A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

My toy and model car collection photographed more recently.

1954

Childhood Toys & Models

Like most young boys, I had a collection of toy cars. Many of which I still have today.

My first encounter with Dinky Toy cars was with two friends who lived down Robert Avenue, Johnny and Peter.  We would make roads in the backyard dirt at Johnny’s place, driving the cars around the roads for hours. 

The Hudson with its sloping roof was my favourite and it was the first Dinky I ever got. 

The next car I bought was an FJ Holden Taxi, it was black with a white roof. I later modified it, by cutting out the B pillars with a pair of side cutters to make it pillarless. On reflection, it was not a good move, as “buyers always paid more for original cars” rather than modified ones. 

I also bought DeSoto Firefly with fins.

BMW roadster, Renault Dauphine, Hudson, Holden FJ Taxi.

Matchbox cars are similar to Dinky Toys only about half the size, made of die-cast metal and packaged in a ‘matchbox’ style box. 

Another friend, Bobby had an interest in racing cars, which naturally sparked my interest.

An interest that would steer some of the choices that shaped my life’s direction. We would build a track in the yard and race the cars around those tracks. 

1908 GP Mercedes,   XK120 coupe,   ‘D Type’ Jaguar,       MGA,       Aston Martin,     Zephyr convertible. 

Bobby’s Dad’s business made household light fittings in a workshop behind their house. It was a process of metal spinning light-gauge aluminium sheeting into lampshades of all shapes. 

Bobby would roll the offcuts of aluminium into a cigar shape to form the body of a “Formula 1 Style” racing car.  A cut-out for the driver and two sets of axles with wheels would make a very smart racing car.

With the available scrap metal, I also got the chance to build a ‘Meccano’ style car with sheets cut and bolted together. It wasn’t bad, but not as stylistic as Bobby’s design.

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