There was a time when different hobbies and healthy activities were part of lives of children, youths and elders. Hobbies like collecting post tickets, coins, book reading, collecting greetings cards and colourful marbles were craze for people.
No matter what your age, collecting model cars can become an exciting hobby, but also a good investment as many toy cars increase value over time as they are collectible items. This hobby has been around almost as long as the automobile, and yet, it is still a passion of many!Scaled models are manufactured in a range of scales such as 1:12, 1:18, 1:24, 1:32, 1:43, 1:64 and others. Cars that are especially attractive are those with a real eye to detail. Doors, hoods and trunks that open, ashtrays that slide out and glove compartments that work are some of the realized features. Some models of cars even have hanging ignition keys and removable hood pins to open the hood. Most have working car steering and suspension with real materials used in the interiors.
Well meet Mr. Aamir Ashfaq from Pakistan. He is an automotive aficionado.
What makes his story unique is that Aamir is not a ten-year-old who is indulging a passing hobby for four-wheeled playthings. Aamir is an unassuming, functional, employed 39-year-old.
Based in Lahore the historical city of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Aamir has managed to collect more than 4000 model cars over the course of 31 years. He started collecting cars when he was only eight years old, and since then has spent one hour every day with his cars. He even has a sort of ritual — every day, he’ll pick up a different toy car, place it in the palm of his hand, and enjoy the moment.
“I don’t know why,” says Aamir Ashfaq, “but I’m really attracted to cars and I feel extremely happy when I’m in my toy-car showroom.”
Aamir houses his cars in a purpose-built room. His collection includes cars that have been imported from all around the world. Whether it is 1907’s Peugeot or a model of Mercedes-Benz SSK, Aamir has it all.
“It may be childish,” admits Aamir, “but I never feel odd living with my cars. When I was young, toys always had a special place in my heart, and I really liked trains and airplanes too. In fact when I was very young, my parents tried to get me more interested in trains and airplanes… but I always came back to my first passion, cars.”
Aamir’s pursuit may not have gone far enough to earn him a World Record, but no doubt such a collection is still unique in Pakistan. Over the years, Aamir has managed to collect model cars linked to famous personalities — he has cars modeled after the wheels that James Bond, Mr Bean, and Batman would choose to drive. He also has a collection of luxury cars, antique cars, vintage cars, sports cars, formula 1 cars, NASCAR and movie cars like Knight Rider, Back to the Future and Fast & Furious Series. You name it — he thrusts it into your hands with a flourish.
“Each of my cars has a history,” says Aamir. “Memories may fade with time but these cars take me back to moments in the past. When I hold a car in the palm of my hand, I remember things I had forgotten about the past, and this gives me immense joy. In fact, I can’t explain it in words.”
He possesses cars of numerous brands, including Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Majorette, Corgi, Johnny Lightening, Burago, Tomica, Jada Toys, Real Toy, Norev, Maisto, Welly, Siku and Kinsmart, which are manufactured in USA, England, Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan and Macao.
For Aamir collecting model cars is his passion since his childhood and he is enjoying his passion. Talking to MOTORING he said, “Die cast car collection is my childhood passion and I enjoy my passion for these cars. I love every single part about these street machines.” He said and added that he loved the sound, speed and especially the looks of these rolling masterpieces. “Inspiration for these cars will never escape from my mind,” he added.
American vehicles have always tempted Aamir, so model cars of famous brands like Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac, Plymouth, Dodge feature very prominently in his display. Furthermore, British, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Swedish, Australian automobile models are also the part of my extensive collection.
For Aamir, every car is equally important. When he gets his hands on a new car to add to the collection, he first sleeps with it under his pillow before placing it lovingly on the shelves.
He said, “It was quite difficult to collect a large number of die-cast cars in Pakistan because of their non-availability.” He claims his collection is the largest collection of model cars in Pakistan.
My favorite car is 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, which appeared in the Hollywood TV Series “Knight Rider”. This car used as K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) in the Series.
Aamir, who also has three lovely daughters, insists that his toy cars do not interfere with domestic bliss. He insists that despite it all, he is a simple man with simple pleasures. “I have no big dreams … I just want to collect cars,” he says. “My love for cars never bothered my family because I know how to balance my time between both.”
“In fact,” he adds, “this room [in which he houses his cars] is like my fourth child … and my three daughters help me manage it, so it brings us closer.”
Aamir has not faced any resistance from his parents regarding his passion since his childhood. He said, “I really thank my parents for their efforts for polishing my passion. They never refused whenever I asked for a toy car.” He said he remembered his childhood days. “Whenever I went to a mart, first of all I would pick up a toy car and look towards my parents who never disappointed me,” he recalled.
He said, “Above all, I have models of Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault, MG, Austin Martin, Land Rover, Range Rover, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Isuzu, Mazda, Toyota, Lexus, Subaru, Ford, Hyundai, Mini Cooper, Jaguar, Bugatti, Hummer and many more.