Toy story: The wonderful world of model cars

Simon gets it. Greg gets it. I get it, but I’m not sure Max, the photographer, gets it. Too young, I reckon. I’m talking about that feeling of nostalgia triggered by the sight of old die-cast model cars by Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox.

I’m surrounded by them here in the Collectors Old Toy Shop in Halifax, owned by Simon Haley, 54. He’s joined by Greg Brooke, 62, a customer and collector who has been coming to the shop for 27 years.

“I had one of those and one of those – and one of those!” I, a 59-year-old, can’t help exclaiming as I peer at the shelves and glass cabinets filled with row upon row of the exquisite diecast cars, many of the most valuable ones still in their boxes.

Every visitor of a certain age says it, apparently. Some turn up just to ogle the models and be transported back to a time when their idea of fun was pushing their own along the carpet. And then overnight they outgrew their Minis, Zephyr Zodiacs and fire engines, and up to the loft or, more likely, to the jumble sale the little cars went, never to be played with again.

I like the look of Haley’s DB5, released when I was five and one of which I had before it got too damaged to be played with any longer. Haley shows me how its roof sits properly.

“Most have damaged roofs caused when the child pushed it down to relocate the ejector seat,” he says. “To avoid damaging the mechanism, they should have pushed the seat down first, then pressed down the roof. A collector will look for this.”

Maybe so but I’m more interested in seeing how far it fires the baddie in the passenger seat. Not very, it turns out, and worse, right in the path of the speeding Aston. I don’t remember that happening in the film.

Top five shop finds

Simon Haley: Corgi Batmobile (£500); Corgi James Bond DB5 (£250); Corgi Jaguar E-Type (£100); Dinky Ford Mustang Fastback 2+2 (£70); Pilen VW Scirocco Mk1 (£38)

Greg Brooke: Corgi Batmobile (£500); Corgi James Bond DB5 (£250); Corgi Monte Carlo Rover 2000, 1966 (£150); Corgi Monte Carlo Mini, 1966 (£120); Corgi Chevrolet Camaro, 1969 (£50)

John Evans: Corgi James Bond DB5 (£250); Corgi Ecurie Ecosse Transporter, 1962 (£180); Dinky Fordson tractor, 1934 (£85); Corgi Lamborghini Miura with ‘diamond’ headlights (£6); Corgi Cooper Maserati (£4)