Welcome to the first installment of our new editorial series, Collectors Corner, where each month we will profile a local person who collects something weird and/or wonderful. This month’s guest is James Follett, a motoring enthusiast with an impressive collection of model cars…
What do you collect?
I collect models of the Australian cars made by the big three American Manufacturers: General Motors (Holden), Ford and Chrysler.
How many pieces do you have in your collection?
I collect the 1:43 and 1:18 scale models, of which I have 109 models. I used to have hundreds when I was a child. I had over 500 matchbox cars and a lot of 1:18 scale European vehicles but the collection was getting out of control, so I simplified it to the genre I collect now.
Do you remember the first car that started your collection?
I got my first Matchbox car, a Ford F100 Ambulance, when I was three years old – so you could say that was the one started it all.
Why model cars?
I have been a car fanatic all my life; I do not remember not being one. It has also followed me to my working career. I started out working weekends at a driveway service station when I was fourteen, and now I own and run the independent used car dealership, Coffs Harbour Motorworld, and the repair shop, Isles Park Motorworx.
Are the model cars hard to source?
Well, that’s a tricky question. If you buy them when the three big model manufacturers make them, you’re OK, but they become hard to get after that. And there are a lot in that genre that they haven’t made yet, so eventually the collection will 3 or 4 more times bigger than what it is.
How do you store or display your collection?
A lot people say you should keep the boxes, as it makes them more valuable, but I like them on display. Also, the value is of no importance to me – I will never sell them. I’ll leave that job to my two daughters when I’m gone.
Do you have one favourite piece in your collection?
My favourite pieces are the 1:18 scale models for their attention to detail, and they really are small replicas of the original. They are quite expensive too, so I only purchase the models I have a real love affair with – which is mainly the seventies and eighties models.
What makes YOUR collection so unique?
I do have three real collectable cars: a Ford Fairmont V8, Holden WB Caprice and a Triumph 2500TC.
I also have a complete collection of Wheels Magazines from 1985 to date, which is an in depth history of the Australian motoring scene in itself.
Are you a member of any collectors and/or enthusiasts clubs?
I currently belong to the Saab Car Club of Australia, as I race a 1989 Saab 900 Turbo in hillclimb events around the area.
Are you a collector?
We want to know about you! Let us know what you collect and you might just be our next Collectors Corner guest!
ph. (02) 6650 9343
This story was published in issue 20 of Coffs Coast Focus