There are lots of ways in which car culture is preserved and enjoyed. Some collect memorabilia (be it automotive or motorsport), some take photos of cars, some get into racing, some restore or build a vehicle, some collect actual cars and the list could go on and on. But today, I’ll focus on a very special part of the automotive world, the one that includes model car collectors. I had the chance to go to one of their biggest meetings and I’d like to share my experience.
Now, first of all, I have to admit I’m a collector, too. The Tunedside office is filled with Hot Wheels and car magazines and lots of other cool stuff (might do a feature on that, sometime) and I like keeping special models or parts of car culture alive and close, so I can rejoice in seeing them from time to time. It’s a wonderful hobby, and I even passed it on to Anna, our official photo wizard, and my significant other. Hunting for rare models, completing sets, or just enjoying the little cars that you actually love in real life, makes it all worthwhile.
Upon arriving at the meeting place, right in the heart of Bucharest, while the photo setup was getting ready, I got to know some of the people who stand behind and support this phenomenon in our country, some pretty amazing guys and girls, with even more amazing stories. Just like in real life, you have your JDM people, your German aficionados, your old-timer collectors, and your premium model hunters. Basically, there’s a lot of niches out there, all covered, all with their own little community. Or a huge community, when it comes to certain brands or models.
It doesn’t actually matter what you collect, whether it’s bigger models or your regular 1:64 cars, whether you hunt down old stuff at thrift fairs or have a thing for all that is new and shiny, as long as you invest in it, both time and money, you’re one of us. It all starts out with picking a model, which may remind you of your childhood, or that you actually like in real life, and then you go on from there. Piece by piece, set after set, until you start to learn what has value, you pick up the collector’s slang and you spend the night watching auctions or surfing the dedicated forums for that one model that you simply need to have in your collection.
We met a couple that had a huge collection of JDM and tuning-oriented models, lots of Supras, Skylines, and Imprezas, of course, all under the Greddy or Liberty Walk badges, so we felt like we’ve seen Tokyo on a single table. Another guy had only Bimmers, all polished and tidy, organized side by side, like prized possessions. Some nice dioramas were also showcased, for those of us that really want to step up their game and create a miniature world altogether.
We saw passion, we saw friends, we saw an entire community, brought together by the same love, that of collecting and preserving car culture in a very fun and unique way. There’s even a story about a certain someone, who has invested over 200k dollars in his personal collection, right here in Romania. We’ll try and reach out to him, that would make an epic story to write about. He’s no Bruce Pascal (that’s the guy with the most expensive collection in the world, look him up), but for this part of Europe, what he has gathered is mighty impressive.
I could go on and on about this wonderful and interesting hobby, but most likely, more materials on this matter will follow, so I’d rather leave some content for those stories, too. The bottom line is if you want to get into collecting, go for it, it opens up a whole new world. Or if you want to teach your kids about automotive-related stuff, the little diecast cars are a pretty fun way to bond with them and spark their interest. Watch out on Facebook or Instagram about local meetings or trade fairs around you, or search for shops that sell model cars, it’s pretty impressive how deep the rabbit hole goes, once you’ve decided to learn more about this passion.
Prior to the meeting, as we left our office, we promised ourselves that we wouldn’t spend a dime on any model, that we’d be there just for the photoshoot and to mingle with fellow collectors. Proud to say, we managed to do that. The fact that we spent 50$ the next day, at a local toy store, is a totally different story. End of the day, keep collecting what makes you happy because it’s always better to spend your life surrounded by the things you love.
Written by: Mihai Dumitrescu - Instagram
Photographed by: Anna Dumitrescu - Instagram