Model car collector Winton Amies: 'I'm just a big kid collecting toys'

by Guy Frederick / 21 January, 2018

Photo: Guy Frederick

A late-starter to collecting models, Winton Amies has made up for it with an impressive collection.

“Rather busy” is how Winton Amies describes his front room, with the classic understatement of a southern man. From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, it’s bulging with tins, clocks, radios, bottles, stacks of cartoons, tools and – the jewel in the crown – his model-car collection. When Amies moved to Naseby’s old butcher shop 22 years ago, he brought 1200 model cars with him; now he has more than 3000, and that number is climbing weekly.

As a child, he recalls being mesmerised by the “living, breathing pieces of steel” he saw on the railway tracks and at train stations – and he was deeply envious of a friend who had a wind-up Hornby engine. “As my parents moved frequently, I never had many toys, and those I did were often lost in the moving process,” he says. “Now I’m making up for lost time.”

His penchant for collecting didn’t kick in until his mid-40s, however, when he was working as an appliance serviceman in Dunedin and bought a (full-size) Studebaker car. Two years later, he got a replica model for his mantelpiece, then other 1950s model Studebakers, then any Studebakers, then any 1950s American cars, and finally any American car.

Most of his models are acquired from a Dunedin dealer, but swap-meets, model shops and catalogues from around the world also sustain Amies’ appetite for more.

“If the house caught fire, I’d have to take the very small and well-worn metal Noddy and Big Ears car with its tin wheels,” he says. Another favourite is a rusted 1930s Chrysler Airflow he found sitting on a fencepost on the outskirts of town.

Remembering his old friend’s Hornby engine, he’s also added model trains to the collection.

“I often come in here and get the engines moving. Each has their own history, like the Flying Scotsman, and the Mallard – the fastest steam engine in the world,” says Amies, who loves watching the trains go round as much as visiting children do.

“I’m just a big kid collecting toys.” 

This was published in the January 2018 issue of North & South.

 

Latest

Give Kate A Voice: Bringing Kate Sheppard's speeches to life
96352 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z History

Give Kate A Voice: Bringing Kate Sheppard's speech…

by Noted

Famous Kiwi women read the powerful words of Kate Sheppard, who fought for the right for women to vote.

Read more
Ladies in Black – movie review
96686 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Ladies in Black – movie review

by Russell Baillie

This nicely nostalgic female coming-of-age tale set in a Sydney department store almost sings.

Read more
A Southern man goes for gold in Garston growing hops
95518 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z Small business

A Southern man goes for gold in Garston growing ho…

by Mike White

Nelson and Motueka are well known for their hops but Garston hops are starting to be noticed by brewers.

Read more
How to lower your exposure to potentially toxic household products
96525 2018-09-24 00:00:00Z Health

How to lower your exposure to potentially toxic ho…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Alexx Stuart advocates changing one thing a week. With personal-care items, she says the place to start is body lotion.

Read more
The unrest in Chemnitz is a sign that Germany has a populist problem too
96655 2018-09-23 00:00:00Z World

The unrest in Chemnitz is a sign that Germany has …

by Cathrin Schaer

The populist contagion sweeping Europe spreads to Germany, Cathrin Schaer writes from Berlin.

Read more
The alarming new evidence about chemicals and plastics we use at home
96233 2018-09-23 00:00:00Z Science

The alarming new evidence about chemicals and plas…

by Nicky Pellegrino

From sperm counts to obesity, scientists are only beginning to understand the long-term health effects of many chemicals in everyday use.

Read more
Why preservative-free cosmetics are a tough commercial product
96522 2018-09-23 00:00:00Z Health

Why preservative-free cosmetics are a tough commer…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Preservative-free cosmetics that survive in your bathroom cupboard are a challenge, says Evolu founder Kati Kasza.

Read more
The arguments for and against allowing medicinal use of cannabis
96641 2018-09-23 00:00:00Z Psychology

The arguments for and against allowing medicinal u…

by Marc Wilson

There’s an increasing amount of evidence on cannabis effects, but it's far from straightforward.

Read more