Get your miniature motor running

Have you ever dreamed of owning a garage full of your favourite cars? Meet Karen Ker from Victoria, who’s one of hundreds of people around Australia that collect diecast model cars.

Q. How did you get into collecting model cars?

My dad was a mechanic so I was always around real cars. Then I met my husband. He had some models and knew I liked cars, so it went from there. We got into it in a big way together.

Q. What’s the appeal of model cars?

If you’re into cars then you love the curves, you love the sound. I don’t like girly stuff like shopping and sewing. I’d rather go car shopping. Also, I can’t afford the real ones so I’ve got these to look at.

Q. How big is the market?

It’s died down a lot in recent years, but 10 to 20 years ago everyone was buying them. Now I think everyone’s money is getting tighter. But they are a good investment. Some of the rare Fords have even gotten up to $1000 each.

Q. Where do you go to buy diecast cars?

I buy them from a wholesaler. Sometimes online you can find a bargain. Or in op shops you can find some that have been signed by racing drivers. Often the guys that work there don’t realise their worth and I’ve gone in and bought cars for a couple of bucks.

Q. How are diecast cars valued?

First, it really depends what you’re into. Some collectors just buy the cars because they’re the right price and they don’t care about the value. They just like the car.

For serious collectors, the box has to be in new condition. Some people don’t even like you touching the window of the box in case you dent it. The certificate and even the outer box have got to be pristine.

Then there’s the brand. The Aussie cars are more valuable because they’re limited edition, whereas your muscle cars from America, they make a lot more of them, so they are less valuable.

Q. Where do you keep them?

The rumpus room in the back of the house. It’s not a man-cave, it’s a share-cave. A lot of people who collect cars keep them in their boxes and hidden away. I always say: “You only live once and you can’t take them with you, so what’s the use in hiding them?”

Q. Do you ever play with your model cars?

No, you wouldn’t want to play with these. You’d damage them. You just look at them and admire their beauty.

Q. What’s your favourite car?

That’s like if you have more than one kid and you have to pick a favourite. You can’t do that! Maybe my Grease car.

Q. Do you ever meet up with other collectors?

No, but we do communicate online. We’ve got a Facebook page: https://m.facebook.com/DominantDecalsAndDiecastCars/.

Q. Can you have too many model cars?

Nah! You just have to find more and more cabinets and put more and more shelves in the cabinets.

Did you know that Cash Converters stocks diecast cars? Check out the Cashies webshop for the next addition to your diecast collection.

Nigel Bowen


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