Let the good times roll

Aamir Ashfaq’s collection of 5000 toy cars  bridges the gap between his childhood and adulthood

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Children like you and I get toy cars. Some of the luckier ones can roll out collections of real cars once they grow up, but those with a little less money, well…they can just keep building upon their old collection.

My toy car collection started when I was around eight years old and building it was not an easy task, thanks to the non-availability of varieties of die-cast cars in Pakistan, but sitting in Lahore I have managed to collect nearly 5000 model cars over the course of 32 years.

As a child my parents often encouraged me to give trains and airplanes a go too, but I kept coming back to my first passion. Even today one my biggest happinesses is my toy-car showroom where these rolling masterpieces are parked orderly.

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Each of my cars has a history, memories may fade with time but these cars take me back to moments in the past. When I hold a car in the palm of my hand, I remember things I had forgotten about my childhood – like rolling my Knight Rider car when the show was a craze in Pakistan and being the envy of all the little K.I.T.T fans in my neighbourhood, or belting out the tune to CHiPs and zooming its wheels all over the living room. Car racing, car jumping, accidents, fire brigades and ambulances, army missions, cops and robbers chases, car scenes from Hollywood movies – there’s so much imagination that a small piece of tin can fuel.

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My pursuit may not have gone far enough to earn a world record but even then, such a collection is still unique in Pakistan. I have cars modeled after the wheels that James Bond, Mr. Bean and Batman drove upon their various adventures. I have models of luxury cars, antique cars, classic cars, vintage cars, sports cars, muscle cars, formula 1 cars, NASCAR and movie cars like Back to the Future, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Italian Job, the Fast & Furious series etc.

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Some time ago I was challenged by ‘Asian Image’, an England-based Asian community magazine to find some British favourites in my collection. They wanted to know if I had an old Ford Cortina, a Ford Capri and a Datsun in my collection. I was happy to report back that I did indeed upon which I was featured in the magazine.

One of my favorite cars is the 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, which appeared in the Hollywood TV Series ‘Knight Rider’. This car was used as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) in the Series. I have all sorts of toy car brands including Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Majorette, Corgi, Johnny Lightening, Burago, Tomica, Jada Toys, Norev, Maisto, Welly, Siku, Kinsmart etc. These brands are made in the USA, England, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Macao. I have models of Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, Bugatti, Austin Martin, Land Rover, Range Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Morgan, Jaguar. Basically, you name it…

I am a simple man who is married and has three lovely daughters (Iman, Rimsha and Asma) who help me manage my passion, as well as take me back to my childhood days when I would go to a mart with my parents and the first thing I would do is pick up a toy car and look up at them with a question in my eyes. They never disappointed me.

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