Every person I knew or met who loves cars (or any other vehicle) usually start their passion at an early age and one of the first things that made them love cars are toys or basically, car models. It is the same for me too. I still have the Lamborghini Countach toy model that my parents got me many years ago and my passion for cars have grown stronger ever since.
84 year old Joe DiNovo is a retired mail carrier from Norridge, Illinois, USA who has a collection of 23,000 Matchbox cars and counting. Down in his basement, stacked from floor to ceiling are display cases and boxes of Matchbox cars (and other vehicles) that DiNovo has collected for over 50 years. Many of them are still in their original boxes and/or packaging.
Initially, he was a train collector and sold his collection at toy shows. It was during that time that he was exposed to the world of four-wheeled miniature car models and soon began to collect and sell both of them at toy shows. Basically, his collection grew when he could not sell some of the miniature models. When that happens, he would keep them and buy new ones to sell at a later time. This practice continued until all the unsold cars began to stack up and became a collection.
His basement is practically filled with all sorts of miniature vehicle models and only one small area is left for the family’s washer and dryer. His wife, Marion, placed a sign at the washing area to remind Joe for keeping that area clear of his collection. She calls the basement a “dungeon” where her husband spends most of his time arranging his collection display.
Joe’s favourite Matchbox car in his collection is a custom made van that he made eight years ago to celebrate the fifty-two years of marriage with his wife. The model resembles a real life van he used to own which had Chicago Bears logos on it (Joe DiNovo is also an avid Bears supporter). He also has another set of custom made Matchbox cars made for the couple’s 60th anniversary which he intends to give his family and friends.
According to Joe, he has more in his garage and he probably needs a bigger house if the collection continues to grow. “I don’t drink, smoke or womanize, so that’s why I have all this stuff and I’m happy to have it,” he said. “I really, really enjoy the hobby and I think everybody should have a little hobby.”
Photo credit: Chicago Sun Times
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