PA­TRICK’S MODEL COL­LEC­TION BE­GAN WITH A VW GOLF

ASK PA­TRICK HAR­LOW, WHOSE KITS AND PIECES SE­RIES IS A REGULAR FEA­TURE INN Z CC, WHY HE BE­GAN COL­LECT­ING MODEL CARS AND HE’ LL TELL YOU ,“I NEEDED A HOBBY SO PEO­PLE WOULD KNOW WHAT TO BUY ME FOR A PRE­SENT”

New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature - Words: Christo­pher Moor Photos: Ross de Rouf­fignac

And that might be the best an­swer yet about how to avoid re­ceiv­ing an­other bot­tle of af­ter­shave at Christ­mas. It def­i­nitely works for Pa­trick.

His col­lec­tion be­gan in 1978, when he bought a metal­lic green Match­box Su­per­fast se­ries VW Golf with surf­boards (No. 7). The next model he ac­quired was an­other Match­box toy, a ma­genta-painted Dat­sun 260Z 2+2 (No. 67).

He can con­firm first-hand that in the 1960s New Zealan­ders did queue for Match­box Toys when a new ship­ment from Bri­tain was ad­ver­tised. As a child he, his brother Paul, and his dad joined those queues in his home­town of Ash­bur­ton, wait­ing pa­tiently for the shops to put the mod­els on sale at 5pm on a Fri­day night. His child­hood Match­box Toys were well played with, and none form part of to­day’s col­lec­tion.

Avid col­lec­tor

Pa­trick now has nearly 2000 diecast mod­els, mostly in 1:64 scale, or ap­prox. 7.6cm in length. Those re­lat­ing to movies and TV se­ries are his favourites, but he finds them the hard­est to come by in the pre­ferred 1:64 scale.

Each model in the col­lec­tion is cat­a­logued by the diecast man­u­fac­turer’s name, and by the maker of the real car. He says the cat­a­logu­ing is to re­duce the chance of him du­pli­cat­ing a model. “I have so many cars it is easy to for­get what I have.”

He does not usu­ally col­lect the same car by dif­fer­ent model man­u­fac­tur­ers. The ex­cep­tions would be if the car was is­sued as a pro­mo­tional model for dif­fer­ent movies or TV shows.

“I col­lect the best qual­ity, not nec­es­sar­ily the old­est, and I re­place it if a bet­ter-qual­ity model comes along. I keep the boxes for them in case I sell them.”

Pa­trick has all of his cars dis­played out of their boxes in ei­ther his liv­ing room, or be­hind glass in his model room. His favourite mod­els have their own mir­ror-backed glass cab­i­net in the liv­ing room.

But what his guests may no­tice first is the wall dis­play of 1:43 scale clas­sic 1950s Amer­i­can cars by Franklin Mint, which was a gift from a friend who couldn’t keep up with the dust­ing.

Those in his model room are ar­ranged from A-Z, with the car’s ra­di­a­tor grille badg­ing and make ap­pear­ing be­low them on the shelves, giv­ing the im­pres­sion of a large mo­tor show in minia­ture. The dis­play makes in­stant im­pact with its wow-fac­tor pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Peo­ple who come around and visit al­ways like to see the col­lec­tion. It’s no fun if peo­ple can’t see it,” he says.

One rea­son he shows the cars in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der is to help vis­i­tors ap­pre­ci­ate the col­lec­tion more. Oth­er­wise they may not know what the mod­els are, and it also as­sists them to find their own cars. “Part of the fun of col­lect­ing is when peo­ple rec­og­nize a car they own or [one which] has a fam­ily his­tory.”

Old­est model

What ap­pears to be the old­est model in the col­lec­tion is a Dinky Toys MG Sports car (No. 35c), prob­a­bly a post-war ver­sion pro­duced be­tween 1946 and 1948, be­cause of the black wheels. Pa­trick thinks the car is orig­i­nal, apart from some re­place­ment wheels. The friend who gave him the model did so with two of the orig­i­nal wheels, which he dis­plays in the MG’S cock­pit.

While hol­i­day­ing in Europe an­other friend spot­ted some Grell Modell lim­ited se­ries ver­sions of the East Ger­man Wart­burg, and brought them back as a gift for him. They were a pro­mo­tion by a Ger­man beer com­pany, Pa­trick says.

His only New Zealand–made model is the Fun Ho! Midget Holden Ute (No. 57), a circa 1996 Re­pro ver­sion with blue-tinted plas­tic win­dows fit­ted. He bought the ute dur­ing a hol­i­day visit to the Fun Ho! Na­tional Toy Mu­seum at In­gle­wood.

Pa­trick once trav­elled to the diecast swap meets at Palmer­ston North and Auck­land to buy mod­els, but now chooses to at­tend only those in the Greater Welling­ton area, where he lives.

He buys over the in­ter­net from Trademe, as well as ebay. For­eign pur­chases are nec­es­sary be­cause some brands of model ve­hi­cles are not im­ported into New Zealand. Tom­ica is one no longer sold in this coun­try’s shops. “I have a few in my col­lec­tion, and they’re nice mod­els.”

He says Tom­ica is one of his favourite model car man­u­fac­tur­ers, along with the now de­funct Amer­i­can brand, Johnny Light­ning, and the TV and movie pro­mo­tional mod­els from Hot Wheels.

Lifelong am­bi­tion

In 2014, Pa­trick ful­filled a lifelong am­bi­tion on his Amer­i­can hol­i­day by driv­ing across Route 66 from New York to Cal­i­for­nia, with his wife Heather. He has built a com­mem­o­ra­tive sou­venir in­cor­po­rat­ing mod­els of the ac­tual rental cars he drove on the jour­ney: a grey 2014 Dodge Charger sa­loon by Green­light and a red 2014 Chevro­let Ca­maro by Johnny Light­ning.

A high­light of the hol­i­day for him was meet­ing the late Ge­orge Bar­ris (1925–2015) at

Bar­ris Kus­tom In­dus­tries in North Hol­ly­wood, Cal­i­for­nia. Bar­ris de­signed Pa­trick’s child­hood dream car, the Bat­mo­bile from the 1960s Bat­man TV se­ries and movie. In the Bar­ris show­room, he saw the sec­ond Bat­mo­bile built for the TV se­ries, which had just re­turned from a pro­mo­tion launch­ing scale-model Hot Wheels Bat­mo­bile cars. Bar­ris’ orig­i­nal Bat­mo­bile was built from the 1955 Lin­coln Fu­tura con­cept car, a model Pa­trick has by Johnny Light­ning. The cur­rent 1966 Bat­mo­bile in his col­lec­tion is the Hot Wheels Red­line ver­sion, which he says is the favourite model.

He does not re­store any of his model cars, usu­ally ac­quir­ing them for the col­lec­tion in mint con­di­tion. One not in pris­tine con­di­tion is the play-worn Corgi Ju­niors Iron­side Po­lice Van (No. 1007), which was found in a sand­pit by a friend and added in this state. Iron­side was an Amer­i­can crime drama that ran on the NBC TV net­work for eight sea­sons, be­tween 1967 and 1975. It starred Raymond Burr in the ti­tle role as the crip­pled former chief of de­tec­tives, with Don Mitchell as Mark Sanger, his personal as­sis­tant.

De­spite life in the sand­pit, the Iron­side model still has the com­plete fig­ures of Sanger push­ing Iron­side in his wheelchair, with the wheelchair able to be low­ered and raised through the van’s rear door.

It would be back to the 1970s for the mod­els that Pa­trick would most like to add to the col­lec­tion. At the top of his wish list are all the cars from the 1975 film, Death Race 2000. He is hop­ing that this year will be the one when this col­lect­ing wish is ful­filled.

13. BAT­MO­BILE

Pa­trick’s favourite model is his Hot Wheels Red­line Bat­mo­bile from the 1960s movie and TV se­ries

11. PENE­LOPE Lady Pene­lope’s cars from Thun­der­birds: (L) Rolls-royce from the 1960s TV se­ries by Tom­ica, (M) Ford Thun­der­bird from 2004 movie Thun­der­birds by Ven­tura and (R) FAB1 from the 2015 TV se­ries Thun­der­birds Are Go by Tom­ica

12. BATS

Five gen­er­a­tions of Bat­mo­bile movie cars by Hot Wheels

15. WARTBURGS

These Wart­burg mod­els by Grell were a gift to Pa­trick from a friend vis­it­ing Europe

17. WART­BURG

1965 Wart­burg Camp­ing Wagon with Christ­mas tree in trailer by Grell

18. MOVIES

Karate Kid and Chris­tine

19. OLD­EST

Dinky Toys MG Sports car

16. BOND

Part of Pa­trick’s col­lec­tion of James Bond movie cars as dis­played in one of his model room cab­i­nets

14. DIS­PLAY

Full length view of one of the cab­i­nets in Pa­trick’s model room

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