One of the strangest new afflictions to arise during the COVID-19 pandemic is a phenomenon we’ll call “Bookcase Envy.” Now that much of our personal and professional interaction takes place over Zoom meetings, many of us find ourselves gazing at our friends and colleagues’ artfully crafted home workspaces, or at the deliberately curated backdrops of the talking heads of cable news, and we might think, “Dang, we kinda suck at this.”
To our fellow car enthusiasts, we’re here to tell you that we can do better. It’s time to take control of our public faces in this era of ubiquitous teleconferencing, and to declare our passion for fine automobiles. It’s time to curate our Zoom backgrounds to tell the world that THIS is what matters to us.
It’s time to start collecting model cars.
We know, a model car dealer WOULD give out this advice, and it’s true: we’ve gotta make a buck “in these difficult times” just like anybody else. The thing is, this advice comes from the heart. We’re in the diecast collectable business because we have ALWAYS believed that scale model cars are the perfect visual shorthand for speaking volumes about who we are, and also, to call out to others like us, to spark recognition and bring us closer together.
Model car collecting is storytelling, and not just about the history of a particular car or of cars in general. If you’ll pardon the pun, it’s an autobiography. A carefully selected model car can wordlessly communicate to the world what we value as enthusiasts. It can tell the story of our childhood in the form of a dream machine from our youth. It can recall teenage adventures at the wheel of our first car. It can commemorate the exploits of the racing heroes that inspired us, or it can be an aspirational totem of what we hope to accomplish in our professional careers. Ultimately, model cars are symbols for what’s important to us in life.
There’s something else: models bring hope. It might seem a little selfish and consumerist, but in a time when life can be bleak and monotonous, that little trip to the mailbox can add so much light to a dark day. That moment of unboxing a treasure can bring much-needed joy, and when you share that treasure on social media or in the background of that online meeting, it can also help build something we all need desperately right now: community. Even the most anti-social gearhead can’t help but smile when meeting a fellow traveler on the road of car worship, and a well-placed scale model can be an exquisite icebreaker.
So, as you head into yet another week of seemingly endless Zoom meetings, think about what’s going on behind you, and what it communicates visually to your friends and colleagues. What would a model car say about you? And what might it lead you to discover about them?
To use an overworked phrase, treat yo self. Get a model car and park it on your shelf. Admire it. Share it with the world. See where the experience takes you. Find a little joy in your day. It might be all you need to get through “these difficult times.”