Model car collector Winton Amies: 'I'm just a big kid collecting toys'by Guy Frederick
A late-starter to collecting models, Winton Amies has made up for it with an impressive collection.
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.
Released in 1977, Dario Argento’s campy Suspiria was a landmark in cult horror. Now, director Luca Guadagnino has remade it in a new style.Read more
Abir Mukherjee uses India’s painful struggle for independence as the backdrop for his Sam Wyndham detective stories.Read more
Restaurant veterans Chris Rupe, Krishna Botica, Tony Adcock, Geeling Ching and Judith Tabron reflect on the Auckland dining scene.Read more
Head to one of these Metro Top 50 Cheap Eats and 50 under $50 restaurants for BYO dining that won't break the bank.Read more
Mezcal was once regarded as a tipple for the lower-class – now it's the hero at new bar La Fuente.Read more
Ross’s tape didn’t stand up his allegations of electoral fraud, but it helpfully drew renewed attention to questions about Chinese influence in NZ.Read more
The National Party’s ongoing ructions suggest a long spell in the wilderness lies ahead.Read more
In the 19th century, there were more newspapers in New Zealand per head of population than anywhere else in the world says writer Ian F Grant.Read more