Car Models And Miniatures To Pick Up If You're Starting Your Collection

Every model car collector has to start somewhere - we round up the best picks for a beginner working on their collection.

Starting your model car collection? Here are a few essentials to pick up to decorate your living room.

So you like cars, but you don’t have a 6-door garage (or many millions of dollars) to own the fleet of supercars that you’d love. But what you DO have is some extra shelf space and a little time on your hands. You need to start a model car collection.

In all likelihood, you’ve already been working on this collection since you were a kid. Maybe you’ve already got several model kits that you’ve kept with you over the years, but now it’s time to graduate to some diecast models that will really withstand the test of time. Whatever stage of your collection you’re at, there are at least 3 cars that you need to be a real car guy.

They’re called the "Super," the "Classic," and the "Sleeper." Here are a few of our recommendations to either start or round out your collection.

The Super: 2017 Ford GT

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If you don’t love supercars, you’re just not a car guy. And if you don’t have a supercar model, you just don’t have a collection.

The second generation Ford GT is the perfect supercar to be the centerpiece of your collection. Introduced in 2017, it’s a mid-engine beast that has all the hallmarks of a modern performance vehicle: a twin-turbo V6 engine, a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, active aerodynamics, and an adaptive suspension system that responds to whatever surface the car rides on.

After being introduced at the end of 2016, demand for the GT was so high that Ford couldn’t just sell them like regular cars. Instead, they held lotteries where they picked who would receive the opportunity to own the GT based on prospective buyers’ applications. Once the GT was actually sold, the buyer had to sign an agreement that prevented them from selling the GT for at least 2 years after the purchase date.

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Ford did this to ensure that nobody would flip the car for a quick profit (which some people still did) and to preserve the exclusivity of the car.

The Classic: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette

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If you wanna know where cars are going, you gotta know where they’ve been. No model collection is complete without at least one classic car that pays homage to automotive history.

It doesn’t get much more historic than the 1957 Chevy Corvette. This was the year that Chevrolet stopped thinking of the ‘Vette as their 2-door roadster and started thinking of it as a real performance vehicle.

In 1957, Chevy tossed out the old 3-speed manual transmission in favor of a new 4-speed model that vastly improved the car's acceleration. The small-block V8 engine grew from 265 cubic inches (4.3-L) to 283 cubic inches (4.6-L) and produced an astounding (for the era) 290 hp.

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Chevy advertised the engine as producing 283 hp just so they could say "one hp per cubic inch.” Chevy also started pushing the ‘Vette toward racing markets, selling several ready-to-race performance upgrades like fuel injection and racing suspension.

The Sleeper: 1971 Datsun 240Z

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Every collection needs a car that makes people ask, “What’s that car?” It should look a little plain and dull next to the supercar and classic car and should be a conversation starter.

The 1971 Datsun 240Z fits the bill perfectly. It’s not all that remarkable, especially in terms of ‘70s sports cars, but the car has a rich history. It was made soon after Japan broke into the world market with high-quality and cheap automobiles that were outperforming their domestic competition. The 240Z, in particular, was designed to take on far more expensive offerings from Porsche, BMW, and even Ferrari.

Introduced to the American market in 1970, the 240Z came with a 2.4-L inline 6-cylinder with 151 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. A 4-speed manual put power to the rear wheels while a fully independent suspension gave the 240Z legendary handling for the time it was produced.

Recognition of the 240Z really wouldn’t come until many years later, long after Nissan retired the Datsun marque and started selling cars under their own name. Today, Nissan sells the 370Z, but rumors are swirling that a new Fairlady Z is just around the corner.

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