of my nephews back in the eighties. I hope he held on to them and sold them for a good profit. As an adult I continued to purchase scale models as my automotive tastes changed. About twenty years ago this included Japanese models like Supras, of which I have one of every Matchbox Premiere Collection Edition A80 sold. My current collecting includes Mazda Rotaries. The recent passing of Ryu Asada made me realize how much the designers of these small cars can broaden the horizon of car knowledge and the possibility of design.
I don’t remember my very first die cast car (my first car was probably one of my dads that I started playing with) but I definitely remember my favorites. And ironically they were all porches. I have (still) a Matchbox Porsche 911 Turbo from 1978, with chipped black paint, a whale tail, a big Porsche logo painted on the hood, and for some reason, a tow hitch (??). I loved the shape and compactness of it, the tail, and the patina (it was patina’d even before I got it, I think it’s my dads) but I really loved that the doors opened. That was the coolest thing ever to me.
Other runners up include a 550 Spyder that I really liked the shape of, as well as the Vvvvvvvv sound the tires make as they rub across the plastic undercarriage. I have a larger Porche 944 that both doors and the rear hatch all open up on, and probably my favorite non matchbox sized cars are two 1:18 scale models of a silver Porsche 356 and a gloss black Porsche 550A. When I was little I would carefully open up the boxes, unscrew the cars from their display bases, and play with them on the floor. Then, when I was done, I’d rescrew them into the bases, and carefully put them back in their boxes and back up on my shelf. Hahaha. Good times!
Oh wow. I will forever have a core memory about a Matchbox Ford Explorer with “COMET” emblazoned on each side. That little car was with me through a cross country move, intercity moves, and all the way up until I think high school. The memories from that car span almost the entirety of my childhood. From being a small kid and lining all of them up on the sidewalk, a car show for the fans of course! Smashing them in a demolition derby. Running it through dirt and grass. Then to being a teenager and figuring out which cars would have a space on my shelf and how to orientate them appropriately. That car always had a spot somewhere on it. I don’t know what drew me to the car so much, I’ve never been a huge fan of Explorers, it wasn’t a bright color or wheels, on the contrary it actually had just about the most basic wheels I can think of. It may have been the “COMET” decals. But the memories of it and my fondness towards it are so vivid to this day. Unfortunately I can’t find it anymore, maybe got lost in a move or thrown away accidentally. It would only be a few dollars to purchase another, so I think I might just do that now.