If you like cars it is highly likely that you also appreciate (or even collect) scale model vehicles. We head to one of the most famous model shops in the country.
By: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Following the release of the new Netflix series Penguin Town, Simon’s Town is now, more than ever before, the destination if you want to come up close to these interesting little creatures.
However, for petrolheads and model car collectors there is another reason to make the trek to this quaint seaside town. For a number of decades the Simon’s Town Warrior Toy Museum and Shop has been, and still is, a worthy stop en route to Boulders Beach and frolicking in the waves with the penguins.
Managed by Percy van Zyl, this elderly gentleman has a few stories to tell and was eager to share some of the anecdotes of certain models in this shop.
“When I was about four years old my father gave me my first model car. I also still have my set of Tootsie Toy fire engines that were given to me when I was a child, they are from 1935," Percy explains.
We walk along another corridor to a different cabinet and he shows me another Tootsie Toy car. “These were cast in two halves and then joined together. They started die casting these little cars, and at the time they were not called model cars, but toy cars.
“What is valuable today? It depends on the rarity of the model. Because a model is old, doesn’t mean it is valuable.” As any collector would know, if you take the model out of the box, it is important to keep the box safe.
Apart from collecting model cars, Percy is also fascinated by model trains. “At the moment I’m busy buying a collection of Märklin trains.” Percy is quick to point out that they are not cheap, but when I look at the attention to detail, one can understand why.
“This was a gift. It is a Schuco Opel model car that you wind up and then it does a certain route. However, one of my most special cars is a Tekno 1958 Mercedes-Benz Ponton sedan that my wife bought for me in 1966 when she visited Paris."
Another cupboard, this time with trains, is opened up. “If you ask me which train is special to me this will be it. I bought it in Bakersfield, California in 1984. It is a fire train made out of brass and it also has water tanks. This one is painted, but I also have model trains here of brass that are not painted.
“In terms of model cars, it is the mid-30s to the late-50s that are special to me. Another model that is also one of my favourites is a Brooklyn 1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster Sedan delivery van, because I remember seeing these on the roads. And, it is a very attractive model.”
Before I leave, Percy switches on the train set. The little locomotive with its wagons speed off and for the next few minutes I marvel at all the small moving parts and the speed and accuracy at which they work. There is a complete train station and town it rides through making its way around in circles on the track.
“I buy what I like, it could be a train, car or aeroplane.”
With 32 years of model car experience in collecting and selling, there are few things Percy don’t know about this trade!
Simon’s Town Warrior and Toy Museum and Shop
1067 King George Way
Tel: 021 786 1395