It started when I was young. The thought of someday piloting a machine packed full of exhilaration and excitement proved too tough an adversary for adulthood to beat down and make me forget. These miniature cars so perfectly captured my imagination with dreams of pushing the limits on the dirt tracks I would make in our front yard, but it was not dirt…
It was the perfect set of corners on a country road, or a racetrack somewhere exotic. I would be immediately transported there; I’m driving the car, I’m giving it the inputs and negotiating with physics through every corner, tires in full protest. And the engine noise! It would put any 12 cylinder Ferrari to shame. This car was not the chipped up yellow Renault that had been through many ‘crashes’ over the past 3 years, it was a 1000HP awd beast with turbos and a supercharger, two foot wide tires in the rear and a huge wing (they were ‘wings’ back before I knew what
This was the car everyone wanted and I was there. It was mine to do with whatever I wanted. If I wanted to drive recklessly, sliding it sideways into other cars, trees, buildings or making huge jumps over canyon size ravines, I did. Sometimes you are cruising slowly through town, letting everyone get a good eyeful of your sweet machine, ladies flocking to your side. The feeling of having that Swiss Army knife of a car that could accomplish any task including defying the law of gravity. You drove over everything, up impossible hills without hesitation flying through the air cartoon-like. It was the only thing that mattered; the rest of the world just fell away.
Times have changed. I grew up, got a job, got married, had kids, bought a house, made car payments, tried to not forget to feed the Pomeranian breakfast before leaving for work… I do adult things now like having people over for dinner or folding laundry. But when I have to go to the store for whatever reason, I find myself yanked violently from my reality as I pass those miniature cars. 30 minutes later I am just realizing that other people may be looking at me, a grown man digging through the cardboard displays with 15 cars in his basket. I calmly tear myself away and go about my business. I don’t really still ‘play’ with them anymore, because that would be childish. I collect them; waaay different. A few of the doubles of my favorites find their way out of their packages to be a display model. Sometimes get rolled around on my desk when I think no one is looking or used as a prop to explain some complicated traffic incident. They still have the same effect on me; they capture my imagination.
I’ve been fortunate in my life to hold on to a piece of that passion that consumed me as a child. Having this passion pushed me to stay involved in the scene, going to events, talking to enthusiasts, and eventually getting a project car. That car slowly evolved into the racecar it is today. One became two, then partnering with my buddy, two became six… I don’t see an end to this, just like my Hot Wheels, I’ve gotta collect them all…