A diverse collection of more than 3800 classic model cars is exhibited at the Cyprus Motor Museum.
The earliest items in the collection are three Dinky Toys from the 1930s; a streamlined coach, a bull-nosed Morris saloon and a small track racing car. Next are some Dinkys from the 40s and 50s, mostly repainted. Some have the first style ‘crimped’ axles with the wheels being held in place by the end of the axle being flattened. It was a great innovation to have rivet heads at both ends.
In 1956 Corgi Cars came onto the market. They introduced a new feature and advertised themselves as ‘The ones with the windows’, with a clear plastic interior shell, soon followed by interior seating.
The vast majority of our collection consists of models made after 1982 when the Lledo Company issued cars aimed at being collected rather than played with. To start with they were models of historic vehicles and Matchbox Cars and Models of Yesteryear became very popular. A commercial aspect was introduced when vans and lorries were produced in various colours with Company names and logos. The same casting could thus be sold many times over.
As collecting became popular, new ranges and indeed new companies were set up to produce models specifically aimed at collectors, with much greater attention to accuracy and tiny details. Of course, this was reflected in the price, which explains why we don’t have quite so many, but they are well worth looking at more carefully.
The first and most visible improvement came with the wheels – no longer one style fits all. Each model has exact replicas of its own hub caps and tyres. Then wing mirrors and windscreen wipers and interior upholstery. And, of course, the paintwork is very good. Size, too, was no longer limited. Whereas the ‘toy cars for playing with’ were nearly all issued in the 1/43 – 1/50 scale range, ‘Collectors’’ models appeared in larger or smaller sizes.
Nearly all our models are British, but we have an attractive set of French ‘Age d’Or’ cars by Solido, a few German and one Russian, kindly donated by a gentleman who made a return visit especially to present it.